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Laptop Explodes at Japanese Conference 531

An anonymous reader writes "A laptop reported to be a Dell burst into flame and was caught on camera during a recent Japanese conference. Guess this laptop could be a poster child to prove that laptops really can cause sterility if they are on your lap."
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Laptop Explodes at Japanese Conference

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  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:45AM (#15576180) Journal
    Let's see some better cooling. Personally, I think a laptop with one big (4 to 6 inches), slowly rotating fan in the middle of the bottom, plus exhaust vents on the sides and back, would actually look nice, keep the laptop much cooler (no more "hot spots" on the keyboard), and run quietly.

    Or just underclock it, most people don't want or need that much horsepower on the road. They should have a human adjustable clock (instead of the tech adjustable multiplier etc) so that the average user can keep their laptop cool. Then if they need to run heavy stuff, they can crank it up and take it off their lap.
  • Laptops can't... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at. .pacbell.net.> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:46AM (#15576188) Homepage
    Mow your lawn
    Make your lunch
    Give you a hug
    Hold your hand
    Carry your bag
    Get sick
    Call you at work
    Run into you

    No matter how many laptops you buy, you won't be able to share your life, your lessons, your beliefs, or your ideas with a laptop. Though if you get sterilized, at least you can adopt a kid.
  • by ronanbear ( 924575 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:50AM (#15576226)
    More importantly, when will the idiots who buy Dell (I have two) take recalls on AC adaptors and batteries seriously?

    When you've seen a photo like that you're gonna pay a lot more attention to a product recall.

  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:56AM (#15576273) Journal
    Just a quick point:

    There's a reason all the big OEMs stopped calling them laptops. They really don't intend fo you to put it in your lap. I used to work for notebook support for a company, we actually had some people get burned by the more powerful notebooks because they had them in their laps for too long. It's even in the documentation that they can get too hot to be comfortably used in the lap.
  • by treads_water ( 472573 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @12:35PM (#15576602)
    It's not the temperature of the CPU that I think is the issue. It's the amount of energy stored in the battery. A Lithium Ion battery has an energy density [answers.com] that is less than an order of magnitude from that of TNT!

    So, if your battery weighs two pounds, you have the potential energy of roughly a third pound of TNT -- more than enough to cause some serious damage.

    I for one don't want to be killed by keyboard shrapnel!

  • by dpaton.net ( 199423 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @12:40PM (#15576638) Homepage Journal
    Very obviously a LiIon/LiPoly/LiEtc battery explosion. They go off like small bombs when abused to an extreme (short circuit, overcharge). My guess is that something went terribly wrong with the charge controller, and fried the pack. The phenomenon isn't news, just that some other failure caused it. It's unfortunate that it happened, but it's a good lesson about why extra care is needed with volatile technologies. As a EE, I can say with authority that it's easy to design a very safe battery management system. It's when production cost reduction folks get involved and cut corners that things often go wrong, or when someone thinks they can optimize something without a full understanding
  • by laughing rabbit ( 216615 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @01:51PM (#15577200)
    I actually appears to be scorch marks. It also looks as if the force of the explosion moved the laptop away from the edge of the table. The table cloth seems to have some drawing and puckering where it drapes over the table edge. The pattern of discoloration in front of where the laptop is sitting is more scorch like than liquid spill.
  • Re:can't wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PureCreditor ( 300490 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @01:58PM (#15577269)
    >I can't wait till we get hydrogen fuel cells in our laptops!

    think Space shuttle Challenger from 1986.

    Lithium-ion only gets you an exploding Dell in a conference. Let's stick the safe elements on the periodic table ^^
  • by Traiklin ( 901982 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:00PM (#15577300) Homepage
    you forgot about (D) Possible backlash and bad PR from not issuing a recall.

    Sure 10 people get hurt by the computer and you settle out of court with 9 of them, the 10th one doesn't want money they want to know why it failed.

    It trickles along untill the media needs a story cause it's a slow news day, they find it and blow it out of perportion, suddenly you have 50 other people showing up claiming they got hurt by your computer (even though they never owned one or they own a different company's but hey, that's technicalitys), you get a big class action lawsuit against you now. Suddenly those little settlements become one big settlement for everyone who has your computer.

    Then you have to get someone to do the corral the negative PR that is happening against your company, so you only had 10 reported cases of a machine blowing up, one just wanted to know why it wasn't thought of somewheres before hitting retail and 59 (not doing actual numbers because it would be in the thousands, cause where there is money to be made by doing nothing, people will show up and want a peice of that pie) others want money from your company and you are now out of a job.

    Sure this is just one computer but now the questions will slowly start happening,

    First step: Deny Deny Deny, Your company did nothing wrong.
    Second Step: Claim it was the users fault, They weren't using the proper power supply/battery for the notebook, it's not the companies fault.
    Third Step: Claim it's a small problem, Your company is presented with proof it was their fault it happened so now it's time to claim that it's a small isolated problem and out of the millions you have sold worldwide there is only the one.
    Fourth step: People see the chance to make money, Now you have people coming out claiming it happened to them and naturally they have no proof cause they got rid of the notebook since it "Blew up and no longer worked!" and then a lawyer sees a chance to make a name for him/herself and make some nice change from it. Time to issue a recall on all of them regardless.

    Atleast that's how it works in the USA, not sure if other people are quick to think "10 problems around the world = EVERYTHING done by this company is flawed so I should get paid for not even being a part of it!".
  • It wasn't very apparent, but this was paraphrased from Fight Club, the film. It's not real, unless Tyler Durden is your God.
  • A Hoax (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:25PM (#15577471)
    No components in a laptop computer can build up the pressure neccessary to cause this explosion. Even a shorted battery will merely start to smoke and perhaps catch on fire. Notice how the first quote out of the man's mouth is that "For the record, this is a Dell machine."
  • by Yonzie ( 516292 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:36PM (#15577564) Homepage
    It's on the Inquirer, but they have a picture. Who do I believe, my eyes or my head?
    The Inquirer may be a tabloid and print a bunch of rumors but the vast majority of the news stories they write is fact or comes true in the end.
    Why fake pictures of a burning laptop that isn't even identifiable? If it was really a case of photochopping, they could at least have made the Dell (or whatever) logos prominent.
  • by SoCalEd ( 842421 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:40PM (#15577608)
    let's see how this hypothetically plays out:

    1)laptop gets warm because there is not enough air circulation
    2)laptop is placed on pillow to absorb heat
    3)pillow completely blocks air vents
    4)laptop gets hot and explodes
    5)sue manufacturer/post about faulty power supplies.

    I know, I know, the parent said no such thing, but I wonder how many people either a)abuse the machine or b)block the vents, causing the overheating problem to begin with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:38PM (#15578792)
    Perhaps someone could provide a link to a more reputable source.
  • Re:I call BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thomas Shaddack ( 709926 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @10:59PM (#15580199)
    Anything enclosed with content capable of evolving gas will explode when subjected to high temperature. A laptop contains a number of such things; from the battery cells themselves to electrolytic capacitors. A capacitor that finds itself in the middle of a fire can announce its lack of happiness in a pretty loud way.

    And it does not have to burn that bright. It's enough when it overloads the CCD chip of the camera that took the shot. Try it, with proper exposition even a candle flame can look insanely bright on a photograph.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.