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Information About Potential Dell Chromebook 3180 Wiring Issue | Denver Public Schools
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Information About Potential Dell Chromebook 3180 Wiring Issue

Nov. 13, 2017
 

We want to let you know about a technical issue that has affected a small number of Dell Chromebooks that your student may be using at their school.

A very small number of a specific model of Chromebooks – the Chromebook 3180 — has a wiring malfunction that can cause the notebook to heat to a point of disfiguring the plastic that surrounds the screen in the upper-left side. This issue can occur if the camera or activity light cable was misrouted during manufacturing.

In some situations, this wiring malfunction may cause heat to be generated. In an even smaller number of situations, that heat may cause the plastic to warp or become deformed. In very rare cases, there may be smoke or a burning smell from the LCD.

Student safety is our No. 1 priority in DPS, and our Department of Technology Services has met with Dell and discussed this in detail to understand the risks and the solutions. The incidence of this malfunction is very low; nationwide, Dell has seen fewer than 35 cases of this wiring malfunction in 1.4 million units sold. And the risk involved with the failure is very low as well, as the cables involved with this issue are very low voltage USB cables. Dell has provided every assurance that this cabling issue, even in the worst circumstances, does not present a fire, electrical or shock hazard.

Denver Public Schools is working with Dell and other partners to repair this wiring issue. We are proactively applying a repair to the wiring of every Chromebook that goes in for repair and will continue to monitor and correct any issues moving forward.

If your child experiences this issue with his or her Chromebook, unplug the system from power and turn it off by holding the power button for five seconds. Discontinue use of the device and report the issue to your school leader so that it can be replaced.

If you have further questions or would like to discuss concerns, contact Jason_Rand@dpsk12.org or 720-423-3488.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the concern with the Dell Chromebook 3180?
A very small number of a specific model of Chromebooks – the Chromebook 3180 – has a wiring malfunction that can cause the notebook to heat to a point of disfiguring the plastic that surrounds the screen in the upper-left side. This issue can occur if the camera or activity light cable was misrouted during manufacturing.

How often is this happening?
Nationwide, this issue has been seen in fewer than 35 Chromebooks out of 1.4 million sold. Within DPS, we have seen the issue of disfigured plastic in only two Chromebooks out of over 12,000 of this model.

What happens when this malfunction occurs?
In some situations, this wiring malfunction may cause heat to be generated. In an even smaller number of situations, that heat may cause the plastic to warp or become deformed. In very rare cases, there may be smoke or a burning smell from the LCD screen.

What is the voltage of this wiring issue?
There are two wires in the affected area. One wire carries 3V and the other carries 5V, for a total of 8V.

At what temperature does the plastic melt?
This plastic is designed to melt at a low temperature: 176°F (80°C).

What should I do if I think my Chromebook is malfunctioning in this way?
Unplug the system from power and turn it off by holding the power button for five seconds. Discontinue use of the device and report the issue to your school leader so that it can be replaced.

Is there anything else wrong with this model?
There are no other defects or issues with this model of which we are aware.

What does this look like when it happens?

photo-of-dell-laptop-screen photo-of-dell-laptop-cover photo-of-dell-laptop

How long might the failure mode last?
If the issue arises it would not be expected to last more than a few seconds.

Is there a burn risk if a student is touching the device?
The surface temperature would not present a burn risk.

Are there any dangerous gasses emitted?
The event is quick. The odor and smoke, if emitted, do not present a safety issue.

Is there anything else wrong with this model?
There are no other defects or issues with this model of which we are aware.

My student is in a MyTech school. Can you repair/replace my student’s Chromebook even though it doesn’t need a repair right now?
Yes, your student can take his or her Chromebook to the school’s School Tech Representative (STR) or technology partner, and it will be replaced with a Chromebook that has undergone the factory-recommended repair that fixes the potential for this issue.

How long will it take to repair/replace all Chromebooks doing it only when other repairs are needed?
This repair adds an additional hour to any repair being done.

How will we be notified if this problem escalates?
DPS will continue to closely monitor the issue. If we determine that the number of incidents escalates to require other action, we will communicate to schools and the schools will communicate with families.

Is DPS sharing this information with other districts?
Yes. We have notified other districts in the Denver and surrounding areas about this issue.

Is there any cost to the district/school/taxpayer for this?
No. Dell has partnered with us to address this issue at no cost to the district.