Techeye discovers swollen Nokia battery problem

A problem with a swollen Nokia BP-5L battery has been identified by Techeye. Nokia hasn’t officially acknowledged there’s an issue with this particular battery model. But a participant on a Nokia Support Forum advises to keep well of it.

His actual words were … “For God’s sake, don’t use that battery. If it’s swelling it’s evolving gas, which means it’s chemically degrading. When (not if) it eventually breaks, the lithium metal in the battery will oxidise aggressively in air in a manner technically referred to as ‘Holy **Bleep**, my leg is on fire’.” See here.

A source at Nokia said, “I’m not aware of any issues with the BP-5L. Certainly you should get it checked out as battery distortion is usually down to some form of external influence (charging issues, etc).”

He also pointed out, “All of our batteries have a number of safety features, thermal fuse, electrical fuse and venting devices.” Sadly, the battery can’t be replaced for free as Nokia lists batteries as consumables in its warranty here.

Our source rejected any comparison between the BP-5L battery and the BP-5C where Nokia did fess up that there was a problem and offered a free replacement. (See here).

The situation with the BP-5L is remarkably similar to an acknowledged problem with a BP-6M battery which was fitted into the Nokia 3250 XpressMusic, Nokia 6151, Nokia 6280 Nokia 9300i and Nokia N73 models.

Nokia’s European support site answers this question ‘My BP-6M battery is swollen but has already expired. How will Nokia handle this issue?’

This is the answer… “Nokia takes our product safety very seriously. Whether the overheated or swollen battery is still under warranty, we advise you to bring it in together with the purchase receipt to any Nokia Care Centre for checking.”

The implication is that it will only be changed if the device is still under warranty. However, there’s an interesting remark on the Nokia User Forum made by an Australian participant who believes that local legislation would mean that Nokia had to replace such a faulty item whatever its age.

One thing for certain is that the battery is genuine because it belongs to a Nokia loan handset – the E61-1. The cause almost certainly is overcharging as it was left on charge for a couple of days by mistake. The easiest way to discover if your battery is swollen is that the cover will no longer fit.

As a rather amusing footnote, the official Nokia advice is to check the website to find your nearest repair centre. Techeye rung a local ‘Nokia Care Centre’ in Oxted after finding it on the web site. An answering machine told us that it was no longer a Nokia Care Centre and advised us to check the Nokia web site. Hmmm.