Panasonic this week announced a voluntary recall of batteries due to fire and burn hazards. The battery packs being recalled were used in one of its rugged tablets. In total, the company is recalling 280 thousand battery packs, after over a dozen of them encountered critical failures.

Panasonic has discovered that some of the hot-swappable battery packs used in some of its rugged Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets (Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3-series) can short circuit after a prolonged use in extreme temperatures. The company said it had received 16 reports of combusted battery packs between March 2017 and April 2017, including 12 from customers in North America, one from a client in Japan and one owner from Australia. Panasonic plans to provide a free replacement battery to owners of affected tablets.

Panasonic recommends owners of the Toughpad FZ-G1 systems (Mk1/2/3 versions only) to first identify whether they have a potentially affected tablet SKU (find the list here) by checking the backside of their tablets. If the SKU is affected, owners are asked to remove the battery and see whether this is indeed one of the models affected (FZ-VZSU84U, FZ-VZSU89U or FZ-VZSU96U) by removing the accumulator and checking its reverse side.

Owners of systems featuring the battery packs are advised to download a firmware utility from Panasonic’s website that reduces charging from 4.2 to 4.0 volts and lowers the peak operating settings of the accumulator. After the new firmware is applied, customers are asked to contact Panasonic using a special email address or by phone, which will then arrange them a new battery (no need to return the old one).

As makers of portable electronics are trying to make their products thinner and lighter while increasing capacity of their batteries to prolong their autonomous life, the number of problems with batteries has increased in the recent years. Since exploding, overheating or combusting batteries can damage property and/or cause injuries, manufacturers of notebooks, tablets and smartphones take them very seriously and recall hundreds of thousands of battery packs every year.

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Sources: Panasonic, The Japan Times.

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  • bji - Sunday, May 21, 2017 - link

    16 batteries out of millions had a problem and you speak as if this is some kind of catastrophe. Even assuming that 10x that number of failures happened but went unreported, this is still a tiny tiny drop in the bucket compared to the millions of customers who had no problems. Have some perspective please.
  • HomeworldFound - Monday, May 22, 2017 - link

    I'm not just talking about Panasonic here. This issue has been ongoing for more than 20 years.
  • StrangerGuy - Monday, May 22, 2017 - link

    Yup, all the herp-derpers like you who feels so wronged by the ZOMG-so-unsafe billions of lithium batteries out there should just carry portable diesel generators everywhere using flammable liquids and breathing in the toxic fumes for their mobile phones. Or pulling hand cranks till you see the doctor. That ought to teach the battery industry just how worthless they are!

    I don't think you even know just how *stupid* you sound.
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, May 22, 2017 - link

    -- just carry portable diesel generators everywhere using flammable liquids and breathing in the toxic fumes for their mobile phones.

    it can't go unremarked that, if The Donald gets his way, we'll all (in cities, anyway, which are True Blue and thus deserve it) get air like northern China, thanks to the enforcement of the Clean Coal Initiative. be careful what you wish for and vote for. it might not turn out the way you expect.
  • fanofanand - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Your comment is profoundly absurd. it would be challenging to find a statement that is further from the truth. The closest I can get is to say you are a genius.
  • HomeworldFound - Monday, May 22, 2017 - link

    I'm genuinely concerned about this. I know it isn't all of them. How stupid do you sound attacking someone rather than discussing something and providing an actual point?
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, May 22, 2017 - link

    -- How stupid

    why is it stupid to point out that there are more dangerous sources of toxic fumes to actually worry about???? The Donald's zealots let him say any silly thing he wants. that's not a good thing. in any discussion.
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - link

    So there's a known fault in the boiler in your house which could burn it down. It's a 1 in a million. They've sold 20 million and 20 houses will burn down. It's a simple fix. Do you do it or do you leave your family to potentially burn to a crisp? That's the difference between a risk and a hazard. The risk is very low but the hazard is high enough (and rectification easy enough) that action must be taken.

    Or if you have one of these, feel free to keep charging it in your own house, far away from me.

    They all have potential faults which is why I charge high energy lithium based batteries in a fireproof bag as I have some understanding of the failure mechanisms and the amount of energy begging to get out. As well as mass production allowing tolerances...

    Constantly attacking people rather than discussing makes you sound like an idiot. And I'm unsure what "herp-derpers" means but I don't speak fluent moron (I assume yours is the "abusive twat" dialect?).
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - link

    Oh and I don't think​ anyone here blames the battery industry for anything. All manufactured products have faults and all systems have feedback. that's like blaming the manufacturers of pacemakers when one is faulty - if they've put in reasonable precautions, knowledge of the vagaries of mass production immediately forgives them. The battery industry enables a massive amount of technology to work and huge human progress. Naturally, failure in this industry can be catastrophic due to the energy stored and prevalence of batteries. It's not blaming anyone, it's simply acknowledging the facts of the situation.
  • creed3020 - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Looks like I am going to have to get some folks to bring their field gear back in as we're impacted by this recall....sigh

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