Gateway announced June 19 that it is voluntarily recalling about 14,000 laptop battery packs that were sold during a three-month period in 2003.

The Irvine, Calif., PC vendor is working with the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and the company will replace the faulty battery packs for free.

The lithium-ion battery packs can overheat and possibly cause a fire, although the internal battery cell is not defective, says Gateway. According to the CPSC, there have been at least four documented incidents of battery packs overheating, which caused minor property damage. There were no reported injuries.

The recalls affects lithium-ion battery packs that were sold with two specific Gateway laptops models—the 400VTX and the 450ROG—which were sold to customers between May and August 2003, according to a statement from the company.

In its statement, Gateway announced that only battery packs with identification numbers 6500760 or 6500761—that number should be included on a label on the underside of the battery pack—are part of the recall.

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“Gateway will replace [the] affected battery packs at no cost to the customer,” company officials said in the statement. “In the meantime, customers may continue to use their notebook PCs by turning off the system, removing the battery pack, and powering the system via AC adapter and power cord.”

The last significant battery pack recall happened April 25 when Acer announced that it would recall 27,000 Aspire and TravelMate laptops that used faulty Sony lithium-ion battery packs.

The recall of the Sony battery packs began on Aug. 14, 2006, when Dell announced that it would recall more than four million notebooks that used the faulty packs. That recall, which eventually involved several other PC vendors, resulted in some property damage, and there were two cases of people suffering minor burns.

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The Sony battery packs problems started when microscopic particles in the battery cells came into contact with other parts of the battery cell, causing a short circuit in the cell.

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