A Buyer's Guide to LED Tube Lights Professional1 month ago Freebies New Plymouth 64 views
Replacing your fluorescent tube lights with LED retrofits can be a confusing and daunting process. We've put together this guide to demystify all of the ins and outs of replacing your fluorescent tubes with LED tube lights.
1) Advantages of LED tubes over fluorescent tubes
The many advantages of LED tubes over fluorescents are covered quite extensively, so we won't go into depth, but the three primary advantages are:
Higher efficiency, energy savings (up to 30-50%)
Longer lifetimes (typically 50k hours)
2) Fluorescent tubes sizes and LED tube light retrofitting
Because fluorescent fixtures are often mounted into ceilings and connected directly to mains electricity, they are relatively expensive and difficult to replace completely.
As a result, it oftentimes makes the most economical sense to simply use the same fluorescent fixture, but replace the fluorescent tube with an LED tube light.
Therefore, it is important to understand the types of fluorescent tubes that were developed, so that the correct LED panel light can be retrofitted in place.
Over the years, fluorescent tube manufacturers developed many varieties of sizes and types.
T8 4-ft: Four-foot T8 fluorescent lamps are the most commonly used type today. They are 48 inches in length, and have a 1 inch lamp diameter.
T12 4-ft: Four-foot T12 fluorescent lamps are less efficient compared to T8 lamps. They are the same length as T8 lamps, but have a larger 1.5 inch lamp diameter.
T5 4-ft: Four-foot T5 fluorescent lamps are typically the most efficient, and some of the newest types of lamps introduced in the 2000's in the USA. They are commonly designated T5HO (high output) and provide more brightness than their T8 counterparts. They are slightly shorter than four feet (45.8 inches). T5 lamps come in a variety of lengths such as 1-ft, 2-ft and 3-ft versions and are commonly used in non-ceiling fixtures such as table lamps.
T8 and T12 tubes are also available in other lengths such as 8-ft tubes, but 4-ft lengths remain the most common types.
LED tube lights replicate the mechanical dimensions to ensure that they can be true retrofit replacements, and adopt the same form factor names (e.g. 4-foot T8 LED tube light).
T8 and T12 fixtures are generally the same length and use the same pins, so mechanically they are usually cross-compatible.
T5 fixtures are NOT cross-compatible with T8 and T12 lamps due to their different pin sizes and actual length.
3) Fluorescent ballasts and LED tri-proof light retrofitting
All fluorescent tube lights use a device called a ballast to regulate the lamp's brightness as it warms up. These devices are necessary for fluorescent lamps, and differ from incandescent lamps which can be connected directly to mains electrical circuits.
Fluorescent lamp fixtures typically house the ballast inside the fixture, and is not accessible without removing the fixture from the ceiling. Alterations to the fluorescent lamp ballast should be done only by those comfortable and knowledgeable with electrical work.
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