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LED "Fluorescent" tubes...

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John Haine13/11/2016 09:56:33
4711 forum posts
273 photos

Prompted by another tube starting to flicker in our kitchen I started to think "wouldn't it be a good idea if one could simply replace tubes with an LED version" so did a quick search on Google and of course you can. For example even B&Q sell complete replacement LED luminaires that have fixed SMD LEDs instead of tubes, but these are 40 or 50 quid in the 230mm versions.

You can also get replacement "tubes" in 10s for about a fiver each - but these need you to rewire the luminair to remove the ballast and starter and run mains to the connector at one end of the tube. I don't have a problem with doing that if the end result will be satisfactory. Apart from reducing power required this will also last longer and eliminate that infuriating buzz - as we have 15 of the things in kitchen, studios and workshop that's a big consideration.

So, does anyone have any experience with these please, positive or negative?

And please don't deluge me with warnings about the dangers of electricity - I know.

blowlamp13/11/2016 10:07:16
1629 forum posts
105 photos

I used one from here. It's nice and bright and is a simple swap over of tube & starter.

Edit: A very good replacement, but I've just seen they don't seem to have your exact size so maybe this post can be considered 'for information only'.



Edited By blowlamp on 13/11/2016 10:15:02

Journeyman13/11/2016 10:10:57
1174 forum posts
236 photos

Have replaced the tubes in a twin flurescent fitting with LED tubes like these *** LINK *** they work very well. If you have old style ballast fittings they are a direct replacement. If you have the more modern electronic ballast the fittings will need to be rewired to connect the mains to one end of the LED tube.. Having rewired mine I would do this even for the old style ballast as if they are left in circuit they could be consuming power but I am not sure on this. Rewiring is fairly straightforward, as I recal there were instructions in the box.

Give a good even light and don't get nearly as warm as the old ones and no flickering at start up.


korby13/11/2016 10:11:03
37 forum posts
2 photos

If you look at on you tube he has lots of vid clips about electrics including one about led tubes to replace old flu ones.

Good luck jk

John Haine13/11/2016 11:07:52
4711 forum posts
273 photos

Thanks for the quick responses, all sounds positive, I will give it a go!

Gordon Tarling13/11/2016 11:15:45
182 forum posts
4 photos

On the advice of a good friend in the USA, I bought one LED tube to try in my workshop. I did have to modify the wiring in the fitting, but it has given quite an improvement in the amount and quality of light. As soon as I have some spare cash, I'll be converting the remaining 5 fittings. Here's a link to the tube I bought - **LINK**  I ought to point out that some lower priced tubes do have a significantly lower light output, so always worth checking the output in lumens.

Edited By Gordon Tarling 1 on 13/11/2016 11:19:30

Neil Wyatt13/11/2016 11:44:00
19073 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

I used to know someone who designed one of the very early LED fluorescent tube replacements.

They hadn't realised that when LEDs fail and go open circuit, it then has 240V across a small gap, which arcs, forms a carbon trace and then can go dead short, which then makes the other LEDs liable to fail...

Result, the entire canopy of a petrols station destroyed in the resulting conflagration :-0


Michael Briggs13/11/2016 12:48:25
220 forum posts
12 photos

I recently revised my workshop lighting and had a close look at branded LED fittings. From my calculations it would take about 15 years to pay back, the warranty on the tubes is 5 years. At work fluorescents are being replaced with LEDs, easier to justify when they are on 24/7. I managed to get three IP65 single 5 foot high frequency battens that were destined for the skip. They cleaned up like new and with new tubes give superb even illumination. I use LEDs for machine lighting, they work very well. Michael

Edited By Michael Briggs on 13/11/2016 12:49:56

Michael Gilligan13/11/2016 13:33:02
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by John Haine on 13/11/2016 11:07:52:

Thanks for the quick responses, all sounds positive, I will give it a go!


Please let us know how it goes, John

The ones in linked in your opening post do look interesting.


John Haine13/11/2016 13:35:41
4711 forum posts
273 photos

Buying in 10s these LED tubes are cheaper than the £6 that B&Q charges for a single fluorescent...

We'll see how they work.

This reminds me I used to work in a large single-story building where the ceiling had 3m squares formed by yellow-painted girders, there must have been well over a hundred squares. Each had a number of fluorescent tubes, quite long ones, the old larger diameter type. Great for a few years until it turned out that they had stopped making these tubes - in the end the company paid the manufacturer to recommission the machine to make a large new batch of tubes, it was cheaper than replacing all the fittings. That was years ago, I don't know what they've done now...

Jon13/11/2016 19:55:26
1001 forum posts
49 photos

Keep looking at them every time a fluorescent goes down that usually lasts 3 years on around 6hrs a day. Much prefer to go down local shop pay over the odds at £7, therefore taking 9 years to break even.

