LED T8 Lamps

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meby's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-17

Quite a number of manufacturers now offer these replacement units for commercial office spaces. Does anyone have any real life lessons they’d like to share with us about their performance?

Eastpoint Electric's picture
Joined: 2014-02-06

In general, I have been steering customers toward LED solutions. Looming obsolescence, energy efficiency, improvements in LED technology and reduced maintenance are among the reasons I like to recommend LEDs. However, there have been considerations that have required me to rethink that approach. I have lost jobs or had them delayed because the up front costs of an LED installation were so daunting. In the end, I still think LED lighting offers the best solution for all concerned, but the immediate need for a lighting solution at a more modest cost may override the advantages of LEDs. States and electricity providers are offering incentives to reduce the cost to the consumer. I always check to see what is available for the client before submitting an estimate. I believe the cost factor will become moot as more and better LED lamps become available and their expanded implementation reduces unit cost.

shamsdebout's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-10

Mike, are you talking about circular type LED lamps that are in a T8 size? I do not have any experience with this.

Ed Harlow's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-09

Correct me if I am wrong but I see that a lot of junk LEDs are coming out of China. I've seen people rate some of this junk very poorly and have said that many of these products come dead on arrival. One installer said that 75% of his retrofit bulbs didn't work out of the box. The only American manufacturer that I can find is Titan LED out of Simi Valley, CA. They have a 5 year warranty on their T8 replacements and claim the life expectancy is 100,000 hours.

jmacdonald's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-13

T8 replacement with 100,000 hours (11.4 years) has anyone left one of these "ON" for that long of time? Is that the life expectancy of the LED and/or the Driver? The Driver is made up of resistors, capacitors, rectifiers, filter circuits, power supplies, etc. that have only a 5 to 10 year life expectancy, how does the driver gain life expectancy?

meby's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-17

[quote=shamsdebout]Mike, are you talking about circular type LED lamps that are in a T8 size? I do not have any experience with this.[/quote]

Yes, I'm referring to tubular type LED lamps that are being sold as replacement units for T8 fluorescent linear type lamps.

mdshunk's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

I prefer letting technologies mature, rather than being on the bleeding edge. The T8 package for the LED is rather new in the marketplace, and I'm not putting my good name on something that has not been proven by doing it's time in the field. I'll be watching this thread, however. What I fear is color temperature objections, driver failures within a shorter period of time than the fluorescent's life that it replaced, individual LEDs in the lamp assembly failing causing lumen depreciation or aesthetic objections in open-type fixtures.

shamsdebout's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-10

[quote=jmacdonald]T8 replacement with 100,000 hours (11.4 years) has anyone left one of these "ON" for that long of time? Is that the life expectancy of the LED and/or the Driver? The Driver is made up of resistors, capacitors, rectifiers, filter circuits, power supplies, etc. that have only a 5 to 10 year life expectancy, how does the driver gain life expectancy?[/quote]

In most cases, the LED drivers are warranted for 5 years. The manufacturer is aware as you noted of several causes for these drivers failing.

Cad99's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

I have installed a few during a lighting retrofit. The only times I have pushed them is hard to reach areas where the higher costs will save labor in the long run. All the ones I have done have been in for less then a year, so no word on longevity. Also, when put side by side 5,000K you can tell there is something a little different about the LEDs but not much. I have to throw a few in a school next week. I will take some pics.

mdshunk's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

[quote=Cad99] I have installed a few during a lighting retrofit. The only times I have pushed them is hard to reach areas where the higher costs will save labor in the long run.[/quote]

That might actually be a good application for me. I'm thinking of a recent lay-in fixture at the top of a 4th floor stairwell that took hours of ingenious scaffold building to service. Did I mention this building had 4 such stair towers. As the kids say.... SMH

lhannon's picture
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Joined: 2013-04-30

I have just finished installing several hundred LED retrofit style R40 and R30 lamps in standard recess housings on our campus. The vast majority of the units are UtiliTECH Pro 4" retrofit lamps where the lamp, driver, and trim are one piece. I have them on Lutron occupancy sensor relays. I believe the color temperature is pretty close to 3,000K and seems to be rather uniform so far. Looks quite nice, but as noted, time will tell so I'll do my best to keep you informed. Average material cost per fixture was less than $30.00, including the recessed fixture, so price point made it a reasonable risk considering the potential man hours to be saved in maintenance. BTW, don't have any success so far with dimming of these reliably so that is still a big downside to these.

