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I've been eyeing LED fixtures for my garage for a long time. The six fluorescent fixtures (and the tubes in them) were installed in 1998 when the house was built. I've been discouraged because the new LED fixtures seemed very expensive. $70 to $80 is a lot when you have to replace six of them. I've also been reluctant because the new fixtures are never the same size and shape as the old fixtures. I don't want to end up painting the ceiling to make everything look right.

A couple of the fluorescent tubes failed recently. They've all been getting weaker and some not turning on at all when the weather is cold. So I decided to see what was available.

I found a GE Lighting product that was a tube that was just like my fluorescent tubes but entirely LED. The product claimed that it was compatible with many ballasts and if your ballast was on the "approved" list, you could simply replace your existing tube and it would work. I bought a couple of them to try and assess.

Of course, the ballast in my existing fixtures was not on the list. So I had to rewire my fixtures, essentially eliminating the ballast. After getting it to work with the first fixture and being happy with the result, I bought enough tubes for all my fixtures and rewired all of them. There is a good diagram on the LED tube box to guide the rewiring, but I needed a magnifying glass to read it. It was straightforward and understandable.

The LED tubes are brighter and slightly smaller in diameter than the old tubes, and the light is very uniform. I wouldn't know they were LED if I hadn't put them in myself. They will certainly outlive me, they turn on when it's down to -4 degrees F., and they only use about 1/3 the energy of the fluorescents. They also come on instantly.

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Before the fixtures are rewired, here's what they look like, ballast in the circuit:

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After turning the power off, the rewiring process involves cutting all the wires going into the ballast (close to the ballast), then removing the ballast completely. Then the side of the fixture with only 2 wires has both of those wired to the neutral (white wire). The side of the fixture with 4 wires has all of them wired to the hot (black) wire through a 1-amp inline fuse. I had to buy the inline fuse holder and 1-amp fuse separately for about $2 per fixture; they were not included. This wiring change also requires one more wire nut and a few cable ties for neatness.

When done, the re-wired fixture looks like this:

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Except for being brighter, you can't tell the difference between these LED tubes in these old fixtures and the old fluorescents.

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The 4-foot LED tubes were about $9 each at Lowes, so I upgraded each fixture for about $20. The diffusers hadn't been cleaned in over 20 years in most cases, so getting the layer of dirt and bugs out of there also increased the light transmission. The product label for the LED tubes is shown below:

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I found it best to only rewire 2 fixtures per day. (Mine are on a 10-foot ceiling.) Electrician's work is very hard on the body.

Keane
 

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Nice 👍 I replaced my shop lights with leds a while ago. It's nice to turn on the lights & have them come on right away & not have to wait for them to warm up & there so much brighter.
 

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I have replaced most of my lights with led. I had used 4’ plug in style shop lights when built my shop. So the swap was pretty easy. I actually started out with halogen lights, but they didn’t last long. Flies and other bugs would get into them and blow the bulbs. I replaced them with fluorescent lights. Which were fine for a few years. As the bulbs went bad, I replaced a couple bulbs with led , which worked ok with some But not others. As leds became more common place Menards had whole fixtures for what the just the bulbs cost. And l discoverEd they put out more light.
 

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I did this with the 12" tube fixtures in the closests of our house. LOVE that they put lights in every closet but Fluorescent tubes are the WORST light for a closet. Fluorescent lights take a bit to warm up, flicker during power up and a closet is usually an on off of just a few seconds to a minute usually and the fluorescent never gets to operating point before you turn it off.

Best you eliminated the ballast, the ballast is just another failure point and I used to just replace the ballast with the bulbs before LED. Also I found that LED fixtures designed to be drop-ins and kept the ballast had a weird power up cycle like fluorescent lights. I put this type in my boiler room before I knew they made the other type, just have not gotten around to replacing it.
 

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Great upgrade!
I've been considering LEDs for my basement shop as well. My biggest concern is that 10 fixtures (20 U-shaped bulbs) might wreak havoc with wifi signals. I guess I could add extra access points if that happens. Does anyone have actual before/after experience regarding wifi impacts and how far out any interference would reach?
 

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Great upgrade!
I've been considering LEDs for my basement shop as well. My biggest concern is that 10 fixtures (20 U-shaped bulbs) might wreak havoc with wifi signals. I guess I could add extra access points if that happens. Does anyone have actual before/after experience regarding wifi impacts and how far out any interference would reach?
If you get rid of the ballast i would not expect the LEDs to be any worse for EMI over the fluorescent
 

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These are what I put in my shop
 

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I installed six 4' Led fixtures in my long narrow storage area and eight recessed Led spots in my attached 2 car garage. The recessed replaced incandescent spots. Love all of them. My garage Leds duplicate the brightest daylight. Amazing.

Note on fluorescent disposal:
Our local hardware store recycles them. When I asked the manager if they did that, he said yes. Then he asked me if the tubes had green ends. He said if they do, they were produced without Mercury and I could just throw them in the trash. NOT TRUE. I looked it up and they have a lot less Mercury than older tubes, but still need to be recycled and should never go in a land fill. It pays to research things.
 

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Yep... Done this myself a few years back and recently had to rewire one more of these lights. Super easy to do and not ridiculously expensive either. I did something very similar about 5-6 years ago for my parents to rewire their kitchen light to use LED tubes. Biggest difference there is that it was a four-tube, 2' light fixture. I think it cost about $60 for all of the parts, and a replacement light fixture would have easily cost my parents well over $200 (and would not have matched the decor).
 
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