Only use a couple of Fenix Cree torches for small entry holes and finding things on the floor.
Too true like some knock of Chinese torches some stuff severely over hyped in lumens often 1/10th of rated output.

LED lights don't last 5 mins literally around the house when specs state 10000hrs or so from reputed brands. Also need more of the led's to give same spread.

Samsaranda13/11/2016 20:11:49
1465 forum posts
7 photos

Extended my workshop last year and installed 2 bog standard fluorescent units for lighting and within a year one unit failed completely, contemplated replacing with LED unit but price put me off, chose to replace it with a high frequency fluorescent unit which was surprisingly reasonable cost. To date very pleased with the light output and it uses standard 4 foot fluorescent tubes so cheap to replace. Only time will tell if I made the right decision.

Geoff Theasby13/11/2016 20:55:51
613 forum posts
17 photos

Buy a reel of 500 LEDs on a self-adhesive strip, cut to length in threes, power from a 12 volt 'wall wart'. Cost, about £7, or 1penny per LED, use as many as required, 2 or 3 strips in parallel for more light. Don't overload the wall wart! I replaced a four foot fluorescent tube with a strip of these, and they have been running continuously since late Spring. And, yes the LED household bulbs DO NOT LAST, esp. in 3-branch ceiling lights.


Neil Wyatt13/11/2016 21:08:25
19073 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

I found that the cheap '50 small LED' GU10 bulbs have a life measurable in weeks.

Since buying decent Wickes branded ones with three big LEDs they have lasted aages without any issues.

I have two samsung ones on a dimmer in the bedroom . they flicker at the lowest setting, but otherwise outshine the halogen ones.


Muzzer14/11/2016 01:14:44
2904 forum posts
448 photos

There is a difference between reliability and lifetime. A missile may only have a lifetime of several minutes (due to the limited fuel capacity) but needs to have a reliability (MTBF) of millions of hours (many lives may depend on it). Conversely, a cheap ballpoint pen may have a lifetime of an hour or so before the ink runs out - and a similarly short MTBF, so that it is as likely to break as it is to run out. Typically, premature failure will be caused by the ball falling out, an airlock developing, the ink escaping or the plastic body fracturing.

Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs have a limited lifetime due to the filament gradually evaporating etc whereas LEDs don't have a similarly short lifetime mechanism. I expect the eventual lifetime failure will be due to thermal cycling of the solder and die resulting in micro cracking.

If you are going to buy LED lamps, you may as well buy a recognised brand from a reputable retailer. Places like Screwfix etc sell decent brands at reasonable prices. Ikea bulbs are usually very well priced if you have one nearby.


MW14/11/2016 06:29:19
2051 forum posts
51 photos

I don't have LED lights but the fluorescent batons and they have continued to develop them and they are very energy efficient, i think mine are only 30W T5 type, i must've bought 10 of them at the time and 2 years on and i still haven't fitted a single replacement. This annoys me slightly because i obviously wouldn't have bought so many had i known.

The only downside is they are very "purple" tinged when you first turn them on in the winter!

Michael W

Edited By Michael Walters on 14/11/2016 06:38:11

Clive India14/11/2016 09:44:21
213 forum posts

I have converted all of my fluorescents to LED. I just wired directly to the tube(s) as instructions, re-using the wires within.

It might not stack up economically but the joy of immediate illumination and no buzzing and farting is worth it for me. Not sure about the life yet but not sure about mine either!

There is only one thing to watch out for - the replacement LED tubes have to be set vertical i.e. the prongs have to be horizontal when in use. There are a few old fittings out there where the prongs are vertical when in use - it didn't matter with fluorescents which way up they were. If you have one of these you have to change the fitting.

Neil mentions LED replacement bulbs - I changed from the so-called energy efficient tube type which take half an hour to get to full brilliance to LED and, just wonderful. Great pleasure when throwing the old stuff in the bin.

Just my opinion - we all see life differently, but no downside for me.

MW14/11/2016 10:25:24
2051 forum posts
51 photos

Maybe not relevant but a cool idea would be to fit some LED lights directly to a machine, could drastically improve visibility and very discreet.

Michael W

Michael Gilligan14/11/2016 10:35:02
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Michael Walters on 14/11/2016 10:25:24:

Maybe not relevant but a cool idea would be to fit some LED lights directly to a machine, could drastically improve visibility and very discreet.



These are a very good start: **LINK**


Geoff Theasby14/11/2016 10:45:02
613 forum posts
17 photos

Yes Michael, see MEW issue 200!

Anyway, at the recent Northern Manufacturing & Electronics Exhibition in Manchester, I found Waldmann Lighting, whose stand was a paean to Whiteness, offering industrial LED lights and luminaires, so bright that they reminded me of S.A.D. Lightboxes. Despite being 'on' all day (This was mid afternoon) they were scarcely warm to my touch.   (No relation)


Edited By Geoff Theasby on 14/11/2016 10:46:41

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