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IBM expands monitor recall

The computing giant says more monitors may have a flaw--which originally surfaced in March--that could pose a fire hazard.

IBM on Thursday expanded its recall of certain 15-inch monitors, saying hundreds of thousands more units have a potentially faulty part that could create a fire hazard.

The computing giant issued the original recall last March, covering its G51 and G51t models of 15-inch CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors. The company said that models produced between June 1997 and September 1997 resulted in 117,000 units recalled worldwide, 56,000 of which were in the United States. The monitors had a component that could fail and emit smoke. IBM said it has received seven reports worldwide of monitors overheating, with one resulting in "minor property damage."

The updated recall notice, posted Thursday on IBM's Web site and that of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, expands the recall to cover monitors made between June 1997 and September 1998. The expanded recall covers a total of 235,000 monitors worldwide, with 119,000 in the United States. The number of recalled units represents roughly a third of the 685,000 units produced throughout the monitors' lifecycle of June 1997 to April 1999.

"After we did the recall in March, we received two more reports of smoking," said Bob Page, an IBM spokesman. "One of the reports fell outside (the earlier recall period) by four days. So, as a result, we extended the recall by one year to September 1998."

The monitors were made for IBM by Taiwan-based manufacturer Lite-On Technology and sold under the IBM brand at major retailers such as Best Buy, CompUSA and RadioShack.

To identify whether a monitor is covered by the recall, consumers need to look at the label on the back, which includes its model number and manufacturing date. The recall covers G51 monitors with a model number of 6541-02N, 6541-02E or 6541-02S, and manufacture date between June 1997 and September 1998. Model numbers for the G51T are 6541-Q0N, 6541-Q0E and 6541-Q0S.

IBM advises customers with affected monitors to stop using the equipment and contact Big Blue to arrange for inspection and repair or, if necessary, replacement. U.S. customers should call the IBM Repair Center at 1-866-644-3155. International customers should consult IBM's Web directory to find the correct number for their country.

CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto contributed to this report.