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Thread: Retrofitting T8 tube fixtures to LED

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Saginaw County, MI
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    Retrofitting T8 tube fixtures to LED

    I will be retrofitting existing T8 fixtures to new LED tubes and pulled the following up during my research. Have any of you dealt with this issue?

    "There is a deeper and more dangerous issue here that few people are aware of. My comments here specifically apply to tubes which are intended to be directly connected to a 120vac source (or branch circuit in UL terms). The tombstone or lampholder MUST BE RATED FOR DIRECT CONNECTION TO A BRANCH CIRCUIT. MOST ARE NOT!!! As of this writing, I don’t believe Leviton has a single holder that is rated to connect to a branch circuit directly. IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO SAY THAT BECAUSE A HOLDER IS NON-SHUNTED AND RATED AT SAY 600v AND 600w, it can be used. I have found only 1 manufacturer of holders(Stucchi 3000 series of Italy) that has tested and, in writing, certifies it can be used for DIRECT CONNECTION TO A BRANCH CIRCUIT(although I’m sure there are others since folks are selling retrofit ‘kits’ that contain the tube, holders, and a label) Look at the installation sheet of ANY Leviton tombstone, and the 2nd bullet in the upper left hand corner states it’s not intended for connection to a branch circuit. [The technical reason is that an arcing and sparking hazard exists when the tube fails in a way that produces a partial for full short circuit and high currents are drawn through the tombstone contact where it touches the pin. There are also issues with the physical installation of the tube and exposure of ‘live’ contacts to the installer or the luminaire]Keep this in mind if you choose to do a retrofit using direct connect tubes, or if you hire a contractor to do it for you! You don’t want an accident in your facility number one, and secondly don’t want to find out that your insurer won’t cover you because you did not have the proper tombstone!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
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    6,385
    May I suggest googling "ballast bypass t8 LED", or "direct wire t8 LED", or "ballast free t8 LED" and explore the returns.

    There are a lot of non-shunt tombstones, of varying heights, available.

    FYI: Many direct-wire T8 LEDs are sold as kits with tombstones included, but they are generally very short and may be unsuitable for your specific fixture.
    Another Al in Minnesota

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Port St Lucie, Florida
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    195
    There is T-8 LED lamp that works with the ballast still wired......no retro fitting work required......

    here's a link

    http://gc-lighting.com/categories/tube/

  4. #4
    Where did this article come from?
    Mt. Falls, Va.
    "Not a sermon, just a thought"
    A licensed electrically-related individual

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtfallsmikey View Post
    Where did this article come from?
    It appears to be a comment on 3/22/17 3:39 PM near the bottom of this page.. At least that's what a simple phrase search resulted. There is still no definitive "provenance" for the ideas.
    Another Al in Minnesota

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    15
    There are 3 different types of retrofits A,B,and C.

    A- uses the existing ballast - existing ballast fails and you have compatibility issues.
    B- direct wire - safety issues, and I have some jurisdictions not allow them.
    C- new led driver, lamps, and sockets - best install but expensive upfront, but less problems over the life of the product.

    Sometimes its easier to sell a new fixture. The customer gets a new lens, and all new components.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    15
    [QUOTE=ksmith846;1827724]There is T-8 LED lamp that works with the ballast still wired......no retro fitting work required......

    here's a link

    http://gc-lighting.com/categories/tube/[Look at the website, even they admit they compatibility issues and you may be required to change the sockets.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Sheffield Village, Ohio, US
    Posts
    1
    I know this post is a few months old, but I am the person who posted the text quoted by the OP on another site. I'll comment further here.

    To date, Leviton does not have a tombstone that can be used with self ballasted LED tubes intended for direct connection to branch circuits. If you look at their installation sheets, one of the bolded warnings is 'NOT INTENDED FOR DIRECT CONNECTION TO THE BRANCH CIRCUIT.'

    In my research, I also discovered a couple letters from Leviton's Director, LED Business Development, Lampholder Product Management stating that they have noted 'significant safety hazards' and go on to outline what those are. The following is quoted from a letter from that Director "To Whom It May Concern" It's only a couple sentences long, but the first is worth quoting here.

    "Leviton has notified UL and NEMA that it currently does not support the use of its standard G13 and G5 base linear fluorescent sockets in LED "tube" retrofit applications."
    (source: Leviton letter dated 1/3/12. If you Google "Leviton January 3, 2012" you can see the letter for yourself)

    I contacted Leviton again just before writing this post and they confirmed they still do NOT have a product to be used in these applications.

    I contacted Etlin-Daniels in Canada and the technical person I spoke to said their tombstones weren't to be direct connected either, but I didn't see it in writing.

    I share this to make folks aware that simply switching to non-shunted tombstones from a reputable manufacturer like Leviton can be putting your customer or company at risk especially when they are on record as prohibiting their use in these applications. And yet I see myriad suppliers selling Leviton non-shunted sockets for use in retrofits with direct connect LED tubes.

    To date, as I stated in the quote from the OP, I have only found one manufacturer that has put in writing that their sockets can be directly connected to branch circuits or 'mains' and that's Stucchi of Italy.

    This is very clearly a foggy issue!

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