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Old 03-26-2017, 07:17 PM   #1
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Default LED Retrofit vs. Fixtures

I saw another retrofit thread but did not want to hijack it.

I would like your opinions on something here...

One building I'm working in still has a ton of old 347V T12 lights in it. I'm being tasked with switching ballasts to T8 as bulbs burn out, but am going to come up with a proposal for the corporate office to try and sway them to go over to LED. Regardless of what they could choose as a replacement, their lighting bills are going to get slashed in half and I will do a rough calculation on this.
I'm fond of LED lay in fixtures but have never used any LED retrofit tubes so I cannot form an opinion.
For those of you who have used them, what do you think of the lifespan and light output? Is the light diffused or can you look at the fixture and see each diode glowing? Have you had to come back often to replace duds?
The building has a wide variety of fixtures (but mostly T12). T12, T8, all kinds of different ballasts, 1x4, 2x4, some weird sized 3 lamp fixtures, 2x2, u-tubes.... I've seen 48", 24", and u-tube retrofits so I'm thinking of ballast bypass replacements to simplify things. Have you used any 347V rated ballast bypass tubes?
Would you personally lean towards fixtures or retrofits?
I like fixtures better as I can vouch for them and they will look new and pretty. The retrofits will still be in ancient and ugly fixtures, many of which will likely require total re-wires (I found a few with cloth covered ballast wires in them) but the retrofits can be purchased for 1/3rd of the price of fixtures even with the poco rebates. The fixtures will also provide as much light as a fixture with 2 retrofits in them but at a slightly lower wattage.
Your thoughts/opinions/stories on retrofit experience?
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:40 PM   #2
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Anybody?
Alright, let's ignore voltage and just talk retrofit vs. fixture.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:17 AM   #3
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Retro's are problematic, kind of like installing a new engine in an old car

New is less so, as well as far more warranty-able

~CS~
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:43 AM   #4
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If they are troffers and wired with whips I almost always go with new fixtures. They fave better reflectance, better aesthetics, and just do a really good job. I pay like $120 for the Cree ZR24 and it seems to be a great fixture.
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Old 03-31-2017, 09:07 AM   #5
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A comment on one part of your OP: I'm not sure that 347v ballast bypass tubes exist, and if they do, they sound like a really bad idea. Personally I would not want to get involved in an installation that brought 347v directly to a tombstone. That just sounds like a recipe for killing maintenance workers.

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Old 03-31-2017, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
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A comment on one part of your OP: I'm not sure that 347v ballast bypass tubes exist, and if they do, they sound like a really bad idea. Personally I would not want to get involved in an installation that brought 347v directly to a tombstone. That just sounds like a recipe for killing maintenance workers.

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Old 03-31-2017, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicken steve View Post
Retro's are problematic, kind of like installing a new engine in an old car

New is less so, as well as far more warranty-able

~CS~
omg...I liked one of his posts.

I'm so ashamed...
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Old 03-31-2017, 09:42 PM   #8
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steve,

Totally agreed. The light may be nicer but the lens and frame of the fixture will still be a piece of crap. Would the retrofits not be covered under warranty as well though?

sbrn33,
I have installed many of those and back them 100%. There are a variety of every friggin' T12 fixture made in the last 40 years but it would be easy to replace them with 2x4, 1x4, and 2x2s. The 1x4 makes up the bulk though so I would have to see if they make that size in that particular style. I would personally go straight for the fixtures but its corporate's decision and right now in the city office vacancy is at an all time high so they aren't keen on capitol projects at the moment. The lower cost of the retrofits may be more attractive.

Nabs,
I considered this and it is a major con when comparing the two options (if the 347V bypass even do exist). The current maintenance guys respect electricity enough to not go into any 347V fixtures but you never know who they might hire in the future. I will absolutely stress this part to corporate.

I'd rather not even present the retrofit option, but I think it might help to show the cheaper number yet explain the poor aesthetics of the upgrade, dangers, problems that will be ran into, and generally talk a lot of crap about the retros to make the higher cost of fixtures seem less scary to them. Or hopefully the savings alone are enough to sway them. Very rough estimate shows around 55k/year savings on lighting.

EDIT: Vacancy is high not low.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:39 PM   #9
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Depends on the fixture, if it's still in nice condition, refit, if it's crap, new.

If maintenance bitch gets blasted playing with stuff he shouldn't be, good, you can't look out for every Darwin candidate.
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Old 04-01-2017, 04:03 AM   #10
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Nabs,
I considered this and it is a major con when comparing the two options (if the 347V bypass even do exist). The current maintenance guys respect electricity enough to not go into any 347V fixtures but you never know who they might hire in the future. I will absolutely stress this part to corporate.
The problem as I see it is that many (most) people will not be expecting 347v at the tombstone (why should they?). So it's not so much an issue of whether or not they respect electricity, but more of almost like setting a booby trap. I even kind of think 120v ballast bypass is a bad idea for the same reason, but 347 is a whole other ballgame. I kind of think ballast bypass isn't much different than wiring 240v to a 5-15r. It's not what that device is designed to put out, so there's no reason someone should expect it to, and sooner or later something is going to go poof, or someone is going to get hurt. JMO.

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Old 04-01-2017, 08:22 PM   #11
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You have a valid point nabs. I won't argue that logic.

But what do you guy's think of bringing up the retros in the proposal to make the fixtures look more attractive by comparison? Many of you guys are business owners, how would you go about selling this idea?
Also, do you think its too far of a stretch to say LED replacing thousands of T12 would perhaps help keep the building cooler?
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