T8 LED Bulbs
T8 LED bulbs are perfect energy efficient fluorescent tube replacements for linear fixtures like strip lights, vapor tight fixtures, wraparounds, shop lights and high bays. T8 LED tube lights come in multiple lengths like 2ft, 3ft, 4ft, 5ft, 6ft and 8ft for different lighting applications and mounting options. These LED tube lights also have multiple base types to choose from depending on the length, such as G13 medium bi-pin for 4ft T8 LED bulbs, or Fa8 single pin and R17d recessed double contact for 8ft LED tubes. T8 LED replacement bulbs also offer flexible replacement types and wiring modes for ballast bypass, plug and play and external driver installations. Use T8 LED retrofits in multiple indoor applications like stairwells, garages, kitchens and shops.
Plug and Play vs Ballast Bypass T8 LED Tubes
T8 LED retrofit bulbs can be wired and installed two different ways. The first installation option is the ballast compatible or plug and play LED tube light. Plug and play LED tubes are used as direct replacement without having to take out the existing fluorescent ballast. These lamps are double ended and connect both wires to the electronic ballast for power. Ballast compatible LED tubes may work with instant start, program start and dimming fluorescent ballasts. Manufacturers provide a ballast compatibility list as a guide for using plug and play LED tube lights. Note that once the fluorescent ballast dies out, it needs to be replaced again for the T8 LED tube to keep working.
The second option is through direct wire or ballast bypass LED T8 tubes. Ballast bypass LED tubes require the fluorescent ballast to be removed, and the LED lamp is wired directly to the 120-277V line voltage. Direct wire T8 LED tube lights can either be single ended or double ended. Single ended T8 LED replacement lamps get power only from one end using a non-shunted socket and none from the other. Double ended T8 LED replacement lamps are wired at both sides and the electricity flows through both sockets.
A special kind of installation is for hybrid LED tube lights. These bulbs are dual mode LED T8 bulbs and are compatible with both ballast bypas and ballast compatible installations. Dual mode T8 LED retrofit lamps have the option of an easy installation by connecting directly to the electronic ballast, and once the ballast dies out the LED lamp can be wired directly to the line voltage with no ballast to maintain.
LED T8 Bulbs with External Driver
A recent trend in retroffitng fluorescent fixtures to LED is using the LED T8 lamps in conjunction with external LED drivers. The fluorescent electronic ballast is removed and replaced by the LED driver, and the LED tube light is then wired double ended to the driver. The advantage of using an external driver is to provide a dimming compatibility since most LED drivers can work with LED dimmers. Having a programmable external driver also controls the output level of the lamp and allows it to be set at high output, normal output or low output.