LED bulbs and LED tubes can save about 50% energy consumption, as compared to their traditional counterparts like fluorescent lights. Hence, it is understandable why consumers want to shift to LED lights that can retrofit in the existing fluorescent or other traditional fixtures.
Retrofitting LED bulbs and tubes in the existing fixtures is still a complex affair, despite the manufacturers’ efforts to make them function as “plug-and-play” technology, so that they can easily fit into the existing fixtures and ballasts. This is, however, easy for some residential and commercial applications, where wall packs and high- and low-bay LED lights are usually used. These type of LED lights can be easily fitted into the existing metal halide ballasts, hence their installation is easy.
Fortunately, LED bulbs do not require a ballast to function, which has made the manufacturers’ efforts a little easy as they try to find out solutions to retrofit LED lights in the traditional fixtures.
According to Joe Marston, president, Wilmington Winlectric, a leading distributor of lighting solutions and electrical supplies, there are three different types of LED tubes that can work with the existing fixtures.
Direct fit LED tubes, which work well with the existing fluorescent ballasts, making the installation process easy. However, these LED tubes are not efficient enough as other LED tubes, and their life span is also that as long as the other types.
LED tubes with internal drivers can be used by bypassing the ballast altogether. This also helps the LED tubes to get a higher level of efficiency.
LED tubes with external drivers are usually safe to use and quite efficient as a remote driver provides the power.