Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

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Hell Razor5543
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Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Hi all,

My cousin has asked for some advice. She is a professional dressmaker, and some of her work requires fine detail (and this, obviously, needs good lighting). Currently she has a four foot florescent light in her studio. Unfortunately this has started flickering (which means she cannot work as late into the evenings as she has in the past, as the flickering can cause her headaches). She asked me for advice, but I am not knowledgeable about these lights. I offered to ask here, on the Forum, as I know that people will offer good advice, without overwhelming her (and I) with techno babble. She has accepted the offer, and would appreciate any help.

Ideally the light would produce a warm light (like a nice spring day), but bright enough so she can do fine detail (she does, at times, use a magnifying lens on a stand). She will use a tube, but if there are LED equivalents (that are not too expensive) she will consider them. She lives on the Isle of Wight, and, although in the past you could get tubes, as there are now many options (enough to confuse people who do not know what they require) most stores now only carry normal bulbs.

Thanks for any help (from myself and Ailsa).

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Mandrake
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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by Mandrake »

You can get warm white fluorescent tubes nowadays. We have a traditional long fluorescent tube in our kitchen, the original was a traditional hard white (blueish) one which I found a bit tiring, when it went kaput I replaced it with a warmer colour temperature - much nicer! Still very bright too. I think I got mine from B&Q.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Thanks. I don't suppose you know the details? Ailsa does not like going into B&Q (she gets lost in there!), so if she has those details she can check on line, and then just do a flying visit and get a couple of them.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by elma »

You can get warm white LED tubes as well which are really good. You'll need to modify the light fittings for them though (deballast) so best get tubes if there's no one handy to assist.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by myglaren »

I have recently installed several LED strips and found the light to be better than that of flourescents. A range of colours are available including RGB strips that can be varied practically infinitely. They are simple to fit, cheap and cheap to run. Some of mine have been running constantly for months.

The only minor drawback I have had with some is colour degradation when run constantly- these are kitchen over and under cabinet lights and get quite hot in a hot environment, I am in the process of mounting them on a steel strip to act as an heatsink.

Loads of info on YouTube - here's an introductory one:


Which may be a bit daunting. Don't be put off, it is deadly simple.

Some of mine run on old laptop power supplies, others on dedicated power supplies costing around a fiver apeice.

Another video with a quite attractive presenter :)


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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by myglaren »

^ Apologies for the non-English speaking colonials :(

"Soddering" indeed :evil:

Forgotten about that.

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white exec
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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by white exec »

Cheapest and easiest option is to buy a replacement fluorescent tube:
4-foot 36W colour code 830 (warm white).

827 is very pink, 840 is a a cool blue. 830 is a comfortable working light.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by myglaren »

^ True but where's the fun in that :)
Also I have found recently that fluorescents, especially long ones, are becoming somewhat difficult to get hold of and expensive.

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white exec
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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by white exec »

Didn't realise fun had been requested!
Electrical wholesalers here stock replacement LED tubes in standard bi-pin fluorescent lengths, as direct replacements into existing fittings.
EDIT: Removal of original choke/starter from the fitting is needed, in order to use these LED tubes.
Last edited by white exec on 05 Feb 2017, 09:41, edited 1 time in total.

elma
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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by elma »

white exec wrote:Didn't realise fun had been requested!
Electrical wholesalers here stock replacement LED tubes in standard bi-pin fluorescent lengths, as direct replacements into existing fittings.
They are what I'm talking about but they are not direct replacements, the light units need the starters and ballasts removing so the tubes are wired directly to the mains. The leds tubes are self ballasted and so would be risky to install straight into a normal fitting complete with starters and transformer.

Those led strips are brilliant, especially under the counter in the kitchen. For the tasks these tubes are required for I wouldn't install them myself unless they can be shielded from view. Whilst the light is good, if you can see the led they are quite dazzling.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by myglaren »

I made one for one of my grandsons - a proof of concept bodge to be fair but he was delighted and kept it.
A 1500mm aluminium tube from work with a wooden plug in each end and a hook in the plug.
1200mm strip, a small power supply and Bob's his uncle.
Hung from the ceiling it can be rotated to give direct or reflected light - the latter being the most used.

Did similar for his uncle Bob ;) (my youngest son)
2M strip draped across his headboard, lights upwards and reflects off wall and ceiling to give a bright but soft light.
Again was a proof of concept to be refined later and again he is delighted and won't let me fiddle with it any further.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by dnsey »

Re the LED replacement tubes, is removal of the ballast really necessary?
I suspect that the impedence of the ballast will be relatively insignificant at the LED current.

elma
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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by elma »

Depends on the tube and some are designed to use the original ballast but I've not ever seen one myself. Fitting the self ballasted LED with a fluorescent ballast would be a bad idea, kind of like fitting a domestic bulb to a streetlight ballast. Massively over voltage and something will probably fry.

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by Gibbo2286 »

This is the company I buy all my electrical stuff from, pretty well anything electric is available usually from stock, I've had 4ft tubes of any chosen colour and even an 8ft slim one and an under cupboard 1ft one.
I believe they supply countrywide so worth asking. It says 'wholesale' but they are happy to supply anyone

Swansons Lighting & Electrical
Wholesaler in Coleford, England
Address: Swansons Central Distribution Ltd, Stepbridge Road, Coleford GL16 8PJ
Phone: 01594 835900

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Re: Advice on flourecent tubes (or their equivalent)

Post by dnsey »

elma wrote:Depends on the tube and some are designed to use the original ballast but I've not ever seen one myself. Fitting the self ballasted LED with a fluorescent ballast would be a bad idea, kind of like fitting a domestic bulb to a streetlight ballast. Massively over voltage and something will probably fry.

Surely the PD across the LED cluster will simply be reduced by that across the ballast?
I'm assuming that 'removal' of the ballast involves shorting it out - if it were simply removed, there would be no supply for the LEDs.
Presumably the self-ballasted units simply have current-limiting resistors built in (or perhaps a more sophisticated regulator). 'Open' LED strips for mains use are readily available, using straightforward resistors plus a rectifier.
Streetlights, of course, use HV discharge lamps - a rather different matter, but as far as I can see, fitting an incandescent lamp would do nothing spectacular, as the lamp and ballast would similarly be in series.
The ballast is there in either case because once the discharge is established the lamp behaves as a virtual short circuit, so requires current limiting.