*** Nikon Battery Recall ***

PupatorPupator Major grinsPosts: 2,322Registered Users Major grins
edited July 23, 2012 in Accessories
From Thom Hogan
Nikon today announced a battery "service advisory" for EN-EL15 batteries. If you've got an EN-EL15 with an "E" or "F" as the 9th digit in the 14 digit part number, you should stop using it and follow Nikon's instructions to return it and have it replaced. Apparently there are multiple reports of short-circuiting that causes that battery to overheat and become a fire hazard.

Frankly, "service advisory" is too polite a term and too easy for people to ignore. This is a recall by any stretch of the imagination and should be labeled as such in the headline on Nikon's site. And to further label it within the text as a "voluntary" recall additionally softens the language. The bottom line is simple: continuing to use one of the affected batteries is a severe risk and should be avoided.

Unfortunately, EN-EL15s are in short supply at the moment (the V1, D7000, and D800--all popular cameras--use them). The affected batteries appear to be in two of the three latest production batches (starting in March 2012), thus D800 purchasers are getting them, but those owners also tell me that they've been having a hard time getting additional batteries. This recall is just going to exacerbate that problem. Still, the fire risk is too high to continue to use a D800 and charger with an affected battery.

Nikon has a supply problem, short and simple: they can't make bodies fast enough, they can't keep lenses in stock, and they haven't supplied enough accessories for the new products into the chain. Thus, a recall like this is disruption on top of disruption. While it is easy to blame short supply on last year's quake and flood, supply meeting demand is a systemic problem for Nikon. We've had a constancy in all three of these problems pretty much since the D3/D300 announcement in 2007.

Neither of mine were affected by the recall. :thumb


  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,239Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 26, 2012
    Thanks, Paul. I'm making this a sticky thread until I understand that the recall has been effective.

    The link to the Nikon USA notice is:

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Posts: 2,322Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 26, 2012
    Thom has posted more thoughts on the recall and process:
    For some reason, a lot of people are either mad or confused by the battery recall instructions here in the US. A couple of additional comments are warranted.

    First, on the NikonUSA page that describes the recall, don't call the phone number as it'll add a step. Instead, use the subdued click here link just before the phone number. That'll get your information directly into the queue.

    The "mad" part seems to come from the 72 hours (or 7 to 10 days) and need to be around when the UPS courier drops off your replacement battery. I've talked to Nikon managers about the recall, and I'm convinced that they're trying to do the right thing.

    The affected batteries are assumed hazardous. You shouldn't be sending them willy-nilly through the post or shipping services. Because the casing has deformed on some of the batteries and because a short circuit is involved, the batteries have to be assumed to be an explosion and fire hazard. Lithium is volatile when exposed to air. Nikon is trying to get the batteries back in a responsible and reasonable way, and as quickly as possible. They can't just send you a new battery and ask you to dispose of the old one. And you can't just stick these batteries in a box and put that on a plane, either. Essentially, the recall forces the batteries to be treated as hazardous material, which they are.

    From my discussions, it appears that Nikon acted nearly instantaneously when they confirmed the problem. This caused a bit of a problem in that the service advisory and procedures were put together very quickly at all the subsidiaries, basically over the weekend. It's clear that the Dominican Republic call center wasn't 100% prepared for the recall, especially for Canadian customers, but I know that steps have been taken to try to get every tech representative up to speed. I've forwarded customer emails that indicated problems to the appropriate Nikon personnel and they've acted immediately on them. I'll continue to forward problems I receive via email so Nikon can continue to try to refine the process.

    The delay in getting new batteries out is a dual problem. First, Nikon has to get an adequate supply of replacements to the right places (in the US, that would be UPS distribution centers). If I'm not mistaken, two-thirds of the batteries just made are impacted by the recall, so there aren't a lot of extras sitting around, and they aren't all in the right places yet. Second, when the program started there was no way of knowing just how fast couriers would get to customers (thus the 7 to 10 days or 72 business hours figure being cited by Nikon). I'm convinced that Nikon is trying to expedite the process. Given all the moving parts, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here.

    Which brings us to the biggest bone of contention: the need for someone to be around when the UPS courier delivers the new battery. Again, Nikon needs to get the hazardous batteries back and dispose of them properly. They can't drop off a new battery and hope you ship the old one back via whatever's convenient to you. That would be irresponsible. Lithium has been responsible for fires on planes, after all. Here in the states, that's the reason why TSA doesn't allow lithium batteries in checked luggage.

    A lot of the "required to be present" complaint seems to center on "I need to be home." Not exactly true. Nikon's site doesn't make it clear, but you could specify your business address for the courier pickup. If you do, however, you're going to have to make sure your front desk knows what's going on and has your original battery handy. If your receptionist is off having a lunch or whatever when the courier stops by, someone still needs to know what to hand the courier.

    Recalls are never pretty. When they involve potentially hazardous materials, they need to be done quickly and with monitoring capability. I'm personally convinced that Nikon is trying to do the right thing. Yes, things were rushed, but that's a small price to pay for getting the hazard out of the system quickly. I've seen other companies act less responsibly with similar issues, so I'm going to be on Nikon's side on this situation. Long time readers know that I'll call fault on Nikon quickly when they do something wrong. Other than some clarity that got compromised due to the rush, they're not doing anything wrong here that I can see. I'd challenge any other company to do better.

    [Source: http://www.bythom.com/index.htm]
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,239Super Moderators moderator
    edited July 15, 2012
    Just a bump for this thread, to help make sure that all of our Nikon shooters got the message. Kudos to Nikon for being proactive about the issue. thumb.gifclap
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,239Super Moderators moderator
    edited July 23, 2012
    Unstuck and a final bump.
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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