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Google Halts Sales of HP's USB-Charging Chromebook 11 Over Overheating

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-usb-charging-durnit dept.

HP 57

sfcrazy writes "In a surprising and unexpected move, Google and its partners have removed the recently launched HP Chromebook 11 from shelves. Users were complaining about the issues with the trackpad and performance of the laptop." Specifically (as also reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer), some of the laptops have been reported to overheat.

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Ahaha, not really. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422301)

In a surprising and unexpected move, Google and its partners have removed the recently launched HP Chromebook 11 from shelves.

There are still people in this day an age that are surprised by HP incompetence?

Re:Ahaha, not really. (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45422377)

In a surprising and unexpected move, Google and its partners have removed the recently launched HP Chromebook 11 from shelves.

There are still people in this day an age that are surprised by HP incompetence?

It's a bit surprising because the 'charger' that caused the overheating reports is just an off-the-shelf 'nominally micro USB; but provides more than 500ma' device, as used by virtually any small consumer electronics device, and the Chromebook 11 itself is virtually identical Samsung silicon (also used in Samsung's ARM Chromebook the Series 3), with Google doing much of the driving on software and design; because HP is a load of fuckups.

So, am I surprised by HP incompetence? No. Am I surprised that they failed to get some pacific-rim OEM slave factory to pair a USB power supply that doesn't catch fire with a board design that is virtually identical to a year-old Exynos platform, and a plastics kit derived from the actually-not-awful design of the Chromebook Pixel? Yeah, a bit.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422409)

Somehow Carly Fiorina is to blame.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (4, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#45422731)

A friend who used to work there before Carly, had friends laid off or sold off as Carly got rid of the "old engineering and development."

These guys were the types you needed when you developed new technologies and products. It takes time to build up these teams. A laptop is arguably a complicated device these days, though well set with examples. If you do cookie cutter laptop with junior engineers, they may not realize why things on competitive units were done the way they were or worse, they don't see the subtleties and miss understanding a key design feature as it is hidden away in materials, coating, processes or control logic.

Re:Ahaha, not really, Jobsian Answer? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#45422785)

'And then they make the Sales Manager the CEO!'

Re:Ahaha, not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422803)

Same with building power plants. They get rid of the old guys with knowledge, and the juniors just copy the last plant design not really understanding why things are done a certain way.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year ago | (#45423167)

And, by your examples, they neglect testing.

Which is always a management failure. Test. Test methodically. Test thoroughly. Test past production. Test past release.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#45428145)

And, by your examples, they neglect testing.

Which is always a management failure. Test. Test methodically. Test thoroughly. Test past production. Test past release.

You forget management's mantra: cut costs at all opportunities. Testing costs time and money, which management is loathe to spend. There numerous examples of well-tested well designed products whose companies are no longer, and on the flip side, of companies pushing shoddy products today that are making billions/quarter.

I don't blame management one bit - customers obviously want shiny and cheap over safe and durable.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45424088)

It is more profitable in the short and medium terms to put DRM on ink cartridges than to maintain a world-beating engineering company.

Do you find anything wrong with this? You should find something wrong with this.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (2)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#45424766)

An engineering division or company led by a non-engineer MBA is guaranteed to fail. Engineering is a complex discipline that takes years to learn. The interactions and dependencies of systems are built on deep understandings of the components involved. We all know of examples where a non-engineer looks at a seemingly simple system with an eye towards cost savings, fails to appreciate the decision making and testing that went into creating it, and offers a naive, previously-proven-unworkable, or untestable change to it. If that person also has the authority to make it a mandate, the failures will come (or will return, if they were previously known.) Meanwhile, the MBA grades themselves by touting to the board all the costs they "saved", and remain ignorant of the costs of the damage they caused or the technical debt they incurred.

The idea that an MBA-only person should ever be in charge of any organization is ludicrous. Even a bank should be run by someone with a degree in finance. An MBA can help an engineer become a leader, but the converse is not true: an administrator with an MBA is no closer to being an engineer than I am to being a giraffe.

