As LED lighting designers and Re-Lighting fitters we get to see the condition of old Lighting Fittings mainly Fluorescent and Metal Halide.
Both types of fitting require a choke or ballast which can get very hot especially if they are on 24/7. The more modern high frequency Fluorescent fittings seem to suffer just as bad with units smoldering at just 5 years old.
From the feature picture you can see the terminals should be white are dark brown, these are severely chard and will crumble if touched or disturbed.
It doesn’t stop there either, the connections and the cable ends all become hot burning the cable insulation which becomes blackened and brittle. In the worst cases the insulation has actually burnt away or become powder literally crumbling when you touch it. Fitting over 10 years old are all suspect.
A recent survey we performed we could smell the insulation giving off a pungent electrical smell very similar to the smell you get when a new hot plate is on or the hairdryer get hot.
In theory there shouldn’t be much in your ceiling void to catch fire, however dust is always present and there could be some old lagging or PVC pipe lagging, which will ignite once it gets to right temperature.
Check Your fittings are safe
We will check your fittings to see if they are overheating and causing damage to the insulation . We carry out a spot check often 10% of the lights. We also take photo graphs of the internals of the fitting, we recommend you employ a qualified electrician if your doing this in house as its possible to get an electric shock especially if the insulation has deuterated like the fitting in the header. You’ll notice the connectors and the Ballast are brown!
Another issue we have found is that many wholesalers are supplying retrofit LED Bulbs, tubes and LED trays to fit in your existing fittings. This is a practically dangerous practice as the choke or ballast is still active and the connections will still have deuterated connections and insulation.
New LED Fittings
New LED fittings may take a little longer to fit but the burnt cable ends can be cut off to make a fresh connection with sound insulation. Our practice is to use WAGO connectors as they make a better trouble free connect and do not loosen or break down over time.
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This post was written by Paul Young