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  • Converting from T12 to T8 LED.

    Looks easy but should I bother converting some T12 shop lights to T8 LED?

    I bought 6 new 4' T8 LED fixtures with tubes. I have 4 old T12 fluorescent fixtures with 2 being dedicated to plants during the winter. The 2 T12's left over are the old Lights of America $10 units. They have served me well but at least one may need a new ballast. With the future of T12's being limited I'm thinking of converting them to T8 LED instead of replacing the T12 ballast. Or I could just toss the old T12's.

    Opinions?

  • #2
    The conversion kits that I have found in the past are usually as much as a new fixture and significantly more trouble to install. If you have free standing fixtures (ie not end to end), I would just replace the entire fixture.
    Hi, my name is Wilson and I am a tooloholic.

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    • #3
      I recently replaced a couple T12 tubes with T8 LED "tubes". They seem to work just fine.

      I did have to look a bit for ones that said they worked for both. These were for T8 but said they worked with T12, There were some that were specifically for T12 too, but cost twice as much, so I got the T8's.

      Walt

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      • #4
        I've been putting these in both at home and at work-

        https://www.earthled.com/collections...ant=2174807620

        https://www.earthled.com/collections...ant=2403570948

        These are ballast bypass bulbs,so the ballast goes away and the bulbs wire direct.
        I just need one more tool,just one!

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        • #5
          About that plant application...... I am going to have a similar issue, possibly this winter.

          I have a large plant stand system used for starting seeds, with 4 levels and a lot of old LOA fluorescent fixtures. We have always used one cool white and one warm white bulb per fixture (there are 3 fixtures across on each level).

          Tubes have a relatively wide spectral distribution, although not perfectly even by any means. But LEDs tend to have a few narrow peaks, with little in between.

          Has anyone had recent experience using the LED "tubes" with plants? Have they seemed to be as good as regular fluorescent tubes?

          A test in one of the gardening mags a few years back found LEDS to be NOT as good, as far as results, but improvements have no doubt been made since.
          CNC machines only go through the motions.

          Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
          Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
          Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
          I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
          Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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          • #6
            Bought some "Feit" LED tubes at Costco. Direct drop in installation, they are considerably brighter and no hum an the radio. Instant on too. I plan to by 4 more next trip. My shop will then be 100% LED. That would be 12 two tube fixtures.

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            • #7
              J Tiers, and that's another thought I had. I may just keep the T12 fixtures as they are except for replacing the bad ballast(s). I may need them for starting seeds for the veggie garden next year. Pop some better tubes in for that purpose and see how it goes.

              The most recent reviews I've seen say that LED's are not good enough for this purpose but some of those reviews are a bit old.

              I need to find some crusty old hippie that grows his own weed and ask what works best for him.

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              • #8
                if they're for plants you may be better off with a mix of blue and red LEDs, although most LEDs (esp. cool white ones) emit a lot in the blue wavelength as LEDs are actually blue with a blue->other light phosphor layer on top. No point using electricity to emit light in the green wavelength, it'll just get reflected.

                the indoor grow lights that commercial growers use (not just weed growers) have a mix of blue, amber and red LEDs and tailor relative output to the need of the plant. They're pretty darn fancy.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
                  if they're for plants you may be better off with a mix of blue and red LEDs, although most LEDs (esp. cool white ones) emit a lot in the blue wavelength as LEDs are actually blue with a blue->other light phosphor layer on top. No point using electricity to emit light in the green wavelength, it'll just get reflected.

                  the indoor grow lights that commercial growers use (not just weed growers) have a mix of blue, amber and red LEDs and tailor relative output to the need of the plant. They're pretty darn fancy.
                  Curiously, the fancy lights were found in the tests to be no better than, and in some cases WORSE than, the cool white/warm white combo. But they ARE clearly better at one thing, and that is emptying the wallet.

                  The combo seems to emulate sunlight well, and, of course, plants are optimized to grow in sunlight, even though it includes wavelengths that could be argued are "not used" by the plants. Those may still have a function, and fiddling with the light to "optimize" it may not actually produce the best results.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions.

