Rick asks: I’ve been doing a lot of research about changing from T12 to T8 or T5 but haven’t run across any solutions for the 8′ one pin tubes. I have at least 150 2 tube arrangements and another 50 4 tube jobs. Anything out there?
Of all the fluorescent lamps that the U.S. sold, roughly 30 percent have been T12 technology. Because of the U.S. Department of Energy’s fluorescent lighting phase out, 70 percent of T12 fluorescent lamps have been discontinued as of July 2012. The new T8 lamps reportedly use only 60 percent of the energy that the T12 lamps consumed.
Thankfully, existing T12 lighting can be recycled via T12 retrofit process. To retrofit, the installer removes the internal components of the existing light fixture and re-uses the shell with new brackets and sometimes a new reflector.
When dealing with 8’ T12 tubes, the installer replaces the T12s with a 8-2 REB (8′ reflector 2 4′ T8 lamps, w/electronic ballast), or an 8-4 kit (8′ reflector, 4 lamp T8 w/ electronic ballast). The choice depends on the distance between the lighting fixtures and the floor. Be mindful of the type of work occupants will be doing nearby so that the lights do not get in the way and that the output is appropriate.
Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to retrofit 8’ T12 tubes with an electronic ballast.
Replacing Single Pin Fluorescent Tubes
When replacing one-pin type 4 tube fluorescent lights (single pin fluorescent tubes), the solution depends on whether the lights are high output (HO) or not.
Since pin sockets can’t be reused, the installer would select either a 4-1 or a 4-2 kit depending on workplace needs and room layout. When using a kit, the internal components are removed, and a new reflector, brackets, T8 lamps and electronic ballast are installed.
If the lamps are HO, the fixture may need to be replaced, as an HO lamp may be between two to four inches shorter than a 4’ T8.
Kristen is a writer for Poplar Network.