BlueTooth LED Bulb from China – A Cautionary Tale

I’d seen the Bluetooth bulbs in Wilko and online, costing around £25.00 or so in the retail store and thought it would be a good idea. But being a skinflint, I decided I’d have a look at a Chinese import, since it was only around 9 quid to buy from China. When it arrived, complete with English style bayonet fitting, it all looked good.

Replacing a bulb is simple, and the beauty of this setup is that it’s so very easy to switch on and off – you simply use the light switch. The LEDs were fairly bright, and the ability to change the colour was a nice little feature. Indeed, it would cycle through different colours if you wanted and create a ‘disco’ style effect for your living room.

Connecting via Bluetooth was easy, and the connection didn’t have one of those annoying voices saying ‘Connected’ or anything – just a subtle beep sound to indicate it had paired. Switching the light off disconnected the bluetooth immediately as you’d expect and switching the bulb back on caused the BlueTooth connection on my phone to reconnect very quickly.

So far, so good. Everything was going swimmingly. The sound quality isn’t great, but it is better than the phone – just. The volume is significantly better than the phone, so that was a bonus.

But the cautionary part of this tale occurred this morning when I switched the light on in the dark… Yes, I was up pretty early this morning!

Boom. A very bright flash, a loud cracking sound and the trip switches for the lighting circuit were thrown. Ooops, thrown into darkness! The device lasted about 4 hours before going pop!

Thankfully I had trip switches and not the older style fusebox. It’s very possible this device could have caught fire if the circuit protection was older style fuses as they may not have acted quickly enough to prevent significant heat build up.

This can be the problem with importing cheap Chinese products – the build quality can lead a lot to be desired. If you’re looking at buying electronics – particularly ones that either plug into the mains electricity or contain a Lithium based battery, you’d be much better off ensuring that your product is well built and is certified to the European safety standards, contains the CE mark or other relevant certification. You will pay more for it, but I don’t think you can compromise on safety when it comes to electrical goods.

Go with the branded equipment, through a reputable seller who’ve done the necessary safety checks and at the very least you know has the relevant product liability insurance – just in case!

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