What would happen if a maintenance crew re-inserts a fluorescent tube into a fixture converted to be used with an LED tube only?
The answer is that it depends how the fixture is wired.
At this year’s International LightFair, representatives from Aleddra LED performed a live safety demonstration on this very issue.
If someone were to insert a fluorescent T8 into a fixture that has been retrofitted for a single-ended LED tube – meaning the wiring was also converted to single-ended – it would immediately short the bi-pins of the fluorescent tube and damage the lamp. At higher voltage like 277v, this instantaneous electrical short may even cause the fluorescent tube to explode.
Matthew Maa of Aleddra, reported that there have been cases where maintenance crews do not realize that the fixtures had been converted to single-ended wiring LED tubes. This has become a safety hazard, and a liability to employers.
Aleddra has come up with a solution that aims to protect maintenance staff. They call it the EasiRetrofit Double-End power tube. What makes this tube so unique is that the original double-ended wiring of the fixture is intact. Nothing will happen when re-inserting a fluorescent tube into a retrofitted fixture.
This is because there is no ballast to energize the fluorescent tube. The tube is still energy-efficient and UL-certified. It has a safety switch on each of the two end-caps which eliminates the risk of electric shook to the installer, and keeps maintenance employees safe in the event that they mistakenly insert a fluorescent tube into the converted fixture.
Alternatively, some LED manufacturers have recently introduced ballast-compatible LED tubes that keep the double-ended wiring of the fixture intact – which simply avoids any safety drawbacks of single-ended LED tubes. This solution, however, is not without its limitations:
1. Ballast-compatible LED tubes still use the ballast and the ballast consumes power. This risks the chances that utility companies will offer incentives for such an energy-inefficient system.
2. There is more ongoing maintenance and replacement of ballasts than the LED tube itself, which increases the cost of lighting maintenance – particularly when you have to utilize certified electricians to do the work.
In addition to offering a clear-cut solution for safe installation and maintenance, the EasiRetrofit G3 tube also has a field-replaceable driver. It enables the user to replace the driver when it dies, thus effectively doubling the tube lifetime to 10 years at an incremental cost.
Aleddra’s EasiRetrofit G3 tube comes with a universal driver, supporting 110V-277V input voltage. It is available in 4-ft and 2-ft lengths, and its color temperatures include 3000K, 4100K, 5000K, and 6000K. It is UL 1598C Classified for both U.S. and Canada, and has met DLC linear tube specifications for utility rebates. Click here for G3 specification.