where can I get cheap bypass conversion 4 ft LED tubes?

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  • where can I get cheap bypass conversion 4 ft LED tubes?

    I looked on Amazon and they sell them by the 10's 20's and 50's and 100's but I just want a pair.

    I have a T8 fixture that was arcing and sparking and is now dead so the ballast is gone. I replaced it with a 4-ft LED unit but it cost me $34.
    I just want a pair of 4 ft. LED bypass conversion to fix it for replacing the next unit that fails.

    Anyone suggest a place to pick up a couple of tubes for 10 bucks apiece shipped or so? or a local place to pick up?
    smallest Amazon had was 4 tubes for $35.

    After a web search for bulb stores...
    Batteries Plus near me has 14W, 1800 lumen 5000K bypass T8 for $7.99 Werker brand...

    also some at 3500 K, same price & spec. ( I use 4000-5000 in the shop)

    Any comments?

    Oh well, ordered a pair. Pick up Tuesday.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-11-2022, 02:32 AM.
    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 - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    About a year ago, I bought some "bypass" LEDs (4 ft) from Home Depot. But I think I bought them in packs of 6 or 8. Not sure. It wasn't hard to do the bypass.

    I saw some that mentioned both "electronic" or "magnetic" ballast which I do not understand the difference.

    Here is HD's single tube:


    To search on HD or Lowes, just type in "bypass" with the search.
    Hank Lee

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


    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey Hank, ballasts convert the voltage. In older units they used heavy transformers operating at line frequency of 60 Hz which is why they often hummed and flickered at 60/120 Hz and these transformers are magnetic. Usually a brick -sized hunk of heavy transformer.

      More modern fluorescents used electronic ballasts, a higher frequency electronic transformer using rectifying AC and using transistor oscillators to create a high frequency (maybe 10 or 20 KHz) and smaller lighter HF transformers to light the tubes.

      So if it is a plug and play replacement and it says magnetic or electronic it is drop in replacement (no conversion to bypass), uses the ballast output and can work with either 60 Hz magnetic or HF electronic style ballasted fixtures.
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-11-2022, 03:17 PM.

    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      That HD unit is Feit. Costs $16 and has an output of 2000 lumens per tube.
      The one I got today from Batteries Plus Bulbs is a "Werker", costs $8 and has an output of only 1800 Lumens per tube.

  • #3
    For what it's worth, it seems like individual, or even pairs of tubes, LED or flourescent are super hard to come by. My local Home Depot sells T8s, on occasion, when they can get them. But typically you have to buy 8 or 12 pack boxes. LEDs really are no different.

    Since you managed to find some to order,that is awesome. Please share where you found them. Like I said, not common so knowledge sharing in this case is good...
    Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.


    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      Batteries Plus Bulbs, chain store selling batteries and light bulbs.
      I'm going to make the conversion today.

      Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-11-2022, 03:16 PM.

    • dbhost

      Editing a comment
      Ah, never thought of them. That's where I get my specialty batteries.

  • #4
    Well, got the tubes today. Batteries Plus 10% off online order and pickup code CDP10011

    Backstory was the T8 fixtures were probably 5-10 years old. and this one was flickering off periodically starting around Christmas and gradually flickering off more and more and finally quit completely a couple of days ago. I did order a replacement LED fixture and replaced it yesterday being kind of awkward getting around the ceiling these days because of stuff, you know.

    So I had the dead fixture and being an engineer I was about 99% sure that the ballast, the heart of the thing was dead. It had been making popping and cracking noises associated with the flickering and I operated the on-off switch multiple times to try and see if the switch or the power had anything to do with it. The switch seemed to function perfectly as the fixture malfunctioned so I figured it was not the switch or the power cord. And the bulbs seemed OK, the normal failure being darkening and a different kind of continuous flicker rather then an intermittent flicker. And two bulbs doing exactly the same thing rules out one being bad.

    So I decided if I could make a conversion cheaply I would keep the unit for a backup. The top came off with three screws and showed it would be easy to rewire. The LED fixture I bought cost $34. So when I found I could get bypass conversion tubes 2 for $16 I was go.

    So today I have the new tubes, take the cover off, remove all the wires and wire the tombstones from one end to the power switch and Neutral wires with two blue wire nuts, all in about 5 or ten minutes. Ready to turn on.... dead.

    Get some tools - KAW power monitor and DMM. We have voltage and the unit is not drawing power. The tombstones openings are too small and can't get the probes in to check for voltage so I literally have to disassemble everything to get places to check.

    Long story short, I had to check every point in the thing and cut some wires and open all the connections to the individual parts to eliminate the cord, the switch, the tombstone connectors. Here's what it was:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	P1110634.JPG Views:	0 Size:	169.5 KB ID:	847362
    Yes a stupid crimped wire splice from the factory. became intermittent after years of use then simply went completely open in the span of 2 weeks. From here:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	switchP1110627crop.jpg Views:	0 Size:	161.3 KB ID:	847357

    It was in series with the switch connecting the line in with the switch. If I had to bet on all the parts being bad the crimp would have been the last lowest likelihood with maybe the exception of a piece of wire going open. And this crimp had worked for 5-10 years and just decided to become intermittent.

    Anyway It took me another half hour to an hour of puzzlement to sort that all out what should have been a 5 minute job.. And I think but did not confirm that the ballast is probably OK. I didn't feel like putting it all back together to original state to check. They even gave me a new label.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	P1110627.JPG Views:	0 Size:	100.0 KB ID:	847360 Click image for larger version  Name:	P1110631.JPG Views:	0 Size:	122.4 KB ID:	847361 Click image for larger version  Name:	P1110632.JPG Views:	0 Size:	63.7 KB ID:	847359 Click image for larger version  Name:	P1110633.JPG Views:	0 Size:	100.2 KB ID:	847358
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-12-2022, 05:18 AM.
    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 - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions