"The cheapest is always the most expensive" this was already preached by our grandmothers and their advice is now more valid than ever. More and more low-cost products with security deficiencies are flooding the online market. "Today, on account of creative image processing, consumers can no longer distinguish which product is of high quality and therefore safe," warns Ansgar Hinz, CEO of the VDE Technology Association. Market research conducted by the VDE Institute has shown that manufacturers of low-cost products either use unsuitable materials that do not adequately take into account safety aspects or save on the processing - with serious impact on the health and life of consumers. The defects found include, among other things, fire hazards, risk of electric shock and malfunctions.
VDE warns against cheap products from the Internet
Often, 50 percent of the products that undergo an initial test at the VDE Institute do not pass the test. A lot of people do not know that the CE marking is not a safety symbol. VDE recommends to look for safety marks for personal protection.
Just one example – LED lamps are life-threatening
Safety tests by the VDE Institute have shown that some of the LED lamps that are sold in Germany can be dangerous to consumers. Six out of seven tested samples did not meet the valid safety requirements. The tested devices were a cabinet luminaire and LED lamps, which can be used, among other things, as a replacement for halogen lamps in exterior luminaires and construction lights.
Big Brother is watching you
The smart household products, which are connected to the Internet are also at risk. "If the product can not be protected using established security methods and if new and safer software can not be updated, the hackers will have open doors to your home," warns Ansgar Hinz. Then, people with criminal energy can monitor their victims unnoticed or install malware on the devices. "Several million networked home appliances from private use have already been "captured", often unnoticed, and that is only the beginning," predicts the VDE CEO.
Tests by independent institutes are more important than ever
The online trade is booming and thus also the danger that more and more dangerous low-cost products are entering the households and our privacy. Safety tests by recognized, neutral testing houses, such as the nonprofit VDE Institute, are becoming increasingly important. "In our institute, more than 50 percent of the initial tests on electrotechnical products often do not meet the test requirements. And these are manufacturers who are willing to invest in the quality and safety of their products and send their products to us for quality and safety tests", explains Hinz. "And we're tough. Anyone who wants to receive the VDE mark as a test seal has to improve until our test engineers are satisfied", Hinz continued. Many consumers think that the CE mark stands for safety. But that is not the case. It is merely a manufacturer's declaration that its product meets the safety requirements. "No one can see whether this has been checked," warns the VDE boss.
The most common deficiencies discovered by the VDE Institute:
- missing or inadequate protective earth connection with the result that protective devices can not be triggered
- defective design and reliability of installed unchecked components, such as temperature regulators and capacitors
- too small safety distances to electrical parts carrying dangerously high voltages
- installation of unsuitable capacitors which are not designed for the operating conditions of the respective device
- non-permanent material of contacts in switches and temperature regulators
- Use of plastic materials and circuit boards that are not capable of withstanding thermal burden and do not fulfill the fire requirements
- use of housing gaskets that do not meet water protection requirements (e.g. leaky exterior lights and pump controls that do not meet the water spray test)
- defective power strips, which are thermally not durable and whose cables are badly crimped
- poor tripping behavior of line circuit breakers
- non-functional thermal fuses, which do not trigger during short-circuit
- non-standard light bulb fittings, making it possible to touch the screw thread