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Nikon's EN-EL3 battery, showing the location of the lot number. Courtesy of Nikon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Nikon: partial recall of EN-EL3 battery packs
(Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 08:41 EST)

Announcements on the websites of Nikon Corp. around the world are today detailing a recall of some of the batteries used in the company's SLR digital cameras.

The recall affects EN-EL3 batteries manufactured with one of over a hundred different lot numbers, which can be found as a four-digit alphanumeric code printed on the side of the battery. It should be noted that only EN-EL3 batteries are affected; the recall does not include any EN-EL3a or EN-EL3e batteries.

The recalled batteries were manufactured in China, and in total about 710,000 batteries are being recalled worldwide, of which about 200,000 were sold in the US market. Batch numbers affected by the recall are as follows:

First 3 digits:Recall Lot Numbers
46A-46AC, 46AD, 46AE, 46AF, 46AG, 46AH, 46AI, 46AJ, 46AK, 46AL, 46AM, 46AN, 46AO, 46AP, 46AQ, 46AT, 46AU, 46AV, 46AW, 46AX, 46AY
47A-47AA, 47AB, 47AC, 47AD, 47AE, 47AF, 47AG, 47AH, 47AI, 47AJ, 47AK, 47AL, 47AM, 47AN, 47AO, 47AP, 47AQ, 47AR, 47AS, 47AU, 47AV, 47AW, 47AX, 47AY
(Nikon Europe is also listing the 47AT code as recalled, although this is not listed on the Nikon US or Japan websites - if you have this code, we would suggest contacting Nikon for clarification).
48A-48AA, 48AB, 48AC, 48AD, 48AE, 48AF, 48AG, 48AH, 48AI, 48AJ, 48AK, 48AL
49A-49AA, 49AB, 49AC, 49AD, 49AE, 49AF, 49AG, 49AH, 49AI, 49AJ, 49AK, 49AL, 49AM, 49AN, 49AP, 49AQ, 49AR, 49AS, 49AT, 49AU

Nikon says that batteries with the lot numbers above may overheat and possibly melt during recharging, due to a problem in the manufacturing process between May and September 2004 (although we'd emphasise that batteries purchased after this period should still be checked for their lot number, since they may have sat on store shelves for some time before being purchased). Apparently four such cases have been reported worldwide, and nobody has reported injuries caused by the problem.

The company notes that if your battery bears one of the affected lot numbers, you should stop using it immediately, and remove it from the camera. The replacement process varies by region, and instructions can be found on the Nikon USA, Nikon Europe, or Nikon Japan websites, or from your local Nikon agent.

Original Source Press Release:

CPSC, Nikon Inc. Announce Recall to Replace Rechargeable Battery Packs Sold With Digital SLR Cameras

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of product: Nikon Rechargeable Battery Packs with Model Number EN-EL3
Units: About 200,000 (About 710,000 Worldwide)
Manufacturer: Nikon Inc., of Melville, N.Y.
Hazard: These battery packs can short circuit, causing them to overheat and possibly melt, posing a burn hazard to consumers.
Incidents/Injuries: Nikon has confirmed four reports of incidents of the problem worldwide with no reports of injuries.
Description: The recall involves the Nikon rechargeable lithium ion battery pack with model number EN-EL3, which is written on the side of the battery. The batteries are rated at 7.4V/1400mAh, which also is written on the battery. The battery is included as a power source for Nikon's digital SLR D100, D70, and D50 model cameras. The battery pack was also sold separately.
Sold at: Camera, mass merchandise, catalog, Internet, and office supply stores nationwide from May 2004 through November 2005 for about $50 for the battery only and about $800 to $1500 when sold with the digital SLR camera.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers with battery backs with model number EN-EL3 should contact Nikon's Web site to determine if it is included in the recall. If so, they should stop using it immediately. Nikon will provide a free replacement battery pack.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Nikon Inc. Customer Service at (800) 645-6678 anytime, or access Nikon's Web site at http://www.nikonusa.com.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products -- such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals -- contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 or visit CPSC's Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.

Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 645-6678
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772

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