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XBox Power Cable Fire Hazard and Recall 70

hattig writes "According to BBC News Microsoft is to replace 14 million XBox power cables due to a fire hazard. XBoxes made before 23rd October 2003 or 13th January 2004 (Europe) require replacement." From the article: "The company said the move was a "preventative step" after reports of fire hazard problems with the cables."
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XBox Power Cable Fire Hazard and Recall

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  • by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:34PM (#11700653) Homepage
    fixed it a year ago, and this is a preventative step?

    The PSP has been getting a lot of flack for its problems, but at least it won't burn your house down.
    • I wouldn't expect anyone on Slashdot to RTFA, but it hasn't burned down any houses:

      "In almost all instances, any damage caused by these failures was contained within the console itself or limited to the tip of the power cord at the back of the console."

      But in seven cases, customers reported sustaining a minor burn to their hand.

      In 23 cases, customers reported smoke damage, or minor damage to a carpet or entertainment centre.

      • Let's say it happened when you weren't home. If the damage was great enough, you wouldn't know exactly what caused the fire. The fire fighters would probably call it an "electrical malfunctiion." Microsoft certainly wouldn't take responsibility without hard proof that an XBOX started a fire, and that would be very hard to get, because there is always other electrical appliances near an XBOX.

        Scorching leads to burning.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily. It could be one of any number of things--maybe they changed suppliers after a certain date. Maybe the newer cables were made in a different plant. Game console hardware is revised all the time, and it's probably pretty hard to detect problems that occur less than .01% of the time.

      I know Slashdotters hate Microsoft, but throwing around baseless, poorly thought-out accusations diminishes your credibility, not Microsoft's.

      • And I'm sure none of the XBOXes with "internal damage" were sent back to Microsoft. I really hope it isn't standard practice to throw items with warranty claims away without inspecting it to find out what happened to cause it.
    • I wonder if the Xbox I am getting free (see link in sig) is going to need it's chord replaced.
      • It's unlikely the Xbox you get from this [scam / pyramid scheme] will be over a year old. I don't think the "Free X" things have been going on that long, so they probably bought the stock recently. If you RTFA the Xboxes in question are basically any since launch to early last year, I doubt you'll find many new Xboxes made that long ago.

        I've had to look and the manufacturing date on my Xbox, and it was only a couple of months before I bough it at most. I've got a nice new power cable winging its way to me.
    • A firewall will be included in XBox-SP2.

      There will then be a great debate over whether or not Microsoft should do this and put traditional suppliers of firewalls at risk.
      In the end, those in the know will use thrid-party firewalls due to their superior features, like egress filtering.
  • I just posted this exact same thing that got rejected.

    Here is the link [] to get it repaired.

  • Any more details? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Student_Tech ( 66719 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:54PM (#11700997) Journal
    Everything I have read has been fairly scarce on the details. So far I know that it has something to do with the power cord, and that when there have been problems, it has been contained to the console or power cord tip.

    If it is something internal, I seriously don't think a new power cord is going to help (unless it has like a fuse inline or something and the console pulls to much when the thing starts to smoke).
    Is it just a better connection? Were people having the cord come out slightly and arcing?
    • it's the usual figure of 8 shaped cord isnt it? I hate these things and I don't really trust them as far as I can throw them. the thing I always noticed when i plugged the cord into the xbox whilst the cord was still plugged in was that as it went in, it sparked when it was NEARLY touching.

      I still can't work out where the 'when left on' fire hazard comes from however.

      Now to wait for my replacement...
    • there's a bit more detail here 961
    • Serves em right for stealing.

      As usual their tricks have backfired. Instead of trying to pull another Stac or Sendo, they should have just made a deal up front with George Foreman rather than trying to "innovate" his technology into their product.

      C'mon it should have been obvious to any one.
      LAN party = food + CPUs.
      Intel CPUs = heat.
      heat + food = grill

  • ...must be relatively high. 14 million cables, shipping, etc - that's got to cost more than a couple of lawsuits.

