Type A and Type B LED tubes refer to different methods of retrofitting or replacing traditional fluorescent tubes with LED technology. They are designed to fit into the same fixtures as traditional fluorescent tubes but offer various installation and compatibility options. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between Type A and Type B LED tubes:
Type A LED Tubes (Plug-and-Play):
These LED tubes are designed to be a direct replacement for fluorescent tubes without requiring any modification to the existing fixture.
They are compatible with the existing ballast in the fixture, which means you can simply remove the old fluorescent tube and install the Type A LED tube in its place.
This “plug-and-play” approach makes installation relatively easy and doesn’t require rewiring or bypassing the ballast.
Type A tubes can be a convenient choice for retrofitting existing fixtures since they minimize the need for electrical work.
However, they may still rely on the ballast, which could be less efficient or prone to failure over time. If the ballast fails, the LED tube will also not work until the ballast is replaced.
Type B LED Tubes (Direct Wire/Ballast Bypass):
Type B LED tubes require rewiring and bypassing the existing ballast in the fixture.
These tubes do not rely on the ballast for operation. Instead, they are wired directly to the line voltage (typically 120V or 277V) and require an electrical connection to each end of the tube.
Type B tubes are more energy-efficient because they eliminate the power loss associated with the ballast.
While the initial installation process may be slightly more involved due to rewiring, bypassing the ballast can lead to long-term cost savings and improved reliability.
Some Type B tubes come with a wiring diagram to guide installers through the bypass process.
It’s important to note that some LED tube manufacturers offer hybrid solutions (Type AB or Type A/B) that can operate with or without a ballast, giving users the flexibility to choose the desired installation method. Additionally, there is also a Type C option (Remote Driver) where the LED tubes require an external driver that is mounted away from the fixture.
When choosing between Type A and Type B LED tubes, consider factors such as existing infrastructure, ease of installation, long-term energy efficiency, and maintenance requirements. Consulting with a lighting professional or electrician can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and circumstances.