There are three main fluorescent tube groups, categorized as T5, T8 and T12. T12 technology was introduced back in the 1930’s, where as T8 came later in the 1980’s. Finally T5 was introduced in the 1990’s but took until the 2000’s to become recognized and widely used.
The “T” stands for tubular and the two-digits represent the diameter, hence T12 = 12/8 inches, T8 = 8/8 inches and T5 = 5/8 inches. Both T8 and T12 are equipped with the same G13 pins, whereas T5 uses the G5 pins. T5 tubes can fit onto T8/T12 lampholders with an aid of a retro-fit adapter kit.
The IP Rating is an abbreviation of Ingress Protection Rating or sometimes referred to as International Protection Rating. It is defined in the international standards IEC 60529 and lists the different levels of protection against solid objects, dust, unintentional contact and water in components such as electrical light fittings.
IP Ratings are described with the letters IP followed by two numerical digits. The digits are explained in the tables below. When no protection rating is awarded, the digit is replaced with the letter X.
Solid Particle Protection – First digit
Liquid Particle Protection – Second Digit
Water ejected at 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kN/m² from 3m
All fluorescent lamps including CFLs, T12, T8 as well as T5 contain mercury particles. In South Africa is it illegal to dispose of fluorescents in the manner equivalent of disposing, say, your day-to-day refuse.
The government has established that fluorescents must be taken to authorized sites to have proper and environmentally-safe disposal. Once this is done a certificate will be used by the disposal company. Eskom requires this certificate to process through their rebate system.
Other types of lamps and components that should be disposed of are: mercury vapors, metal halides, high pressure sodium, halogens and magnetic ballasts.