Replacement ideas for kitchen fluorescent light box


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Old 07-28-21, 06:08 PM
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Replacement ideas for kitchen fluorescent light box

I'm looking for ideas to replace this ugly-a** light fixture in our kitchen. It's always been a pain when it comes to replacing the bulbs because that cover barely hangs on the edges of the box.

So, a few questions:

What could we replace this with that looks more modern?

How difficult is it removing the old box? Is it something I could do myself? I have no problem cutting the power, ripping out the old housing for the electrical bulbs and dealing with the electrical wiring (I typically would use a wire nut on each bare wire and tape it as well for good measure).

Our house has a popcorn ceiling, so Ideally, I'd want something big enough to cover the old space but have a more updated light fixture.


 

Last edited by PJmax; 07-28-21 at 06:15 PM. Reason: added pic from link
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Old 07-28-21, 06:16 PM
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That's an old style surface mount fixture. Has two or four tubes. Called a 2x4 fixture.
You're going to have to measure it to get it's exact measurement.

I have a very similar fixture to yours. I upgraded to four LED tubes.
2) daylight and 2) cool white. The light output is stunning.
 
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Old 07-28-21, 07:24 PM
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Converting the existing fixture to direct drive LED lamps will be the easiest as the existing fixture would stay in place with no changes/damage to the drywall ceiling. You might be able to get a different lens for it as well. Otherwise, there are many surface-mounted fixtures available, you just need to find one you like and is large enough to cover the footprint of the existing light.

One option would be a flat panel LED 2 x 4 light with a surface-mounted frame kit.
 
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Old 07-29-21, 04:27 AM
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Also if you go the LED route get dimmable LEDs then you can control the light output.
 
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Old 07-29-21, 06:31 AM
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@PJmax

You are correct. It has 4 tubes. Can you tell me what model you replaced it with? Was the framing/box difficult to pull down? I'm not real sure how it's attached to the ceiling.

@Tolyn

My wife and I both hate the box (and I especially hate it because it's a pain in the a** sliding the flimsy piece of plastic into that slot and trying to get it to rest on all sides (with about 1/4" to spare on each side. The LED suggestion is a good one for sure.

@Manden

That's something I hadn't considered. I'm not sure if we would use the dimmer in the kitchen, but something to think about. Thanks for the suggestion.

 
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Old 08-01-21, 08:03 AM
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Best surface/flush mount lighting for kitches 4' tube

I had thought about replacing an ugly, enclosed "box" in our kitchen but have decided to just replace the existing fluorescent lighting instead. We had problems with all bubs not coming on, or sometimes one or two of them would come on. Replacing all 4 bulbs didn't change the problem, so I suspect the transformers are going bad (part# r-2s40-1-tp).

Looking at Home Depot and Lowes, it seems to be hit or miss (and all of them are probably made in China). I'd rather spend more money and know I'm buying something solid that's going to last.

Any suggestions on what I can replace these with? My preference would be to go with housing that supports a T8 bulb, but might be open to LED lighting. These are 4' long bulbs.

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 08-01-21, 08:48 AM
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Hi, there are so many options, do you plan on removing the old existing fixture , recommended, Google surface mounted 2x4 surface mount fixtures, definitely go with LEDs .
Geo 🇺🇸
 
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Old 08-01-21, 09:46 AM
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@Geochurchi

I plan on keeping the enclosure. I need the housing that holds the two bulbs. I have two housings inside the box (so, four bulbs total). I've done a lot of Googling but can't find any that I'm comfortable with based on reviews. They all seem to be cheaply made.
 
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Old 08-01-21, 09:54 AM
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We use hundreds of Keystone DX2 direct drive LED lamps per year with good results but really any name-brand lamp (Sylvania, Phillips, etc) should be good as long as they are direct drive. This means the ballast is removed and the sockets are wired with direct house voltage.
 
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Old 08-01-21, 10:36 AM
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Threads combined.
 
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Old 08-01-21, 12:16 PM
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Hi, you will be better off taking that arrangement out of that frame and installing a new drop in 2x4 flat panel LED, what are the dimensions of the inside of the frame? You could maybe use a fixture designed for a suspended ceiling, just install some of the metal wall molding around the inside edge for support, Lithonia makes a good fixture, if you are trying to buy American made, good luck!
 
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Old 08-01-21, 04:26 PM
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@Geochurchi

The inside dimensions are 24.5" x 48.5" Since my last post, I came across something that "appears" to be a very good option for me.

https://keystonetech.com/all-product...ble-ended-led/

If I understand what I'm reading, I'm reusing my enclosure, ripping out the transformer and using their "end pieces" that wire directly into the existing wiring. I'm going to call the company tomorrow to find out more about this.

 
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Old 08-01-21, 04:28 PM
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@PJMax Thanks for combining these. I had started this one just to focus on replacing the existing hardware (but keep the box). But it makes sense to combine them.
 
