Inexpensive replacement for these garage flourescent lights?



What do you think, honestly, of this idea?
Costco has supposedly "universal" LED replacement tubes:
https://s21.postimg.org/qei7hifs7/1_led_tubes_at_costco.jpg
The price is currently $7.70 per tube:
https://s21.postimg.org/8pqgpw413/2_led_tubes_at_costco.jpg
So I bought 16 of these reputedly "universal" LED tubes:
https://s21.postimg.org/7oq80rn1j/3_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
At home I compared them by size to the original tubes:
https://s21.postimg.org/khec0oynb/4_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
Where I can't find any T2 or T4 or T8 or T12 designation at all:
https://s21.postimg.org/4x6ya5oiv/5_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
All four of the 4-tube boxes hum and flicker and have bad bulbs:
https://s21.postimg.org/ne1d0z4h3/6_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
Opening them up, I find only about half still working:
https://s21.postimg.org/9lrjj333b/7_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
I can't find the ballast nor the T2,T4,T8 designation inside. All it says on the metal is "USE RAPID START LAMPS":
https://s21.postimg.org/jlhul8oyv/8_led_tubes_at_home.jpg
Where's the ballast? Will these bulbs work in these 4 4-bulb garage fixtures? What type of lights do I have anyway (T2?, T4?, T8? T12?)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill Moinihan wrote:

What are the pros and cons of just replacing the bulbs with LEDs? (Instead of putting in four new LED fixture assemblys?)
The Costco item number for the 2-pack I bought is 1063293.
Here is a link to the Costco 4pack (but I got the 2 pack). http://www.costco.com/Feit-4-FT-LED-Replacement-Tubes-4-pack--.product.100235288.html
Here is a web page about these bulbs: http://www.costcoweekender.com/2016/09/feit-electric-4ft-led-linear-tubes-costco-1063293.html
Here is the Feit Electric web site, who is the manufacturer I think: http://www.feit.com/led-lamps/led_linear_tubes/t48-841-led
That web site says they are a "Direct replacement for fluorescent 4ft T8 and T12 lamps" and the specs they give at that web site are: Feit Electric Company, Pico Rivera CA, www.feit.com snipped-for-privacy@feit.com Order number T48/41K/LED/2 Color Temperature: 4100K Life Year: 45.7 Life: 45.7 years / 50,000 hours MOL: 48" Long Life Hours: 50,000 Base: G13 Energy Used: 17 Watts Lumens: 1700 Rotating Endcap for Adjusting Light Direction Use only in fluorescent fixtures with operable fluorescent ballast Warranty is 5 years at 3 hours per day 866-326-2852
The box says, in multiple places. 1. "Convert your old fluorescent fixture to led by simply replacing the tubes". 2. "No rewiring, use existing fixture". 3. Simply remove any 4 ft. fluorescent tube and replace with these new led tubes!"
The package says "1700 lumens, 41000K Cool White, 17 Watts, 50,000 life hours*, uses 47% less energy."
The asterisk on the "50,000 life hours" says "Rated life is based on using in fixture with T8 electronic ballast. Life will vary depending on ballast type".
What type of ballast do I have?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/1/2016 7:23 PM, Bill Moinihan wrote:

Cost, unless you find equivalent fixtures at the same price of the lamps.

The lamps you have look like T12. That means, according to the LED info, your LEDs will not reach the 50,000 hours because you are using T12 ballasts.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meanie wrote:

You are correct.
All 16 of the 4-foot fluorescent bulbs said they were 40 watts, rapid start, average life 12,000 hours.
https://s18.postimg.org/llp51oemh/01_all_bulbs_appear_to_be_40w_t12_bulbs.jpg
Of the four ceiling mounted units, three worked fine either with four T12/40W fluorescent bulbs or with four T8 LED bulbs.
https://s22.postimg.org/8hx6ech7l/03_4_t8_led_bulbs_work_just_fine.jpg
The one ceiling unit that was humming badly had two ballasts inside when I removed the center covering steel plate:
https://s13.postimg.org/kekhhvot3/04_two_T40_ballasts.jpg
Both ballasts were of the same type, with a sticker on each saying Universal Therm-o-matic rapid start ballast For two F40W T12/RS lamps, high power factor Cat No 446-LR-TC-P, 120V, 60Hertz, 0.8Amp line Universal Mfg. Corp, Paterson NJ, Made in USA Class P Automatic resetting thermal protected
https://s11.postimg.org/orqbysecj/02_the_ballast_is_40_W_T12.jpg
Even though only one ballast is humming badly, I found the oddest situation when I put in either just one known-good fluorescent bulb or just 1 of the new LED bulbs.
Only one lane worked with just one bulb, which was this lane, which I'll call lane 2 since it's the second one from the outside:
https://s15.postimg.org/4gu6scm0r/a_lane2_is_working.jpg
But when I put the single bulb in any other lane (leaving the rest of the lanes empty) the bulb didn't light up (whether it was fluorescent or LED).
Is there any way to tell which two of the four lanes *each* ballast controls?
Does the one good ballast control the two inside lanes?
https://s17.postimg.org/tk1zfwckv/two_inside_lanes.jpg
Or does one ballast control the two lanes next to each other?
https://s16.postimg.org/uycmzw2wl/two_lanes_next_to_each_other.jpg
Or does the one ballast control every other lane?
https://s12.postimg.org/vqlyluwa5/every_other_lane.jpg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/2/2016 1:01 AM, Bill Moinihan wrote:

