Sony has blamed a possible manufacturing defect for forcing it to recall 73,000 Vaio TZ laptops, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said today.

The recall relates to a problem with wiring near the computer's hinge, which could short-circuit and overheat in certain circumstances, perhaps burning the user. One person has suffered a minor burn as a result of the latest defect, and Sony has received 15 other reports of overheating computers, according to the Commission.

The affected models are the VGN-TZ100, VGN-TZ200, VGN-TZ300 and VGN-TZ2000 - although not all laptops in these series are affected. Sony suggests users contact the company to see whether their computer is part of the recall, and if so to stop using it immediately.

The overheating could be caused by misplaced wiring near the hinge, or if a screw in the hinge falls out and short-circuits the wires.

In 2006, Sony was forced to recall millions of laptop batteries used in its own and other manufacturers' laptops because they presented a fire hazard, causing some computers to burst into flames.

Further battery problems prompted Sony, Dell and HP to issue another recall in August last year, with Acer following suit in April this year with a recall of 27,000 laptops batteries containing Sony-made cells.

The Commission has published one other laptop safety recall this year: in May, Dell recalled almost one million laptop electrical adaptors because of a risk of fire and electric shock.

For more laptop news, reviews and buying advice, see Laptop Advisor