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I have replaced 4-foot T12 fluorescent bulbs with direct wire LEDs: the fixtures were re-wired and ballasts removed to accommodate the LEDs . In the future the LED bulbs can be replaced unlike models that come with LEDs. The goal is more to have reliable lighting and ease of repair when the light mechanism fails. I also like the flexibility to change the bulbs if the light color needs to be changed.

A new T8 4ft fixture is to be installed in a kitchen. I would like to continue using the same LEDs for this property so as to minimize on-hand spares.

As I understand it, T8 sockets are non-shunted (suitable for single ended LEDs). I would like to use dual ended LEDs (shunted sockets). In practice, are non-shunted sockets shorted with a wire to convert them to shunted sockets? Or is this not done for a safety \ economic \ practical reason?

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Dual-ended LEDs do not require shunted sockets. The only restriction associated with LEDs and shunted sockets is that same-end LEDs cannot be used on shunted sockets.

Yes, if you have a non-shunted socket, you are entirely welcome to shunt it with a short piece of wire. That is absolutely fine, in fact, if you look at the "yellow end" of a non-instant fixture, they are already shunting the yellow sockets to each other. Note the wire is still insulated.

T8 sockets are available either shunted or non-shunted. For us, who are not manufacturing fixtures in 50,000 quantity, we should avoid shunted sockets altogether. It takes seconds of our time to turn one into a shunted socket by adding a shunt wire.

The notion that "replaceable bulbs are better" is incorrect. The experience in the computer industry is that socketing things makes them less reliable. There is no reason to make LED emitters socketed since they will outlive all of us, the problem is the supporting circuitry is often made cheaply. Therefore a non-replaceable-element fixture of good quality will be much more reliable, on average, than a pair of commodity "manufactured to a price point" big-box store LED replacement tubes.

Of course you may take the "Google server farm" approach, and simply buy more cheaper things, let them fail, and just keep replacing parts. I think for me, that would turn on how big a ladder I would need.

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