T8 fixture with no ballast?

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gangstead
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T8 fixture with no ballast?

I’m looking to install a bunch of garage lighting. It seems the most cost effective way to get a ton of lumens is 4’ T8 LED replacements that drop into an existing fixture (sometimes requiring bypassing of the ballast).

In this case there are no fixtures in the garage so I have to buy new fixtures which come with a ballast only to rip out the ballast which seems very wasteful. Is there any place I can buy a fixture built for T8 LED tubes that comes without a ballast? If I were just doing one or two it wouldn’t bother me so much but I’m looking to do about 10 so it adds up.

So far these are the most appealing LED T8’s: https://www.earthled.com/collections/led-t8-tube-replacements-replace-yo...

Ballast bypass, 4000k, 2000 lumens each, 8.99 each when I buy in bulk.
Basic fixtures at Home Depot are just over $20, but I also have to buy the non-shunted tombstones at $1 each so it’s about $40 / 4000 lumens / fixture.

There are also these fixtures from Costco: http://www.costco.com/4%25E2%2580%2599-Linkable-LED-Shop-Light-with-Pull-Chain-2-pack.product.100284402.html
Same color temperature but not as bright and $30 / 3700 lumens / fixture.

My dream is that someone sells a non-shunted, ballast-less 4’ T8 fixture (basically just the sheet metal and tombstone holders) for $10 – $15. Are there any manufacturers selling fixtures like that?

DavidEF
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If you want the ‘fixture’ without the ballast, the easiest way is probably to just buy some of the sockets, and screw them to a 2” × 4” or something, run some wire, and away you go. The metal shell isn’t really that fancy anyway.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

gangstead
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That’s an interesting idea. I hadn’t thought about that. The fixture is just bent sheet metal, but it hides the wires away and holds those socket things nicely.

DavidEF
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gangstead wrote:
That’s an interesting idea. I hadn’t thought about that. The fixture is just bent sheet metal, but it hides the wires away and holds those socket things nicely.

Run the wires along the back side of the board. You can even cut a groove in the back of the board for the wires, if you have a table saw, or if you’re pretty good with a Skil saw. Paint the board before installing the stuff, whatever color you want.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

hank
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The old glass fluorescent tubes need that electrically grounded metal shell close to them to light up properly, at least in cold weather
(a decade or two ago I thought I understood why that was, something about the charge inside the tube behaving better)
(and to contain the electrical stuff as the voltage was unfriendly)

But you don’t need that metal for LEDs.

You can cut a bit of sheet metal to fit into the grooves in the lamp holders and screw that down to the board.

semiman
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Just buy a cheap fixture and throw out the ballast.

The metal fixture will protect your electrical contacts and if you get a short, or worse a weak connection that heats up, or a bad tube, or …. the metal will protect it from flammable substances.

I always warm people about the fluorescent tubes, especially the high wattage ones, that the flicker can be pretty severe. You may not be able to see it easily visually, but if you are under it for long periods of time, it may be headache inducing or at least eye fatiguing. Generally modern fluorescent ballasts have almost no flicker.

Lazy-R-us
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Do you really even need the fixture?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Inexpensive-Garage-Lights-From-LED-Strips/

Lazy-R-us

nqcken
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A friend and I used those bulbs from Earth LEDS and did all the fixtures in both houses. the install was easy, the light output was exellent. btw, if you are retrofitting, simply ignore the ballast, i snipped all wires to and from and proceed to wire the bulbs.

ken

taylorphotographic
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I'm going to recommend NOT using a piece of wood, not only for the reason of heat, but one of the main reasons to have the metal fixture is to reflect light into the room.

 

I've bought these T8 fixtures from Home Depot at $14.99 each.  The ballasts are small.  I might try to sell them.  Anyway these reflector/fixtures have power cords attached but they can be reworked for permanent wiring if you want to do that.  Also the tombstone bits are shunted, which means they need replaced before using with LED direct wire tubes.  I've found a source at 69 cents each and I only need to replace two of the four for each housing.  I won't rewire these ones (keeping the external power cord) as they're going into the attic.

