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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

This month:

Egg… Face… You Get The Picture

New Tool Technology – Brushless DC Motors

Remodeling Versus Woodworking

Product Tour Videos

Made With Love

Egg… Face… You Get The Picture

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Think of technology as a big wave rolling toward the beach. Some people are hanging ten toes over the edge of a surfboard riding the crest of the wave, some are floating listlessly along letting successive waves carry them gradually toward land, and some are swimming like crazy against the current in a desperate attempt to stay right where they are. The hang-ten group knows that being on the edge will involve an occasional wipe out. It happened to me.

Figure 1 - The Cree recall notice
as seen on the CPSC website

I jumped on the LED bandwagon early. Despite the objectionable cost of an LED light bulb, the objectionable color, flicker, dangerous chemicals, and downright ugliness of the twisty fluorescent bulb were overriding motivators. I've replaced all those ugly CFL bulbs in my house with LEDs. Then I got all jazzed about LED replacements for fluorescent tubes in my shop and reported glowingly to you about that . Unfortunately, when I saved up a few more dollars and went to the store to buy more, the shelf was empty.

At first I thought that the bulbs had become so overnight sensationally popular that the store had sold out. I tried another store, same story. Then I went to the big store in the sky (Google search) and found my precious 4-foot LED tubes had been recalled. Cree, the manufacturer, issued a voluntary recall citing a potential for "over-heating due to electrical arcing." The recall notice states, "The printed circuit board can overheat and cause the LED T8 lamp to melt, posing fire and burn hazards." According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (cpsc.gov) recall notice (No. 15-159) some 700,000 of the bulbs were sold and the problem has been identified in 4 with no reports of any injuries. On their web site, Cree states, "While known incidents are very small in relation to the number of products shipped, any potential safety issue is unacceptable."

While 4 of 700,000 may seem like decent odds, there really is no point in taking a chance, so with sadness, I de-installed the bulbs, packed them in the Cree-provided package, and returned them for a full refund (Cree paid for the shipping, too). According to their web site, new replacements will be available in mid-July, and I will be the first in line to buy more… with surfboards, like horses, after you fall, you have to get right back on… surfs up!

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