One Consumerist reader says her netbook nearly burnt her house down. Hannah said she unplugged her Dell Mini 9, brought it downstairs and laid it on the floor. Hannah says she heard a popping noise as the laptop began to hiss and sizzle while and the room started to fill up with smoke.
"Hi, last night I unplugged my laptop from its charger, carried it downstairs, and placed it on the wood floor of my living room.
I heard a loud popping sound and the room immediately filled with smoke while the laptop hissed and sizzled. It died down, I pushed it with my foot, and it stared hissing again. There is a large scorch mark on my floor.
It goes without saying, I am glad the laptop was not on my couch ...or in an airplane."
Hannah contacted the Consumerist who put her in touch with Dell. Dell paid to have the netbook FedExed to them and sent her a replacement, upgraded laptop for free. Dell said its Forensic Electrical Engineers had received the laptop but added that the company said it had no other information as to what may have caused the malfunction. The company promised it would sort things out, though.
"We take any report like this very seriously, and, as a matter of policy, our safety teams investigate thoroughly following any issue like this," said Dell. "We will get to the bottom of this."
The burn area seems to indicate an exploding battery. Hopefully this is just an isolated incident and not the start of a massive Dell battery recall.