Problems with Florescent Shop/Garage Lights - Convert to LED

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MTDIYer

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I bought a box of LED florescent T8, the kind that directly replace regular T8 bulbs, no wire cutting required. I replaced a couple of dead and dying bulbs. I liked the brightness so I thought I would replace all the bulbs in my garage which is completely lit with florescent shop lights.

The first four bulbs in a light worked great. It was much brighter than before. Then it was a disaster. Some lights are very dim, but all 4 bulbs light, after the replacement. For other lights, some would not light at all or just one or two bulbs would light. And I have a couple of lights where 3 bulbs will light, but not 4.

How do you troubleshoot whether it is a tombstone or ballast? I have a multi voltage meter, but I can't get anything to show on any scale I select? Any other advice? Are there ballasts that work better with the LED bulbs?
 

MTDIYer

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Thank you for the help. I watched the videos. I am pretty sure that I have instant on ballasts. According to the video, these use shunted sockets. I checked all my tombstones with a multimeter. They are all non-shunted. I am going to start with buying a box on shunted tombstones.
 

Jeff Handy

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Looks like you can get t8 style led tubes that don’t even need a ballast.

They must have something built in.

You just rewire the fixture to bypass the old ballasts.

I think one of the vids I linked covers that, otherwise Youtube has plenty of how-tos on that subject.
 

Michael Armstrong

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I've installed hundreds of Hyperikon T8 LED replacements (available at Amazon, as low as ~$6/tube, depending on many variables) and taken great joy in throwing out all the ballasts. Some LED replacements brag about being able to leave the ballasts in (some require them), but to me, one of the major benefits of LEDS is being able to toss the ballasts.
 

Burgy

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I bought a box of LED florescent T8, the kind that directly replace regular T8 bulbs, no wire cutting required. I replaced a couple of dead and dying bulbs. I liked the brightness so I thought I would replace all the bulbs in my garage which is completely lit with florescent shop lights.

The first four bulbs in a light worked great. It was much brighter than before. Then it was a disaster. Some lights are very dim, but all 4 bulbs light, after the replacement. For other lights, some would not light at all or just one or two bulbs would light. And I have a couple of lights where 3 bulbs will light, but not 4.

How do you troubleshoot whether it is a tombstone or ballast? I have a multi voltage meter, but I can't get anything to show on any scale I select? Any other advice? Are there ballasts that work better with the LED bulbs?
First of all, in my years of experience with LED lighting, I would not recommend ever using an existing ballast designed for fluorescent to be used with LED lighting. LED lighting, quality LED that is, are designed to be used with low, constant current. A typical fluorescent ballast cannot perform that way consistently. Spikes up and down. LED should be used with a Driver (power supply). LED tubes, such as T8's that are sold to be used with existing fluorescent tube (lamp) ballasts has been a problematic issue. You are asking for trouble. The ballast may not even be working properly and if so, then the LED light is being jeopardized. Most likely your ballasts are not working well. A ballast can continue to work even when it is failing and you end up with dim lights, burned out lights, blinking lights and so on. The current is not adequate. Some LED tubes are sold with an internal Driver. These are not very good either in the long run. They end up getting to warm and burn out. The best fluorescent tube (lamp) replacement when converting to LED is going with a LED tube with an external driver (similar to how a fluorescent tube is installed with a ballast). The Driver is designed specifically for LED. You can install these in the existing fluorescent tube fixture. Just replace the Ballast with the LED Driver (same wiring is used). Titan LED makes a complete USA built LED tube (several sizes and brightness's). In my opinion, these are the best value all around. 12 year warranty and 155,000 rated hours. I have them in my garage, laundry room, some closets. I am happy to talk to you about these. burgmeier4@mediacombb.net.
 

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