Leland's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-20

We are a general electrical contractor that has found a home in the lighting retrofit niche. We are dialed into the local utility rebates and rely on them to help with our sales. In our area, the utility rebate can cover as much as 70% of total project cost. The utilities are constantly revising their programs to push the market into emerging technologies. As of April 1, 2014 BPA in the Northwest is driving the market toward the T-8 LED product. We have completed several convenience store retrofits using the T-8 LED product. The pricing was prohibitive last summer but is now starting to come in line. ($47.50 each last summer now $19.50 each) We have had only 2 lamps fail of over 1,000 installed. Each time we went back to the supply house with the defective product and they replaced it. One of the key things to watch for is wether they are single end feed vs duel end feed. the T-8 LED lamp with the single end feed requires a non shunted tombstone. The double end fed units simply bypass the ballast and run the hot to one end and the neutral (grounded conductor) to the other. I would say the key is to research the manufacture as best you can prior to purchasing the product. I always verify that the product is an "approved" product off of design light lab, or energy star, or CREE listed. These independent testing agencies test and rate the different products and manufactures. We have found poor preforming products listed, but generally if they are approving the product there is somewhat of a level of credibility behind the manufacture. I read the comment about not putting my name on unreliable products and I cannot agree more. However, I do not want to wait and see my local market saturated by my competition because I am second guessing the products I have chosen to install. By purchasing through a national or local distributor that should give you another level of insurance for getting replacement parts. My advice is Don't Wait. Stick your toe in and pick something and try it. Small scale at first until you are comfortable with it. But don't wait, because one of your competitors won't.

LuxulTechnology's picture
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Joined: 2014-07-01

[quote=Leland]We are a general electrical contractor that has found a home in the lighting retrofit niche. We are dialed into the local utility rebates and rely on them to help with our sales. In our area, the utility rebate can cover as much as 70% of total project cost. The utilities are constantly revising their programs to push the market into emerging technologies. As of April 1, 2014 BPA in the Northwest is driving the market toward the T-8 LED product. We have completed several convenience store retrofits using the T-8 LED product. The pricing was prohibitive last summer but is now starting to come in line. ($47.50 each last summer now $19.50 each) We have had only 2 lamps fail of over 1,000 installed. Each time we went back to the supply house with the defective product and they replaced it. One of the key things to watch for is wether they are single end feed vs duel end feed. the T-8 LED lamp with the single end feed requires a non shunted tombstone. The double end fed units simply bypass the ballast and run the hot to one end and the neutral (grounded conductor) to the other. I would say the key is to research the manufacture as best you can prior to purchasing the product. I always verify that the product is an "approved" product off of design light lab, or energy star, or CREE listed. These independent testing agencies test and rate the different products and manufactures. We have found poor preforming products listed, but generally if they are approving the product there is somewhat of a level of credibility behind the manufacture. I read the comment about not putting my name on unreliable products and I cannot agree more. However, I do not want to wait and see my local market saturated by my competition because I am second guessing the products I have chosen to install. By purchasing through a national or local distributor that should give you another level of insurance for getting replacement parts. My advice is Don't Wait. Stick your toe in and pick something and try it. Small scale at first until you are comfortable with it. But don't wait, because one of your competitors won't.[/quote]

You are absolutely right about not waiting to jump in! LED is the future of lighting across the board. With customer expectations of technology on the rise, I can see not keeping up to speed with current products being a downfall. You also mentioned quality which is of course the main focus; choosing the right LED brand is crucial! Choosing a company that offers a guarantee as well as fast customer support and shipment should be deciding factors when incorporating LEDs into your projects.

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