HP recalls laptops due to battery fire risk

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HP recalls laptops due to battery fire risk

Multiple models are affected by yet another notebook battery recall.

HP has recalled multiple batches of notebook batteries, citing potential overheating with the risk of fire.

The recall affects certain HP Probook 64x (G2 and G3), HP ProBook 65x (G2 and G3), HP x360 310 G2, HP Envy m6, HP Pavilion x360, HP 11 and HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4 and Studio G3) laptops sold from December 2015 to December 2017

Batteries have been a recurring thorn in the side of the notebook computer industry for years – including HP previously, but Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and others have all recalled notebook batteries over the years.

In its latest recall notification, HP explains that many of the batteries are internal and therefore not removable by the customer.

The batteries being recalled have code numbers starting with 6GAVV, 6EZPC, 6FDWN, 6EZZE, 6EZZF, 6EVXH, 6ETGL, 6FSRV, 6FWBF or 6FWBH.

The HP Battery Program Validation Utility (available from the above recall page) should be downloaded and run to see whether a particular computer's battery is part of the recall.

In Australia, HP is arranging for authorised technicians to visit affected customers and install replacement batteries. Customers will be offered the alternative of an appointment at a qualified service centres where possible.

To provide temporary protection, HP recommends the installation of a BIOS update that implements "Battery Safety Mode." This discharges the battery and then prevents further charging, thus overcoming the risk of overheating and allowing the computer to be used on mains power until a replacement battery is fitted.

HP points out that it is important to reboot the computer when the battery level drops to between 6 percent and 10 percent after activating this mode – if it falls to 5 percent or less, the Battery Program Validation Utility will be unable to read the battery's tracking number.

Furthermore, going below 5 percent causes the computer to automatically enter hibernate mode, and if that happens it can take up to 15 minutes to reboot the system.

HP also warns of an issue with the ProBook and ZBook models covered by the recall. Apparently certain BIOS versions include Battery Safety Mode but do not return to normal operation after the battery is replaced.

The primary solution is to update the BIOS to the latest version. If that doesn't work, HP recommends downgrading to an older version (exactly which version is specified in a table at the end of the Battery Safety Mode white paper), then exiting Battery Safety Mode before updating to the latest BIOS.

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