Why should you upgrade Metal Halide to LED? Well, truthfully there are a myriad of reasons why LED is better.
Not only were LEDs specifically designed to be more durable and energy-efficient, but they also can significantly reduce your maintenance costs as well. And most people are familiar with replacing their existing fixtures with new fixtures, but there’s also a retrofit option that allows you to convert your existing fixtures to LED and still keep your fixture.
You can read, in detail, about all of the benefits of LED lighting here, but we’ll highlight some of the biggest benefits LEDs have over all types of lighting, not just metal halides, below.
The general theme of LEDs is that they do more with less.
They consume fewer watts and produce better, brighter light.
And, in addition to this, LEDs are much more durable and have a longer lifespan than other bulbs.
Because of these two things, LEDs save you a significant amount of money on both energy bills and maintenance costs.
Safety lighting is much more than just ensuring that all areas are well-lit in an effort to combat accidents.
And, although that is a benefit of good lighting, that can be achieved with any bulb.
When we discuss LEDs and safety, we’re referring to the fixture’s ability to keep an environment safe.
LED lights do not contain harmful chemicals or vapors and are much more resistant to breaking than other bulbs.
CRI, or Color Rendering Index, is a measure of the quality of light that is emitted from a fixture.
LEDs naturally have a higher CRI than other bulbs and offer a higher CRI range, so if you need high-quality lighting, LEDs are absolutely the way to go.
And, in facilities like factories, where precision tasks are performed, or sports stadiums, where events are televised, having lights with a high CRI is absolutely imperative.
What Are Retrofit Kits for Metal Halide Lights?
Now that we’ve covered the why we can move onto the how. Metal Halide fixtures are by far one of the most common lights for commercial and industrial locations.
They are most often used for parking lot lights, floodlights, wall packs, high masts, and street lights, although you can find them pretty much anywhere.
And, though they may have once been the top choice for lighting, today they are well-known for being inefficient and ineffective.
Because of this, many people are upgrading to LED lighting. And, that’s where retrofit kits come in.
A retrofit kit is a set of LED components that allows you to replace the metal halide components with LED components using the existing fixture.
They help cut the initial costs of converting to LED lighting and offer a more accessible way for facilities to modernize.
Why Retrofit a Fixture Instead of Replacing It?
There are a couple of reasons to retrofit a fixture as opposed to replacing the entire thing, but most often people decide to retrofit in order to save money.
Replacement is often not the best or the most economical option to upgrade your lights.
Aside from wants to save money, facility managers sometimes find that their original fixtures are expensive, and replacing them would be a costly proposition.
And, if the fixtures have any historic value, it would require significant permitting to replace them.
In addition to this, some lighting installations require expensive engineering drawings to replace the light fixtures.
Retrofitting allows facility managers to upgrade their lighting without dealing with any of these hassles.
It offers significant savings, because you don’t have to pay for new fixtures, and has much simpler installation needs.
But, now everyone is a candidate for retrofitting. If your fixtures are in bad condition or extremely old, retrofitting is likely not your best option.
We always recommend touching base with a specialist to determine whether or not your facility’s lights are a good candidate for retrofitting.
Why are Metal Halide lights sometimes referred to as HID Lights?
HID, or High-Intensity Discharge, is a family of lights that include metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and mercury vapor bulbs.
These types of lights are essentially a bulb and ballast combination of extremely bright lights, which is why they are popular for commercial and industrial applications.
So although all metal halide lights are HIDs, not all HIDs are metal halides.
However, when we discuss metal halide bulbs, know that the same information applies to both high-pressure sodium and mercury vapor as well.
Metal Halide Bulbs to LED Conversion Chart
The retrofit kits we offer can replace everything from 150 Watts Metal Halide to well over 1000 Watts.
For the most common bulbs, here are the most common replacement kits for the most common metal halide wattages.
