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LED Fixtures to Replace High Wattage HID

LED Fixtures to Replace High Wattage HID

By Stan Walerczyk

Until recently, LED fixtures were too expensive to replace high wattage HID because so many LEDs were required, and there is an added cost for each additional LED.

So until about a year ago, LED hibays and exterior fixtures cost about $2000 to replace 1000W MH and HPS.

But since early this year, the price has come down to about $1000 – $1300 on LED fixtures that can replace 1000W HID.

Two examples are PlanLED’s 400W Sega hibay, which is 4 100W versions in one fixture array, and 400W Maha.

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There are now also some good LED exterior flood and shoe box fixtures, which can replace 1500 and 2000W MH fixtures, including sports lighting, and these can cost about $2200 – $2500.

One example is PlanLED’s 800W Sufa, which can be used a hibay or an exterior fixture.

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Other manufacturers may have similar interior and exterior LED fixtures to replace 1000 and higher wattage HID fixtures at good pricing or may be developing them. Check with your favorite distributors or manufacturers.

Although the energy savings can be significant with high lumen LED fixtures, there may be more maintenance savings, because these fixtures are typically quite high, often 50′ or higher, which require specialized lifts and higher labor costs. Pulley systems in high mast applications often do not work well over time. High wattage MH lamps may only last 10,000 – 12,000 hours and HPS lamps typically last 24,000 – 30,000 hours, compared to many LED fixtures, which are rated for at least 50,000 hours and often 100,000 hours.

Plus LEDs eliminate restrike times, which HID have. Remember how many pro sports events last year were delayed even more than necessary because of restrike times?  

Although maintenance is really an end-user concern, distributors and contractors who inform end-customers of low maintenance solutions will get more sales.

There are also other options replacing at least up to 1000W HID. The Philips 880W ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamp can be used with existing probe or pulse start magnetic MH ballasts. The Global Energy & Lighting 575W CMH lamp and electronic ballast, which system watts are 633, could also be used in existing fixtures. The Topanga APL1000 plasma system, which consumes 470W, could be used. Although the plasma system has shorter life and consumes more wattage than LED, it can cost less, probably below $1000 in good quantities for hibays. Here is drawing of a Topanga plasma hibay. It can have a good batwing distribution.

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Although line voltage for these high wattage fixtures is often 480 in the States and 347 in Canada, some LED fixture manufacturers only offer up to 277V drivers and the same may be the case for electronic ballasts for CMH. So step down transformers or changing line voltage may be required. Usually, 347 – 480V LED drivers are less efficient than 100 – 277V ones. So it may be cost effective for end customers to pay contractors to change line voltage.

No matter what technology you use, lighter or heavier fixtures and also fixtures with an increased windage factor may cause problems, including poles cracking and shearing off near the base. It is recommended to check specifications on existing poles, anchor bolts and concrete foundations and to also have a PE review retrofit plans.

Please let me know what you think of any of these statements. Also, if you have a lighting subject that you would like information about, let me know. stan@lightingwizards.com

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