Pitfalls are the Pits. NWEdison Can Guide You Around Them.
Did you know that food producers can put the words, “Light”, “Natural”, “Whole Grain”, “Fresh” & “Real” on their products without it meaning anything healthy? It’s as if we have the time (or eyesight ability) to read every ingredient in every package. Absurd. Negotiating pitfalls while trying to nourish our bodies is an infuriating notion.
Wanna know why this is being discussed on a lighting blog? Because Linear LED tubes. Because marketing directors. Because the regulations on how lamps and fixtures are marketed is even looser than it is on food. Here are the phrases we’ve been seeing lately and my footnotes on them:
What they meant to say is that these are compatible with the 28 ballasts they’ve tested. Otherwise, no dice and no warranty.
Oops, they forgot to mention that high output ballasts are not compatible. They hope you weren’t planning to use these in high-bays or anywhere that the existing ballast was over 1.0 ballast factor.
FYI: not for direct/indirect fixtures or when the existing lamps are too close together like in many, many, many schools and office that went with pendant mounted indirect lighting
Here is the pitfall... The LED T8 tubes they are hocking are compatible with SOME ballasts, can be plugged and played in certain configurations, likely cannot upgrade fixtures that dim or have light in both up and down directions, may or may not work with emergency ballasts, might need different sockets, might be too wide if lamps are close together, only come in 2' and 4' lengths, might not be DLC listed in the Kelvin you like, etc, etc, etc.
I'm not trying to soapbox preach about marketing tactics. I get it. My goal is, frankly, fear mongering. I can accidentally buy a 'light, natural" salad dressing only to get it home and realize it has the salt content of the Dead Sea. I'm out $3.53 and eating a dry salad. NO Big Deal. But, if you commit a sizeable budget to changing an entire facility to “totally compatible, plug n play, maintenance free, installs in minutes for a lifetime of happiness” LED tubes... You might find yourself with flickering or dark fixtures, change orders, the occasional smoking, sparking sockets and taste in your mouth worse than food that is actually natural, light, healthy and lacking preservatives.
We're not asking you to the research, read the fine print, cross reference the compatibility lists and identify the wiring strategy of your sockets. We're asking you to partner with us because we, like label reading helicopter parents, do read all the fine print.