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Old 01-14-2015, 04:32 AM   #1
chuppie OP
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Anyone replaced their 4' fluorescent lights with LED tubes in the garage?

I have about 22 bulbs in 10 fixtures total in the garage and want to replace all of them with LEDs tubes without replacing the fixtures since they are installed flush in the ceiling. Any advice orcomments on what to buy or what not to buy? Did you have rewire and remove ballasts and change tombstones?

Thanks
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:46 AM   #2
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I replaced my T-8 bulbs with 7000K leds. Major difference in lighting and no cold start issues.

Rewiring;
Tombstones remain the same.

Two methods currently on the market, one being rewire the fixture to exclude the ballast ( leave it in place should you need to change back for some reason). New wiring diagram is usually on the LED tubes and takes maybe 5 minutes per fixture.

Next method is the new Phillips bulbs which are drop in and use the existing ballast. I would not do this personally since one of the key benefits of LED is negating the ballasts. By using this method now you have nice light and still have to replace a failed ballast from time to time.
I know why Phillips went this route but it makes no real sense when it's thought through.

Tubes are expensive. I gave over $80.00 per tube when I did my shop, and would do it again for the lighting improvement, but now you can find good tubes for $50.00.
Look at PRUF lighting www.prufled.com/pages/products/browse/linear-tubes in Waco Tx. They don't offer above 5500 kelvin but that's pretty bright. LEDs tend to give brighter light than their fluorescent counterparts of the same rating.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:15 AM   #3
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Just a thought. To save money, or to avoid sticker shock, I would replace the bulbs with LED as the old ones die. At least, that's how I do it.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:19 AM   #4
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Go to the garage journal site. There is a whole section on lighting. You can need and learn for hours.

There is a reason there are 100's of posts on the subject.

LED for replacement for incandescent is generally a winner if the LED bulb price is reasonable. AS all LED prices come down so has the quality. Thinking your really going to get 50,000 hours of life is speculation at best.

T8 and T5 comparisons to LED is a completely different case. Especially if the bulbs are not used 8-10 hours per day.
The watts per lumen of LED bulbs is not that much different. So the savings is not that great is at all. The bulb prices for LED can be extreme and pay back in your life time is not possible. The quality of bulbs is all over the board.

Smart money on LED conversion is ..............wait......prices will continue to drop and the quality will stabilize .

Just two of many:

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=274462

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=275675

^^^^^^^^^^Read all the postings as the facts get really messed with and opinions really flare with no documentation.
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showkey screwed with this post 01-14-2015 at 07:41 AM
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by showkey View Post
^^^^^^^^^^Read all the postings as the facts get really messed with and opinions really flare with no documentation.
Gee, just like ADV and every other forum in the world, huh?
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:43 AM   #6
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Fact:

My shop is 24' x 36'. I bought a bunch of flourescent 4' tube fixtures from a school rewire/revamp job-I'll guess there's 12 total 8' fixtures- on the cheap-with tubes, back ~ 1985 when I built it. I have replaced a couple of ballasts over the years, not many, and I wouldn't doubt that a few of the original bulbs are still there. I buy the bulbs by the box whenever I need them-not often & not that expensive.
I fail to see why I'd want to pay that much for an LED tube because it takes a bit for a warmup. I don't keep the building warm all winter and the bulbs are bright by the time the elec overhead heater has taken off the chill and I have a wood fire built by then.
My larger mistake was to not buy a fixture with a closed top but truth is that wood dust is attracted to the tubes anyway and wiping them off now & then is a reality for good brightness.


OPINION:
LEDS are not my direction for sure. I'm not buying that 50,000 hour figure either. My experience is they fail sooner. My latest "LED fiasco" was to think they'd look cool and make the step down into my LR safer so I bought these 12' flat strips of gadzillion hour LED's and velcroed them under the nice, heavy, 12" wide, wooden, oak step I made.

Fact: The step will be there for a long, long time.

After two strips where the LED's would die off, one at a time AND FAR SHORT OF THE THOUSANDS OF HOURS THEY CLAIMED LIKE EVERY OTHER LED I'VE BOUGHT!!!!!!



