LED Lighting Conversion

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A. Spruce
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LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Shannon did a video not long ago on changing fluorescent fixtures to LED, but only covered those that have an electronic ballast, which equates to a direct swap of the bulbs and no fixture modifications.

What about older fixtures that don't have electronic ballasts?

In my neck of the woods, incandescent bulbs have gone the way of the dodo, and fluorescents are not far behind. I already can't find suitable fluorescent bulbs for the kitchen and it looks like a ballast is about to let loose in one of the fixture anyway.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by jeb101 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:50 pm

Edit: My idea was not really the right approach.
Last edited by jeb101 on Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by emtnut » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:26 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:17 pm
Shannon did a video not long ago on changing fluorescent fixtures to LED, but only covered those that have an electronic ballast, which equates to a direct swap of the bulbs and no fixture modifications.
What about older fixtures that don't have electronic ballasts?
I'm pretty sure those retrofits work on both ballasts. But I wouldn't use it... It will just end up failing on you.
You can upgrade the ballast, but I'd go with a line voltage LED tube. Install is really basic, and no need for any ballast at all.

I haven't ordered from these guys, but the electricians on a site I'm on seem to like them ...https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/20010 ... 10023.html

instructions here ... https://a89b8e4143ca50438f09-7c1706ba3f ... 1507820059

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:32 pm

emtnut wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:26 pm

I'm pretty sure those retrofits work on both ballasts. But I wouldn't use it... It will just end up failing on you.
You can upgrade the ballast, but I'd go with a line voltage LED tube. Install is really basic, and no need for any ballast at all.
I was told by a handy helper at ACE Hardware the same thing, remove the ballast to use standard LED tubes. While I think that the ACE people are more inclined to know their stuff, I'd still rather get this sort of info from more trusted sources, you know, my fellow HI guys! :mrgreen:
emtnut wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:26 pm
Gotta go ... I found a new football channel that I'm watching 8-) :lol: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
And here I thought you were a hockey fan! :mrgreen:
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by emtnut » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:43 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:32 pm

I was told by a handy helper at ACE Hardware the same thing, remove the ballast to use standard LED tubes. While I think that the ACE people are more inclined to know their stuff, I'd still rather get this sort of info from more trusted sources, you know, my fellow HI guys! :mrgreen:
emtnut wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:26 pm
Gotta go ... I found a new football channel that I'm watching 8-) :lol: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
And here I thought you were a hockey fan! :mrgreen:
I'd recommend changing the tombstones anyways, but if you want to keep the old ones, make sure they are non-shunted (that's explained in the link)
They tend to dry up and become brittle. Worth the few more $$ to change em out ;)


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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:50 pm

Looks like I got some reading to do. :mrgreen:
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:53 pm

emtnut wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:43 pm
I'd recommend changing the tombstones anyways, but if you want to keep the old ones, make sure they are non-shunted (that's explained in the link)
They tend to dry up and become brittle. Worth the few more $$ to change em out ;)
They get brittle because fluorescent lights themselves emit UV wavelengths that oxidizes the plastic. So yeah, change them out and hopefully you'll never have to do it again with LED bulbs. They're super easy to change out.

I was hoping in Shannon's most recent video he was going to put up a fluorescent fixture with direct-wire LED bulbs (bypassing the ballast). If you're installing new strip lights, I wouldn't even bother buying new traditional fluorescent fixtures with ballasts. They're old school and they will go away in a few years.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Shannon » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:47 pm

We are working on shooting one with bipassing the ballast, just have not shot it yet.
Be sure if you are doing this that you have the non-shunted tomb stones. You can check this with a multi meter using the continuity setting. There should be no continuity between the two sides of the tomb stone.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:25 pm

Actually in some cases it doesn't matter if the tombstone is shunted or not. Many ballast-bypass direct AC LED tubes that go into fluorescent sockets are configured such that the hot is on one end of the fixture, and the neutral is on the other end. It doesn't even matter which end of the tube goes where (it's not polarity sensitive).

On these type of tubes, the dual pins on each end are shunted internally in the LED tube, so even if only one pin is making electrical contact with one side of the tombstone, the pin's mate is also energized on the "dead" side of the same non-shunted tombstone.

To make extra certain your LED tubes make good electrical contact, you can easily convert a non-shunted tombstone to a shunted one but just inserting a short piece of 18 gauge wire between the two holes (the non-shunted ones usually have two holes on each side). That jumper becomes the shunt.

