Amid reports that the units could overheat, posing a fire hazard, Apple Computer Inc. is recalling 570,000 AC adapters used with some older models of the company’s PowerBook G3 laptop computer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced July 6.

The recall affects adapters for PowerBook G3 units shipped from May 1998 until March 2000, but not those used for the iBook or the newer Titanium PowerBook G4. The label on the side of the adapter in question reads “Macintosh PowerBook 45W AC Adapter” and “Model Number: M4402.”

Apple received six reports of the adapters overheating, though no injuries were reported. The small, rectangular black AC adapter box has a permanently attached cord on one end connecting to the computer and a detachable, two-prong cord on the other end to plug into an AC outlet.

The government agency said consumers should stop using the AC adapters immediately and contact Apple at (866) 277-2096 to receive a free replacement. Customers also can contact Apple via the web address listed below.

Customers with the recalled adapter are asked to give their laptop’s serial number and a mailing address where the replacement can be sent.

Apple spokeswoman Nathalie Welch could not say how many of the company’s K-12 education customers might be affected by the recall, but she did say the PowerBook G3 was more attractive to higher-education customers because of its higher price and more powerful features.

Two months ago, Dell Computer Corp. announced a recall of about 284,000 notebook batteries because of a flaw that caused at least one notebook to catch fire. And last October, Dell recalled as many as 27,000 notebook batteries, stating that the batteries could short circuit and cause fires.

Also in October, Compaq Computer Corp. recalled 55,000 battery packs sold with two of its notebook models because of an overheating problem.

Links:

PowerBook G3 AC Adapter Exchange Program
http://exchange.info.apple.com/exchange

“Dell recalls computer batteries, citing fire hazard” (eSchool News, October 16, 2000)
http://www.eschoolnews.com/showstory.cfm?ArticleID=1731

“Dell recalls more notebook batteries because of fire hazard” (eSchool News, May 4, 2001)
http://www.eschoolnews.com/showstory.cfm?ArticleID=2611