How-to review: fluorescent shop light gets an LED upgrade

Now and then you come across a video that is helpful, easy to follow and not padded with too much chit-chat. Instead, it gets straight to the point. This video from Chris Notap is an excellent video on how to convert a T8 fluorescent shop light (in a garage, that is) to an LED shop light. 

One caveat before we begin: The video is not without its flaws. Notap begins the video explaining the important difference between a plug-and-play LED conversion and a retrofit conversion – a would-be valuable “first of all.” The problem? He’s got it wrong. A plug-and-play conversion means you take out the fluorescent tubes and put in LED tubes, and you’re done. That’s not what we have here. What this video shows is, instead, is what Underwriters Laboratory (UL) calls a ballast-bypass conversion: you are bypassing the ballast used for the fluorescent tubes altogether.

It also is not a retrofit, which Notap correctly states. A retrofit involves replacing the ballast used for the fluorescent tubes with a driver to operate the LED tubes (note: many LED tubes today have built-in drivers; some LED drivers are even wireless).

On to the rest of the video

Other than the small glitch in definition, which really doesn’t take away from the main point of the video, Notap goes on to explain – and carefully show – how to do the conversion. There is wiring involved, so stay alert and flip that breaker-box switch before beginning if you decide to rewire it all with the unit still in place.

Without further ado, we’ll suggest you watch and see for yourself. To waste less time, start the video at 00:59. Enjoy!

— M. Badgett