 

So for around $ 40 for the 2 tubes and the fixture, I'm good to go.  I know you can buy whole assembled for around that price, but I want to choose my tubes and not get the crappy ones that come in those all-in one solutions.  I'm using the Luceco from EarthLED also and they're pretty nice.  So I'll be putting 24000 lumens into my attic soon Smile

 

Those LED strips look pretty cool but in the end I think the fixtures are less work.  I can convert them in about 5 minutes each and be ready to go.  The only additional work is to put in an outlet box to plug them into, but I wanted a switched outlet box up in the attic anyway.

-- PT

Texas_Ace
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If you want cheap Flouresent fixtures hit up craigslist. You can generally find them for basically free (and free in some cases) from remodle jobs in office buildings. They don’t look pretty and are a DIY job to mount but they work and you can’t beat the price. I got 6 fixtures for $25, they even included bulbs.

For the garage it is hard to beat.

gangstead
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I ended up going with the $20 T12 fixtures from Home Depot and the same Luceco ballast bypass 4000k/2400 Lumen tubes from Earth LED that you mention. The ends aren’t shunted on the T12 and it’s an extra 5-10 minutes per fixture to remove the ballast and nut the wires together.

I thought I had the cheapest fixtures from HD but I was wrong. These ones line up nicely and have knockouts all around for hiding the wires. The only problem is that Home Depot only ever has 2 of them out at a time so I keep running out of fixtures.

Here’s the work in progress. I’ve since bought two more fixtures to complete the strip across the garage.

BTW @taylorphotographic I’m in Garland and bought a whole 25 pack of those tubes so PM me if you find yourself a couple short on your attic job.

taylorphotographic
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That's a good tip, thanks.

-- PT

taylorphotographic
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Yeah that looks good.  HD has PLENTY of the 14.99 fixtures :).  But now that you're started I imagine you'll want the same look all the way through.  I like these Luceco tubes.  I've already installed 16 of them and going for 10 more in the attic.  I had a flourescent fixture in the kitchen of all places - 4 tubes - and swapping those out made a huge difference.

-- PT

gangstead
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I’m definitely committed to the style of fixtures I have, but now I know what to get next time.

I had a similar box in the kitchen with 4 fluorescent bulbs and this ugly office-like honeycomb covering:

That I replaced with these panel fixtures from super bright leds:

The over all look is a lot better than the separate bulbs and the light emitted is nice and evenly distributed. I probably should have got the next step down in light output. They are BRIGHT. I’ve since seen similar panels at Home Depot for a little less money, but about 2/3 the lumens of the ones I bought.

dchomak
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I have had my eye on T-8 LED replacement bulbs for quite awhile now. NEVER have I seen the price for 2 replacement bulbs cheaper than an LED fixture with bulbs. If you are starting from scratch, I would shop around for the LED fixtures. The reason I believe the replacement bulbs have been so expensive is that they are pitched to those customers that already have florescent fixtures installed and DO NOT want to go through the bother of uninstalling them and re-installing the LED fixtures. To them, the cost might be worth it.
COSTCO everyday price for a 3700 Lumen shop light is $29.99 and when on subsidy it is $19.99

Last week I was seeing these recessed, 2’ × 4’, 4 tube LED light fixtures at all the Home Depots for $30.03. These pictures are from the week before when they were $60.07


Here they are at $30.03

My point is, that while modding can be satisfying, sometimes it may be easier and cheaper to keep a lookout for stuff in the mainstream retail channels.

gangstead
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I bought four of those LED Shop Lights from Costco. Due to the outlet on one side they don’t line up end to end very well. In my garage (picture posted earlier) I want the lights butting up against each other. Also the sides redirect light downwards, which is great if you are able to mount them very high but in my 8’ ceiling it caused the corners of the garage to be dark. In the end I returned 3 of them but kept 1 to put above my work bench.

These troffer style panels are very new to the big box stores. When I ordered mine from Super Bright LEDs the only ones I saw in Home Depot were 1’×2’ and then right after mine got delivered they had normal 2’×4’. Home Depot’s are cheaper but it’s hard to find the color temperature and CRI on them. I’ve found when it’s hard to find those things it’s because the values are bad, like 6000k and 70 CRI. The lumens are generally lower, too. I wonder why HD has put them on fire sale so soon.

