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4ft LED flourescent direct replacement tube bulbs.

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  • 4ft LED flourescent direct replacement tube bulbs.

    So after my Iris By Lowes system became defunct, Lowes actually refunded the new purchase price of my system on a store independent visa card. This was nearly 2 years ago, I got a great deal because 99% of my system I bought at a few pennies on the dollar on Ebay, so I used the money to go with a competing product, Samsung SmartThings, and added a variety of bulbs, smart switches, and convert to LED lighting, except the shop. I was too cheap to want to replace the bulbs yet, but I did swap in a smart switch to control the fixtures.

    So fast forward to a couple of months ago, bulbs started dying, I needed some bulbs. The Feit direct replacement bulbs I got at Costco were more money than I wanted to spend on bulbs, and I saw Walmart had these 10 packs of their Great Value branded direct replacement bulbs in daylight white. Fantastic. I have had previous good experiences with Great Value branded LED bulbs, and figured I couldn't go wrong.

    I couldn't have been more wrong.

    The pair in the first fixture flicker ALL THE TIME. The pair in the second fixture I tried run for about 5 minutes and then fail. The third fixture I tried just won't light up.

    At this point I am disgusted with these bulbs, it's been too long to return them, and it is possible there is a ballast problem with some of these fixtures as they are getting old now.

    Instead of fighting with these fixtures and cheap bulbs, I am thinking of getting purpose built, not converted over 48" LED shop light fixtures.

    This leaves me with the question. Has anyone else replaced their fixtures and are there ones that you are happy with? If not, have you converted your existing T12 fixtures with the tubes that do not use the ballasts? Which ones did you use and how hard was the overall conversion?

    My long term goal is availability of bulbs, reduced energy use, and no flicker no matter the weather hot, or cold.

    I was thinking of dropping the 7th fixture, the one over the table saw, and instead using one of those Bell & Howell screw in bulb socket multi panel LED fixtures that is on the same circuit, I think it would give me better light over both the table saw and work bench.

    What's your Floursecent to LED conversion advice folks?
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  • #2
    I think the various half-way solutions using old fixtures and bypassing ballasts and using ballasts in bulb are going to be a replacement issue one day
    When my fluorescent fixtures die, I have been replacing them with new 4-foot LEDs. I buy them when I see a good price and keep it handy for a swap out when one dies.

    So far I have 4 4-ft LED fixtures, and 3 T8s. All my T12 have died and gone to heaven. The ballasts are the weak point in them, Both magnetic and solid state ballast T12s have all died.
    I have a handful of T12 bulbs I'm gonna have to dump unless someone wants them.

    I just bought 2 of those Beyond Bright also Bell and Howell.(are they all the same? who knows) three-wing screw base LEDs advertised on TV. My quick comments:
    the advertising claims to be 3500 lumen and 40 Watt equivalent. Incandescent 40 watt bulbs run about 700 lumens so its more like 200 W equivalent. I measured 43 W actual on one and 47 watts actual on the other.

    Bed Bath and Beyond has them for $14.99 and 20% off single item BB&B coupons are everywhere.
    Home Depot has then for $25
    and Amazon has them for $30.
    so go figure. And beware, Amazon reviews had a whole bunch of comments about DOAs and early failures. I guess they got satisfaction but still inconvenient.
    One is for my SIL and the other I'm going to put in the screw socket for my shop/garage that's separate from all the 4-ft LED-tubes.
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    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ -


    • #3
      Two months ago, I bought two 16 pack (I think) 4ft T8 LED daylight ballast-bypass tubes from Home Depot, and had a friend replace them in our office. I looked up Ballast-bypass LED 4ft tube replacement on Youtube, looked at the schematics on the paper in the packs, and once I had them in my mind and in my friends mind, (It didn't take but about a couple of minutes for us to identify the correct layout) I let him go do it. They work fine.

      Our old fluorescent lights had each had double ballasts and 4 tubes in each fixture.

      We have been VERY happy with them.

      I will add in after reading CWSmiths below: Our do NOT flicker; that would be terrible in an office environment.
      Last edited by leehljp; 01-06-2021, 12:34 AM.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


      • #4
        I had several old 4ft, 2-tube florescent fixtures in my garage and basement and over the last few years had trouble with several of them. Flicker, buzzing, short-lived tubes, etc. In the spring of 2019 I bought one 'shop light' fixture from Home Depot and another from Walmart. The HD was about $50 and the Walmart $35, as I remember. Both were about 6500 K, which were much too bright and glaring for my eyes. Here in my basement I used the Walmart "Lights of America" brand and raised up above the drop ceiling which cut the glare considerable. Works great, no buzz or flicker. I went to buy a few more and they stopped carrying that brand. The Home Depot purchase I wasn't particularly happy with, as it flickered. I had put it in my shed (where my shop is now) and it bothered my eyes. Just too much glare and it gave me a headache being out there for any length of time. I went to take a picture one day and my camera immediately notified me that 'flicker' was present. Problem with both fixtures was that the LED were bare, and much too white (about 5500 K) for my comfort.

