T8 led tube upgrade, performance and testing data

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by oil pan 4, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    In my efforts to inch my way off grid I have decided the old T8 lights in my garage and shed need to go.
    The ones in the shed are probably 10 years old and barely want to light up when it's cool out.
    The ones in the garage are part of a 6 tube fixture.
    So I was reading around on the Internet and found that there are a few led replacement choices.
    1 you plug the led tube straight in the fixture running off ballast power. No modification.
    This seemed like the easy but least efficient way.
    2 mains voltage tubes that require you to remove the ballast and run the tube straight off mains power.
    Obviously I wanted these.
    3 hybrid leds. These can plug straight in and run off ballast power no modification needed. Or you can rewire the fixture for 120v-277v tube operation.
    Sounds expensive.

    Well I found that lowes has some hybrid tubes. And they are on clearance for $4 each. (Lowes item# 0888115) they are 4000k color and 2000 lumen.
    They may not be on clearance at your local store. If not they are probably $7 each, still not a bad deal.

    That's perfect. This allows me to get them with out paying shipping and I can test efficiency using ballast power versus straight 120 and 240v power to power the LEDs.

    First test was to power up a tube with 120 and 240v power. The tubes were drawing 17 volt-amps on mains power.
    Next test, replicate option 1, plug them into a T8 fixture, no modification.
    That increased their consumption to 21.5 volt-amps, a 26% increase in power consumption. But on ballast power the led tubes used 1/3 less power than regular 35 watt tubes.
    If I can rewire something to make it 26% more efficient I am. So I did.

    Now my 6 tube T8 fixture draws less than half the power it originally did, from 2.1 amps down to 0.85 amps. Next I will put on a timer so I don't leave them on, further reducing consumption.
    Also the leds are definitely brighter than the 2 or 3 year old T8 tubes they replaced.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  2. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Timer? Whatcha ya growing?

    Motomom34 likes this.
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    It's a 60 minute count down timer. So hopefully nothing.

    If I was going to grow something I would probably use high output T5.

    The garage door openers are going on 15 minute count down timers too, mainly for security.
    Ganado likes this.
  4. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Been going to the LED's for the shop, don't flicker in the cold, like the color choices, price has come down from over a hundred to less than twenty for a pair of tubes, seem to have a lot longer life , but only time will tell. Power use is just an added bonus. Old lights, up to 30 years old, used good copper ballasts and lasted 20 + years, replacements are expensive and the ballasts don't seem to last and the look of the old 8 foot tubes rather date you. For personal use, the cost in this area for the T-8 replacement, used with the ballast, has been about one half or so the cost of the 117 volt tubes. Use the T-8 on an interruptible power supply for the lights in my generator and transfer switch area. With the batteries in the unit I have about an hour's light, and pulling the mains switch and testing it out has worked well and it is supposed to condition the generator power.
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