Plug and Play Vs. Ballast Bypass

Lighting continues to change to meet the evolving needs of consumers. While LED was once a new technology, it has now become the industry standard for lighting in a lot of ways. With more and more people switching to LED technology, the question of plug and play versus ballast bypass comes up often. If you are looking for more information on this important matter, let’s take a closer look to get the answers you need.

What is a plug and play?

A plug and play LED is a fixture where you can install LED bulbs to what was once a fluorescent bulb. This is an easy solution and requires minimal effort on your part. Since it works with the existing ballast, there is no need for rewiring or ballast removal. This option can also be called direct fit.

What is a ballast bypass?

A ballast bypass is when the ballast is removed and the lamp receives its energy source directly from the sockets. This is option may also be called line voltage or direct wire linear LED.

Plug and Play Information

  • They are easy to install. Since the bulbs simply snap into place without additional rewiring required, this is definitely the easier option of the two.
  • They protect the ballast. The ballast is designed to control the flow of electrical current to avoid the fixture becoming overexerted or dangerous. With this option, the ballast remains intact for added peace of mind in this area.
  • Maintenance of the ballast is still necessary. While switching out for LED will certainly extend the life of the ballast over fluorescent solutions, you will still need to keep up with the upkeep of the ballast.

Ballast Bypass Information

  • It requires more time. As opposed to simply snapping into place, you will need to remove the ballast and attach the wiring to the socket.
  • There will be fewer components to maintain. Removing the ballast means one less element of the fixture to routinely check and replace.
  • There is a more of a safety concern than with direct fit lamps. If you are rewiring the fixture, the concern of electrical shock is always present and must be cautiously taken into consideration. The other matter is when trying to rewire a fixture that is in the ceiling, you will either have to run the risk of working on the ladder which adds an additional safety hazard, or deal with the hassle of removing the entire fixture to work on it.
  • Extra care must be taken to maintain LED solutions are in place. If you switch the fixture over to LED and remove the ballast, it isn’t wise to later on replace the bulbs with fluorescents. This can lead to malfunction and lowered levels of lamp performance.