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Author Topic: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe  (Read 1487 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.


"I've never remembered a hotel, nor forgotten a campsite" - Teddy Roosevelt

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
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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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 »
Sandie & Joel

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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 »
Bill Waugh
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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.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

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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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

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!
Todd and Marianne
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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
2006 Mini Cooper S

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.
"I've never remembered a hotel, nor forgotten a campsite" - Teddy Roosevelt

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.
"I've never remembered a hotel, nor forgotten a campsite" - Teddy Roosevelt

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....
"I've never remembered a hotel, nor forgotten a campsite" - Teddy Roosevelt

Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 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

8Muddypaws

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 10:38:21 PM »
If you use those regulators you will need to buy a heat sink for each one.  Probably better to buy those that already have a heat sink.  Something like these :  https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-4-2-40V-to-3-3V-5V-6V-9V-12V-24V-Buck-Step-Down-Converter-Linear-Regulator/282785206349?hash=item41d74fd04d:g:yA8AAOSw6VRaQUjT

After having the included glue not work I used a dab of hot glue every inch or so.  Borrowed the DWs glue gun.  Works perfectly but turned out ugly.

I also used both warm and bright white strips in an alternating pattern in each fixture.  Very natural light - multiple wavelengths are what our eyes like best.
Retired computer professional
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jagnweiner

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 08:07:07 AM »
Hmm, I think I've got two years on my conversion using strips off Amazon.  I've had no problems.  Admittedly, we probably only use our coach a total of two weeks every year.  Like you, I stripped out all the old componentry, carefully soldered leads to the LED strips, and connected directly to the existing 12V.  Not that it matters, but I used a "warm" shade of LED.  Might want to give it a try with a different batch.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 09:39:20 AM »
I used the light strips from amazon they were a hole lot dimer then the original.

Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2018, 09:59:37 AM »
I even did the lights over the mirror of both of my bathroom sinks.  The shade is nice and hides the rigid strips in the link earlier in this thread.  I will post pictures later this afternoon.  Once again zero soldering.
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
2006 Mini Cooper S

8Muddypaws

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2018, 03:30:57 PM »
I even did the lights over the mirror of both of my bathroom sinks.  The shade is nice and hides the rigid strips in the link earlier in this thread.  I will post pictures later this afternoon.  Once again zero soldering.

It takes two rows of LEDs to make as much as light as one tube.  When you buy LEDs you need to pay attention to the Lumens, Lm.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter and music director
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Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2018, 10:38:45 AM »
Pictures as promised: These pictures were taken during sunny day in Florida with the shades open.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 10:43:03 AM by Bobtop46 »
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
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Bobtop46

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2018, 09:28:56 AM »
OK Bobtop46 - I am gonna give those strips a try.  Added to cart.  Thanks.

WA6CAL how did your test go?
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
2006 Mini Cooper S

SCVJeff

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2018, 02:50:02 AM »
I'm doing it a bit different. I did the 5050 strips in the fixture and was so displeased with the illumination I yanked it all out and went back to fluorescent.  I found a guy in Quartzsite selling LED strips like I hadn't seen before. These are multiple LEDs on a thin aluminum strip. I found some on eBay that were 1/2 his price, so I bought a pack of 10 strips, enough to do all my fixtures, and they are bright! I ultimately didn't like the color, so have ordered another pack @ 2700k rather than 6000, but I ran one of the 6000k strips in the lab supply at 12.6v for 24hr and the strip was warm but not hot. For the overheads I WANT bright since these are nothing but maintenance lights for loading, cleaning, etc. I've already bought heat conductive adhesive (clue) to attach these to the OEM metal case, effectively turning it into a heat sink.

These are the LEDS:  http://r.ebay.com/JRIOnk
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 03:10:05 AM by SCVJeff »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2018, 09:24:24 PM »
For each tube I replaced I used a row of SM5050 6000K and a row of Sm5050 2700K. The mixture of light is perfect according to the spousal unit.  AKA Boss.
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SCVJeff

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2018, 02:15:08 AM »
And those lights I cited above also have a model that is a 50/50 mix of 2700 and 6000k LEDs that can be controlled separately
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Tom_M

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Re: T8 to LED strips - so simple right?.... maybe
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2018, 05:12:10 AM »
Here's a link to how I converted my fluorescent lamps:
https://www.bornfreervclub.org/bulletin_board/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5356&hilit=led

I like SCVJeff's solution. Much simpler than what I did and undoubtedly brighter. The strip he mentions is using the 5630 LED chip which is about the brightest presently available.
Tom
2005 Born Free 24 Rear Bath
Towing 2013 Smart Car