        Shortly there after, I went looking on Amazon and in August 2019 I purchased a four-pack of Sunco shop lights. ( They arrived well packaged, four to a carton.

        The price was right, and they are linkable (neither the Home Depot or Walmart lights were at that time.) These are 2-bulb fixtures which come with mounting hardware; chains, hooks, etc. and I had them up in the shed in under an hour. These however, are not replaceable bulbs, they are frosted plastic tubes with the LED strips enclosed. They do have chain pulled switches, and metal reflectors. ( I just have them plugged into a switchable outlet boxes so I don't use the chain switches.)

        So, I've had them about a year and half, no buzz, no flicker, immediately bright with no warm up. I bought the 4,000 K lights instead of the 5,000 K and it works quite well for me. NO headaches and the frosted bulbs cut the glare. The cold or heat doesn't bother them at all and my shop reaches over a 110 on hot summer days and this time of the year it can get down to 15 degrees or so. At about $23 a piece, I don't worry about replacing bulbs individually, I'll just hang a new fixture. BTW, they have a 7-year warranty from the manufacturer.

        Think it Through Before You Do!


        • #5
          One advantage of the New LED shop lights vs T8 and T8 fixtures with ballast bypass LEDs.

          That is that the LEDs fixtures while apparently in tubes have a definite up and down side. All the LEDs are on one side making it easier for the light to go down where you want it. All the light is released into a hemisphere below the bulb.

          Tube fluorescents give off light in 360 degrees around the bulb so in order to maximize delivery of the light a reflector is used to reflect some of the up going light back down. Not 100% efficient so some lumens are wasted. If you put a ballast bypass LED tube in the socket then I'm not sure if they emit on all sides of the tube or just one side and you have to install it correctly. In the latter case, then the reflectors of the fixture are basically unused.
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ -


          • #6

            I haven't found orientation to be a problem with 4ft LED lights. One group had the shine side of the LED as clear and the upper as silver as downward reflective. I'm not near one at the moment but it seems like the light will shine in a 210 to 270 outward and upward, but not 360. (roughly 90 of the upper portion of normal tubes are reflective light anyways.)

            Installing them - It is quite evident to all but the bonehead which side is down. Another group in which the tubes were ALL white, they were clearly marked and written stickers as to which side was the downward pointing side. If one couldn't read, then I guess they could mess it up.

            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


            • #7
              I wasn't saying it is a problem, i think its pretty obvious which side the ligth comes out.
              What I was pointing out is that the reflector "wings" on old tube fixtures are essentially useless if you put LED tubes in that old upgraded fixture.
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-08-2021, 01:59 PM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ -


              • #8
                Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                I wasn't saying it is a problem, i think its pretty obvious.
                What I was pointing out is that the reflectors on old tube fixtures are essentially useless if you put LED tubes in that old upgraded fixture.
                Agreed, but I guess I was thinking in terms of the office lights we replaced. For shop lights, yes.
                Hank Lee

                Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


                • #9
                  This is what I'm using in the garage/shop. I can't love them enough... they are brighter than my old T8's, fire up immediately in any temperature, etc.

                  With most fixtures you can supposedly just drop them in. However I did remove the ballast as they run more efficiently that way. <10 min per fixture (closer to 5 once you get the hang of it).



                  • #10
                    Hmm, I have not seen until now the dual tubes that allow bypassing or using the existing ballasts.

                    However, tempting it is to use without bypassing, it will be more efficient if you do, and also more reliable... ballasts even electronic ones in most T8 fixtures are still probably the most failure prone part.
                    Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-09-2021, 02:25 PM.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ -


                    • #11
                      So for clearance reasons, I have my existing T12s mounted directly to the ceiling. Specifically through the base and into the studs.

                      I am not familiar with the 4ft LED lamps. Are they built more or less the same way as the floursents? I.E. pull the bulbs, drop the reflector and the inside of the housing with the chain / mount holes are immediately there?

                      I am thinking about doing the ballast bypass instead of new fixtures for the following reasons.
                      1. No need to figure out new mounting points.
                      2. No need to reroute the wiring to get these fixtures powered. I have the power cables clipped to the ceilings and are nice and tidy, I don't want to undo that just to replace a fixable fixture.
                      3. No additional generation of landfill waste. I like using items to their full value.
                      4. At least with drop in bulbs, I know I can get replacement bulbs. I know nothing of the new LED fixtures.
                      Looking at the various price points, it seems that it is more or less a cost break even sort of thing.

                      On the 3 wing LED fixture, I wasn't aware of any options other than the Bell & Howell. I will look into Bed Bath and Beyond. I need to grab another casserole dish / carrier thing for next year. Covid notwithstanding we tend to take a couple of the sides for holiday meals with extended family, and the dish that isn't fitted with the nice cover gets kept hot with a towel and that looks funky. It works, just looks funky....
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                      • #12
                        The Amazon listing says fits T8 T10 T12 some places and in other says it fits T8.
                        Not sure how they can make it universal or it f there's a different product needed.

                        Confused... But I only have T8 left... But Dave said he had T12 still and made me wonder.

