What are TLEDs and LED PL Lamps?

  • Tubular LED lamps (TLEDs) are a replacement for linear fluorescent lamps. TLEDs are available as T8 or T5 replacement.

  • LED PL Lamps are replacements for PL style CFL lamps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the different types of TLEDs and LED PL Lamps?

Type A

  • What are they?

    • Also called “plug and play,” Type A lamps are designed to work with a fluorescent ballast, ideally the existing ballast.

  • What are the advantages?

    • Easiest to install

    • No rewiring

    • Quickest solution with the lowest upfront cost

    • Work with existing fluorescent emergency batteries

    • Does not trigger Title 24 because the ballasts are not being removed

    • Some incentive programs accept Type A lamps.

  • What are the disadvantages?

    • The existing ballast may not be compatible with the new TLED lamp, this leads to change orders and increased costs to change out ballasts.

    • The existing ballast may be at the end of its service life and will fail during installation or shortly thereafter. To the customer, this creates the appearance that “those new lights aren’t working!” This leads to change orders and increased costs to change out ballasts.

    • Mixed technologies: there is still a fluorescent ballast in the fixture. At some point that ballast will fail and the maintenance staff will need to change it. This incurs materials and labor costs down the road.

    • Some incentive programs do not accept Type A lamps because the fixture will still accept fluorescent lamps (because the ballast is still present).

    • T5 Type A lamps are compatible with a very small selection of ballasts. APS recommends replacing ALL the ballasts if choosing a T5 Type A solution.

Type B

  • What are they?

    • Also called “ballast bypass,” Type B lamps are designed to work without a fluorescent ballast. They have an internal LED driver (similar to how screw-in CFLs are self ballasted).

  • What are the advantages?

    • The fluorescent ballast is removed; no more ballasts to replace, no concerns over ballast compatibility. This is a long term reduction in maintenance costs.

    • When a Type B lamp fails, there is no trouble shooting, you replace the lamp.

  • What are the disadvantages?

    • A slightly higher cost for labor and recycling (removal of ballast)

    • Power must be rewired to the lamp holders

    • Depending on type, lamp holders may have to be changed

    • Some TLEDs are “power at one end” models. For these lamps, power has to be connected to the lamp holders properly and the lamp can only be installed one direction. APS uses TLEDs that can accept power at both ends, so this is not an issue.

    • Because the fluorescent ballast was removed, Type B lamps do not work with existing emergency batteries.

    • Some incentive programs do not accept Type B lamps.

Type C

  • What are they?

    • Type C lamps have an external driver.

  • What are the advantages?

    • The fluorescent ballast is removed; no more ballasts to replace, no concerns over ballast compatibility. This is a long term reduction in maintenance costs.

    • Most incentive programs accept Type C.

  • What are the disadvantages?

    • A slightly higher cost for labor and recycling (removal of ballast)

    • A slightly higher cost over Type B lamps

    • Type C lamps typically have a lower lumen/watt rating, so their lamp wattages are typically slightly higher than Types A and B.

    • Power must be run to the external driver and the driver needs to be mounted inside the fixture.

    • Because the fluorescent ballast was removed, Type C lamps do not work with  existing emergency batteries.

Linear Retrofit Kits

  • What are they?

    • These kits resemble Type C TLEDs in that they have their own external driver.

    • They do not utilize the existing lamp sockets (a.k.a. lamp holders or tombstones) so they are technically a retrofit kit.

  • What are the advantages?

    • The fluorescent ballast is removed; no more ballasts to replace, no concerns over ballast compatibility. This is a long term reduction in maintenance costs.

    • Most incentive programs accept Type C.

    • Higher lumen/watt output than Type C TLEDs (although still slightly lower than Type B).

    • No need to replace lamp holders (which can also require small amounts of rewiring, which will be avoided).

    • Flexible solution

      • There are 2’ and 4’ options

    • Scalable solution

      • Multiple 2’ or multiple 4’ kits can be linked together for higher lumen solutions.

        • E.g. An existing 2-lamp T8 strip fixture would be retrofit with a 36w retrofit kit consisting of two (2) 18w light bars. An existing 4-lamp T8 strip fixture would be retrofit with a 72w retrofit kit consisting of four (4) 18w light bars.

