IBM Corp. has expanded a worldwide recall on certain models of computer monitors that it warns could catch fire. Schools and other customers purchasing IBM monitors between June 1997 and December 1998 should check immediately to see if their products are among those being recalled, the company said.

IBM is expanding an earlier recall of its 15-inch G51 and G51t Touch Screen cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors after 63,000 more units were found to be at risk of overheating and smoking, posing a fire hazard to school users and other consumers nationwide.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company has received seven reports of circuit boards overheating. Two such reports were received after the original recall, which was announced in March and covered 56,000 monitors sold nationwide from June to September 1997. The expanded recall extends the manufacturing date to September 1998 and sale date to December 1998.

The CRT monitors involved in this recall and repair program all have 15-inch screens. To identify affected G51 and G51t monitors, customers should look for the IBM logo on the front of the unit, then look for additional model and date information on the label on the back of the unit, IBM said.

Under the recall program, customers with these monitors will be sent a prepaid shipping box to return the monitor to a repair facility. IBM’s repair service will inspect the monitor to determine whether it

requires a safety repair. If necessary, the affected component will be repaired or replaced, then returned to the customer at no cost. This program is offered only for monitors that are still in working order. No other repairs will be performed under this program, IBM said.

The recalled monitors are the G51 CRT and G51t Touch Screen CRT models bearing model numbers 6541-02N, 6541-02E, 6541-02S, 6541-Q0N, 6541-Q0E, and 6541-Q0S. IBM, MicroTouch Systems, and retail stores sold the product nationwide for about $370.

The government urges consumers to stop using the monitors immediately and contact the company at (866) 644-3155, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, for a free inspection and repair or replacement.

An IBM official who spoke with eSchool News said that because the monitors were manufactured more than five years ago, he could not be sure exactly how many of the affected monitors had been purchased by education customers. Still, it’s likely that at least some of the monitors are being used in schools, he said.