DALLAS -- Dell Inc.'s record-setting recall of 4.1 million notebook computer batteries raised safety concerns about the power source of electronic devices, but experts said the problem appears to stem from production flaws, not the underlying technology.
Customers began calling the company and surfing to a special website yesterday to order replacements for the lithium-ion batteries that could cause their Dell machines to overheat and even catch fire. The batteries were supplied to Dell by Japan's Sony Corp.
Lithium-ion batteries are not only used to power laptops, but also digital cameras, music players, cellphones, and other gadgets.
Dell, the world's largest PC maker, disclosed the recall Monday night with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. It was the largest electronics-related recall involving the federal agency.
The batteries were in notebooks sold between April 1, 2004 and July 18, 2006. They were in some models of Dell's Latitude, Inspiron, XPS, and Precision mobile workstation notebooks.
Replacement orders would be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, said Dell spokesman Ira Williams. He said he couldn't estimate how long customers would have to wait, adding that it could vary by model.
The replacements are coming from Sony and other makers.
A Sony spokesman, said the company has ``taken steps to address the situation . . . to Dell's satisfaction." He declined to elaborate on what the company has done.