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  • Are T12 lamps banned by the US Department of Energy?
    • Yes this is a true statement.  T12 products including lamps and ballasts will become more scarce as time goes on. Replacement of T12 with energy efficient T8's or T5's is going on all over the U.S. Here at, we can help save you the headache and help you select the correct products to totally switch out your T12 lights with retro lighting kits and ballasts.
  • How many lumens does a 4 foot T5HO lamp output? 
    • 5000 lumens from our 54 Watt T5HO 
  • How many lumens does a 4 foot 32 Watt T8 lamp output?
    • This answer will vary based on the ballast option you select with your lighting fixture 
      • Low ballast factor is approximately 2,300 to 2,500 lumens 
      • Standard or normal ballast factor is approximately 2,600 to 2,900 lumens
      • High ballast factor is approximately 3,000 to 3,200 lumens 
  • What is the difference between program start and instant start ballasts?
    • Program start ballasts warm the lamps before turning them on, saving on wear and tear of the lamps in the fixture. This type of ballast is typically found when lighting situations require the fixture to be turned on and off frequently; majority are paired with some type of occupancy sensor.
    • Instant start ballast shock the lamps to come on immediately, causing more wear and tear on the lamps. In some cases you may see a dramatic decrease in the life of the lamps.
  • What is the difference between Shunted, and Unshunted T8 Sockets?
    • Shunted sockets (2 wire holes) are the standard T8 sockets...
    • Unshunted sockets (4 wire holes) are used if a program start T8 ballast is installed or single ended LED lamps are installed.
  • Can LED drivers & chips be checked in the field if they are failing?
    • Wiring connections and appropriate environmental conditions can be checked in the field. The driver input and output powers could also be checked in the field. Apart from this I don't see much additional diagnostic type work that could be done. Failures to light could be diagnosed to rule out the LED strip/chip/board as the source of failure by swapping in a known good driver from another fixture.
  • Why is there such a discrepancy between manufacturers expected life?
    • The expected life reported by manufacturers for their fixtures is based on technical reports (LM-80 and Insitu Temperature Measurement) applied to an IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) created statistical model, TM-21, for predicting future lumen output of an LED compared to its initial output.The threshold for the useful life of an LED is commonly pegged at 70% of its initial lumens, or L70. This is derived from a study on a human's ability to perceive a change in light level.An LM-80 test procedure (done by the LED manufacturer) takes a sample of a given LED model under three different constant temperatures at a set current and records light output change as a percentage compared to the initial light output for a minimum of 6000 hours.An Insitu Temperature Measurement test is performed by a certified lab per the fixture manufacture's direction to determine a baseline for the temperature of an LED on a board in a given fixture at a specified ambient temperature.The data points from the LM-80 and the Insitu Temperature Measurement are put in to the TM-21 statistical model to determine what extrapolated lumen % will be at a given hour (life) or vice versa, what life equates to 70% of initial light output.
  • Why do the lumen outputs/wattage vary so much between mfgrs?
    • Lumen output and fixture wattage are influenced by the efficiency of an LED chip, driver, and fixture.Fixture efficiency is a carryover from existing lighting pertaining to the design of the fixture and how efficiently it transmits light from a given lamp.Driver efficiency is how efficient the power supply converts line voltage in to usable power for the "lamp".LED chip efficiency varies according to the specific model LED, how "hard" the chip is being driven compared to its nominal drive current, and how hot the chip operates once the fixture has heated up to steady state. Generally speaking the higher the drive current on an LED the less efficient it will be however there is no standard drive current common to all LED's and they vary greatly on their decrease in efficacy with increasing current.
  • How are LEDs tested to determine reliability & durability?
    • The LED's go through a rigorous binning process prior to being delivered to the board manufacturer. Color space on the black body curve (intricacies of CCT), CRI, luminous intensity, and forward voltage are measured for each batch of LED die on the semiconductor wafer and sorted to create a batch of uniform product within a reel of components. This process insures that the board manufacturer has a reliable set of parts to populate a circuit with yielding uniform color, intensity, and a predictable performance. The boards undergo x-ray scanning to ensure good solder connections and are tested for operation and correct CCT/CRI. LED's themselves are an inherently durable part being solid state electronics.This is the first I've been asked about the LED chips themselves at a quality/production level. I'm not personally familiar with what types of production and quality testing that goes on at the chip level but will endeavor to learn more and pass it along.
  • Why use LED over induction if both have 100k life? Advantage of LED over induction?
    • The biggest advantage LED has over Induction is its fixture efficiency. LED’s are a 100% efficient in terms of delivering light output. Induction typically has significant light loss due to the size of the lamp and its inability to redirect much of the light being spread above it. LED light can be engineered to provide specific light patterns through the use of optics, board/chip design, and reflectors increasing its overall efficiency. In addition to fixture efficiency, LED Chips continue to increase their overall lumens/watt efficiency, surpassing Inductions 80-90 lumens/watt. The other advantage LED is starting to gain over induction is Price and in some select markets discounts in the form of rebates. The only advantage Induction currently has over LED is the fact that it’s been around for over 100 years and is a proven technology. However, LED’s are rapidly gaining acceptance in the market as an extremely efficient and reliable product as chips and drivers continue to improve.
  • Does the life of the driver keep up with the LEDs or does it fail long before?
    • The driver is a much more complicated electrical component and will generally not outlast the life of the LED. The variety of internal electrical components in a driver creates more possible points of failure with the capacitors typically being the limiting component. Transient input powers, heat, and other environmental conditions all play in to the life of the driver. I can say that the 5 year warranty is generally based on very conservative assumptions (max rated ambient for 50,000 hours straight) while still meaning that a statistically significant amount of parts would continue to perform beyond this.
  • Any temp/environmental limitation on LED?
    • Concerning temperature, an LED with adequate heat dissipation would have no temperature limitation in an environment humans tolerate (-40F to 150F) or beyond. Temperature concerns with a fixture are generally 99% concerning the driver.LED's are sensitive to a variety of chemicals. These are generally corrosive in nature and affect the phosphor coating over the LED die (the yellow to orange plastic looking part that controls the CCT of the LED) either changing the CCT or destroying it completely over time. The most common application conflict I run across is indoor swimming pools where chlorine would be present in above normal concentrations in the air. The specific fixture/LED should be addressed when going in to an environment where there is a presence of specific chemicals or oils in the air.

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