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8/17/2006
07:50 AM
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Dell Ships First Replacement Batteries

However, the PC powerhouse is telling customers it will take 20 business days to get a new battery.

Much more will be written about Dell's battery recall in the coming days and weeks, but a few quick updates are in order.

The company has begun shipping the first of millions of new batteries to replace potentially dangerous ones in laptops sold between April 2004 and July 2006. According to Lionel Menchaca, Dell's digital media manager, on the company's corporate blog:

We understand that affected customers are concerned when they might receive a replacement battery. We know how important it is to keep your laptops mobile, and we are working at a feverish pace to accommodate all affected customers. Right now, it will take 20 business days to get it to you.

In about 15 hours, Dell had already taken 84,000 orders for new batteries.

Menchcaca explains that ramping up manufacturing for that many new batteries, all of a sudden and all at once, is a significant undertaking.

A 20-day turnaround time may not be fast enough for many customers - including those in the education space. Kids and college students start going back to school within a couple of weeks, if they haven't already. It's not likely that if they have Dell notebooks that need new batteries they'll get them in time.

The Roanoke Times reports that the Roanoke County Public Schools in Virginia has an inventory of 1,600 Dell notebooks for teachers, students and staff. School personnel now has to check each notebook to make sure it doesn't need a new battery.

And, in the "for what it's worth" department: Sony spokesmen are taking great pains to explain that they didn't manufacture the batteries, just the battery cells. Once the battery cells are made, another party manufactures the completed battery. However, Sony is still admitting it was their manufacturing process that led to defects in the lithium ion batteries that are the subject of Dell's recall.

MORE: A reader passes along this note:

I was the 611th to sign up for a replacement (confirmed by Dell 8/14 at 9:30 pm). It is on track to be delivered today by DHL.

It was thanks to an early heads up on the web that I contacted them early.

The early bird gets the battery.

MORE: The same reader wrote back shortly after to note that he had, in fact, received his battery. He added this, "Ps: The replacement battery is made by Sanyo, not Sony."

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