    This sort of thing happens all the time in the motor industry, according to my good friend Jack.
  • No big deal (Score:2, Informative)

    As a previous poster claimed it happens all the time.

    A google search of "electrical cord recall" nets 67,000 hits. On the first page you have Black & Decker, HP, and a petition for Apple to recall its power cord.

    So all the MS haters blast away at their "incompetance" and attribute it to a massive anti-consumer rights conspiracy. Whatever. Just get a new cord and be quiet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... can anybody say video games are dangerous. --- Slashdot roulette: Placing bets on +1 funny.
  • Maybe Jack Thompson can start a class-action suit claiming video games are responsible for all cases of houses burning down due to electrical fire.
  • Boy: Daddy, let's plug in the XBox!
    Daddy: Sure thing, son! Let's just get this power cable here all hooked up an- OH MY GOD!

  • Here's the problem (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Since I know more about this than I can post from my own computer without getting into trouble...

    The cords are basically safe. Just like any other electrical device, if someone screws with the cord, you can have a problem or issue. If the machine that was winding the wires that make up the power cord, for example, ended up only having 7 strands of wire instead of 8 due to operator error, then the wire can still carry the load, but it may get warm. (GM, for example, had this problem with their new truck
    • So you are saying that the power cord shipped in an Xbox is incapable of passing the current necessary for operation without generating large amounts of heat (enough to burn you after a number of hours).
      This is just bad design and might even legally be an issue for them.
  • Well, they knew a lot longer than just recently anyway. Judging by the manuafcaturer dates they posted, I'd say they recognized a flaw and changed their manufacturing process late 2003 and hoped for the best...then lawsuits started. As far as the suits themeselves, my sources [] said that several cases of minor burns, furniture scorching and carpet singing occured, so a few property damage suits, minor injury, etc...
    • that they retool the design process every few months anyways.

      They alter the cord... because they get a new, lower-bidding supplier, or because they can make the cord for a few cents cheaper per cord (trust me, it adds up!) a new way.

      They alter the PSU, change suppliers on the internal components like the DVD drive, switch to a different variety of internal cabling... it happens all the time.

      The fact that only the older cords were changed at some point could be due to any one of a dozen design changes tha
      • Okay, but you can admit, it COULD be that they discovered a flaw.
        • that even if they "discovered" a flaw, actually tracking it down and being sure of the cause of a flaw with a failure rate of a mere 1 in 10,000 is going to take a while to work through?
          • Like say.... almost 2 years perhaps? This is fun, yer turn! Seriously though, I figure the 1 in 10k number could mean a couple things including that that percentage relates to the number that were produced using that particular method or from one particular plant. I think we can agree that there's a lotta truth out there we'll never know.
  • by seann ( 307009 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @02:43PM (#11702667) Homepage Journal
    would have prevented this. Another bit of proof that MS IS EVIL!!!
    • Obviously: if the specs of the cord had been available to everyone, then someone could have spotted the design flaw and corrected it.

      Apparently you can download patch-cable from to alleviate the problem.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @02:55PM (#11702856)
    Recalls happen all the time. In just about every industry. Exercise equipment, automobiles, televisions... you name it, there's been a recall. It happens.

    It's not like there is a humongous danger. Nobody's house was burned down or car exploded, unlike several automobile types where a recall (faulty wiring in the ignition units and steering column pieces) only happened after lives were lost.

    The facts are:
    - The failure rate on these cords is listed as 1 in 10,000.
    - The failure ONLY happens when the unit has been on for a ridiculously long time (read: someone just turned off the power-save feature and let the thing run all day and night).

    - Seven people had minor burns from unplugging the cords while they were still hot.
    - 23 people smelled smoke or had minor damage (likely plastic melting, which is what you'd expect when the low-grade plastics used in most entertainment centers comes in contact with an overheated wire) to their entertainment centers or carpet (likely synthetic carpet that melted).

    I know, there are plenty of little trolls out there who hate MS, but seriously. They're doing the right thing and recalling the cords.

