Tuesday, September 2, 2014


It's a "Sin"


According to Merriam-Webster Online
Origin of SINO
French, from Late Latin Sinae, plural, Chinese, from Greek Sinai, probably of Indo-Aryan origin; akin to Sanskrit Cīnā, plural, Chinese

I frequently complain about Chinese-made products. Justifiably. China has sent us shoddy

  • Dry wall
  • Food
  • Tires
  • Toys
and other products too numerous to mention.

In return, China has stolen America's secrets and undercut American manufacturers to the point where "Made in China" is absolutely ubiquitous.

Maybe Mr. (Richard M.) Nixon made a mistake in opening up China to American trade.

Our trade deficit with China continues to grow, with June 2014 report from the U.S. government The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China was $30.1 billion in June, the highest monthly deficit so far this year, and $3.4 billion higher than a year ago (see Table 1). The cumulative bilateral deficit through the first six months reached $155.3 billion, an increase of $7 billion over the same point last year. The bilateral trade deficit is on track for a new annual record. See graphic at end of file. Also see 2013 : U.S. trade in goods with China for the 2013 trade year showing a negative Balance of Trade with China of 318,711.3 million.

It seems impossible to escape Chinese products; Americans seem to have caved, given up, surrendered, lowered the flag.

This rant is prompted by the replacement for a failed in-wall timer.

The original timer was, of course, made in China from a Canadian design. The original failed when there apparently was a power surge during a storm. Only the in-wall timer and a plug-in Intermatic Time-All Model TN111 timer that, interestingly (suspiciously??) lacks place of manufacture (want to bet the product came from a Chinese production line) failed?

In any event, I replaced the plug-in unit with a spare so the lamp plugged into the timer comes on and goes off pretty much as expected.

I hied off to the local Home Depot and bought a new in-wall timer that I thought would work to turn two Curly Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) mounted on the garage on and off.

Turns out, the timer is fine for incandescent bulbs - those bulbs banished from store shelves by the incumbent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC - but NOT for CFLs.

A electrician neighbor installed the first in-wall timer, an aube model he ordered from New York.

When I removed the failed unit I was happy to see the wires were clearly marked: Load, Line, and Neutral. Nice touch. The replacement unit lacked any markings, but the included paper install manual showed the equivalent of Load, Line, and - not "Neutral" - Ground.

I am NOT an electrician (and I don't play one on tv) but I connected the wires as I thought they should be connected. Nothing.

Called on my neighbor. He took one look at the new device and said: "This won't work with the CFLs." The clue: No "Neutral" wire. Still, he tried and succeeded in getting the CFLs flanking my garage door to illuminate. But it didn't last and the timer didn't work (although it did display information).

Why didn't I realize the time was not for use with CFLs?

I carefully read the front and back of the packaging. No mention of "Not for use with CFLs." The first documented reference to "Not for CFLs" came on the THIRD page of the install instructions.

OK. To be fair, there WAS a clue on the front of the package. Not a "standard format" clue such as something inside a circle with a line drawn through it. Rather it had a pictograph of an incandescent bulb. A light bulb tells me it works to control light bulbs NOT that it only works with incandescent bulbs. 'Course I'm a geezer; what do I know.

My electrician neighbor looked at the packaging and "didn't get it." A quick scan of the initial two pages of the install instructions likewise had no mention of CFLs. The first Not for CFL use statement came on Page 3.

I have asked my electrician neighbor to order a replacement timer from his source. It will be made in "sin" (China) but there is no option.

The PRICE of the in-wall timer seems high enough that it could be produced at a profit in the Several States. Certainly the workmanship would be at least as good as we get from China . . . and the packaging might clearly indicate with what type lamps the switch controls.

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