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Old 08-01-21, 04:33 PM
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You can buy tubes directly from the depot or lowes. I haven't been brand shopping. I walk in an get what I want. I just purchased 2) cool white tubes and 2) daylight tubes for direct connection. They actually came with replacement sockets. They were less than $10 each.

I recently had a 5 month old tube from depot go bad. I took it out and exchanged it. No problem.
 
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Old 08-01-21, 05:33 PM
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I'm reusing my enclosure, ripping out the transformer and using their "end pieces" that wire directly into the existing wiring
The Keystone DX2 lamps can be wired two ways, fed on one end (Must have non-shunted sockets), or fed on each end. We always use each end method because you do not have to replace the sockets (tombstones). Just take the ballast out, connect all the wires going to one side of the fixture and connect them to the neutral wire(s). Then take all the wires going to the other side of the fixture and connect them to the hot wire(s). It is as simple as that. This is why we use these LED lamps.

We purchase all of ours from the electrical supplier. Some will also do consumer sales.
 
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Old 08-02-21, 03:39 PM
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@Tolyn Ironhand

From a few videos I saw, the transformer was removed, the two wires that fed to one end (where the tombstones were shunted) were cut off close the the tombstones and capped off. Then on the other end, one wire from each tombstone was connected to neutral and the remaining wire from each tombstone was connected to hot.

In that video, he did not replace the tombstones (so it appeared that the LED bulbs fit into the existing tombstones. Is that correct?). It's very similar to what you recommended, but in this case, I'd have to buy singe-ended LED bulbs to make this work.

Is there any issue re-using the tombstones? It appears that you push a paper clip into a small hole to release the wire, but does the mechanism that holds the wire in place wear out over time? This has to be original lighting, so they're 20 years old at this point. Is it best to just spend a few bucks and buy new, non-shunted tombstones?

 

Last edited by hikerguy; 08-02-21 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 08-02-21, 05:51 PM
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so it appeared that the LED bulbs fit into the existing tombstones. Is that correct?
Yes. Typically T8 LED bi-pin lamps should fit any bi-pin T8 or T12 sockets/tombstones.

How you wire the existing tombstones will depend on the lamp you choose. As I mentioned, the Keystone DX2 lamps can be wired feeding the hot on one side and the neutral on the other which simplifies the installation.

The only time you want to replace the tombstones is if they are damaged. It is pretty easy to see as they will be black and melted. I find this to be fairly rare.
 
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Old 08-03-21, 06:25 AM
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@Tolyn

Thanks for all the info. I'm going to go the easiest route you suggested (hot on one side and neutral on the other). I ended up ordering these bulbs (which can be used a single-ended or double-ended):

Parmida 4FT LED T8 Tube - Ballast Bypass - Type B Installation - Frosted Lens - 18W

They are $32 (with tax) for a 4-pack
 
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Old 08-03-21, 06:37 PM
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They look like a good option. Let us know how they turn out as I have not heard of the brand. $8 per lamp is a decent price.
 
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Old 08-08-21, 06:01 PM
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@Tolyn

I will definitely let you know. Quick question for ya. In my housing, the tombstones on one end have two wires coming out of each tombstone, but on the other end, there is just one (yellow) wire coming out of each tombstone. It just seems odd that they're not symmetrical on each end. Just curious why that is.
 
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Old 08-11-21, 11:55 AM
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I have one set of LED bulbs working in one housing. When I got into the housing beside it, I discovered they had ran a short piece of Romex? cable from one housing to the other (I'm guessing to avoid two home runs to the panel). I confirmed this by breaking the connection on the two neutral wires in that housing. When broke, the working set of LED bulbs went out, but when I connected the two neutral wires back together, the LED bulbs in the other housing came back on).

So, with this second housing, I need to connect 6 wires together (as see in the pic). The four wires from the tombstones and the two hot wires.

Going by my wire strippers, the house wiring is 12 gauge and the wires coming from the tombstones are 16 gauge.

The box for the red wire nuts (from IDEAL) say the max# of wires is five #12s. Am I OK using these given the size of the wires? I'm not sure how to figure if three #12s is the equivalent of four #16s.

If I can't use the red wire nut, is my best option to go with a bigger wire nut, or use one of those connectors where you just push the wire into one of several slots? I know there are bigger wire nuts out there, but again, I run into a problem figuring out if (for example) a wire nut that supports two #8s max and handle two #12s and four #16s.

These are all solid wires I'm working with.

Here's a pic of the wires I'm working with:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZrD5kjqPZLTe877c9

 
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Old 08-11-21, 04:45 PM
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Am I OK using these given the size of the wires?
Wires in a typical light fixture like that are 18 ga wires. There is no issue putting 4 - #18 in a red wire nut.
 
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Old 08-11-21, 06:45 PM
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I had used a new wire stripper (with a spring in the handle) and it "seemed" to be indicating it was 16 gauge, but I just tried some much older strippers I had (no spring) and the 18 gauge hole seemed to strip perfectly, so I believe you're right. So, am I OK putting four #18 and two #12 in the red wire nut? Just going to be fun trying to line them all up and hold them as I twist them with my lineman's pliers.
 
