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LED retrofit – fluorescent light replacement tubes

LED retrofit – fluorescent light replacement tubes

Written by Chris Driscoll on . Posted in , , .

What is an LED Fluorescent Light Retrofit?

The decision to change out your existing fluorescent lights should be an easy one.  You’ve been diligently maintaining your T5, T8, and/or T12 fluorescent tube lights for many years.  Whether those lights are high bay fluorescents, shop lights, or in-ceiling mounted troffer lights, you’ve finally come to the decision to do an LED retrofit project so you can take advantage of the many benefits LED fluorescent lights have to offer.  The energy savings alone should be enough for you to start the LED retrofit project, but when you consider the superior lighting levels and lower ongoing maintenance costs you’ll realize from the LED fluorescent tubes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start this project years ago.

Now that you’ve made the decision to start the LED retrofit project, your next decision is which version of LED fluorescent tubes will you incorporate into your project: Plug and Play; Direct Wire; or a Hybrid approach.  Here is some additional information to help you understand the 3 approaches and some of the pros and cons of each:

  • Plug and Play: this solution provides a quick plug-in installation with the appropriate ballast and is compatible with most types of electronic ballasts.  This is the simplest way to reduce energy costs, but only if the current ballast is fully compatible with the LED replacement tubes.  If the ballast fails in this approach, you’ll be faced with the expense of changing out the ballast with a compatible replacement.
  • Direct Wire: this solution requires complete removal or bypass of the existing ballast as well as rewiring of the fixture to connect to in-line voltage.  This is by far the most energy efficient approach because it doesn’t require a power source controller (ballast) to operate.  It will likely require a licensed electrician to remove the old ballast and rewire the fixture to in-line voltage.  This is the most reliable of the 3 approaches and requires less ongoing maintenance because there are no ballasts to fail.
  • Hybrid approach: this solution can operate with or without a ballast; it can be connected to in-line voltage, and is the simplest installation of the 3 versions.  The hybrid fluorescent tubes are made to work with or without a ballast, but if they are installed in fixtures that do have a ballast and that ballast fails, the light will cease to work until the ballast is replaced or the fixture is rewired to bypass the ballast.

If you’d like to discuss your LED fluorescent tubes retrofit project, contact the expert lighting consultants at PKK Lighting in Madison, WI.  We’ll be happy to come out to your location to evaluate which approach would work best for your situation and to provide you with a quote for your project and the expected savings you’ll realize from the life of the project.