HP released the Chromebook 11 back in October, only to have it pulled from the shelves a month later. The Chromebook was pulled due to issues with the charger. At the time HP had said a “small number” of user reports showed the charger being “damaged due to over-heating during use.” While HP has yet to say when the Chromebook 11 would return to an available status, there has been some testing done on one of those chargers.
It seems they were really getting hot. Well, maybe not all, but thanks to a recent Consumer Reports test, we can say the charger was capable of reaching a temperature of 140° F. According to details coming from Consumer Reports, they made multiple inquiries to HP and Google, and also called the CPSC — but didn’t receive any solid response in return. Based on that, they took an HP Chromebook 11 and went to work.
“Out of curiosity, we measured the surface temperature of the HP Chromebook 11’s charger with an infrared thermometer and got a reading of 140° F. That seemed pretty toasty, considering that other chargers from typical tablets and laptops we measured run at temperatures between 90° F and 105° F.”
While anyone can see the difference between the other high of 105° F and 140° F — Consumer Reports went a step further and reached out to John Drengenberg, the consumer safety director at UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Drengenberg mentioned how he “can barely keep my [his] fingers on a product that is at 55 degrees Celsius [131° Fahrenheit].”
He did clarify that was his “threshold of pain” and also stated that he didn’t know whether that was enough to clarify it as a fire or shock hazard. Interestingly, he also touched on how “UL’s external temperature limits vary based on the materials used for the power supply’s enclosure.” To that point, Consumer Reports was looking for a specific surface temperature that should not be exceeded.
All that said, given the charger for the HP Chromebook 11 was UL certified — Drengenberg said he expected the UL would be conducting an investigation. And lastly, when HP announced that sales of the Chromebook were being halted, they said users could “continue using their HP Chromebook 11 with any other Underwriters Laboratories-listed micro-USB charge.” While it has been about a month, aside from a replacement charger (coming-soon-style) listing appearing in the Play Store, we have yet to hear anything from Google, HP, or consumers being contacted with replacement details.