I love the direct wire LED retrofits... they're slicker than snot. :D I've converted a few of them in my basement and I'm VERY happy with them.

Be sure to understand the wiring diagram that comes with the tube, though! There are ones where you need the non-shunted tombstones so that you put hot on one side and neutral on the other side of the tombstone. In those cases, the tombstone on the other end of the tube is just a dummy that holds the tube up.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Admin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:14 am

The 1000 bulbs link isn't loading for me. I just upgraded five 8-ft T12 tube fixtures to LED. Of course they have the easy single pins on each end, but they came with new tombstones. Depending on your bulbs or kit, it just might come with the right tombstones. I chose to not use the new ones anyway because the old ones seemed to be porcelain and the new ones were super cheap plastic. This is the kind where you remove the ballast. Just wire the black to all the wires on one end and the white to all the wires on the other end and you're done.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by emtnut » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:31 am

Admin wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:14 am
The 1000 bulbs link isn't loading for me. I just upgraded five 8-ft T12 tube fixtures to LED. Of course they have the easy single pins on each end, but they came with new tombstones. Depending on your bulbs or kit, it just might come with the right tombstones. I chose to not use the new ones anyway because the old ones seemed to be porcelain and the new ones were super cheap plastic. This is the kind where you remove the ballast. Just wire the black to all the wires on one end and the white to all the wires on the other end and you're done.
Maybe the site was down last night ?? I just tried it again, seems to work here.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:08 am

I just ordered mine from Hyperikon. They may not have the color temps you want, though. I got really cold 5000k ones for my basement which, besides the garage, is the only place I would ever want that temp of light.

There is about a quarter-second of delay before the light goes on when you flip the switch. This doesn't bother me whatsoever. But reading some comments, it really bugs some people--not sure why.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Admin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:02 pm

Hyperikon is the brand that I just got. I went for 4000K, mine have that same slight delay when turning on. No big deal.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:50 pm

Well, it's time to revisit this topic. The kitchen florescent ballast has gone out and the roommate wants to upgrade to LED, looks like we'll be deleting the ballast and reconfiguring/replacing the tombstones. Looking at the installation link Nutzy posted it doesn't look like this will be a difficult thing.

FWIW, the 1000 bulbs link isn't working for me either.

Now I'm looking into lumens requirements. Kitchen, two fluorescent fixtures with full spectrum bulbs, what would be the approximate equivalent in LED? We definitely like bright, but LED tends to be more harsh, so too much might not be a good thing.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:19 am

5000K or 4500K color temp definitely gives you a light closer to full-spectrum. That's good for a kitchen.

Are you replacing 4' fluorescent tubes?

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:26 am

yep, 4' tubes.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:59 am

I just ordered them directly from Hyperikon. I'm pretty happy with them.

You'll want the frosted tubes unless you have a light diffuser already.

Unless you want to burn little dots in your retina when you accidently look at them. lol

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:04 pm

The inset fixtures have diffusers on them, but frosted tubes might not be a bad idea anyway. Thanks for the heads up. 8-)
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:28 pm

Oh, another thing. The Hyperikon ones I got came with tombstones to replace in your fixture, if necessary. So there's no need to purchase those separately. You may not even need them anyway.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:55 pm

I was into the problem fixture yesterday, the ballast has smoke stains around it, as do the tombstones, so I have no problem replacing the tombstones. I was looking for an all inclusive kit, which seem to run around $40 for 4 bulbs and extra goodies.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by emtnut » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:55 pm

Lighting is a trade in itself ! And a thankless trade, no matter what the designer does, some people say too bright, too harsh, too warm ..........

As far as lumens, you don't have much choice if you are just replacing existing, so your pretty much looking at 'color'. I agree with Aaron, you want a higher color temp for the kitchen.

About the only good advise I can give is to get dimmable compatible tubes, that way you can turn it down if it's too bright.

Sorry I can't help you out much more than that buddy ... I went with 4K with my kitchen, but it's a bright room in light colors and it worked out well. I went overboard on the lighting, but have multiple switches and dimmers so I can have the best of both worlds :mrgreen:
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:09 pm

I will probably go with a 5k bulb, if it's too bright, I'll get 4k. Once the fixtures are modified, changing a bulb is easy.