                        My T8 are working fine I won't replace until they fail. its 65 Watts vs 40 Watts per fixture difference. less than a cent per hour for three fixtures Wouldn't pay back for quite a while.
                        Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-09-2021, 02:42 PM.
                        Loring in Katy, TX USA
                        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                        BT3 FAQ -


                        • #13
                          Sam's Club sells a Honeywell branded LED shop light at only $25 that is BRIGHT. I have a bunch of them. Flexible mounting options, and linkable so you can add more lights without adding more wiring besides what they include. I still have a couple of T8s that haven't died so I have left them alone. But I'd replace them with the Sam's lights if they had an issue. Cheap, fast, easy.


                          • #14
                            LED lights, besides coming in various brightness levels and color temperatures, can be made with several styles of alternating current to direct current (which is what the LEDs need) conversion. Two simple (and low cost) styles are:
                            1: a basic full-wave rectifier setup using 4 plain diodes. On schematics, this is almost always drawn with the diodes in a diamond shape.
                            2: two strings of LEDs inside the bulb... one string wired to illuminate on the positive side of the alternating current cycle, the other wired to illuminate on the negative half of the cycle. Such LED bulbs run each LED only half the time and thus loose brightness.

                            In either simple case, the LEDs will be cycling ON-OFF-ON-OFF 120 times per second for style 1 (with the bridge rectifier) or 60 times per second with style 2 - i.e. nearly 100% flicker. Most folks will not consciously perceive that flicker... but it can cause headaches for quite a few people and trigger epileptic seizures in 1 out of 4000 or so people (Photosensitive Epilepsy). For woodworking shops, the pulsing could line up with RPMs of lathes, saw blades, etc. leading to a "stop motion" effect. Fluorescent bulbs also have flicker at these frequencies though the magnitude is smaller - more like ON - less ON - ON - less ON because the bulbs respond slower. Incandescent bulbs, since they use heat to create the light, average the AC voltage and have much less flicker... the filaments can't heat and cool very quickly - certainly not 60 times per second - so the flicker level is on the order of 15% or less which is basically imperceptible.

                            Better LED bulbs use high-frequency DC-to-DC converters (similar to the switching power supply used in PCs) so the frequency is thousands of cycles per second - well above 60 or 120 hz from the power lines. The incoming 60hz power line signal is rectified to simple DC current which then feeds a higher frequency oscillator -> transformer -> another rectifier plus small filter capacitor. Now the ON-OFF-ON-OFF pulses at the LEDs happens at thousands of cycles per second, well above what human eyes can detect; if a capacitor is used to even-out the rectified signal then flicker could be as low as 1%. Such LED bulbs are typically sold as "no flicker" or "flicker free" bulbs. Often the bulbs will be rated for quite a range of input voltages too: 90 to 240 volts for example because feedback circuitry can control the oscillator as necessary to regulate the output voltage (feeding the actual LEDs) to the proper voltage. Again, it's the same technology used in universal computer power supplies and USB chargers that work on both US style 120 volt mains or European style 220/240 volt mains. After a lot of reading, "flicker free" bulbs would be the only ones I would consider using in spaces where I'd be working for hours at a time to minimize headache risks. Flicker-free bulbs though, by their nature, are incompatible with standard light dimmers... similar to trying to use a router speed control box (intended for universal motors) on modern routers with electronic speed control and soft-start. Specific dimmers are needed for dimmable flicker-free LED bulbs - some flicker-free LEDs are not dimmable at all.

                            5000K is common for LEDs as those are the easiest to make; it also approximates mid-day daylight. A few folks think high color temps cause other issues: 5000K has a lot of blue in the spectrum; there is recent evidence that indicates excess blue light affects the body's circadian rhythm. Blue light supposedly makes the body think "mid-day" making it more difficult to go to sleep right away. That is why PCs and tablets now offer a "night mode" that reduces the blue levels on screens. Incandescent bulbs tended to be around 2700K to 3000K ("warm" light); 4200K was "cool white" fluorescent bulbs; "daylight" and "bright white" were in the 5000K ballpark. Higher color temperatures make it easier to see details; many factory buildings use 5500K "daylight metal halide" lights for this reason. To make my shop lights match the inside of my house - so the colors of stains and other finishes look correct in the shop compared to when I bring finished projects inside - my plan is to find LED fixtures in the 3000K to 4000K range. 3000K would match the house interior lighting better; 4000K would be better for seeing details in the shop.

                            "Shop lighting" could grow enough to become its own forum topic! Like the old "Harbor Freight Gems and Junk" threads, I think a thread tracking specific brands/models of lighting would make sense. Folks could post their experiences, relative prices, where to get them, who actually manufactures them, etc. and it'd be a way to see which lights remained available for several years.

                            Last edited by mpc; 01-11-2021, 05:54 PM.


                            • #15
                              The last thing MPC mentioned, continued availability, is a problem for LED lighting. The companies seem to come and go, particularly China suppliers which is where so many come from.

                              Loring in Katy, TX USA
                              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                              BT3 FAQ -