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Author Topic: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe  (Read 357 times)

WA6CAL

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T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« on: February 17, 2018, 09:11:40 PM »
After having read the recommendations and watching several YouTube videos, I ordered a reel of LED's from Amazon.  Cheap enough that's for sure.  Took one of the light fixtures down and stripped the T8 tubes, sockets and ballast and installed three LED strips, employing soldered connections. Prior to removing the fluorescents, I measured the current for later comparison to the LED conversion. Upon completion I was satisfied that this was worth the effort, as the current drain was significantly less, and the LEDS produced a pleasing light color with plenty of brightness.  Good deal.

So the next day I removed all 6 of the remaining fixtures, and stripped them in preparation for conversion.  I was somewhat concerned that the 3M tape on the back of the strips might not be adequate.  Several people have stated that they don't stand the test of time, so I left the completed fixture on all night, assuming that the heat generated by the LEDS might cause the adhesive to fail.

Here's where things go awry.  I enter the coach the following day to find that about a third of the LEDs have turned yellow, and greatly diminished light output.  What the hell?  I checked the voltage and the connections, all good.  Disgruntled, I left the coach thinking I would deal with it tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and now I find that ALL of the LED's are yellow and although they are glowing, just barely.

Now I have all my fixtures dismantled, have discarded the stripped out hardware, and scratching my head as to the next step.  Fast forward to last month at Quartzite, I consult an LED "expert" in the big tent, and show him the photos below.  Now he's scratching his head.  The only explanation he offered, was that perhaps they were factory defective AND/OR when the converter pumped  up to anti-sulfation voltage (does this every 24 hours for a short time) that the LED's did not like the almost 15 volt input.  He then assured me that HIS strips would not do this.

So, dear readers, what say you?  I'm bum-fuzzled.

Here are the photos of the current drain comparison and the initial, one day and two day results.



Sun2Retire

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 09:43:37 PM »
I know there are many who have used the (very economical) strips when converting from flourescent and have been happy with the results, and thereís no question itís inexpensive. I went the (really) expensive route and replaced with LED tubes. I figured itís a one time expense which, while seemingly expensive, frankly is a drop in the bucket relative to the other operating expenses.


Iím very pleased. The colors I chose (cool in work areas, warm in lounging areas) are perfect, and I havenít had a single issue. Further, they all look factory. I presume they will last as long as I own the coach, but if one fails I simply pop in a new one. Money well spent IMHO, but some might disagree.
Scott
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docj

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 10:14:26 PM »
I know there are many who have used the (very economical) strips when converting from flourescent and have been happy with the results, and thereís no question itís inexpensive. I went the (really) expensive route and replaced with LED tubes. I figured itís a one time expense which, while seemingly expensive, frankly is a drop in the bucket relative to the other operating expenses.


For my three 18" fixtures I used flexible strips obtains from www.superbrightLEDs.com. I used LED tubes for my first conversion, a 12" fixture about 4 years ago. All of my conversions, both stick-on strips and the tube, one are working fine.  There's not been a failure of even a single LED.

The difference is that I paid ~$13/strip with each fixture taking two = <$30 per fixture (3-4 years ago).  For the 12" tube one I paid ~$35/tube.  Visually, both conversions look great.  On the 3 fixtures with strips that's a savings of >$100.  Not a drop in the bucket as far as I'm concerned.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 10:16:02 PM by docj »
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2018, 10:42:51 PM »
I have added the LED strips to several fluorescent fixtures without having this happen.

We usually leave the tubes and ballast intact and just add the strips along with another switch for use with just the LED strips.

Doing it this way gives you the option of using the light in either mode or even both LED and tubes at the same time.

Another benefit is that if this happened you would still have the original function intact.

I suspect that you did get a defective batch of LEDs.  Some others have used a voltage regulator but I have never used them and have had good results.

Here is how we do it in the picture below.  You can use 2, 4, or more strips, whatever fits.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 11:02:37 PM by HueyPilotVN »
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John From Detroit

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 06:55:24 AM »
Interesting. I use LED's I got from Amazon, have had some of them in place for like 2 years. a couple segments have failed, no tape issues, no yellowing. Very pleased.  You likely followed one of my links to choose the LED's  I have converted 3 Thin-Light T-8 Fixtures this way the last last month and the first about 2 years ago, on a "As the Tubes or ballast fail" basis.

