Shop lights

Discussion in 'The Shop' started by Gordon, Apr 5, 2018.

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  1. Apr 5, 2018 #1

    Gordon

    Gordon

    Gordon

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    Does anyone have input on shop lights? I currently have tube fluorescent lights but they seem to have a flickering problem after a time. I am wondering about LED lights. I am talking about ceiling fixtures, not individual machine lights. There seem to be quite a variety of fixtures ranging from $20 to $150. What could I replace my 4 foot and 8 foot fixtures with and is it worth it? Also what do LED light do to true color?
     
  2. Apr 5, 2018 #2

    michael-au

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    Hi
    I have changed all the fluorescent tube lights in my workshop for LED tubes, no flickering and heaps brighter

    Michael
     
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  3. Apr 5, 2018 #3

    Gordon

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    Can the standard 4 foot fluorescence bulbs just be replaced by LED bulbs? I did not realize that. I will have to take a look. One problem is that most of the shop lights are 8 foot.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2018 #4

    rlukens

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  5. Apr 5, 2018 #5

    Gordon

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    It looks like I can purchase a retrofit kit for the 8 foot fixtures to replace the two 8 foot bulbs with four 4 foot bulbs. Amazon has the kit for about $9+$5 shipping. Some of the bulbs state that you do not need a ballast and others seem to indicate that a ballast is required. Kind of confusing. I will talk to my electrician friend on Saturday.
     
  6. Apr 5, 2018 #6

    RonGinger

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    There are two types of 4ft LED tubes. One is a direct plug in and still uses the old ballast. It only works with certain ballasts. The other requires a simple re-wire of the fixture. I didnt know the difference so wound up with both types in my shop. I bought a few first to test, then when I got the rest I found out about the difference.

    In any case I really like the LEDs. I got the bright white and to my old eyes they make things much easier to see. I have also switched all the task specific lights to LEDs.

    Get tie ones that require the re-wire, no point in keeping old ballasts around.
     
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  7. Apr 5, 2018 #7

    bobs7-62steamair

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    This past year I replaced all my 4' flourscent lights with 4' LED fixtures from Wal Mart at $35 each, Wow What a difference, better lighting, no flickering, no bulb replacement/disposal issues, less energy consumed. Fantastic to say the least!
     
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  8. Apr 5, 2018 #8

    Gordon

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    Thanks all. Looks like the answer is to purchase a retrofit kit for the 8 foot and then either just replace the bulbs with the ones requiring a ballast in the 4 foot or rewire them. I have three 8 foot and two 4 foot. I will probably just replace them as they burn out or start to flicker.
     
  9. Apr 6, 2018 #9

    Wizard69

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    Hi Gordon;

    My shop is basement based at the moment. When i moved the basement had two 60 watt bulbs on each side. As you can imagine pretty worthless for old eyes.

    Over the years i replaced those with various 4 foot fixtures. Frankly in placed i had to do this twice as i underestimated the light required for some work.

    About three tears ago i started to replace failed fixtures with LED tubes. This is relatively easy on a 4' fixture. I used the LED tubes that require ballast removal. As noted above the other type only work with certain ballasts. In my case with many fixtures purchased over time, it wasn't worth figuring out which ballast would work.

    So if you go with what is called a ballast bypass LED bulb you will find yourself having to remove the old ballast and wire the fixture as the instructions say. This is not a big deal if you are somewhat familiar with electrical wiring. It might be 5-10 minutes per fixture. Then you just plug the bulb in, power up and you have bright lite.

    Now about those bulbs. First the come in various color temperatures actually i believe there are three different color temperatures. I chose day light.

    In any event these bulbs are very bright. In many locations i replaced two fluorescent bulbs with one. Each fixture though is wired to support two bulbs. Im very pleased with the light output.

    I would take the time to figure out if current lighting is good enough. If you are working on the light it is a good time to correct any dark spots in the shop. This especially over a work bench or stationary tool.

    Now all of that being said id be careful to look at the condition of your fixtures because the reality is some fixture can be had pretty cheap if you catch a sale. Ive replaced a few ceiling fixtures in the house with new LED fixtures and have gotten excellent results from round and square units. Im pretty sure such fixture would work well in a shop. You can also find unitized 4 ft LED fixtures on sale at competitive prices.

    I suspect that some of these discounted fixture are the result of discontinued items.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that LED bulb replacement makes sense in most cases. However if you need to change the lighting layout or have really old fixtures you might want to consider alternative fixtures. Either way you wont be disappointed.
     
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  10. Apr 6, 2018 #10

    Wizard69

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    If it was me id use the ballast bypass bulbs. This especially in the 4 ft fixtures. In the 8 ft fixtures you may have no choice but to go the bypass route.

    Even so id look closely at the cost of complete fixture replacement. By the time you add up the cost of the bulbs and adapter kit new fixtures will be very closely priced.
     
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  11. Apr 6, 2018 #11

    DJP

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    Mounting tube lamps to create a continuous line of light will provide the best coverage as the distance from the bulbs is not as critical for loss. 1/d instead of 1/d squared I think is the math. Long strings of lighting are the best.
     