Replace 150 Watt Metal Halide: 30 Watt Retrofit Kit
Replace 250 Watt Metal Halide: 75 Watt Retrofit Kit
Replace 400 Watt Metal Halide: 100 Watt Retrofit Kit
Replace 1000 Watt Metal Halide: 280 Watt Retrofit Kit
8 Tips to Retrofitting Metal Halide Fixtures to LED
1. Parts that need replacing
Typically, we are replacing the bulb, ballast, and socket with LED Heads, LED Drivers, and mounting hardware.
Also remove the reflector inside the fixture. It is not needed (LED is directional and there is no light to reflect) and it opens the fixture space up for more cooling air space, which helps save you money on cooling costs.
2. Retrofit Kits & UL or ETL Certification
One of the many, many reasons facilities convert to LED lighting is to earn rebates from their power company.
In order to do so, however, the lights usually need to be UL or ETL certified. Luckily, the retrofit kits we sell are all tested to the UL1598C retrofit kit specification.
This means UL and ETL test the retrofit kits installed inside and the existing HID fixtures to make sure it performs safely.
The UL1598C is a retrofit kit certification, which ensures that the fixture is safe when you follow the installation instructions and can earn rebates.
3. Are Retrofit Kits Water Proof?
For the most part, LED Kits are not waterproof. They are designed to install inside However, if you keep them dry, they will perform without issue for years. For outdoor use, your fixture must be rated IP65 or higher.
4. High Voltage Requirements
Do you have high voltage requirements? For the most part, many LED options are available with high voltage LED Drivers. The standard voltage option is 100V to 277V. Higher voltage drivers can handle 277V to 480V or 347V-480V.
LED should be able to handle single or 3-phase power. Talk to our sales engineers and we can get your lighting situation taken care of.
5. Can LED work with Dimmers, Motion Sensors and Photocells?
The short answer is yes, but you have to make sure the driver is properly equipped.
Although they do work with dimmers, an LED kit will need a special 0-10V dimmable LED driver.
These are typically 2 extra wires found on the driver, one grey and one purple.
They can be attached to 0-10V dimmer switches or controls that allow dimming, like motion sensors.
Motion Sensors & Photocells
Unlike metal halide lights, which take a while to warm up, LED lights instantly turn on and off.
Because of this, they are an excellent lighting choice to use in conjunction with lighting controls.
And, offers another way for you to save money while upgrading your lighting through mitigated energy costs.
6. Avoid Mogul Socket Adapters
Many old fixtures have an E39 socket or mogul base. The engineers designed then to hold a 400W and 1000W HID bulb, not retrofit kits that weigh 5X more.
Imagine a shoebox fixture in an outdoor application, 20 feet in the air on a windy day.
The fixture will sway, stress the mogul socket, and eventually fail. The retrofit kit will fall to the glass of the fixture.
All LED Lighting Supply LED Kits include mounting adapters to replace the mogul socket.
This provides a secure, fail safe mount for the LED Head. Our installation procedure includes the removal of the mogul socket.
DesignLights Consortium DLC Premium Qualifications only apply to direct mount kits.
So if you want a safer mounting option and a higher rebate, avoid using a mogul base adapter.
7. LED Efficiency (Lumens Per Watt)
Understanding lumens per watt will help you save a lot of money by reducing your utility bill.
Why Does It Matter?
Let’s do a comparison between two LED Options.
The first fixture uses 150 Watts to produce 15000 lumens. That works out to 100 lumens/watt.
The other fixture uses 100 Watts to also produce 15000 lumens. That worked out to 150 lumens/watt.
They both produce 15000 lumens, but one does it while consuming 50 less watts. That translates into real world savings.
8. Lumens vs Watts
The best piece of advice we can give is to never purchase a LED product, fixture or retrofit kit, by watts. Determine the lumens you need, and purchase fixtures by lumens produced, not watts consumed.
“Never buy a retrofit bulb, lamp or solution based on watts. Determine the lumens you need and get the most efficient retrofit that uses the least amount of energy.”