HP is being sold off while the formerly-profitable bits struggle simply to coast; not only are they no longer innovating, they are injecting hidden failures deep into their portfolio that will cost them dearly should they ever try to climb from this hole. And they aren't the only organization to suffer this fate.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about a year ago | (#45428211)

What about a MBA without the cost-cutting part? I think Meg Whitman right now is trying to fix HP.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

edremy (36408) | about a year ago | (#45424904)

Feel free to keep doing this HP: we picked up an awesome employee when he bailed from there. We'll be happy to hire more of those expensive experienced people- you don't really need them to sell printer ink...

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422755)

yes, somehow Carly Fiorina is to blame, Larry Ellison wants to close the source, Barbra Streisand is going to make a big stink about keeping it quiet, drawing even more attention to it, and 1/2 of slashdot's users will point out that this only happens to linux derivatives, and they need reliability and support contracts because they work in high availability.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422925)

I bet you are a dell cock sucker arent you?

Re:Ahaha, not really. (3, Informative)

mtippett (110279) | about a year ago | (#45424784)

Not quite a normal off-the-shelf. It is a high power adapter - 40W (~8A at 5.25V). Most high-end phone chargers max out at 10W (2A at 5V).

The difference in higher power is probably taken by the higher draw that the screen would have vs a phone. Likewise the larger battery would need a higher draw to charge within reasonable times.

I also note that the comment is "plugged in while in use". This hits the higher draw for the battery charging + higher run-time draw. Most likely the current limiting is not working properly on the power supply which is causing too much heat.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45425654)

I've never even seen a Micro-USB connector rated for 8A. What the hell were they thinking?

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

PipsqueakOnAP133 (761720) | about a year ago | (#45447403)

Holy shit.

8 amps through the microUSB port is just stupid. I'm guessing the power supply circuit isn't overheating, it's the microUSB connectors that are overheating.

Telling people it's okay to use any charger but the one it comes with only works because the Chromebook won't try to suck 8 amps over a connector typically rated for 1.8 amps.

No fucking wonder why Apple launched Lightning instead.

http://www.molex.com/webdocs/datasheets/pdf/en-us/0475901001_IO_CONNECTORS.pdf [molex.com]

Re:Ahaha, not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422413)

HP Chromebooks works fine. But the DC charger is overheating. In the mean time Google and HP recommends charging the device using another UL-Listed DC charger from other device like a smartphone or tablet.

Re:Ahaha, not really. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year ago | (#45423183)

F TFS:

"some of the laptops have been reported to overheat."

Nonobvious that the charger is at fault. Silly me to expect the summary to be accurate.

No problems on my end (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422335)

Haven't had any issues with my own HP Chromebook 11. Although if you use it to stream videos for several hours (4+), I've noticed that the spot on the chromebook where the battery is located gets warm. You can say that about any device, though.

Re:No problems on my end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45423241)

Tuppe666, is that you?

Re:No problems on my end (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45425192)

Haven't had any issues with my own HP Chromebook 11. Although if you use it to stream videos for several hours (4+), I've noticed that the spot on the chromebook where the battery is located gets warm. You can say that about any device, though.

Out of curiosity, is the micro-USB charge port power-only, or does it do anything as a USB slave device?

/. Behind again (0)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about a year ago | (#45422341)

If this was up yesterday before they had the reason why they were pulled we could have had rampant speculation about it being due to these machines being slow as a dog, having unresponsive input devices, or being more expensive than offerings from their competitors. I was prepared to go wildly off topic and say that HP's management interfaces are not only unintuitive, but also backdoored
Once again /. fails at posting news in a timely fashion. I didn't read the article nor the summary, but I'm sure that it contains typos and links to an article that is ad-bait and one should have linked to an article submitted days ago.

Re:/. Behind again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422597)

If this was up yesterday before they had the reason why they were pulled we could have had rampant speculation about it being due to blah blah blah[...]

So... wait, you're praising Slashdot for not flying off the handle with rampant speculation and waiting until there's an article with an actual reason? Or you'd rather this actually be a crap comment section with a bunch of armchair Google/HP technicians making up bullshit about why this happened? I'm not sure where you're going with this...

