Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 2
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by fastniky I'm impressed!
Ok, I know it's hard to believe, but these are truly amazing! The good, they are bright, look like the old kind and fit. The bad, they did not come with instructions and I wasted a lot of time finding out how to wire them up. ( Not HomeDepots fault! ) These were shipped to my door in a FedEx box with no instructions and no "kit". But thanks to an online search, instructions were found. Wiring was performed, and Light was radiating from these beautiful bulbs! One really nice feature is that the original ballast is removed. Also, they are instant on. A big plus if you use 4 foot bulbs in the cold! These are at least as bright as the regular bulbs.
February 2, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by jred Requires rewiring, but easier install than some other T8 LED tubes
Be aware that if you are changing from fluorescent tubes to these LED T8 tubes, you will need to rewire and bypass your ballast, so these are not "plug and play." That said, I found the rewiring easier with these tubes than some other LED T8s I have tried.
REWIRING - These LED tubes run directly off of 120V and do not use a ballast. Both hot and neutral connect to the same end of the tube, with the pins on the other end of the tube left floating. Thus to install them you have to: 1) Remove the old ballast and wiring; 2) Hook one pin on one end of each tube to the hot line; 3) Hook the other pin on the same end of each tube to neutral; 4) Leave the pins on the other end of the tube connected to nothing.
NO SINGLE LED WIRING STANDARD - So far I have seen at least two different wiring standards for T8 LED tubes that don't use ballasts (both from Philips), in addition to some T8 tubes that do operate with a ballast in place (much easier conversion, but less energy efficient--how much less depends in large part on how efficient your current ballast is). Thus if you rewire to install these, when you need to replace the tubes in the future, you have to make sure the new tubes use the same wiring scheme the existing tubes do (or do yet another rewiring job).
DIRECTIONAL - While standard fluorescent tubes emit light in all directions (360 degrees), these LED tubes emit light in one direction (the diffuser is 180 degrees wide). This means that your tombstones (connectors that hold your tubes in place) must be oriented to point in the direction you want the light. I suspect this is a non-issue in many installations, as typically the tombstones stick straight out from the fixture and you want the light pointing aiming straight down. However, one of my light fixtures was a "compact" fixture that had the tombstones at an angle. Thus I had to modify that fixture to re-aim the tombstones to a different angle.
POTENTIALLY LESS LIGHT - Lumens measure the total light put out in all directions by a bulb. What you really care about is the light that goes where you want it. These LED T8 bulbs are rated at 1500 lumens, but put out all their light in a 180 degree pattern or so. A typical 3000K fluorescent T8 puts out 2700-290 lumens, but since half of that goes up, you only get about half of that directly. How much of the rest of the light you get depends on how efficient the reflector in your light fixture is.
In some cheap shop fixtures I've tried that didn't have great reflectors, I lost virtually no light compared to my fluorescent tubes despite the lumen difference. However, in a more expensive kitchen fixture with a better reflector, I found that I was getting 1/3 stop less light on my camera light meter (80-85% as much light). So depending on what fixture you are working with, you may or may not get as much light after your conversion is done.
PROTECTED PINS - Some earlier LED tubes I ordered had damaged pins on the end when they arrived. The tubes in this order now come with pin protectors on the ends (apparently from the manufacturer). So Philips has improved how they package their bulbs, but be aware when handling them that you need to be a little careful of the pins. (They may not be any more fragile than fluorescent pins, but one tends to be more careful when working with glass tubes, and these LED tubes weigh more, so setting them down hard on an end can damage the pins.)
CONCLUSION - If you are looking for an LED tube that bypasses the ballast and don't mind some rewiring work, I can recommend these tubes. If you aren't comfortable with a rewiring job, you may want to look for the tube that works with an existing ballast.
February 9, 2014