best LED T8 bulbs?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by GeorgeC, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    My garage has six fixtures with two T8 bulbs apiece. I think one fixture has a failed ballast, as the bulbs won't light and changing the bulbs has no effect. Is bypassing the ballast and going LED worth it at this point?

    Generally, I have been underwhelmed by the lifespan of LED bulbs that I have deployed in incandescent fixtures. Upward-facing fixtures have fared better than downward-facing cans, presumably due to better cooling.
     
  2. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    48" LED fixtures are getting pretty cheap. I'd just replace the whole thing, dead units first and the others when they also die or start to bother you.
     
  3. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Costco has 48" led shop lights for $20/each. Hard to beat.
     
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  4. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    I’m slowly replacing all my fluorescent T8’s w LED. Been impressed w HYPERIKON brand - there are others cheaper, but 5yr warranty speaks for something, .....I guess.
    Really like not hearing that subliminal hum, and I’m sick of ballasts going TU.

    Off topic - what’s everyone do w their burned out fluorescents ?....nobody seems to take them at recycling centers.
     
  5. biplanebob

    biplanebob Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are two types of led T-8 tubes. There is a "plug and play" type that is a direct replacement if you have a working electronic ballast, and
    There is a "direct wire" type that requires removal of the ballast, rewiring the fixture and may require new "tombstone" sockets. There are many videos on youtube showing the conversion.
     
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  6. Tango Golf Sierra

    Tango Golf Sierra Filing Flight Plan

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    Worth it. I have been buying Keystone lamps for around $8. Dont know if they are the best but havent had any problems.
     
  7. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sam's Club also has a wide variety, especially online. The selection in the clubs tends to be smaller.

    Rich
     
  8. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In my county they're "officially" accepted at the county waste / recycling facility several times a year; but if you only have a few of them, they'll usually accept them any time and set them aside until the next "official" collection day.

    Rich
     
  9. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've yet to have an LED replacement for an incandescent bulb fail. I did have one that never worked at all; but none that have ever worked have ever failed.

    Rich
     
  10. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I'll second the Hyperikon endorsement if you're shopping brands. I bought a 4-pack about 3 years ago and cut the ballasts out of a couple fixtures in my shop. They're bright like stadium lights and come on full bright right away even when the shop its 10 degrees in the shop. After my experience with them I decided to convert all the remaining dozen fixtures in my shop a few months back. I didn't use the Hyperikon this time, just bought whatever brand Menards had that was suitable for ballast bypass.

    Since I was converting everything anyway, I even removed the electronic ballasts from the few newer fixtures I had. I did this partly because I saw no point in having a ballast in there sucking power when its not needed. But mostly I did it because those electronic ballasts (at least the ones I had) make a lot of noise. With all the dinosaur ballasts gone and those fixtures now silent, I wasn't going to leave those electronic ballasts in there buzzing away like a broken door bell, so out they came. Shop lights are dead silent now. I can't comment on the long term durability of the Menards bulbs since I only did the conversion a few months back. But so far, they seem no different from the Hyperikons. Nice and bright even in the cold, and silent.
     
  11. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Thanks. I pulled the ballast last night and ordered the hyperikons.
     
  12. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    One thing to keep in mind. How you wire the fixture after you pull the ballast out depends on the bulbs you put back in. Some bulbs need the hot wire to both posts on one end and the negative to both posts on the other. Other bulbs need the hot wire to one post and negative to the post next to it and nothing to the posts on the other end.
     
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  13. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I got the dual-ended bulbs. In retrospect, the single-ended ones would have needed shorter wire runs. That said, rewiring the "tombstones" was trivially easy.
     
  14. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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  15. rsleeds

    rsleeds Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We reworked 3 2-tube and 1 4-tube fixtures by removing the ballasts and replacing the tombstones on one end of each. Kits for the tombstone replacements and 10 LED tubes less than $80 at the electric supply house and about an hour's work. Even if the tubes last half advertised, money ahead real quick.
     
  16. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Two fixtures done. Very nice, great success.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  17. asicer

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    Costco currently has Feit drop in LED replacements for $13/3500lumens/28watts per pair. They also have the entire LED light fixture for $20/4000lumens/42watts. Seems like the drop-in tube replacements are the way to go from an $/lumen and lumen/watt standpoint, but what about the old ballast? Will there be a significant drop in efficiency from re-using the old ballast when installing the drop-ins?
     
  18. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would check if those drop in sets can be used without the ballast. If so, I would absolutely open up the fixture and wire around the ballast. Since the ballast is a fairly high failure rate item, most good fixtures should make it easy to access and wire. The ones I did recently, I removed the wire nuts connecting power in to the ballast, cut the wires at the ballast that were going to the tombstones, stripped them, and wired them up to the wires entering the fixture with the same wirenuts I had removed. I would have physically removed the ballast as well, but for some odd reason the screw entered from the back, and I would have had to lower the fixture to pull it. Sort of thankful I decided to go this way instead of new T8 and ballasts.
     
  19. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Its not a question of if the ballast will fail, its a question of when. Might as well remove them now.
     
  20. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I downloaded the spec sheet from Feit and looks like that's not an option.

    Weird that the tubes alone are more efficient than the entire assembly. You'd think that it would be the other way around.
     
  21. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Interesting. The pair of Crees in my living room just died within a day of each other. I'd have to look up roughly when I bought them. I replaced them with 75W equivalents from my local hardware store this morning. I've taken to writing the install date on the lamp bases...
     
  22. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I've had a couple of earlier generation 1600 lumen units fail too. But the failure rate so far still beats incandescent and fluorescent.