A four lamp fixture with two ballasts will operate two lamps each. One will control the outer lamps and the other will control the inner lamps. To determine what ballast controls what lamps, you need to follow a wire to the tombstone (pin) connection of the lamp. For example, follow the yellow wire to one of the connectors. If it's the inner lamp, then that ballast controls those two lamps and the other will control the outer two.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meanie wrote:

I've looked this up last night, watching videos and googling how the things work so I agree with you that it's 1 ballast for 2 lamps.
My ballast is so old, that it's made in the United States (NJ in fact). So it's probably no longer sold since it's most likely "magnetorestrictive", which means that it squeezes an iron core at 120 cycles per second (which is causing the loud hum in one of the two ballasts).
Apparently there is no repair; it can only be replaced, but it can't be found, so it has to be replaced with a different ballast, which may have to be T8 because they may no longer even sell T12 ballasts.

Thanks for saying that one controls outer and one controls inner. Is that the standard setup?

Yes. I saw videos where people followed those wires. I like the name "tombstone", as it fits the rounded-top rectangular shape.
I also found out that a T12 is 12/8ths of an inch in diameter, so, just looking at the lamps, I should have known that the diameter indicated a T12 while the diameter of the LEDs indicated a T8 (8/8ths of an inch), although neither seems to be that large in diameter in actuality.

Yes. You are correct, in that I looked this up and these are the colors: The ballast has 2 yellows that go to both prongs at one end of two lamps. It has 2 reds that go to both prongs of the other end of the first one of those two lamps, and then it has 2 blues that go to both prongs of the other end of the second of those two lamps.
I think I just have to remove stuff to see where the ballasts go, but in looking up how to replace them, I realized that I will never find a 1:1 replacement.
I think it may be "easier" and more cost effective to just replace the entire assembly. Any suggestions for an inexpensive replacement?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill Moinihan wrote:

I understand that due to the 110/230 voltage differences, fluorescent tubes and their ballasts are wired differently on each side of the Atlantic, but over here converting a fluorescent fitting to LEDs usually involves removing the ballast and starter, is that not the case over there?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/2/2016 10:25 AM, Andy Burns wrote:

When LEDs were first available as replacements for tubed fluorescent, they had to be direct wired (removal of ballasts). Now they've made LEDs to use the existing ballasts as it's driver. Though, that could still differ based on geographic location.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meanie wrote:

I don't know anything about LED tubes but if it was "direct wire" that might be better because who needs the ballast anyway?
I don't even understand what the ballast even does, in the case of the LED tubes.
Do you?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Burns wrote:

You've hit upon the major flaw of my "retrofit".
I wanted to get rid of the fluorescent, especially since one of them buzzes loudly. But I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars just now.
People suggested LEDs for two reasons: a. Energy cost b. Convenience
I think the solution I came up with, which fits into a fixture with T8 ballast, is hitting me on both:
A. I don't see how it saves energy yet, since it's the same ballast B. The T8 LEDs may burn out far more quickly since it's a T12 ballast
On the first point, I admit I'm confused. How can it save *any* energy, if the ballast is the same?
The LED box says "Uses 47% less energy" where it clarifies that in the small print saying "47% energy savings is based on the difference between using a 17W LED replacement lamp, compared to using a 32W fluorescent lamp with an electronic ballast. Performance varies based on ballast type. Your savings will depend on your rates, fluorescent lamp (sic) you are replacing and actual hours of operation.
In my case, I have the non-electronic ballast, and it's 40Watts. I'm confused.
Plus my energy costs are three times the 11 cents they seem to use in the LED light numbers.
So, I'm confused.
Does any of this mean I'll get more or less than the roughly half savings of energy costs?
How?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My head hurts on trying to figure out just how a legacy ballast can worh with a retrofitted LED tube, but they do. I've installed a few of them.
I measured the before and after using a Kil-a-watt brand meter. Don't have the paper here, but the measurements were something like the following.
twin "40" fluorescent fixture:
Ballast only w/no lamps: 12 watts Ballast w/both lamps: 84
Retrofitted with a "drop in" LED:
Ballst w/LEDs: 60
Light output was higer with the LEDs.
Again, these are NOT the exact numbers, but there definitely was a savings when using the drop in replacements.
--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
danny burstein wrote:

I only yesterday figured out how (by looking it up) a legacy ballast works with LED tubes, but I couldn't find an article that explains how it works with LEDs.

