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'Recalled' Xbox goes bang in Sweden

Situation normal, says MS

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An Xbox has blown up in a user's face in Sweden, despite the console being fitted with a replacement 'power cord'. In February, Microsoft issued a recall of over 14 million power cords supplied with early Xbox consoles, and sent users a fault interrupter as a replacement. The interrupter has been standard issue on later Xbox units.

"I got sparks in my face and the whole apartment smelled of the burn" Anahi Reinoso, 25, told the newspaper Aftonbladet last week.

But corroboration from many owners indicates chronic problems with early versions of the power supply, as we reported on Friday. Hardware sites have published pictures of the wear and tear that's responsible for the short outs. Xbox owners are critical that Microsoft's recall isolates the problem, rather than fixes it.

But Microsoft has brushed off the evidence that links the frying consoles to the power problems supply in a statement we received today.

A single report recently surfaced that inaccurately speculates that the recently announced power cord replacement for Xbox is somehow related to broken "solder joints" inside of early Xbox consoles. This report is simply not true. In rare cases, solder joints have broken. This issue is not associated with the power cord replacement program, nor is it unique to the Foxlink power supplies or even Xbox consoles.

All consumer electronics products experience some broken solder joints as a result of ordinary wear and tear. Broken solder joints inside the Xbox are a warranty issue. All Xbox consoles (even without a replacement cord) have been designed to insure that a broken solder joint does not present any safety issue.

The empirical evidence suggests otherwise, however. In the enthusiast forums, such as Xbox Scene, dozens of users report problems with sparks on early models, problems fixed by a newer power supply. Fans are scornful of Microsoft's claim that "1 in 10,000" consoles are affected: some put the figure at 1 in 500 and others at 1 in 10.

Until Microsoft produces hard evidence that dismisses the correlation between sparks and the power supply, it's the most convincing theory we've heard. Call us sticklers, but science proceeds on the basis of empirical evidence. Until the Xbox team can produce any evidence to disprove the correlation, we'd like to hear it.

"It's a time bomb situation," writes one, who jokes: " If for some reason I'm around the MS building or campus I think I'll tape an original power cord to a bucket of water, and put a big sign, 'If bad fire, pour on Xbox, continue playing'". ®

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