CFL replacements

Years ago I replaced my kitchen CFLs( fluorotubes) with an LED version. As an ex electrician it was simple to rewire the fitting and all worked well. Then last week one tube failed and I went to Bunnings for a replacement. I couldn’t find the replacement. There were LED tubes with GU10 pins on one end and standard( dont know the name) pins on the other. I eventually found the physical format I was looking for, took it home and plugged it in without thinking. It didnt work :frowning: Seems that there are a variety of replacement types and not all are compatible. Some have active and neutral at opposite ends and some dont.
I managed to get it all working but warn others to be careful that they buy compatible tubes and actually read the wiring instructions–it wont kill you if you get it wrong but you can easily end up blowing fuses.
I naively thought ther would be pin for pin compatibility other than replacing the starter.


Thanks for the warning.

It would help enourmously if Bunnings put proper signage up to make finding what you need a less excruciating excersise. While we are at it, the information on the packaging of electrical goods could be improved considerabley too.


For LED replacements of CFL tubes aren’t there two different solutions?

One type has the DC driver required built into the lamp/tube assemble. It requires a LED starter to replace the standard fluro starter. Self install.
EG Phillips T8 4’ LED replaces a 36W CFL tube. No sparky required.

Another type uses a seperate DC driver module and low voltage LED tube. These have different pins on one end (GU10) so that they cannot be accidentally installed into an I modified 230V AC batten fitting. The DC driver replaces the AC ballast and requires a GU10 socket to be fitted, which requires an electrician.

The first option appears to be the most common, as standard battens are easy to upgrade.


Yes and no. An LED starter is really no more than a fuse. One type has active and neutral on the same end and no power connection on the other end. Another type has active one end and neutral the other with the tube itself having both pins at both ends connected (a short). I have both here in my study. I’m sure that doesnt make much sense. Assume end A has two pins A1 and A2 and B1 and B2 at the other end.
Type one tube has a short between A1 and A2 and is connected to the Active 240V. B1 and B2 are also shorted and connected to 240v Neutral.

Type 2 has active connected to A1, Neutral to A2 and no connection to B1 or B2. So if your fitting is wired for Type 2, plugging in a Type 1 will blow the breaker


That is certainly the case, but some thin high efficiency fluoros do not have a starter, unless it is in the tube.

I bought a LED replacement tube for the kitchen, discovering after I opened the box that I was unable to swap it due to the missing starter socket, to hold the fuse required for the LED tube*. The LED tube remains leaning on the wall in the pantry.
When the fluoro tubes die, they will be replaced with more compact LED lights.

*free to anyone who wants to come and collect it :wink:

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An LED starter is usually a fuse or a dead short. Send me the model number of the tube and I’ll google the wiring. I’m a ex( very) electrician

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Starter less CFLs include an electronic ballast that delivers a high voltage pulse to light the tube( begin ionisation). An LED replacement would require you to bypass the ballast. Simple job for a sparky


Newer fittings may have an electronic ballast which does not require a starter.

Conversion of an old style batten fitting from fluro to LED requires the replacement LED starter to complete the circuit. It is as @grizzlyowl suggests really just a fuse.

The general recommendation for conversion is to remove the ballast of either type and connect straight through.

The LED tube should have markings for L and N so that you can be sure not to have the issue @grizzlyowl noted. I’ll add a do not try this at home tip.

The standard Phillips LED T8 tubes (G13 pins both ends) are supposedly a drop in replacement for fluro tubes in the older batten fittings that require a starter. The old starter must be replaced with the LED starter.

The only bit of confusion here is a reference to a tube type with GU10 pins on one end and G13 the other.


I too know how to bypass the ballast, having worked with an electrician father over many years, but we decided that the whole thing should be replaced with a much more compact LED round and flat fitting.


Best of Luck

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