With the 2 Luceco tubes I get 4800 lumens vs 3700 from the Costco light. My panel lights are 7200 lumens vs the Lithonia panels are 4000 lumens (I think). While your point about buying stuff from retail channels is totally true people EasyLightForum would not be a very exciting website to visit.

dchomak
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Well, one advantage of modding is that you can get exactly what you want. Also the satisfaction of doing it yourself.
I have a worklight that I built to suit myself and I absolutely treasure it.

taylorphotographic
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dchomak wrote:
I have had my eye on T-8 LED replacement bulbs for quite awhile now. NEVER have I seen the price for 2 replacement bulbs cheaper than an LED fixture with bulbs. If you are starting from scratch, I would shop around for the LED fixtures. The reason I believe the replacement bulbs have been so expensive is that they are pitched to those customers that already have florescent fixtures installed and DO NOT want to go through the bother of uninstalling them and re-installing the LED fixtures. To them, the cost might be worth it. COSTCO everyday price for a 3700 Lumen shop light is $29.99 and when on subsidy it is $19.99 !{width:60%}http://i1166.photobucket.com/albums/q609/dchomak/A6A6DAD2-B6D6-484F-A1E3...! !{width:60%}http://i1166.photobucket.com/albums/q609/dchomak/3181d22d-4a19-4f5c-bb88...! Last week I was seeing these recessed, 2' x 4', 4 tube LED light fixtures at all the Home Depots for $30.03. These pictures are from the week before when they were $60.07 !{width:60%}[url=http://imgur.com/xudHRS3][img]http://i.imgur.com/xudHRS3.jpg[/img][/url]! !{width:60%}[url=http://imgur.com/T1vDJ52][img]http://i.imgur.com/T1vDJ52.jpg[/img][/url]! Here they are at $30.03 !{width:60%}[url=http://imgur.com/D0JQTtd][img]http://i.imgur.com/D0JQTtd.jpg[/img][/url]! My point is, that while modding can be satisfying, sometimes it may be easier and cheaper to keep a lookout for stuff in the mainstream retail channels.

 

Well, the bulbs I bought were 12.99 each, but also they were 4800 lumens per pair, and a really good color.  Then I bought the $14 T8 fixture from HD for the one spot that I don't have a fixture.  So I did 9 fixtures for $131.00 at 4800 lumens per fix.  The one that was all new cost me $40.00 but it's definitely brighter and cleaner color than those $20 units; I tried one of those and took it back.  My two cents.


PT

-- PT

A-Plus Lighting
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Hi, You have three choice for this LED lighting transformation.

  1. Buy the LED garage lamp or seamless connection LED tri-proof light directly, which as bright as the 4ft LED T8 tubes;
  2. Use the lamp holder with input power wire directly, install them on the wall with a length fit for the 4ft LED T8 tubes;
  3. Purchase some compatible LED tube lamp, and use them in the old fixtures, with this kind new tube, you have no need do the rewire job to passby ballast.

A-Plus Lighting has 10 years experience of LED high bay light and downlights producing, working with us - your customer will thank you and always remember!

hank
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> A-Plus Lighting
Nice to see you promote your products.
But the language on the page you link to is a bit scary:

Quote:

… Everything so easy

100% magnetic ballast compatible.
95% electronic ballast compatible.
Without remove starter and also do not need LED starter.

Rewire already unnecessary
Please forget that we need more time or cost to remove starter and ballasts, please stop worry about we will break the law because of a circuit rewire action.

So what’s the 5% incompatible about electronic ballasts?

taylorphotographic
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hank wrote:
> A-Plus Lighting Nice to see you promote your products. But the language on the page you link to is a bit scary:
Quote:
... Everything so easy 100% magnetic ballast compatible. 95% electronic ballast compatible. Without remove starter and also do not need LED starter. Rewire already unnecessary Please forget that we need more time or cost to remove starter and ballasts, please stop worry about we will break the law because of a circuit rewire action.
So what's the 5% incompatible about electronic ballasts?

 

I mean, who cares?

 

In the end removing the ballast is the best thing because they waste energy and it's just another thing to fail.

 

In the end everyone will make their own decision but for me using "ballast compatible" is just a stopgap.  And if you're worried about breaking the law because of circuit rewiring, then you probably shouldn't be doing it.

 

The funny thing about the text from A Plus for me is "without the need for LED starter".  WTH is an LED starter?

