T8 LED tubes are great replacements for fluorescent tubes, helping to reduce maintenance costs and reduce energy consumption. They can be implemented into any application.
T8 LED tube lights are designed as direct replacements of traditional fluorescent T8s. Compared to fluorescent T8s, LED T8s last much longer, typically between 20,000 to 50,000 hours and save over 50 percent in energy consumption.
Types of T8 LED Tubes
Type A (also referred to as ballast compatible or plug-n-play tubes)
These T8 LED tubes are designed for use in fixtures with an existing electronic ballast to drive the LEDs in the tube itself. This option requires no rewiring and doesn't require an electrician, allowing you to do the work yourself. However, there are to this option is that the T8 LED tubes will not operate if the ballast fails. (Note: Not all T8 ballast will operate these tubes, please make sure to check the ballast compatibility guide for the product to ensure your electronic ballast is compatible).
Type B (direct wire)
These T8 LED tubes are designed to operate without a ballast. The fixture's internal ballast needs to be disconnected and the tombstones (lamp sockets) need to be replaced with non-shunted sockets, and then wired direct to 120-277V line voltage. The great thing about this replacement option is that your eliminating the most common issues that affect fluorescent fixtures, the ballast. However, in most cases an electrician is required due to the fact the fixture needs to be rewired to accept these T8 LED tubes.
Type A/B (hybrid)
These T8 LED tubes are designed to be installed either way, ballast compatible or direct wire. This type is very popular due to the flexibility you get with multiple installation options and also takes the guess work on choosing which T8 LED tube would work in your fixture. Keep on mind, it you plan on removing the ballast using type B mode, we recommend hiring a certified electrician to complete the work.
How are T8 LED Tubes installed?
There are several different installation methods when it comes to T8 LED tubes. Below we'll go over the most common examples:
The first installation type uses internal driver LED T8 lamps. This is where the ballast is removed and the lamps are installed directly in the fixtures using non-shunted sockets that are wired directly to a power source of 120-277V.
The second installation type uses LED T8 lamps with external drivers. This is where the ballast is removed and then a power source of 120-277V is wired directly to an external driver and then to the lamp using non-shunted sockets. The advantage to this installation type is that the lamps tend to last longer due to heat distribution.
The third installation type uses ballast compatible LED T8 lamps. This where the lamp is directly inserted into existing T8 sockets in the fixture and keeping the ballast installed since it will be acting as the driver for the new LED T8 lamps. The downside to this method is that you are relying on the old ballast not to go bad in the fixture.