If you are considering purchasing or installing T8 LED lamps, also known as TLEDs, be sure to continue reading. Access Fixtures lighting specialists receive and answer many questions about T8 LED tube lamps on a regular basis, and to help our customers out we have compiled a list of the most popular questions we have been asked.
Do I need to use a ballast with T8 LED tube lamps?
It depends. There are two types of TLEDs, some like Philips InstatFit LED T8 lamps require a ballast and some like Access Fixtures T8 LED Tube Lamps have an internal driver and work on 120v to 277v line voltage. Be sure what type of TLED you are using before installation.
Which is better, the InstaFit type of TLED that requires a T8 ballast or TLED with an internal power supply/driver?
This also depends on a number of factors. Manufacturers of both types make distinctly different claims. The InstaFit type TLED is an easier initial installation, but using an existing ballast means the ballast may fail long before the TLED fails. When the TLED stops functioning, it will be more difficult to determine the point of failure. Also, any TLED that requires a ballast is significantly more expensive as you have to purchase a new ballast or eventually replace the existing ballast to keep the lights on. TLEDs with an internal driver require removal of the old ballast and some rewiring before the TLED is operational. This adds some additional labor, but the resulting simplicity and savings are worth it.
If somebody installs a T8 or T12 fluorescent lamp in a fixture that has been retrofitted for TLEDs with an internal driver, what will happen?
Absolutely nothing. The fluorescent lamp will not catch on fire or explode. It won’t illuminate either. A linear fluorescent bulb requires a ballast and power supplied on both ends. The power goes through the emitters causing a chemical reaction resulting in light. This process can’t take place in the absence of a ballast. Many TLEDs with integral drivers come with safety stickers for the luminaire stating: Only Use T8 LED Tube Lamps With Integrated Drivers.
Can I use the tombstones that are on my T8 or T12 fixture?
Tombstones are the lamp holders that hold the lamp in place and supply power to the lamp. While it may be possible to use the existing tombstones, replacement may be required.
The lamp sockets are the push-in type, then all sockets should be replaced with non-shunted, turn-type lamp sockets. Push-in type may not properly support the extra weight of the TLED lamps.
TLEDs with internal drivers require non-shunted lamp holders. Non-shunted lamps holders means the copper pieces on each side of the lamp holder are separate, in other words not connected to each other, as each must have a separate power lead. Some rebate programs require the installation of new tombstones/lamp holders even if the tombstones are the correct type. This is to ensure the integrity of the tombstones is as new.
Please note: There are special considerations when retrofitting fluorescent fixtures to operate TLED lamps. Each TLED product and application will have its own set of unique requirements, so care must be exercised to closely follow the lamp manufacturer’s instructions. Since installing most TLED products requires rewiring fixtures, anyone interested in installing these products should obtain the services of a qualified electrician.
Speak to an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist
Do you have further questions about T8 LED Lamps? Access Fixtures are ready to answer your questions. Call us today and let our lighting specialists help you find the solution for your lighting project! We are passionate about lighting and love what we do—we’ll find the best solution. Call us today at 800-468-9925.