Not Surprising for HP (5, Interesting)

WoodburyMan (1288090) | about a year ago | (#45422393)

I work at a local small computer workbench. Not surprised by this at all. It seems most of HP's designs recently all overheat, or are designed to very easily. We see so many HP/Compaq's with damaged motherboards from overheating. Sometimes you can see why, hairballs in the heatsinks. Other times the heat sinks and fans look brand new. Sometimes reflowing the motherboard works, other times a new motherboard is needed, and we've even had time were new motherboards fail from the same thing a year or so later. They're junk and don't design their heatsinks and fans to the correct thermal design power of the CPU and videochipsets they're designed for. Thank god Google won't put up with their lousy designs and pulled it.

Re:Not Surprising for HP (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45422445)

Apparently the overheating is done by the charger, not the laptop. Given that the laptop is build around an ARM SoC with a TDP in the 4watt range [anandtech.com] , I'd hope that HP could find a way to keep that part cool...

Re:Not Surprising for HP (2)

WoodburyMan (1288090) | about a year ago | (#45422489)

If it's HP, they could make a block of ice in the antarctic overheat... (Symbolicly of course.. as reality is.. touching it would melt it...and it would actually be very easy...)

Re:Not Surprising for HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45423131)

Hello, WoodburyMan, you made my spellchecker overheat, it should be "symbolically".

Re:Not Surprising for HP (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45423311)

It's probably the difference between a $0.47 heat sink and one that cost $0.49. Shit like that is the reason that the US car companies no longer dominate the world market.

Re:Not Surprising for HP (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45423419)

Hey, the difference between a $0.47 heatsink and a $0.49 one is what put "Realized exemplary savings through aggressive supply-chain management' on the resume I used to score a job somewhere else before the consequence hit! Don't underestimate that.

Re:Not Surprising for HP (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about a year ago | (#45431009)

That. And everything else.

American cars are ugly, spend too much fuel, can't withstand bad roads, are too slow and steer too badly to be driven fast as well, and their quality sucks in general. That's why GM has a whole design/engineering team in Germany, to sell cars to the rest of the world.

Too bad that when the japanese started taking over the american market, their cars started to suffer from the same effects: too big, too shabby, too slow, too soft.

Summary Title was written by an idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422405)

It hurts to read it

3 Sentences (5, Informative)

clinko (232501) | about a year ago | (#45422429)

This blog spam quotes The Verge's Report [theverge.com] from a Blog post from Google [blogspot.com] which is summaried in this post on slashdot...

How much info is summarized from google? 3 sentences:

1) Google and HP are pausing sales of the HP Chromebook 11 after receiving a small number of user reports that some chargers included with the device have been damaged due to overheating during use.
2) We are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify the appropriate corrective action, and will provide additional information and instructions as soon as we can.
3) In the meantime, customers who have purchased an HP Chromebook 11 should not use the original charger provided with the product.

That's Odd for HP (1)

macromorgan (2020426) | about a year ago | (#45422447)

No, I'm not talking about the overheating problem, I'm talking about the fact that using a 3rd party charger is allowed. If my HP laptop is anything to go by, I would have expected it to just detect you are using a non HP approved charger then fail to charge.

PR spin (1)

GerbilSoft (761537) | about a year ago | (#45422455)

HP Chromebook 11 is selling like hotcakes!

As Ars Technica notes ... (4, Informative)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about a year ago | (#45422467)

... the recommended work-around means significantly longer charging times: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/11/reports-of-overheating-chargers-halt-hp-chromebook-11-sales/ [arstechnica.com]

Re:As Ars Technica notes ... (0)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#45423309)

... the recommended work-around means significantly longer charging times: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/11/reports-of-overheating-chargers-halt-hp-chromebook-11-sales/ [arstechnica.com]

Or they could ship beefier chargers.

It's the one problem I have with USB charging protocol - there isn't any. There's no way for the device to detect anything other than "a charger is connected" - which leaves a lot up in the air. Is it a 500mA charger? 800mA (initial USB charging spec basically said you could assume 800mA)? 1A? 2A? More?