  12. Apr 6, 2018 #12

    velocette

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    Hi
    LED tube replacements is the way to go for better and cheaper lighting. Removed the ballasts and joined the two feeder wires. Removed the starters and replaced them with the Fuse Link Starters supplied with the LED Tubes. No point in leaving the ballast installed using power to no advantage.

    Eric
     
  13. Apr 9, 2018 #13

    Gordon

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    Latest update on this. I ordered the retrofit kit from Home Depot for the 8 foot lights. After doing more investigation I found out that the replacement LED lights were only going to produce about half the light that the existing lights will produce. Kind of confusing because the florescent lights are rated in watts and the LED lights are rated in lumens. Once I did some conversion I decided that this was not a good plan. The salesman who I talked to at Home Depot knew about what bulbs to use but did not know about the light output. I called HD and tried to cancel the order but I was told that it could not be canceled in spite of the fact that it was not shipping until 4/12. I just got an email from HD that they were sorry that they could not ship my order because the item was not available. Looks like at least that part worked out even though they had already charged my credit card.

    The LED lights operate cheaper but if it takes twice as many lights it is not a good fix.

    My 8 foot lights are F96/T12 High Output which give about 8300 lumens and the 4 foot LED give about 3300 lumens.

    Heads up for others looking at this. Look at the actual light output not just the operating cost. If you are replacing 4 foot standard florescence fixtures it probably is a good move.
     
  14. Apr 9, 2018 #14

    Journeyman

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    It is worth remembering that fluorescent tubes lose brightness quite quickly, very noticeable when replacing just one tube and the others are a few years old. Another point is that whilst the LED tubes may seem lower output they are in fact directional in that the light goes down so none wasted lighting the ceiling. That is because the tubes are basically LED strips stuck to a flat plate and enclosed in a plastic tube. You can do without the tube and just buy the LED's in reels with a self adhesive backing. Just stick wherever you need them. The tapes can be bent, cut and joined they have one LED about every 50mm. You use a connecter to join the strips or connect to the 12v power feed. The tubes have the power supply added at one end to create the 12v - Just a thought!

    ** Amazon UK Link **

    John
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  15. Apr 10, 2018 #15

    ShopShoe

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    FWIW,

    Regarding the directionality of the LEDs, I saw this last year and it might be worth considering:

    https://youtu.be/55VGKmVHQ64

    I myself have also been using (and liking) the 8-ft. fluorescents, but I may consider the LEDs in the future. I also have a lot of the 4-footers, so there is probably someplace to start converting.

    --ShopShoe
     
  16. Apr 10, 2018 #16

    Gordon

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    Directionality is probably more of a factor in larger shops. My shop main working area is about 20' x 20' with an 8' ceiling so I am generally right under a light when I am working. I like the idea of using less electricity for lighting but if it requires twice as many fixtures to accomplish the same brightness it is not really a good solution. I have two 4' fixtures, one directly over the mill and one at the cutoff bandsaw. In addition I have goose neck type lights with LED bulbs directly shining on the work area at the individual machines.

    I am satisfied with the present lighting but I was looking for more efficiency and less electrical usage. I think that at this point I will try just replacing the tubes in the 4' light over the mill with LED and see how that goes.

    At 78 having a bulb which lasts 40 years is not a big plus. I am not too likely to live long enough to actually offset the cost of conversion.


     
  17. Apr 11, 2018 #17

    Cogsy

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    About 3 weeks ago I replaced the standard 4 foot twin tube flouro in my kitchen with a twin tube 3800 lumen LED fixture. The difference in brightness is astonishing, even taking in to account the way fluorescent tubes dim over their lifespan, the kitchen has never been this bright (and no longer will I have the issue of dimming tubes to deal with). When the funds allow I'll be replacing all the fixtures in the shed with the same type.
     
  18. Apr 11, 2018 #18

    deverett

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    Just curious, Cogsy. What colour LED did you go for? A quick look and I see Cool White, Daylight or Warm White variations. I wonder whether there is any benefit in selecting a particular colour for a particular room. As an example, would cool white be a bit harsh in some places?

    Dave
    The Emerald Isle
     
  19. Apr 12, 2018 #19

    Wizard69

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    Dave
    I went with daylight in the hopes that colors would look similar to natural lighting. So far (partial conversion) it seems to be working out well. If you want to do photography the light output (color temp) matters, at least in the days of film it did. So photography is another consideration.


    Another thing that people should know is that LED's do dim over time. At least in some cases life span is based on the LED dimming to 80%. Considering that some of these bulbs are rated for 50,000 hours that is a very long time.
     
  20. Apr 12, 2018 #20

    Cogsy

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    I went with the only colour they had in stock which was the "cool white". It's fine for the kitchen and is a very stark white, probably way too harsh for a living room, etc. but would be great in the shed. Quoted lifespan on these tubes was 30,000 hours.
     

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