  • What are the disadvantages?

    • A slightly higher cost over Type C solutions.

    • Power must be run to the external driver and the driver needs to be mounted inside the fixture.

    • Because the fluorescent ballast was removed, Type C lamps do not work with  existing emergency batteries.

Hybrid Lamps

  • What are they?

    • Typically there are two (2) different types of hybrid lamps.

      • Type A/B (sometimes called “Magic Tubes

        • Lamp can work with or without a ballast

      • Type A/C

        • Lamp can work with a ballast or an LED driver

  • What are the advantages of Type A/C Hybrid Lamps?

    • Some incentive programs accept hybrid lamps when installed as Type A or as Type C.

    • If installed as Type A, Hybrid Lamps are compatible with existing emergency batteries.

    • When time and recycling are concerns, installing Hybrid Lamps as Type A is quick and easy. Simply replace the fluorescent lamp with the Hybrid Lamps.

    • If installed as Type A, when the ballast eventually fails it can be removed and the LED driver can be installed.

  • What are the disadvantages of Type A/C Hybrid Lamps?

    • Higher cost compared to other lamp options.

    • Compatibility

      • Existing ballast may be incompatible. This leads to either needing to remove the ballast or replacing the ballast. This can result in a mix of fixtures which have ballasts and those that do not.

      • Existing ballast may be at the end of service life. This leads to either needing to remove the ballast or replacing the ballast. This can result in a mix of fixtures which have ballasts and those that do not.

      • Mixed technologies: the existing ballast will eventually fail and will either need to be replaced or removed.

      • To install as a Type C, a compatible LED driver will be needed.

        • May be limited to drivers manufactured by the lamp manufacturer.

      • Before choosing to use Type A/C hybrid lamps, you or your contractor will need to be certain that the fluorescent ballast is compatible AND the LED driver being recommended (or stocked on the shelf) are compatible.

    • Not all manufacturers carry Type A/C hybrid lamps.

    • If installed as a Type C lamp, any existing emergency batteries will need to be replaced.

Magic Tube

  • What are they?

    • A Type A/B lamp. This lamp can work with or without an existing ballast.

  • What are the advantages?

    • Some incentive programs accept Magic Tubes when installed as Type A (with the existing ballast).

    • If installed as Type A, Magic Tubes are compatible with existing emergency batteries.

    • When time and recycling are concerns, installing Magic Tubes as Type A is quick and easy. Simply replace the fluorescent lamp with the Magic Tube.

    • If installed as Type A, when the ballast eventually fails it can be removed and the fixture rewired for Type B - no new ballast costs.

  • What are the disadvantages?

    • Slightly higher cost compared to Type A lamps

    • If installed as Type A

      • Existing ballast may be incompatible. This leads to either needing to remove the ballast or replacing the ballast. This can result in a mix of fixtures which have ballasts and those that do not.

      • Existing ballast may be at the end of service life. This leads to either needing to remove the ballast or replacing the ballast. This can result in a mix of fixtures which have ballasts and those that do not.

      • Mixed technologies: the existing ballast will eventually fail and will either need to be replaced or removed.

    • If installed as Type B

      • Because the fluorescent ballast was removed, the lamps do not work with existing emergency batteries.

      • Some incentive programs do not accept the Magic Tube installed as Type B.

What type of TLEDs does APS prefer to recommend?

APS takes into account all of the advantages and disadvantages of each lamp type. We consider the customer’s budget, the customer’s requirements (some companies require a specific type of TLED), the incentive program requirements (if applicable), and the existing conditions on the property.

 

Most often APS recommends Type B lamps because this leaves the customer with a single type of technology (no more fluorescent ballasts), avoids change orders due to ballast failures, and they have a higher lumen/watt rating than Type C.

 

In cases where Type B lamps are not accepted by the incentive program (or when customer requirements prohibit their use), APS will recommend a linear retrofit kit. The lumen/watt rating is higher than Type C and the existing lamp holders are no longer utilized and therefore do not need to be replaced or maintained.

What type of TLED should we use?

Let APS help you decide. We can help you to sort through the options and decide on the lamp type that best suits your needs.

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