updated 08:45 am EDT, Tue August 14, 2007
Exploding Nokia batteries
Nokia on Tuesday issued a product advisory for more than 46 million batteries that could potentially explode while being charged. While approximately 100 incidents of overheating reported globally, it claims that no serious injuries or property damage have been reported and is offering free product replacements. The advisory affects Nokia-branded BL-5C battery manufactured by the Japan-based Matsushita Battery Industrial Co., Ltd (a.k.a. Panasonic) between December 2005 and November 2006; none of its other 250 million Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries are affected, the company said. The BL-5C, which is one of 14 different battery models used in Nokia products, is manufactured for Nokia by several suppliers, including Matsushita/Panasonic.
"Nokia has identified that in very rare cases the Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries subject to the product advisory could potentially experience overheating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge," the company wrote in the warning. "Nokia is working closely with Matsushita and will be cooperating with relevant authorities to investigate this situation."
All of reported incidents occurred while charging the battery, the company said in its statement. To Nokia's knowledge, this issue does not affect any other use of the mobile device.
"While the occurrences in the BL-5C batteries produced by Matsushita in the time-period specified are very rare, concerned consumers can request a replacement for any BL-5C battery subject to this product advisory," Nokia wrote on its website. "It is important to note that the BL-5C battery is not used in all Nokia products and that only a portion of the Nokia BL-5C batteries in use are subject to this advisory."
How to identify a BL-5C battery manufactured by Matsushita during the relevant period
In order to determine if a battery is subject to this advisory, it is necessary to remove the battery from the device. A Nokia battery will have "Nokia" and "BL-5C" printed on the front of the battery. On the reverse, the Nokia mark appears at the top and the battery identification number (consisting of 26 characters) is found at the bottom. Consumers should refer to this identification number to determine if their battery is among the batteries manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006. A comparison of that number with those subject to this advisory will determine a consumer's ability to obtain a replacement free of charge.
Nokia has posted a listed of affected products on the Web and offered detailed instructions on how to identify the affected batteries as well as a Website to enter the Battery Identification Number to determine whether any given battery is part of the recall.