LED lamp shocks bulb tester at UK consumer publication

We were just flipping through our March edition of UK consumer magazine Which? when we spotted this little item buried at the bottom of the monthly print publication's news section, under the innocuous and stylistic headline 'And finally...'


  • 'Our light bulb tester deserves a special mention. A safety fault in a new TCP LED bulb meant the outside was live, so he received an electric shock. However, one man's pain is everyone else's gain. After we alerted TCP, it disposed of the entire batch so no consumers are at risk.'


First, here's to the proud and the brave on the front lines of light bulbs! If you believe in all of the energy and climate saving virtues of LED lighting (most Lux readers probably do), then you have to believe that our planet is a better place when men like Which?'s technician venture into perilous territory to make the world safe for lighting.

It's especially impressive when those honourable few dust themselves off after an injury and intrepidly return to action. The Which? story noted, 'As for our man in the lab, after a cup of tea he was back testing bulbs again.'

Tea for the electrocuted? How very English!

LEDs for the world? How very necessary. They require only about 10-to-20 percent of the energy of conventional bulbs. But most of you already know that.

They also come in varying quality. While they supposedly last for decades, they have occasionally been known to fail in less than year. Some render colours better than others. Not all are created equally efficient. Some deliver a warmer more welcoming glow than icier ones.

Some – as our hero found out – have electrical faults (LEDs include circuits that knock voltage down from the common 120 and 240 household levels around 12 or less and that convert alternating current to direct. They also have heat sinks that can fail – for all their improved efficiency, LED bulbs still emit heat that must dissipate for safe operations).

That's why Which?  is busy testing. It plans to publish a review of bulbs in its June issue. It's why Lux's own Alan Tulla does what he does, separating the LED wheat from the chaff.

We don't know eactly why the TCP bulb jolted the Which? man. We'll try to find out. The tone of the magazine's news story (the five italicized sentences above are all that Which? had to say on the matter) seems light hearted and dismissive. Was this a freak one-off occurrence?

Or should LED bulbs come with this video warning? 


Photo is from Vladimir Gjorgiev via Shutterstock. EMI Music MC Hammer video is from YouTube.

Comments 7

Regards these safety issues with lamps, we have tested several uk brands and found them to be lacking, we do a full range of tests on our lamps, we far exceed the UK regulations on lamps ie LVD, CE, Rohs etc, all our lamps must be able to pass 3750v for 60 seconds with no leakage above 5ma between live and earth before me will carry on with manufacture, we have found the same issues with bc lamps tripping rcd's during testing it was found that although there was no intended connection between the driver pcb and the bc case there in some case was, testing showed it was as low as 1 Meg ohm in some cases, so this could help blow rcd's, all pcb's in our bc lamps are insulated to prevent this happening, i test all lamps from an electricians view not a standards view and test for real life issues, of course the pcb's used in the bc lamps were designed for es lamps where the case has to be connected to neutral, lack of thought from the manufacturers.

Which need to have H&S round their place pronto, it should have been a floating test rig! ps How so much better is the slide to unlock than decrypting squirly writing. Brilliant!

i had a similar issue with , v-tac products

I purchased a number of Luceco/BG LeD GLS BC B22 lamp bulbs recently and attempted to install them into brass wall light fittings. A number of the lamp bulbs immediately caused the circuit RCBO to trip out with one appearing quite dramatic so I guess this was the 6A MCB portion of the RCBO tripping. I immediately returned all of the lamp bulbs to my supplier to reimbursed me. From the symptoms of the faulty lamp bulbs it may be that there was considerable current leakage between Line/Neutral and the metal bayonet of the bulb. This fault would not manifest itself where the bulb were installed into a fully insulated fitting BUT it could be the cause of a fatality if it were for example installed into a brass/metal bedside lamp where that has no CPC connection and someone were to touch the exposed metal surface. I do feel that the manufacture, component selection, design and testing of LeD lamps must be improved or cease this 'rush to market' that seems to be creating problems and a dangerous situation,

Thanks for your question Don. That woman is no more the tester than MC Hammer is from the video. Welcome to the world of stock photography and media rights! She's representative of the common man/woman who at some point soon in their lifetime might well handle an LED bulb, as the unfortunate tester did. Images aside, we hope to have more info on this story soon. We've sent a couple of emails to TCP, but so far no reply. We'll try again.

If the article states that a man received a shock, why does the picture show a woman?

Wow. This kind of electric faults seem to occur more and more! Just look at this ones : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0fqceT9n5Q And don't think about all cases we don't know...

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