                  Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                  Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                  Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                  I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                  Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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                  • #10
                    There is a company in Austin, TX making custom LED lights for indoor use. They started with aquarium lights, but the weed growers got them going on grow lights. They say they can customize the spectrum to suit. Apparently the demand from weed growers is huge and the company has expanded several times to try to keep up. The energy efficiency is a big deal because weed plants need a lot of photons.

                    RWO

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                    • #11
                      I am in the middle of doing the same thing. I have a lot of four and two tube fluorescent fixtures in my house and shop/garage. And I have two outside in the screen porch and lawn building. I bought a box of ten LED tubes and they are the T8 size. But the pins are the same size and spacing so they will physically fit in the older, T12 fixtures.

                      The LED bulbs I purchased will work with an electronic ballast or can be just directly connected to the 115 V AC line. They are a little more efficient when no ballast is used so I choose to remove my existing ballasts. Besides, many of my ballasts are not the electronic type and they are one of my major problems with these fixtures.

                      So far I purchased one box of 10 LED bulbs and installed them in the kitchen, breakfast room, and laundry room. That was a total of 10 bulbs; 4 kitchen, 4 breakfast room, and 2 laundry. When I started to install the LED bulbs, which are rated at 2000 lumen, I found that they were so much brighter than the fluorescents that three LED bulbs were brighter than four fluorescents. So I had two left from that original batch. I was so pleased that I promptly ordered 30 more LED bulbs and I am getting ready to do the remainder of the fixtures with them.

                      The LED bulbs that I have are by a company called Sunco Lighting. Here is the Amazon link:

                      https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

                      They are about $10 each. The wiring was very simple. I removed the old ballasts and connect all the wires on each end of the fixture together in two big bundles. One bundle, from one end went to the neutral and the other bundle to hot. DONE.

                      One more thing I like about them, they fit in the fixtures. Almost every time I have had to change fluorescent bulbs in the past, it was a struggle to get them in the sockets properly. But these bulbs actually fit easily. Just insert and turn and they snap in place.

                      They work great and out of 40 bulbs, shipped in four boxes, all 40 arrived in perfect condition. But your mileage may vary there.
                      Paul A.
                      SE Texas

                      And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                      You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                        Curiously, the fancy lights were found in the tests to be no better than, and in some cases WORSE than, the cool white/warm white combo. But they ARE clearly better at one thing, and that is emptying the wallet.

                        The combo seems to emulate sunlight well, and, of course, plants are optimized to grow in sunlight, even though it includes wavelengths that could be argued are "not used" by the plants. Those may still have a function, and fiddling with the light to "optimize" it may not actually produce the best results.
                        Any link to a reference? Planning to grow some venus flytraps, and like prices on white LEDs better than the "special" ones.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                          Curiously, the fancy lights were found in the tests to be no better than, and in some cases WORSE than, the cool white/warm white combo. But they ARE clearly better at one thing, and that is emptying the wallet.

                          The combo seems to emulate sunlight well, and, of course, plants are optimized to grow in sunlight, even though it includes wavelengths that could be argued are "not used" by the plants. Those may still have a function, and fiddling with the light to "optimize" it may not actually produce the best results.
                          the warm white/ cool white combo is really a blueLOTSofred/ LOTSofbluenotmuchofthe rest combo. You get warm white LEDs by upping the amount of phosphor that converts blue->red lights. So you're already somewhat emulating the blue/ red mix that plants need.

                          As for whether or not plants need those other wavelengths for things other than photosynthesis, I'm not enough of a botanist (or really any of a botanist) to know. I would guess not, otherwise most plants wouldn't be green. They do use other light cues, such as intensity and photoperiod, but those aren't wavelength specific.

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                          • #14
                            I have a relative in the weed business in Cali, he says the LEDs are not replacing HID among the pros.
                            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                            • #15
                              I got Utilitech LED shop lights at Lowe's... threw out all my florescents.. good riddance. Immediate bright light, no noise, and knock on wood, no maintenance.

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