Lighting - the bane of my life

Following the bathroom lighting saga and lounge lighting saga (to be
resolved next week - hopefully...), last night my bedside light would
not come on.
It's one of two lights, each with an inline dimmer, and with a common
power lead to a single 13 amp plug. Many possibilities to go wrong, but
it was just the switch contact in the old brass bayonet socket which had
worn out. So off to the darkest corner of the garage to find the old
spares box, and a similar switched brass socket. But that was also
dodgy, with a similar problem. No more old brass sockets in the box, but
a switched plastic bayonet fitting was fine. I replaced the lights in
the bedroom, plugged them in, and they were both ok.
That was early afternoon, so with the good weather I went out into the
garden to get some tidying up done. I came back in to find the power was
off in the lounge. A quick check of the the split CU showed one of the
RCDs had tripped. Nothing else showed as faulty, but that RCD was one
which was in the circuit for the socket for the repaired bedside light.
Aaargh! But jumping to conclusions can lead you astray, so I switched
off all the MCBs on the side of that RCD, and switched them on in turn.
It wasn't the bedside lamp tripping the RCD! But it was the house
lighting - that which I'd had so many problems with recently.
But that's jumping to conclusions again. To cut another long story
short, it was one of the 5ft fluorescent lights in the garage. I'd
needed to turn them on to have a look in the spares box. For some
reason, one of the three separate fittings was tripping the RCD as soon
as it was turned on. I haven't had a chance to have a look, but I'd
guess a possibility is the choke or maybe the insulation on one of the
live wires has failed.
I'd guess the fittings are over 20 years old; we've been here well over
6 years and none of the fluorescent tubes has been replaced. I'm toying
with replacing all the fittings as they are so old. I suppose I should
be thinking of leds (with batten), but a high-frequency fitting and
triphosphor tube isn't as expensive as a led/batten and is almost as
efficient as a led (leds - 24W/3000lumen; fluorescents 58W/5000lumen).
Neither will get much use, maybe a couple of hundred hours a year.
Anyone changed to leds, or stayed with fluorescents?
Reply to
Jeff Layman
A 5ft LED tube will fit into the existing fitting and just requires a small rewire inside the light fitting to make it work (assuming a knackered choke).
Reply to
Yes, although I see the TLC T8 battenless tubes don't even need a rewire (unless it's an electronic ballast - which I doubt):
It's just that I don't know what state the wiring is in inside the current fittings. If its dodgy in all three I'll have to replace it anyway. And the led tubes have only about 60% of the light output of the same length fluorescents.
Reply to
Jeff Layman
I like my electronic ballast for a kitchen light with two four ft tubes. It has not had much use as the cable to the light needs to be replaced.
Previously I was using an electronic starter.
Reply to
Michael Chare
I suppose it varies
Others are 110, 120, 180, 210, 270 degrees, choose what suits your fixtures
Reply to
Andy Burns
The upwards light isn't wasted - it gives an overall illumination that fills in the shadows a bit.
Reply to
Hang on! you forgot to mention the 240 degree option! :-)
I've been making do with a 100W uplighter (14W 1500lm LED) supplemented by a 60W (12W 810lm LED) desk lamp pointed up to the ceiling in my 'man cave' as substitute lighting for a failed 1500mm T8 58W tube for several weeks now, in part because my son had borrowed our 7 tread stepladder needed to access the 9 foot high ceilings of this Victorian house.
He'd returned the step ladder the week before but when he dropped by yesterday (Tuesday now), he was enthusing over the LED replacement tube his G/F's uncle had used to upgrade their kitchen fluorescent light fitting, querying why I hadn't gotten round to doing the same upgrade.
After pointing out to him that the highest lumens output in a LED replacement was only half that of the 4800 to 5300lm rating of a 58W T8 1500mm tube, and my reluctance to upgrade to a LED tube, I decided to give one a try on the basis that the last tube had been the victim of a faulty ballast choke which had caused it to fail in just under a year and the idea of spending almost 3 quid a pop each year just to keep it going had rather lost its appeal as the "quick 'n' dirty fix" it once was.
I knew the suspect ballast choke wouldn?t be an issue with a replacement LED tube and was unlikely to waste more than a couple of watts in I squared R losses in this case, so it seemed to be an effective way to sidestep the need to replace the ballast *and* the tube.
In short, despite this 50% reduction in the lumens figures, typically specified for most of these LED replacement tubes over the original fluorescents, I thought I'd put the claim of "58W equivalency" to the test so ordered a CED Meridian LEDT5GS/NW 24W 5 foot glass cover tube from Toolstation on a click 'n' collect basis from my local store on that Tuesday afternoon but they were out of stock, obliging me to wait for them to restock for the next day before I could pick it up.
Considering the lower lumens figure compared to those typically claimed for the original fluorescent tubes, I was quite impressed with the lighting level which seems to match my perception of the original fluorescent luminosity. At around four times the cost of a 3 quid T8 1500mm fluorescent tube, the savings in electrical consumption will have realised a full 100% ROI in just less than a year even allowing for that couple of watts' worth of waste energy in the now redundant ballast choke.
I spent a bad hour trying to track down a proper technical specification ever since I spotted your post, just to verify what its actual beam angle was (240 degrees, obviously :-) ).
It's actually a very well specified tube compared to the 20W 2000lm Philips version being sold by Screwfix for three quid more. The only give away that it's *not* a fluorescent tube[1] being the extended plastic end caps and the lack of light fall off at the tube ends that's so typical of a fluorescent tube (and these days with mercury starved T8 tubes, the warm up period when these 'modern' tubes display patterning for the first few minutes before finally coming up to full brightness - an annoyance that simply didn't exist with the older T12 tubes).
One interesting 'feature' that caught my attention was the operating voltage range which extends from 100v to 265v. The small volt drop in the ballast choke won't be causing any loss of performance if you CBA to remove it (just a couple of watts' worth of waste heat at most in the light fitting itself - hardly worth the effort to remove it from the circuit imo).
You can download the specification from this page :-

and check it out yourself if you're in the market to replace any 5 (or 4 or 6) foot tubes.
They may look as bright as the fluorescent tubes they claim equivalency to but I'm not fooled, just impressed that they don't look as dim as the lumens figures would suggest. They're good enough as fluorescent tube replacements with the bonus that they will provide a 100% ROI in less than 4000 hours of run time (anywhere from one to three years in most cases).
[1] The "instant start" nature of these LED tubes is not a give away afaiac since I'm well used to the tube life enhancing "instant start" features of the Quickstart ballasted light fittings I've been using for more than the past three decades with T12 tubes.
Reply to
Johnny B Good
I just removed the tube from one of the two dodgy fluos which when switched on tripped the RCD, took off the batten cover, and had a look at the wiring. Everything seemed ok, but I disconnected the mains cable and switched everything back on. No tripping of the RCD with the cable disconnected, so that had to be the dodgy fitting. Just to check, I reconnected it and switched on. Still no RCD trip. Strange. So I put the tube back in and tried again. Still no trip! In fact, I switched all the fluos on and off a few times, but the RCD still didn't trip. Bloody lighting! It really is the bane of my life...
If I get an RCD trip again new battens will be the order of the day. Too much unnecessary fuffing around otherwise.
Reply to
Jeff Layman

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