    No, the fact that cords after October 23, 2003 aren't susceptible to this isn't an indication they knew about it - it could be a standard part of ongoing redesigns (which they do every few months to lower the production costs anyways). Or it could be that they went to a new vendor, who were making the cords to a higher standard or with a different process anyways.

    Or it could simply be that they were investigating the CAUSE of the incidents before they did anything - after all, if the culprit were really the power supply, then replacing the cords wouldn't have done any good.

    So come on. They're doing the right thing. Give them credit for doing it, in spite of the fact that the raving MS-hater lunatics are going to be spewing "OMG did yew see the xbox got recalled haha" all over chat boards for the next couple weeks, and move on.
    • I give em credit, but realize how bad a problem is if the cords are so poorly made that they heat up to the point of melting carpet.

      They are lucky no one was killed after falling asleep with the Xbox on.

      I think they should have sent a bit extra making sure stuff like that never happened by getting power cords speced for handling a higher load then what they expected to be drawn by the machine.

      The internal fuses are whats supposed to die in the event of a short not the power cord.
      • then that'd be one thing.

        It's not, though. They've only got 30 instances so far. Their (obviously leaning on the safe-side) estimate of the failure rate is approximately 1 in 10,000. How many Xboxes have been sold again?

        More likely, there was some thing in the production line that wasn't quite right, or one of several vendors they'd contracted to make the cords wasn't up to spec. It happens - there are thousands of product recalls a year in the States alone.

        I for one wish Sony had recalled the first-gen
        • I have a revision 2 PS2(out of the 12 models cylon^H^H^H^H^H) and I never used it for movie playing. It seams to play all type media (even runs film discs is I putthem in to test) just fine after all these years.
          I do agree that SONY makes cheap crap for consoles, my PSX wont work unless at a greater then 45 deg. angle (the upside down trick dont work). I know people who have gone through several PS2 units.
  • This isn't on the front page because one doesn't directly insult one of your largest ad buyers...
  • Ah, the beauty of it. All that statistical data, tying the serial number of your xbox to a physical location.

    Now those who don't even have xbox live can enjoy data association and aggregation.

  • Support (Score:5, Funny)

    by Taulin ( 569009 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @06:11PM (#11705300) Homepage Journal
    I always told people XBox had firewire support
  • Master Plan (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There is no defect. Microsoft just initiated the self-destruct sequence in preparation for the launch of xbox 2.
  • I wonder.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by another_plonk ( 534010 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @05:34AM (#11709581)
    Considering that the power cable is probably the cheapest part of the system to replace, I wonder if this might not be an excuse to collect data of Xbox owners.

    a) The release of Xbox Next is imminent (i.e. comming fall/winter.) Microsoft may be wanting to collect data for massive marketing or regional statistics.

    b) Microsoft may be wanting to collect data to crackdown on modders. With Xbox live, they can determine the serial number of modded Xboxes. Considering that you have to enter the serial number of your Xbox to order your power cord replacement, they might be collecting the addresses of the owners of these Xboxes.
    • Ive just been thinking all what you wrote before even i read your comment. i believe its very possible that microsoft is attempting to gather information regarding which model xbox you have to go with the information that they gather from xbox live and its registration.

      Then again they may be using the code to find out where the console was constructed so they can rule out the need for a new cable, but how can they be sure when cables can be changed.

  • by leuk_he ( 194174 ) on Friday February 18, 2005 @06:23AM (#11709844) Homepage Journal
    Users are noticing that entering the ordering form with firefox can report you do not need a replacement cable, but if you fill in the same serial number in explorer you suddenly do.

    i gues it is called firefox for a reason.
  • Here is a news story about the same issue in Canada as well. [] (the linked article is written in french.)

  • Seriously, haven't people leanr that you need a firewall yet, especially if you're running Microsoft products?
  • Yeah they recalled the power cords thats cool. How about they recall the entire xbox because of the faulty thompson dvd drives put in most of the original xboxs. They know that problem exists and yet still want you to pay $80 plus S&H to get it fixed.

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