How To Direct-Wire A Double-Ended LED Bulb?
There are two types of double-ended LED tubes: direct-wire and ‘plug&play.’
This installation guide takes the reference of a double-ended T8 LED tube. Nevertheless, it will help if you read and follow the product specifications on your LED tube light before attempting a direct-wire installation.
Before you go through the guide, here’s some necessary information about T8 LED tubes:
- Most T8 tubes, except for the ones with an instant-start ballast, need a non-shunted tombstone.
You can read this blog post to know the difference between shunted and non-shunted tombstones.
- Since most tube lights from the T-series can work with the G-13 style socket, you may not have to replace an existing socket. Nevertheless, do not forget to check the label on your tube light before installation.
- All-tube light fixtures have four pins (two on each side.) However, unlike the single-ended counterparts, double-ended LED tubes are not polarized. So, they can receive power from both ends. In simple words, single-ended tubes take both live and neutral connections on the same side, while double-ended tube lights need a live wire connection on one end and neutral on the other.
NOTE: Before starting the installation, make sure to turn off the main electrical supply.
Now, let’s begin with the installation process:
Preparing the Fixture
- Unpack your T8 LED tube and check it for any defects.
- Check whether the existing fixture has shunted or non-shunted tombstones.
The installation process for ‘hybrid’ and ‘ballast-bypass’ double-ended tubes is different.
If you have a ‘ballast-bypass’ T8 tube and need to install it in the place of a fluorescent tube with a magnetic ballast:
Remove the starter by making a close cut on the wires at the point of connection.
Then, take out the ballast by making close cuts on the wires. Seal the cut-ends by using wire nuts.
If you are working with a fluorescent fixture with a rapid-start ballast, it will not have a starter. Therefore you only need to remove the starter.
Making Electrical connections
For installing a single T8 LED bulb:
- Connect the hot (RED, BLACK, OR BLUE) and neutral (WHITE) wires to the tombstone wires and make a ‘series’ connection.
- Connect the hot wire to one end of the tombstone and live wire on the other.
- Secure all connections with wire nuts or push-in connectors.
NOTE: Never let the live and neutral wires touch each other, as it may cause a short-circuit connection.
Installing 2, 3, or more double-ended tubes will require a ‘parallel’ connection.
Connecting the fixtures in parallel ensures that each tube light is independent of the others. Hence, any fault in one of the lights will not affect the others. Follow the upcoming diagram for making a parallel connection:
You can make a parallel connection in two ways:Multi-chain
Following this method, you will have to lay individual wiring connections for each tube in the parallel connection.Daisy-Chain
This method will allow you to connect multiple tube lights with a single connection. You can daisy-chain the T8 tube lights by supplying the first tube with the power, then using the second pin on each end for connecting the next tube.
Having a basic knowledge of electrical circuits and wiring connections will come handy. Nevertheless, if you are not sure about installing the tube by yourself, call for professional help.
If you are looking for a guide on direct-wiring single-ended tubes, read here.
Checking The T8 LED Bulb:
- After securing all the connections making sure no live and neutral wire touch each other, turn on the mains power supply.
- Switch on the electrical supply to the tube light fixture(s.)
- Check if the tube light(s) lights up without flickering or buzzing. If yes, the installation is successful!