Thanks for providing that reference information. I have to admit, the two 4-bulb lamps currently with the LEDs in them are brighter than the sun it seems, at least in a garage they are.
Compared to the fluorescents, they rock with light output!
I just hope they last, given they are T8s on a T12 ballast.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For about $ 20 you can get a single electronic ballast that will run all 4 tubes. Then put in the newer T8 bulbs.
You will have to follow the wiring diagram that is on the ballast as it will be different from the old one. The new ones are made to fit in the same bracket/screw holes as one of the older ones.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ralph Mowery wrote:

Thanks for that suggestion!
How does this one look from Home Depot? http://www.homedepot.com/p/120-Volt-Electronic-Ballast-for-4-ft-4-Lamp-T8-Fixture-93885/205409893
One question is whether I need "instant start" or "programmed/rapid start": https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/4-lamp-t8-fluorescent-ballasts/
I think I need "rapid" start because that's what is there now, I think.
Since cost is a major issue for me (I have little money but want to get rid of the buzzing from the bad ballast and if I can get rid of fluorescent tubes and save money on electricity, that would be a plus), here's the cost breakdown:
$20 for the T8 electronic ballast $28 for the four T8 LED bulbs ----------------- %50 roughly, for the retrofit
Is that my best option?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You need to get the bulbs to match the ballast which in this case is 'instant start'. I have not bought any floursecent bulbs ina while, but the last time I bought them seems that I could get a box of 12 for only a little more than 4 bulbs.
If going to the LED type bulbs you may not even need the ballast. I have not replaced any flourscent with the LED in the same fixture so can not comment on that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ralph Mowery wrote:

It would be nice if I can just cut out the ballast altogether. Maybe the LED bulbs work with or without the ballast? I'll call Feit tomorrow to ask if that's possible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ralph Mowery wrote:

This bulb seems to simply require me to "bypass the ballast": http://www.ledsource.com/products/effinion-lt-series-led-tubes/
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/2/2016 10:17 AM, Bill Moinihan wrote:

Correct. T12 are obsolete.

Yes. The other set up would be a single four lamp ballast.

Correct. A T8 is supposed to be 1 inch in diameter.

Ballasts are now becoming universal. In that, I mean, they can accommodate voltage of 120 to 277 and they no longer have two wires of each color. Instead, they offer one red and two blues. Each of those wires connects with the two wires from each lamp. Thus, the single red will connect to the two yellows, one blue will connect to two blues and the other blue will connect to the two reds.
Unfortunately, inexpensive replacements usually mean cheap ballasts which will not last long. Also keep in mind if you continue to use fluorescent fixtures, when a lamp is burned out, it is best to replace asap to ensure long life of the ballast. When a lamp isn't working, the ballast continuously attempts igniting the non-working lamp and that decreases the life of the ballast.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meanie wrote:

Thanks for confirming. The funny thing is that the only difference is the diameter (and the wattage), so, it's odd that they're "obsolete" just because they're a bit fatter.
What's so bad about a 40W tube versus a 32W tube? Is the 8 watts really a big deal?
Or is there some other reason to ban "fat" tubes?

Since I think I have two bad ballasts, the single four-lamp ballast for 20 bucks is what I'm gonna get tomorrow at Home Depot (if they have it).

I measured the T8 LED with a ruler and it was close to one inch, but the T12 was off by a lot. It was 1-3/8ths of an inch, or a T11 in diameter.

Hmmm... that sounds like exactly the same setup, only different colors. I guess the colors actually "mean" something then... 'cuz color is the only difference on the outside.

Thank you for that hint, as I did not know that. They never taught me anything about this stuff in school.
Given out of 16 bulbs I took out, only about half were still working, so I'm surprised only one ballast was outright dead (with another suspect).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It could be the 8 watts or more likely the makeup of the tube. Less glass and material. The tubes do contain mercury so less of that to deal with. They kept cutting down on the mercury in the t12 tubes and someetimes they would not start up if it was much below 50 deg F. Not sure of the makeup of the coating on the inside ot the tubes, but less used there also.
I worked in a large company that had thousands of bulbs. Toward the last of the t12 tubes we had many that would not start up and this was in a room that was over 70 deg F.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.