June 1, 2022
LED lamps are now well-established as replacements for light bulbs. However, when it comes to creating replacements for fluorescent tubes, there are additional challenges to overcome. These are primarily related to the ballast component of the fluorescent light, which controls the current flowing to the fluorescent tube.
Initial solutions simply bypassed or removed the ballast, connected the replacement LED tube directly to the mains current flowing to the light fitting. However, this required additional work, which could be significant if replacing all the tubes in an entire factory of commercial premises.
A better solution is to replace the existing tube with a tubular LED or TLED. While easier to fit, there are several safety issues that need to be addressed for these products. Key amongst them is that the installer may be exposed to live pins on the TLED during the installation process. To overcome this, the EnabLED portfolio includes technologies for incorporating safety circuits into the caps of the TLED which prevent the direct pass through of live currents from one end of the cap to the other.
Another potentially hazardous condition is related to the design of fluorescent tubes, where arcing could occur due to a poor electrical connection between the tube and the luminaire. This could also create heat, potentially leading to a fire. The EnabLED portfolio includes technologies for adding a temperature sensing switch to the TLED which detects heating due to arcing and responds by shutting off the TLED.
While these examples are safety related, the EnabLED portfolio includes many other technologies that could also be incorporated into TLEDs, to make them smarter, more connected and to add extra features such as dimming or colour changing (see smart lighting story).