Different kinds of bulbs are designed differently and that can make it a challenge to simply take out your old bulb and replace it with a new LED one when you want to. In some cases, you might be able to simply unscrew an old compact fluorescent bulb and screw in your new LED bulb. However, replacing linear bulbs will most likely require some extra work.
A fluorescent tube comes with its own ballast used to drive in the tube itself and which can be either electronic or inductive. In the case of a standard CSL bulb, this would normally be within the bulb itself, however, conventional fluorescent tubes normally have it separate and located within the light fitting.
The LED tube, in its own case, has the driver as an actual part of the tube itself. Therefore, the LED tube is an entirely integrated separate unit that can be connected directly to the mains. So, if you are going to be fitting an LED tube to a regular fitting, then it becomes necessary to modify the wiring.
When fitting an LED tube to a conventional fluorescent tube fitting, there are two kinds of settings you might use – either an existing installation with an electronic ballast or an existing installation with a starter and inductive ballast.
In the case of a fluorescent tube fitting that has an old-fashioned starter, it is possible to simply get rid of the starter and then have the connections short-circuited across the inductive ballast. The result of doing this is the inductive ballast will be taken out of the circuit, meaning that either end of the LED tube will have voltage applied to it. This allows the LED tube to light up correctly.
On the other hand, if your fluorescent fitting has an electronic ballast, then this will have to be taken out of the circuit. You can do this by cutting the wires to the electronic ballast and connecting the mains life to one end and the mains neutral to the other end of the LED.
It’s unlikely that you’ll want to switch your fittings back from LED tubes to conventional ones, but, if you ever need to, all you have to do is keep the starter and it will be possible to return to the old setup.
If you have several fluorescent tubes that you would like to convert at a time, it shouldn’t take too long to do them all once you have the first one up and running. It is certainly a good idea to swap out your old bulbs for LED ones because LEDs last five times longer than traditional fluorescent lights.
If you are not certain what to do or are not confident in your ability to replace your old bulbs with LEDs yourself, it might be best to call an electrician to get the job done. Another option is to buy LED tubes that have been manufactured to directly replace the original fluorescents in the same fittings.