Now, your device COULD try to ramp up the charging current draw and see if it can find the "knee" where the charger output drops as it goes into constant-current mode. However, there are plenty of crappy barely adequate chargers out there that would probably smoke, overheat, catch fire, etc., as they try to handle the load without going into constant current mode. And the output can be so noisy that it's impossible to determine. (That's why your touchscreen stops working when you plug it in - upgrade to a better charger)

It is sort of where the Apple method is superior in that it at least can tell you electrically (because some "2A" marked iPad chargers are actually wired for 1A charging - fraudulently marked chargers, what else is new?).

Re:As Ars Technica notes ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45424656)

Or they could ship beefier chargers.

It is the beefier charger they ship that is the problem, which is why the recommended workaround (use a different charger) means longer charging times.

over over overcharging (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422497)

Roger Murdock: Flight 2-0-9'er, you are cleared for take-off.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9'er.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Victor Basta: Request vector, over.
Captain Oveur: What?
Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9'er cleared for vector 324.
Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?
Tower voice: Tower's radio clearance, over!
Captain Oveur: That's Clarence Oveur. Over.
Tower voice: Over.
Captain Oveur: Roger.
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: Roger, over!
Roger Murdock: What?
Captain Oveur: Huh?
Victor Basta: Who?

Re:over over overcharging (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#45422777)

I have the same vector on my luggage

you've got to be kidding me! (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45422563)

They let HP build it? WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?! They've been dead last in laptop quality, support quality, and hardware reliability initially and over time for over a decade. Acer beat them! Lenovo beat them! Dell beat them! Shocker, it has a defect out of the box. All HP builds is complete garbage. I found a Hitachi HDD with 8MB cache inside a $1500 elitebook from HP. They DO NOT build good laptops under any circumstances.

Re:you've got to be kidding me! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422591)

They've been dead last in laptop quality, support quality, and hardware reliability initially and over time for over a decade.

Nope, they're movin' on up. They're now tied for second-to-last [pcmag.com] with Acer. Gateway is now dead last, which isn't surprising in the least.

Re:you've got to be kidding me! (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45425008)

It's extra not surprising when you know that Acer bought Gateway and emachines so they're all the same product, lol. I noticed Acer released some REALLY nice laptops that are insanely well built for a higher price tag a while ago so at least with them you can buy your way out of crap-ville. Unfortunately, crap-ville laptops are usually what they sell the most of ($450 on down).

i don't get why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422603)

...this isn't getting more headlines and scandalous cries than when apple make a goof.

Re:i don't get why... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45429693)

Probably because 'HP fucks up' isn't really news, and people have lower expectations of a $280 laptop than they do of a $1500 one?

note to all (0)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a year ago | (#45422773)

netbooks aren't intended for World of Warcraft.

Re:note to all (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45423151)

WoW requires at least a Pentium D (dual-core P4), and an Atom CPU is roughly equivalent in CPU speed to a similarly clocked P4. So how would a dual core Atom (not a single core Atom with Hyper-Threading) not run WoW? Or is it a video card issue, where Intel integrated graphics can't compete?

Re:note to all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45423291)

I actually managed to get WoW (c.Cata) up and running on a dual-core Atom with 2GB RAM and whatever crappy Intel video that thing used. Granted, it ran at 5-10 FPS and would BSOD from the heat after an hour, but it worked in a pinch for dailies.

Re:note to all (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a year ago | (#45423724)

I've got a 1.6GHz Atom N280 and 1GB RAM in my netbook. There is no way I will risk it with anything like WoW, it gets plenty warm enough just upstreaming live nHD video at 15fps. (I think the Intel video thing, if it's the same as mine, does 1024WSVGA native, QXGA external, and is labeled "Intel GMA900 Series" (mine's actually labeled "Intel GMA950"). Either output you use, it uses almost exactly 1MB of system memory for buffering, hence frame rates on larger screens will suck donkey bollocks).

