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Keystone LED T8 Lamps - DirectDrive, SmartDrive, ComboDrive

Posted by Doug Root on August 03, 2018

We have been watching the evolution of the LED industry over the past few years and have seen a great deal of change. To be honest it is difficult for us to keep up with, I am sure it is even more difficult for facility engineers & property managers.

One of the biggest changes and improvements we have seen is with the LED T8 lamp. Just 3 years ago these lamps would cost a commercial buyer about $50 each. Now they range from $5 to $15 in price and the higher priced lamps cost a bit more because they offer some great benefits! 

We are particularly impressed with Keystone Lighting Technologies, they have a great road map for their LED lamps. Keystone has traditionally been a ballast manufacturer and have been doing so since 1945. With the onslaught of LED lamps and systems they made a big change to their product offering and system capabilities. Keystone LED T8 lamps are now leading the market place in quality and innovation! 

Keystone has 3 very different options when it comes to LED T8 lamps. The DirectDriveSmartDrive ComboDrive are the portfolio leaders.

The DirectDrive LED T8 lamp is known as the "ballast bypass" lamp. DirectDrive LED tubes eliminate the need for an external driver or ballast. For new construction installations, simply connect the 120-277V line voltage directly to the sockets. For retrofit installations, bypass the existing ballast by cutting the wires and connecting the 120-277V line voltage directly to the sockets. No ballast or driver is required.

The DirectDrive LED T8 lamps have a single end live feed. Each lamp comes with a label for marking changes made to existing fixtures that are being retrofitted from fluorescent to LED DirectDrive. Shop for Keystone DirectDrive LED T8 tubes NOW

Of note: DirectDrive LED T8 lamps will only operate on non-shunted sockets. Typically these sockets are in T8 fluorescent instant start fixtures. Verify non-shunted sockets are installed before using a DirectDrive LED. Below are a few pictures of the various socket configurations you may find. For more information on non-shunted sockets click here.

Non Shunted and Shunted SocketsNon ShuntedSockets

The SmartDrive LED T8 lamp is known as the "ballast dependent" lamp. These are plug and play and easy to install. Switching from fluorescent lamps to LED SmartDrive lamps is as easy as changing a light bulb. Simply remove the existing fluorescent lamps and replace with Keystone SmartDrive LED tubes. 

No special instructions, no tools, no rewiring. The LED tubes run off the existing T8 instant or program start electronic ballast. Energy efficiency in an instant. These lamps are DLC qualified and offered with shatterproof coating if needed. They are UL classified, 5 year limited warranty included! Visit for our ballast compatibility list.

Shop for Keystone SmartDrive LED T8 tubes NOW!

The ComboDrive LED T8 lamp is the best of both Worlds! For the electrician or property manager who wants to have flexibility to choose which option they want in the field than the ComboDrive LED T8 lamp is the choice! These lamps can be directly wired to mains power or operate on a compatible instant start or programmed start electronic ballast! When using these lamps and direct wiring them to main power you must use non-shunted sockets. 

These lamps will operate on most instant start or programmed start electronic T8 ballast. For compatibility please see

Shop for ComboDrive LED T8 tubes NOW!

As always if we can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to call or click the live chat button. We are here to make your next LED T8 lamp purchase an easy one. 

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