Many lighting professionals and facility managers have long been puzzled on the question: What would happen if a maintenance crew re-inserts a fluorescent tube into a fixture converted to be used with an LED tube only. The answer is “it depends how the fixture is wired,” according to Matthew Maa, Sales and Market Manager at Aleddra, whom performed a live safety demonstration at LightFair 2014 on this issue. Maa explains, “if the user retrofitted the fixture for single-ended LED tube and therefore converted the fixture to single-ended wiring, then inserting a fluorescent T8 into such fixture will immediately short the bi-pins of the fluorescent tube and thus damage the lamp. At 277V, this instantaneous electrical short may cause the fluorescent tube to explode. We have seen these events occur. In many cases, maintenance crews do not realize that the fixtures had been converted to single-ended wiring LED tubes. The use of single-end power LED tubes for retrofit is a serious safety hazard, and a liability to employers.”
“However, retrofitting fluorescent fixtures with the Aleddra EasiRetrofit Double-End power tube, the original double-ended wiring of the fixture is intact. Nothing will happen when re-inserting a fluorescent tube into such a fixture. This is because there is no ballast to energize the fluorescent tube. If you missed out the live demo, here is a demo video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CeNq11KRR8
Maa continues, “this potential safety issue is the real reason behind the scenes that drove the big manufacturers away from offering single-ended LED tubes. Only Aleddra offers a safe alternative that is also energy efficient: a UL-certified double-end power LED tube. Aleddra’s EasiRetrofit tube utilizes safety switch on each of the two end-caps on the tube. This patented design eliminates the risk of electric shock to the installer, and keeps maintenance employees safe in the event that they mistakenly insert a fluorescent tube into the converted fixture.”
Some companies have recently re-introduced ballast-compatible LED tubes that keep the double-ended wiring of the fixture intact, effectively avoiding the drawback of single-ended LED tubes. However, there are two distinct limitations when considering ballast-compatible tube. First, these tubes still use ballast and the ballast consumes power. It is unlikely that all utility companies will offer incentives for such an energy-inefficient solution. Second, the ongoing maintenance and replacement of ballasts increases the cost of lighting maintenance, particularly when you have to utilize certified electricians as part of this maintenance proposition. This is a non-starter according to some facility managers at some Fortune 1000 companies.
Aleddra EasiRetrofit double-ended tube is safe for installation and maintenance, and does not use the energy-inefficient ballast. Moreover, the newly announced EasiRetrofit G3 tube has a field-replaceable driver. It enables the user to replace the driver when it dies, thus effectively doubling the tube lifetime to 10 years at an incremental cost.
Aleddra’s EasiRetrofit G3 tube comes with a universal driver, supporting 110V-277V input voltage. It is available in 4-ft and 2-ft lengths, and its color temperatures include 3000K, 4100K, 5000K, and 6000K. It is UL 1598C Classified for both U.S. and Canada, and has met DLC linear tube specifications for utility rebates. Click here for G3 specification.
For information on EasiRetrofit G3 LED T8 tube, please contact us at [email protected] or 425-430-4555.