Airplane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45422837)

Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor? That's Clarence Oveur. Over.

The article summary is a bit off... (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45423133)

The article summary is a bit off...

It claims performance and trackpad issues, but the reason for the halted sales according the article it claims to be a summary of was the 500ma microUSB charger, which has thermal issues in the charger itself. This is kind of expected for a first attempt at an Apple-style higher amperage charger that attempts to negotiate a quicker charge rate, the same way Apple chargers do a similar thing for faster iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch device charging.

It's likely that the suggested workaround is going to cause the charging circuit not to trip, which would mean that you would need to charge with the device powered down, since you might not be able to utilize it at full power draw and still be able to charge, as you could with the factory charger. Mopst likely the overheating only happens using the factor charger while also drawing current due to the device being on.

I saw some comments on the Touchpad in various articles, which is kind of expected if you don't do the necessary addition work for the laptop EC to get the better support for the touchpad and keyboard matrix. There's actually a document describing what vendors need to do to get this right, and it generally takes either in-house engineering or at least a phone call before a vendor actually "gets it". I worked with both Samsung and Acer to make sure their Chromebook trackpads did "the right thing", based on their EC units behaviour; I'm not sure who handled it for the HP unit, but it's kinda of a well known issue when it comes to HP or Toshiba laptops with lower end touchpads, unless you work around the various issues in software.

Screw HP. Acer chromebook based off Haswell rocks (3, Interesting)

vivek7006 (585218) | about a year ago | (#45424376)

I own both ARM based Samsung Chromebook and the newer Haswell Chromebook. Based on my experience, ARM Chromebooks are now dead on arrival thanks to Haswell. Haswell powered chromebooks are offering better battery life, superior performance and same price point ($249). My Samsung Chromebook struggles while playing 1080p youtube videos, Netflix HD videos and amazon prime videos. If you have more than 4 tabs open, things get excruciatingly slow. Contrast this with Acer Haswell Chromebook, its super fast, even with a dozen tabs open. I have thrown everything at it including 1080p youtube videos, CPU intensive flash based games (for e.g. cricket), it never struggled. Haswell and very soon Baytrail powered Chromebooks make ARM chips DOA as far as chromebooks are concerned.

Need legally enforced standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45424488)

As mobile devices take over, companies are under great pressure to one-up one another. Problem is, the energy contained within the batteries of these devices is no joking matter, and cannot be an issue that is constantly swept under the carpet by the careful efforts of damage-management PR companies.

We need strong laws defining and limiting the nature of chargers, batteries, power supply circuits, and battery charge monitoring circuits. No product should be allowed to hit the mass market until EVERY aspect of its high-energy power aspects have been rigorously checked for compliance.

Apple's use of un-replaceable batteries, and unrepairable products should become completely illegal. The ability of companies to put fashion ahead of engineering (by, for instance, making devices stupidly thin) should end by law.

1) All batteries in ordinary mass produced consumer items should be replaceable
2) All chargers should work to one of a number of charging standards, including standard charger plugs
3) No company should be permitted to prevent the use of standard-meeting third party chargers or batteries
4) No company should be allowed to charge batteries faster than is provably safe, or reasonable for battery life.

Do you not understand that in an unregulated world, car manufactures would force you to use THEIR proprietary make/size of tire, and pay PR shills to flood technical forums 'proving' that this was a good thing for the customer. Why should we allow Apple to get away with the same disgusting behaviour?

Apple currently pays politicians In the USA, Europe and Asia billions of dollars each year to maintain Apple friendly legal frameworks. But, while Apple is usually careful in its engineering, the wild-west that Apple's bribery maintains forces other companies into some very dubious acts, compromising the safety of customers, increasing the cost of ownership, and generally impairing use quality.

Re:Need legally enforced standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45425710)

Hey tuppe666. How you doing, you shill?

Not surpised (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#45425460)

about the trackpad complaints, at least. Looks like the same one as my HeaP windows laptop and it's always registering single taps as a right click or pointer movement as scrolling.

Machine Code HCF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45427024)

Halt and Catch Fire

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