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Old 08-12-21, 10:20 AM
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I was able to contact IDEAL, who sent me a link to a PDF that details all of the UL Listed Wire Combinations. The link is below. I was able to find my combination and was able to use the red nut:

https://www.idealind.com/content/dam...ng03.05.21.pdf

I have everything done but I had one bad bulb. It worked, but part of the casing was cracked, so I contacted Parmida for a replacement. Once I have them all in, I'll post a pic. We got the frosted ones and even with two it's nice and bright.

We also bought a "film" with a design to go over the plexiglass that hides the bulbs in that enclosure, and it's frosted too, so hopefully enough light will come through with four frosted bulbs.
 
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Old 08-27-21, 10:41 AM
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T8 vs. T40 (follow-up to new LED bulbs)

So, I just noticed that these new bulbs say "Direct replacement for 32W/48W T8 bulb only." I had the old, fat fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen and garage. I believe they are T40s (definitely larger circumference than the T8s).

So, why would I not be able to use the LED bulbs in the same enclosure as the old T40s if I remove the ballast and wire them direct (wires from one side going to the hot/black house wire and wires from the other side going to white/neutral house wire)?

Is it possible that warning is just there because they do require removing the ballast and it's a general warning that you can't just pop out the old T40s and pop in the new T8s?

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 08-27-21, 03:31 PM
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There are T8 and T12 fluorescent lamps, no T40. The number after the "T" is how many eighths the diameter of the lamp is. So a T8 lamp is 1" in diameter while a T12 is 1 1/2" in diameter. I suspect the 40 is the wattage of the lamps.

I just noticed that these new bulbs say "Direct replacement for 32W/48W T8 bulb only."
That label makes me think that they are not direct drive line voltage lamps and need a ballast in order to operate. Please double check this. If they are really line voltage lamps then there should be no issues as 4' T12 and T8 use similar sockets. (T12 non-shunted, T8 shunted)
 
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Old 08-27-21, 06:21 PM
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Tolyn,

You are correct. I looked at the spare bulb I had in the garage and it says F40W. However, I'm sure the 6 I removed did say Txx. Not sure why I have this one oddball bulb laying around in the garage.

So, the two enclosures in the garage and in the kitchen were definitely the larger diameter fluorescent bulbs with ballast. I removed the ballast on all three and wired them as described earlier. All three work.

The last enclosure I have uses the smaller diameter bulbs (and the LED bulbs DO fit in the tomb stones and light up. I tested that earlier today).

I'm just concerned about the wording now. Do you think that wording is there to warn people you can't just pop out the old bulb and pop in the new LED bulbs without removing the ballast and rewiring as described earlier?

Am I OK using the other enclosure (which used the smaller diameter bulbs)? I wired it just as I did the others, and as noted above, it does work with the new bulbs.

One other thing: I had contacted Parmida today about that enclosure that used the smaller bulbs and they said that "your fixtures will also need to work with a G13 base". When I asked how I could tell what I have, they said it should say it on the fixture, which I don't see:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cDSrT77omYniuqB18

Here's the LED bulbs I purchased (I'm using the 5000k):

https://www.parmida.com/products/4-f...39472476192835

They make a BIG difference in the kitchen and garage!

Thanks,

Andy
 

Last edited by hikerguy; 08-27-21 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 08-27-21, 06:54 PM
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Do you think that wording is there to warn people you can't just pop out the old bulb and pop in the new LED bulbs without removing the ballast and rewiring as described earlier?
Could be, but that wording is not very clear to me. T8 and T12 use the same base, just shunted and non-shunted sockets..

I have never heard of a G13 base but googling it appears to be a standard bi-pin base. I see no reason that your lamps shouldn't work just fine. You said they are working so I say you are good to go.
 
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Old 09-06-21, 06:30 PM
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I have all my new bulbs in now. Thought the kitchen was a big improvement, but now after replacing 6 bulbs in the garage with these bulbs from Parmida (5000k/daylight), wow!! HUGE improvement in the garage.

The one downside with Parmida is breakage during shipping. Because of broken bulbs during shipping, I had to end up ordering 4 boxes (4 bulbs in each box) to replace 10 bulbs. The first three had one damaged bulb, and the last box had two damaged bulbs. I initially thought it was just mishandling by the shipping companies, but I think it's poor design. Each bulb was inserted into 1/4"-1/2" soft Styrofoam tube. Despite that, they still go broke. So if you go with these, expect at least one bad per box. The bad thing about that is they don't want to ship a single bulb (and I wouldn't want them to given they get broke when shipped in a sturdy box in a bundle of 4).

Thanks for all the advice (especially you Tolyn!)

Andy
 
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Old 09-06-21, 07:41 PM
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My pleasure. I'm glad everything worked out well.
 
 

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