FWIW, if the bulbs are too bright, I'll just move them out to the garage or garden shed. Hey, I've got a local lighting supply, wonder if they have any 4' LED fixtures on display with different bulbs for comparison. Guess I have a phone call to make.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:35 am

1000 bulbs link is working today.

Quick question, so that I'm clear on what I'm looking at. Kelvin is the temp/color of the light, lumens is the amount of light output, correct?

I want bright, but not harsh, which LED tends to be, so would a lower Kelvin and a higher lumen be better than visa-versa?
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:54 am

Yeah, the color temperature is measured in Kelvin. Has to do with the broadness of the spectrum of light I think, or perhaps the band; you get more of the blue and green with the higher number, closer to the UV end of the scale. Lumens are the output. Lumens are to light as volume is to sound: wavelength amplitude. A dimmer switch can make that light variable like a volume knob on a stereo. But the light color stays constant.

5000K is quite harsh. It's great for a garage and basement--a utility space. Hyperikon even offers a 6000K which I can't even imagine. Good for warehouses, maybe. 3500-4000K might be a sweet spot for a kitchen.

LED lighting has been notoriously harsh for years and years; only relatively recently have they been available in the much warmer 2000K-3000K range. The new warm LED bulbs are excellent now, and a lot of people are pleased to enjoy warm LED light that emits from old fluorescent fixtures that until recently, had horrible light quality (fluorescent lights SUCK).

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:01 pm

So a lower kelvin and higher lumen would be the way to go?

I definitely want more light than the current fluorescents offer, but I don't want it to be harsh, which LED are known for.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:59 pm

Yeah, I'd say like 3500K would be very reasonable if you're concerned about too harsh light, yet want some mid-spectrum brightness for kitchen utility. I'd say it's probably equivalent to fluoresecent bulbs "warm white". But it would be much brighter.

Living room and dining room, no more than 2700K. The lower the better, even, for lamps.

Philips has a bulb that incorporates yellow LEDs to boost warmer light frequencies as it gets dimmer. It's a super nice light, a buddy of mine has this at his condo, in a lamp, obviously. I took this picture of the packaging in case I ever need to pick it up.

37223ECC-4F91-473F-8311-601BD20C4D0C.jpeg
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:09 pm

So, I've spent the last few hours finding the specs on fluorescent bulbs I have in both the kitchen and garage to give me a basis of understanding of what I'm looking for in an LED. Unfortunately, kelvin and lumen ratings aren't as helpful as one would hope.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by Aaron » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:05 pm

I think they have comparisons at the store.

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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by emtnut » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:20 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:01 pm
So a lower kelvin and higher lumen would be the way to go?

I definitely want more light than the current fluorescents offer, but I don't want it to be harsh, which LED are known for.
With incandescents, the light color was constant (around 2 - 2.5K) , so we thought of light output in 'watts'. Now with LEDs, the watts are better measured in Lumens. It's the actual brightness of the light. The Kelvin number is the color of the light, 2000K being a very soft yellow color, up to 7000K being a blue color.
To the eye, the higher the color the more harsh it is to your eyes.
A good example is 5000K ... that is supposed to be approximate 'daylight' color. If you were outside, you'd probably want your sunglasses on 8-)

Lumens is just the brightness. You could compare this to the difference between a 25W bulb, and a 100W bulb. (neither is harsh, but the 100W is much brighter)..... both being at 2500K.

To answer your question, for a kitchen if you don't want to harsh, then go with a 4000K light. You can get the highest lumen tube available, and if it's too bright you can dim it (if you get dimmable bulbs).

Hope that kinda makes sense :?


*ETA* I compared incandescents at 2500K. Kitchens that had florescents had similar options with the 'warm' and 'cool' light. The cool light was a higher Kelvin temp.
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Re: LED Lighting Conversion

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:30 pm

My mother always wanted "full spectrum" lights in the kitchen because they were brighter, so that's what I've always used. I very much like the brighter light, especially with my eyes getting older and the current house I live in where the kitchen seems like a black hole, absolutely horrible lighting.

I am leaning to using brighter/harsher lighting with a dimmer should all that be too much, might make for a bit more expensive conversion, but will give us the most flexibility. From today's research I've concluded that 3000-3500K and 4K lumens or higher. I'm going to see if I can find a few store displays with different intensities to see the differences, take the roommate along, since it's her house and I'll never hear the end of it if she doesn't like what I install.
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