I should have two spare reels SOMEWHERE in the RV but.... alas.. Where.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 07:50:51 AM »
A friend had a similar problem - 3 of the 5 fixtures he converted like that got yellow within a few weeks. We could never figure out why, so he dumped all 5 and made new fixtures using finished wood with led puck lights inserted in them. Much more elegant than the old fluorescent fixtures and worked like a charm.

I had a 7 ft long decorative led strip discolor after a couple years of use, but it was in the windshield area and I suspected that daytime sunlight contributed to its demise. It was powered by a dedicate AC/DC converter made for Led lighting, so voltage was probably not a factor.
Gary
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Memtb

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2018, 08:55:26 AM »
Interesting. I use LED's I got from Amazon, have had some of them in place for like 2 years. a couple segments have failed, no tape issues, no yellowing. Very pleased.  You likely followed one of my links to choose the LED's  I have converted 3 Thin-Light T-8 Fixtures this way the last last month and the first about 2 years ago, on a "As the Tubes or ballast fail" basis.

I should have two spare reels SOMEWHERE in the RV but.... alas.. Where.

  I’m with you John! We’ve changed 5 overhead’s so far....wife says, “It’s too bright”! I didn’t (don’t) think it’s possible in an RV. We’ve got 2 more to do, ( one at computer(?) desk, the other above kitchen sink). Also, changed out all (lots) of the small directional incandescent ( similar to can lighting), as well as all 110 volt lights. Plenty of lighting and reduced load on batteries when boondocking!

  The strips are convenient...but I’m not convinced it’s the “best” answer!
   Love the LED replacements for the fluorescent ceiling lighting.....instant bright light!
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Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2018, 09:13:32 AM »
I have done this conversion and after one light as a test I learned that the problem comes from a small section becoming unstuck, the  sticky tape used doesn't hold.  I recommend the following:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FMJ3NJE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Get a quality double sticky back tape, 3M or Scotch brand.  The rolls I used were $4.00 a roll and I think I spent more on the tape then the LEDs.  These LEDs came pre-wired.  I didn't solder anything. 

I have had zero failures in a year in which we traveled in the RV for 9 months from Florida to Seattle Washington and back.  During this trip we had vibration failures of an exhaust donut gasket and a powered sunscreen fall out of the overhead by our front window.
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
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WA6CAL

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2018, 01:49:34 PM »
OK Bobtop46 - I am gonna give those strips a try.  Added to cart.  Thanks.

John From Detroit

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2018, 05:25:01 PM »
For Memtb.

I use 5 Meter strips to convert a Thinlingt  There are two ways of doign it.

I cut (I cut on sort of a modified diagnoal so one end has ONLY positive tabs and the other NEGATIVE.) to length

Then tape 'em on with the already on them peal and stick tape

Then solder a bus wire along each end.. Check for shorts (Also have a couple of special jumpers I needed but that's simple) and test.. The ones I buy are already pre taped.

So far alll good.    But it is written every company, no matter how good, turns out the occasional lemon (They are yellow right) and no matter how bad, the odd Gold Nugget.

I'm updating the bayonet lamps (1141 and others) on a "Burn out" basis.  Some of the LED's I've gotten there are genuine dissappointments.  Others Great joy.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

dauninge

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2018, 07:17:34 PM »
Have you re-checked the voltage after the yellowing? Is it the same as when you first installed them?
Dawn
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8Muddypaws

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2018, 10:35:51 PM »
I always recommend a 'Buck' adjustable voltage regulator when doing this kind of conversion.  (Amazon or eBay) Some LEDS are sensitive to over voltage conditions.  The 12Volt power in your RV is only rarely 12Volts and more often in the 13-14Volt range.  Yes, that's enough to burn out LEDS, sometimes quickly.  Depends on who manufactured them.  I've never heard of LEDs changing color like this but LED technology has changed a bit since I worked in the simiconductor industry.

I run mine at just over 10Volts.  No heat and no change in light output in over 5 years.
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WA6CAL

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2018, 11:20:23 PM »
Have you re-checked the voltage after the yellowing? Is it the same as when you first installed them?

Yes, the voltage did not change.

WA6CAL

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2018, 11:23:41 PM »
I always recommend a 'Buck' adjustable voltage regulator when doing this kind of conversion. 

I have heard this from others.  I have ordered these units - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GJ0SC2C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I will install one as a test.  I have read that some of these regulators emit noise that can severely affect antenna TV reception.  We shall see....

Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #14 on: Today at 07:56:24 AM »
Don't trust the tape that comes on the back,  use quality heavy duty double sticky back and you will be good.  Clean the surface of light before applying tape.
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
2006 Mini Cooper S

 

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