Friday, February 17, 2017

Converting Fluorescent Tubes to LED

Many newer RVs now come with LED bulbs, and for good reason. When using LED bulbs you reduce your power consumption, reduce the heat in the RV, and they last a lot longer than regular bulbs. Before LEDs came along, many of the RV manufacturers outfitted their RVs with fluorescent tubes. The fluorescent tubes seemed better than the incandescent bulbs because they last longer and were not as hot. The downside of fluorescents is dealing with the ballasts that seem to be unable to outlast the bulb that is in the fixture. In addition, the fluorescent bulb cannot match the efficiency and durability of LED tubes. RVs come with either 12 or 18 inch tubes.

There are many advantages of LED tubes over fluorescent tubes; some may be obvious, and some may not be obvious. Making the jump to LED tubes is a big decision and requires an investment of money, but I think it is worth it, and here is why:

  • LED tubes will not shatter! The fluorescent bulbs can be a bit fragile; make the wrong move with them and you could have a mess on your hands. I have even heard stories of fluorescent tubes breaking while traveling on rough roads. LED tubes are a great addition to prevent shattering.
  • No mercury! The mercury in a fluorescent tube is some bad stuff and not great for the environment. Get rid of the mercury by switching to LED tubes.
  • LED offers better lighting, and can be purchased in different color temperatures. While cool white is the standard transition, the LED tubes also come in warm white. Different light coloring is not an option with your regular fluorescent tubes.
  • The LED tubes that we sell can work with the wireless dimmer switch that we sell also. That’s right; if you transition to LED tubes, you can actually dim them if you want to. This is just something that cannot happen with standard fluorescent tubes. Our customers that have made the transition love being able to dim their lights.
  • LED tubes have more of a directional light. The regular fluorescent tubes shine light all the way around the bulb and therefore light is lost in the fixture, and is not as efficient. Don’t get caught up in the lumens number as much of the light in the regular fluorescent is lost. The LED tubes shine as bright or brighter because of the directional nature. The Eco-LED tubes that we sell can actually be adjusted to point in a particular direction. This is a great feature in areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms.
  • LED tubes are more efficient, by as much as 30%! This means you will reduce the load on your batteries while boondocking.
  • LED tubes are longer lasting. I won’t get into the debate on this one. Yes, there are some new age fluorescents that last long too, but in the comparison of specs, LEDs have a longer life span for RV tubes.
  • No more ballasts to worry about. The ballast is only in place to boost the power to get the fluorescent tube light up. Once you transition to LED tubes you don’t need this anymore.

Is that enough reasons to make the switch? How about installation? The installation is easy as pie. The tubes are plug and play. Beware, not all LED replacement tubes are plug and play. Some LED replacement tubes require that you bypass the ballast. The Eco-LED tubes that we sell do not require that you bypass the ballast. You certainly can bypass the ballast if you would like to, and that will get you about 10% more light from the tube by doing so. In my experience, when you plug and play, they are just as bright as the tube that was replaced, even with the 10% less from the ballast. Check this video out that I made of me showing how easy it is to replace the tubes. You can also see that the lighting is better than what is being replaced.