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Why and how to replace TL tubes with LEDs?

Last updated on 8 September 2020

In the last 10 years, the lightning progress in LED performance has relegated Thomas Edison's incandescent lamp, which has lit us for more than a century, and its halogen variants to the museum.

Fluorescent tubes, although more economical, are currently suffering the same fate: the 'compact fluorescent lamp' (a mini tube wound into a bulb) is no longer manufactured and the TL (luminescent tube), often called a neon tube, is systematically replaced by LEDs.

Advantages of LED tubes compared to the TL

For a very long time, the TL was the longest lasting and most economical lighting mode. Its weak points were more of an aesthetic nature: the colour rendering and the 'atmosphere' of a room lit by TLs are not exactly warm.

LEDs bring other qualities even though, for the same amount of light, an LED tube currently costs between 5 and 10 times more to purchase than its TL equivalent.

Lower consumption

A LED tube consumes 2/3 less energy than a TL. It does not require an ignition system (the so-called starter), which is energy consuming.

This lower power consumption makes it possible to recoup the extra cost of purchasing LED tubes in one year of operation compared to conventional TL tubes

Longer service life

50,000 hours instead of 10,000 hours, that's 5 times more!

This advantage is particularly interesting for professionals, since TL tube luminaires are often mounted on high ceilings (halls, workshops, building entrances, outdoor street lamps, etc.).

They therefore require the intervention of technicians capable of working at heights, on gondolas or ladders. All of this requires time and materials, and therefore costs, which are now avoided 4 times out of 5.

Instant ignition

And no flashing!

It should be noted that in large installations (factories, workshops, etc.), the lighting of the TL tubes causes a 'reactive current' which leads to energy losses (which are nevertheless invoiced) and makes it necessary to design expensive reinforced installations, which are no longer necessary with LEDs.

More resistance

The LEDs work even better in cold weather. They are also stronger since they are made of plastic instead of glass.

On the other hand, they do not tolerate high temperatures: a temperature of more than 45°C leads to an exponential reduction in service life.

Warmer

LEDs are available in a wide range of colour temperatures.

LED tubes or LED panels?

LED tubes: same infrastructure but loss of brightness

Opting for LED tubes allows existing luminaires to be retained.

However, when an LED tube is installed in a luminaire designed for a TL, some of the brightness is lost on the illuminated surfaces. Indeed, the optics of these luminaires are designed to efficiently reflect light, by means of reflectors, from a round source that emits in all directions.

However, the LEDs only emit downwards. In order to achieve the desired uniform illuminance, luminaires often need to be added.

LED panels: more adjustment possibilities and more energy-efficient

These rectangular, square or rounded panels are composed of encapsulated LED chips that emit a powerful, diffuse and more uniform light than LED tubes.

  • They can be dimmable and available in various colour temperatures.
  • Some may also provide fade-out coloured light.
  • Ultra-flat, they can be aesthetically integrated in or on the ceiling
  • They are still a little more energy efficient than LED tubes.

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