Lenovo's USB-C Power Banks pack more heat than expected

Recall issued for fiery surprise

Got a Lenovo USB-C Laptop Power bank? Is the model number PBLG2W? There's a chance the device could catch fire, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), and Lenovo has issued a recall notice.

The device boasts a 20,000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery to charge smartphones and laptops when a power outlet is not available.

However, it appears that some internal screws can loosen, resulting in a short circuit and the potential for the battery to overheat. The device could then catch fire – less than ideal if one has been stashed in a rucksack to keep electronics running on a long journey.

According to the USCPSC and Lenovo, only one fire has been reported to date, "causing minimal property damage" and no injuries. However, it's better to be safe than sorry, and if you have a model manufactured between January and June 2022, part number 40ALLG2WWW, a call to Lenovo (see its recall notice here) might be in order.

Lenovo said that customers with affected devices should stop using them immediately and request a free replacement power bank from the company. It reckons it has dealt with the issue that caused the screws to become loose and said the problem was down to the manufacturing process rather than a design defect.

Lithium-ion battery fires are nasty. If the devices overheat, they can become susceptible to thermal runaway, which can in extreme cases result in in the units catching fire or exploding. They can also emit a range of noxious gases.

Lenovo is hardly the first company to find itself having to deal with potentially combusting power packs. Anker's PowerCore 20K, also called the Anker 535, was recalled at the start of 2023, and the UK's fire service has noted an increase in fires related to lithium-ion batteries. ®

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