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Lenovo Recalls ThinkPad Batteries

The computer maker is recalling Sanyo Electric extended-life, 9-cell battery packs that were sold with some of its notebooks.

Lenovo on Thursday voluntarily recalled about 205,000 ThinkPad batteries that could overheat and endanger users.

The computer maker, working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said the Sanyo Electric battery packs were sold with the R60, R60e, T60, T60p, Z60m, Z61e, Z61m, and Z61p series notebooks. The recall only applies to the extended-life, 9-cell battery packs with the part number FRU P/N 92P1131, which the company would replace at no charge at Sanyo's expense.

The battery could overheat if a notebook was dropped from desk height and landed on the corner of the battery pack, which clips to the back of the laptop and extends out about 3 inches, Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman says.

One injury was reported. A U.S. high school student suffered minor eye irritation from battery smoke in January, Gorman said. Batteries overheated in three other cases in the United States and one in Europe, but no injuries were reported.

The first incident was reported in November, but it took several months of investigation to determine that the problem wasn't random, but had a root cause, Gorman says. "We're taking aggressive steps to fix [the problem] and do right by our customers."

The recall was the second for Lenovo in six months involving lithium-ion batteries used in mobile computers. The company in September recalled 526,000 Sony batteries, part of a global recall of more than 10 million batteries used in notebooks from several manufacturers, including Apple and Dell.

While the recalls haven't affected the number of notebooks sold, a survey by IDC found that 15% of corporate buyers and consumers would change brands to avoid potential safety problems. Such a change is enough of an impact to sway market share, IDC said.

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