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Why should you upgrade Metal Halide to LED? There are a myriad of reasons why LED is better.

Not only were LEDs designed to be more durable and energy-efficient, they can reduce your maintenance costs. 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 about all of the benefits of LED lighting here. We’ll highlight some of the biggest benefits LEDs have over all types of lighting, including metal halides. 

Led Shoebox Retrofit 150 Watt 1
45 Watt Round Retrofit Kits

LED Savings

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.

LEDs save you a significant amount of money on both energy bills and maintenance costs.

Safety

Safety lighting is much more than ensuring that all areas are well-lit to avoid accidents.

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. They are much more resistant to breaking than other bulbs.

Light Quality

CRI, or Color Rendering Index, is a measurement of the quality of light.

LEDs have a higher CRI than most other light sources. And they offer a higher CRI range, from 70-95+. So if you need high-quality lighting, LEDs are the way to go.

And, in factories, where they perform precise tasks, having high CRI is 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 one a common light found in commercial and industrial locations.

They’re used for parking lot lights, flood lights, wall packs, high masts, and street lights.

Today they’re thought of as 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. They allow you to replace the metal halide components with LED components. And still use the existing fixture.

They help cut the initial costs of converting to LED lighting. And offer a more accessible way for facilities to modernize.

LED Metal Halide Retrofit Kit
Mllg Led Hbc 150 50 Fc Shop Lighting

Why are Metal Halide lights sometimes referred to as HID Lights?

HID, or High-Intensity Discharge, is a family of lights. They include metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and mercury vapor bulbs.

These types of lights are a bulb and ballast combination. They produce bright lighting. 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.

Why Retrofit a Fixture Instead of Replacing It?

There are a couple of reasons to retrofit a fixture as opposed to replacing the fixture. But most often people decide to retrofit to save money. Replacement is often not the best or the most economical option to upgrade your lights.

Aside from wants to save money, facilities may have a small investment in a style of fixture. And replacing them would be a costly proposition. And, if the fixtures has historic value, it would need permitting to replace them.

Some lighting installations need expensive engineering drawings to replace the light fixtures. Retrofitting offers significant savings. You don’t have to pay for new fixtures, and has much simpler installation needs.

But, not every fixture is a candidate for retrofitting. If your fixtures are in bad condition or old, retrofitting is likely not your best option. We recommend talking to us to determine whether or not your lights are a candidate for retrofitting. 

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

We replace 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 reasons facilities convert to LED lighting is to get rebates from their power company.

To do so, the lights usually need to be UL or ETL certified. The retrofit kits we sell are all tested to the UL1598C retrofit kit specification.

This means UL and ETL test the retrofit kits inside existing HID fixtures to make sure they perform.

The UL1598C is a retrofit kit certification. This ensures that the fixture is safe when you follow the installation instructions.

3. Are Retrofit Kits Water Proof?

For the most part, LED Kits are not waterproof. They’re designed to install inside a waterproof fixture. If you keep them dry, they will perform without issue for years. For outdoor use, ensure the fixture is IP65+ rated.

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.

Dimmers

Although they do work with dimmers, an LED kit will need a special 0-10V dimmable LED driver.

These are 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 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.

Coca Cola Warehouse 150w High Bay2

6. 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.”

7. 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 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.

8. 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.

About the Author

Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.

See more posts by Dwayne Kula