-- PT

hank
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> who cares?

I do, that’s why I asked what they mean.

One of 20 kinds of electronic ballast is a problem?
What’s the problem? Fail to work? Catch on fire?

Some explanation would help.

taylorphotographic
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hank wrote:
> who cares? I do, that's why I asked what they mean. One of 20 kinds of electronic ballast is a problem? What's the problem? Fail to work? Catch on fire? Some explanation would help.

 

Well I don't know what THEIR answer is, but most issues I've seen with LED replacements is that they are so efficient that they do not provide enough load for the driver circuit to operate properly.  You see this a lot with dimmers.

 

It's better to just get rid of the ballast.  If you really prefer not to do that, then you'll need to just try it out.  Make sure what you buy is UL certified - it should at least be safe in that case.

-- PT

A-Plus Lighting
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Hey, Hank. Very glad to got your comments and you care is right. We have the list of the electronic ballasts, which are compatible and which are not. So, we will check we you, or our agent will check your electronic ballast with your, first. Then give you the final replacement solution.

If it is in the compatible range, you just use the LED tube replace your fluorescent lamp.
If not in, you have to do the rewire work for the LED tube light replacement.

A-Plus Lighting has 10 years experience of LED high bay light and downlights producing, working with us - your customer will thank you and always remember!

A-Plus Lighting
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Hi, taylorphotographic. Good morning!
Very glad to got your comments.

Who cares? WE CARE!

Yes, you are right. Use the compatible LED tube light is a stopgap at present, which is designed for help people who not as professional as you to save some time and money to hire someone to do the rewire job for them. (remove the ballast will be better, will save more and lower fail)

About the LED starter, not sure you maybe call it in another name. If you really do not know it, you need keep learning, check the following chart from GE Lighting – LED tube light replacement instruction,

A-Plus Lighting has 10 years experience of LED high bay light and downlights producing, working with us - your customer will thank you and always remember!

taylorphotographic
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A-Plus Lighting wrote:
Hi, taylorphotographic. Good morning! Very glad to got your comments. Who cares? WE CARE! Yes, you are right. Use the compatible LED tube light is a stopgap at present, which is designed for help people who not as professional as you to save some time and money to hire someone to do the rewire job for them. (remove the ballast will be better, will save more and lower fail) About the LED starter, not sure you maybe call it in another name. If you really do not know it, you need keep learning, check the following chart from GE Lighting - LED tube light replacement instruction, !https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-99c371388e64564275cb17958bee6cc1-c...

 

Interesting.  None of the LED replacements I've done have used any kind of "starter" or other external electronic device.  I wired mine direct from incoming power leads to tombstone connectors.

I'm guessing this device is used in situations where it's easy to exchange the starter can than rewire the chassis.

 

Honestly I haven't even seen a fluorescent starter in decades, but I suppose they are still around somewhere.  My house was built in the 70's and no "starters" on any of the fluorescent fixtures.

 

PT

-- PT

hank
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Quote:
The starter (which is simply a timed switch) allows current to flow through the filaments at the ends of the tube. The current causes the starter’s contacts to heat up and open, thus interrupting the flow of current. The tube lights. Since the lighted fluorescent tube has a low resistance, the ballast now serves as a current limiter.

http://home.howstuffworks.com/question337.htm

which points to a site that’s been one of the old reliable sources on lighting — including LEDs — since Usenet was the Internet:
http://donklipstein.com/

taylorphotographic
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hank wrote:
Quote:
The starter (which is simply a timed switch) allows current to flow through the filaments at the ends of the tube. The current causes the starter's contacts to heat up and open, thus interrupting the flow of current. The tube lights. Since the lighted fluorescent tube has a low resistance, the ballast now serves as a current limiter.
http://home.howstuffworks.com/question337.htm which points to a site that's been one of the old reliable sources on lighting -- including LEDs -- since Usenet was the Internet: 

 

Yeah I get what they are I just haven't run into a fixture that has them in a very long time, and I hadn't seen them used on LEDs at all because LEDs don't need "warmed up".  I also get that if you have an existing fixture that incorporates these it might be easier to exchange the can rather than rebuild the fixture but fortunately I haven't found myself in that situation.

-- PT