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Philips recalls LED bulb for electrical fault

Posting in Energy

Live from Philips. The housing on this 8-watt LED spot is susceptible to leaking current.

Royal Philips Electronics is recalling a high-end LED light bulb over concerns that electrical current could leak and turn the housing live, Lux Magazine reports.

The recall pertains to the 8-watt (the light equivalent of about 40 watts in a conventional incandescent bulb) MasterLED GU10 spot bulb. It's used in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries in Europe, Asia and Latin Amercia, where it generally serves as a replacement for halogen bulbs.

Philips told Lux:

"We confirm that we have identified a potential safety issue which affects a limited number of LED retrofit spotlight lamps, only the 8W version.

"These lamps are mainly used in professional applications. The issue concerns a potential electrical current leakage, which could happen approximately half an hour after the lamp has been switched on and could result in the lamp becoming live.

"Philips places great value on the quality of its products and want to avoid potential risks. Therefore we decided to recall the affected lamps from the market and offer a similar replacement product instead."

LED bulbs represent tremendous potential energy savings because they use only about 20 percent of the electricity compared to incandescents.

They have so far struggled to catch on in commercial offices, where fluorescent bulbs cost less and match them in energy efficiency. But the retail, leisure and hospitality sector have deployed them to replace halogen bulbs, which are less efficient than LEDs.

LED bulbs contain electrical components that convert standard alternating current to direct current and that reduce voltage. It is not clear if that's what's behind the GU10's potential electrical fault.

Vendors are promoting LED bulbs as low maintenance, claiming they last for 25 years. With workers climbing ladders to remove GU10s over the next few weeks, we'll have to put that benefit on hold.

Photo: Philips

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— By on December 21, 2012, 7:58 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure