Replacing overhead flourescents with LED strips?

I've converted 4 enclosed flourescent light overhead fixtures in my house from actual flourescent into LED style with the replacement "tubes" and bypassing the ballasts.

This is nice but there is no dimming (neither the ability to cut power to individual tubes of LEDs or any ability to dim the LEDs within each tube). Also, now that I'm adjusting the color temp of other lights in this room, 4/5,000K is sometimes awful. And none of it's "smart" accessible.

I could solve this a few ways but I feel like an ideal solution would be to just put LED strips in there, along with a controller that can talk to HE nicely. These are main lights for the kitchen and laundry room/mudroom. I need good quality light along the ~2700k to 4-5k spectrum, and the ability to dim. I don't need color or any fancy per-LED control.

The major questions here: how do I sensibly adapt the 120AC to 12/24VDC without being dangerous or having a bunch of fan noise, what light strips should I buy (surprisingly hard for me to navigate this), and what controllers? I will use at least 4 controllers/setups driving a total of ~12M of strips. If it works well I'll probably end up with 4x that through my basement, accents, and exterior, probably adding some RGBW, so I'd want to start with something that won't back me in to some scaling corner somehow.

Thanks for any advice!

You can do this with two items.

It's a kit of an RGBW strip plus power supply and a controller/remote. It's pretty easy to use that controller / remote to: get it right while building it.

Once it's how you want it, you can replace the controller/remote with:

Or, for a slightly lower price:

Hubitat has a Fibaro RGBW (beta) driver that works well for both. The Qubino throws an error but it doesn't affect functionality. I have a Fibaro and 3 of the Qubino's.

I pointed you at the Waterproof LED Strip, but there is also the non available at a couple bucks off.

(Your profile doesn't show where on the planet you are, so I'm hoping US Amazon is helpful enough.)

Cheapest solution.... IKEA dimmer driver. You can attach a few IKEA strips to it also. Works with HE as far I know. At least through Hue.

Not to discourage you from the path you're on... But I'm a little confused how you arrived at this conclusion? I have done the same conversion on mine, bypassing the ballasts and replaced with LED tubes and they are in fact dimmable. I put a Z-wave dimmer on them and I can dim them from HE just fine. I bought Hyperikon LED tube bulbs and I checked with them before purchasing to confirm they were dimmable.

-Jeremy

A word of warning, your strips are not going to be even close to as bright as the tubes. So, if this is an area you want bright light and dim, mood lighting, you might want to consider adding the strips in addition to the tubes and choose which one you have on, depending on what the tubes are housed in. You would definitely need to double or triple up on the strips to get even close to the same brightness. For example, I have 1.3m of 30 pixel per meter strips under the hutch of my desk and when I drive them at 100% and they are only half as bright as the 10" LED i used to have.

Thanks for the recommendations - I'm in USA so Amazon is perfect.

Unfortunately that kit is RGB, for white it'd be pretty bad (comments say as much, and it's what I'd anticipate), especially as the main source of light in a room. Unfortunately this response was good enough to get me digging in for (yet another) 4 hour dive on researching what I wanted to get. I used Adam's info from Under cabinet strip lighting and just kept digging. Here's what I came out with.

  1. I could get the LEDENET W/WW (CCT) strips, the high density 5050 ones, which seem solid for white, but overall it feels like CCT isn't getting love in the way of controllers etc, 3-wire support, etc.
  2. I feel like if I'm going beyond white I should get RGB+W+WW but 6-wire stuff also is a bit of a mess in terms of wiring support.
  3. Those above 2 options, for what I was finding, had significantly higher power draw than RGBW. Not a "deal breaker" but something to think about and also drive you towards beefier power supplies (more heat, money, but also seems like a wreck of poorly reviewed equipment due to noise issues etc)
  4. After looking through everything, I concluded that I really don't need Cool White, I'm never going to use it (we had 5k bulbs here for a while and really hated it). In a weird situation where it'd make sense, can add some blue in to the light I suppose. The same is true with adding orange in with CW to lower the color temp I guess but 99% of the time I'm going to want to have WW or lower temps
  5. I thought I'd go with zigbee controllers, but I ended up going with Wifi. There's the aliexpress.com zigbee controller, also on Amazon, but it takes a while to get here, and I saw some weird bad reviews showing a super bright red LED on that unit (gaffers tape can fix it, but, hmm) and a lot of kind of FUD about people worrying that it'd break compat with philips Hue, and also some people had it work with the hue bridge but was not able to work with any other home auto equipment. There was also conflicting information that said 24V wouldn't work out. I ended up going with the wifi controller linked in the other thread
  6. For power I decided 24V was absolutely the way to go. I ended up reviewing a ton of stuff and ultimately settled on a "mean well" unit which are well-reviewed, almost none of their stuff seemed to be available on amazon but then I found a great unit at the very end of my search. I'm still not entirely sure how I'll mount it.
  7. I chose aluminum channels to put the LEDs in, with a diffuser. I like this because with my existing LED tube lights (clear plastic shell on them, diffuser in the ceiling box fixture), the lights are 'directional/discrete' enough that I actually bought some extra diffuser to install (haven't gotten around to it yet). Diffusing twice seems totally fine to me in this case. Plus the heat dissipation

So I could have gone with a few varieties for RGB+WW but what I ended up choosing was a little weird, I picked the LEDENET double row RGB+WW. It's 16mm wide (instead of 12mm or 10mm for typical RGB+WW) which forced me in to a wider channel and to have a slightly larger power supply (not as much as it was for CCT) and means I'll have to hand-solder everything since 16MM is a weird size. But I got it because 2x the lights means I can run them all half as bright (ish) which I'm hoping will help with diffusing the light. Just like any lighting, lots of smaller dimmer lights is better than fewer ultra-bright lights (in a typical residential setting anyway).

What I specifically got was:

LEDENET 16.4FT Double Row SMD 5050 RGBWW Color Changing Flexible LED Strip DC 24V 5M 600LEDs Non-Waterproof RGB Warm White LED Ribbon Tape Lamp (RGBWW LED Strip)

MEAN WELL LRS-200-24 211.2W 24V 8.8 Amp Single Output Switchable Power

LEDENET Smart WiFi LED Controller 5 Channels Control 4A5CH CW/WW RGB RGBW RGBWW LED light, Timer Music Group Sync Controller

HitLights Heavy Duty Foam Mounting Tape, 100 Feet 10mm Width Strong Adhesive Waterproof Clear Removable Mounting Tape for LED Strip Lights, Home Decor, Office Decor - to secure the strips inside the channel and other stuff around the house

RGBSIGHT 40FT 18 Gauge RGBW LED Strip Extension Cable 18AWG 5pin 5 Color Stand Wire for RGBW RGBWW LED Ribbon Lamp Tape Lighting (40 Feet per Spool) - I specifically chose 18awg because the quick-connect solderless connectors recommended 18-20 and in their text said actually 18awg was more what they worked with. I didn't end up doing any of that but in the end I think this was probably a better choice than the 22awg I'd originally picked.

I'll post back here when I get a chance to fiddle with it all

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So, I also got Hyperikon but the ones I have specifically said (written on the tubes I believe) that they aren't dimmable. I could buy new ones but that's another $10 a tube or whatever the dimmable ones are, if those are available. I realized that recently when I installed some from the batch I had purchased. some info from the seller, of course it's confusing to interpret what the real state of things is..

But even if they were dimmable, then I'd need to get a dimmer I guess, and maybe that's fine but I haven't been successful in finding controllable dimmers that sit on 120vac, maybe my searching is just bad. And I figure if I go down that path, that's all fine, but then I can't control color temperature on the bulbs so ehh just didn't seem worth pursuing

@Ryan780 I'm nervous about the brightness now though lol .. I'm doubly glad I got the 2x density strips now. The hyperikons I have currently are super overkill for the space though (8x of the 4ft bulbs in an area maybe 15x6ft and an adjoining small hallway..

We'll see how it goes

As I mentioned before IKEA!!! They have a 110 input and a 24v o
It works with any 24v output.. white only.
My suggestion go and pick one. If it does not work just return it.
Cheapest solution I think.

There aren't that many Ikea's in the US and their shipping in hella expensive.

Be careful about your controller. Is it able to be integrated with Hubitat? A lot of Wifi stuff isn't.

That one is :slight_smile:

I just checked and that's the exact Amazon listing for the bulbs I purchased that work just fine with either a GE or Leviton Z-Wave dimmer (I can't remember which I used, I think Leviton). In fact, take a look at the question you linked to again, and read the follow-up comment that Hyperikon posted:

So they are saying you might only be able to dim them down to about 80%. I find mine appear to go down to closer to 30-40% but I suppose that's a difficult thing to "perceive". They definitely don't dim down to 0% like an incandescent but I haven't seen any LED bulbs that can be dimmed all the way down to 0%. They simply produce so much light with so little energy that it's very difficult to reliably dim that low.

As far as dimmers, there are tons of LED Z-wave dimmers on Amazon that can operate on 120v. I have personally had success with the following three types of dimmers on my LEDs:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K37BNMC/?th=1
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MUCZA1C/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B3LXZJ9/

And if paddles aren't your thing they also come in toggle form:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XV25Z5R/

None of this gives you control over color of course so if that's important to you then I think the LED strips are probably the way to go. However if you want to try just replacing your current light switch with a Z-wave dimmer and see if that works well enough to meet your needs that might be a lower effort and cost alternative. The Zooz dimmers work great and are under $40 on Amazon right now.

-Jeremy

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Didnt know about poor coverage.,.
Well you can always order a few led drivers, bulbs and repeaters all in once.. or do they charge per unit?!

@Somel that product looks good actually! I looked and found that like but not that particular item .. I only looked briefly though ... my furniture etc has been 80% from Ikea for the past 15 years or more, and I love so much of their stuff, but I have found their lighting (and a few other product lines) to be disappointing more often than not. Not all of it, some lighting was great, but not worth the hassle of going about 2.5 hours round trip drive. And I'm impatient so 2-day shipping with Amazon is hard to beat :slight_smile:

A critical thing I left out btw is that my house was wired with no neutral to any lightswitch. So I'd have to run neutral around to use any of the dimmers that are built in to lightswitches. And I could not find dimmers that are built in to a smart device that you install near an outlet.

Amazon carries both the 103.561.89 Trådfri Driver 10W/3 fixtures and the 603.426.61 Trådfri Driver 30W/9 fixture. The 10W is $5 cheaper on Amazon with free shipping, the 30W is $40 (2x) more with Prime. Shipping is only $5 in MD though.

Ah, the Driver dims everything connected to it at the same level.

I don't know if that was the same back in February when I wrote that.

Suspect it wasn't, sorry if it came off as a dig at you, @Ryan780. Just poked around and wanted to share what I found. My most sincere apologizes.

On a side note, I looked at ordering it online for pickup. Seems IKEA charges a $5.00 handling fee for the privilege.

If you walk through Ikea to the Trådfri area, you will have accumulated more than $5 in goods. Plus the cost of the Meatballs on the way out.

:smiley: jk

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I just saw this thread resurrected from the past, and while I'm far to late to provide timely input, if anyone takes @HeyRCL's approach, I'd suggest https://www.trcelectronics.com/ as a LED driver source.

I use a lot of the Meanwell HLG LED drivers to power all kinds of things in really unbelievably hostile environments, and they are utterly bulletproof.

There are a wide variety of models including some dimmable models.

Thought it might help future readers in any case.

I don't think you will be happy with the LED strips. My experience is they are nowhere near their claimed brightness. The brightness also changes from one end to the other, the far end of the strip will be noticeably dimmer than the other end. And, the CRI of LED strips is terrible. I bought 4 of them to use as uplights on a ceiling, and I was not happy with them at all.

You should look at the Lithonia LED panels. They have adjustable color temp, dimmable, and they come in a bunch of different sizes. Home Depot carries them. I bought four 12x24 panels for a large pantry, and they are super bright. I'm very happy with them.