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I have a ceiling fixture in the kitchen that I like and can't find a replacement electronic ballast (Tospo TP120-1/26UPL 26W). A replacement fixture has been hard to find and stupid expensive. I realized many of the newer LED ceiling lights are basically just LED tapes.

Since I was going to also run RGB LED tape throughout the kitchen, I thought it might be nice to also control the overhead light. Could run the tape in a square spiral - should give off more light than what was there before. Most of the LED tapes I've seen on Amazon though have a power supply / transformer.

  • Do they make ones that don't need a transformer?

  • And if so, what would that be called?

  • The CFL bulb that was in the fixture would get plenty hot, guessing I shouldn't have to worry about heat off the LEDs but also interesting in any opinions here too.

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The Tospo is a cheap Chinese ballast. To find ballasts, start with what bulbs will fit in the fixture (all the better if you have a bulb already). Then search for ballasts meant to drive that bulb (which also fit in your fixture). I think I see several on 1000bulbs.com in the $20 range.

LED strips really, really do not like to bend on the flat side. They will bend only in the direction they go onto the reel. However they do make LED strips which emit light out the edge ("side emitting"), these can be curled up in a spiral.

LED strips generally come in 12V or 24V. You might call it a "transformer" but most of them are digital switching power supplies. Very likely you can find one that will fit in the site of the old ballast.

They also do make LED strips that are 120V. This works by putting 30-40 LEDs in series with dropping resistors. This greatly reduces the number of allowable cut points. Getting this and also side-emitting may be a difficult combination to find. Of greater concern: you no longer fall under the "low voltage" rules. Everything you do is subject to the full weight of the National Electrical Code or your local equivalent. The law requires every part be listed (UL, CSA etc.) and installed properly. Break the law and fire insurance won't pay, and it's downhill from there. This is no place to buy Chinese junk.

  • All great info. I was thinking of using right angle couplers to make the spiral...but that's moot with the rest of your comments. – Gisto Apr 23 '16 at 14:03
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The most common transformer-less LED lights are christmas tree (fairy) lights. They aren't designed for high light output, and typically don't have color control meant for room lighting. You could buy separate strings of red, green, and blue Christmas lights, but they wouldn't be easy to control if you're interested in color control.

I'd suggest using transformer based LED strips and placing the transformer inside the light fixture. The transformer does get warm, but the fixture should be able to handle the heat since it was meant to house a lamp and its control/conversion circuitry.

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