They replaced #1 "free", the 3rd was gonna be on me, so we pulled them and placed a $4 timer on a floor lamp with a 25 watt incandescent bulb.
FWIW, the new 2015 F150 I ordered has em all over the place and Ford has a new LED HL on the upper end of their PU's.
The only ones in my shop are on a MC cause that's where they make sense?
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:54 PM   #7
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I gave this a lot of thought over the last few weeks as winter cold once again turned my T12 fluorescents into dim, strobing nearly useless garage lighting. I really, really wanted to go LED. But, given the power usage and buy-in cost of LED vs. the same for T8 conversion and the amount of time the lights are on in my garage, I just couldn't find anyway to justify it.

Five twin bulb 4' fixtures converted to T8 for just over $100 and the garage is now lit up like an operating room. LED's would be a little brighter, a little more efficient and way more cool. But I just couldn't justify the huge cost difference for only incremental improvement. I may yet go that way as LED's improve. But, to me, we aren't quite there yet.

Who knows, maybe someone will post something to prove my decision foolish. If so, all the better.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:19 PM   #8
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Talked about some in this thread

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1018524
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:30 AM   #9
chuppie OP
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Thanks Hoodcounty, that is the specific info I was looking for. I appreciate the details.

Catarac2, Normally I agree but I would like all the lighting to be the same or at a minimum I might do it in rows. It is the only part of the house that I have any control over.

Showkey, thanks for the links. Those folks take their garages pretty damn seriously.

Beemerphile, See above post. Amazing so many people could have so many opinions on lights and garages. Kinda like oil or tires here.

kantuckid, Thanks...I agree sort of...The issue is that the T12s are slow to get to full intensity and I have a large shop that I go in and out of briefly to get stuff. I want to be able to see near instantly. I have HVAC in the insulated garage but keep it at 42 degrees to save energy.

Grreatdog, either winter is getting tougher in the mid-Atlantic or I am becoming wimpier.( I know the answer.) You nailed my issue to a tee. Legacy vs T8 conversion vs LED

flstffxe Thanks.. I missed that post

I was talking to the maintenance guy (oldtimer) at my my office where I work and he told me that the energy saver Phillips 34 watt T12s I have suck in cold weather. He suggested I test some legacy 40 watt T12s before replacing everything. He told me they should fire in the cold down to the 40s. Not as good like the T8s but decent enough. I'm going to give it a try. I could turn up the heat a bit as well. The big issue is that I can get 2600 lumens legacy vs 1600 for the reasonably priced LED tubes. Saving energy isn't the primary objective, being able to see is. This includes when the garage is cold. I'm getting old and need extra light. I appreciate all the suggestions and advice. I will post after I test the 40 watt T12s. FYI..They are 2 bucks each at Home Depot. 4100K cool white
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:16 AM   #10
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My main issue was old magnetic ballasts that only operate down to 50 degrees. Add those 34w energy saver T12 bulbs to that and my lights were not working at all in cold weather. So I knew both the ballasts and bulbs had to be replaced.

Which was why LED was my first thought. Until I priced them for the same light output. Once I realized that T8 fit T12 fixtures and electronic ballast replacements were only $15/fixture I changed my mind. So I swapped ballasts and bought a 10 pack of T8 bulbs.

They still strobe for a few minutes when it is below freezing. But they start out bright enough and warm up quickly. Well worth the $125 or so total I have invested in five fixtures. I would still like to go LED. But they need to come down in price and/or go up in reliability first.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:08 AM   #11
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As bulbs die throughout the house or fixtures need replaced, I've been replacing with LED versions. The prices are quite low these days. Quality may not be there, but it's almost justifiable.

For instance: I needed a new ceiling light for inside of my main entry door. A new flush mount ceiling light fixture that uses regular bulbs was $20 at Lowes. I paid $25 for a LED version at Lowes. If it lasts a couple years, I'll be happy.

I also needed a new motion sensor light for the garage outside. The LED version was twice the price but the two light heads combined only draw 50w versus 100w per bulb on a regular motion sensor light. Twice the price for the light, but outside is lit up like day when the light goes off.



I need to update my garage and add some lighting inside. It's horrendously dark in there. Lowes has 4' LED light fixtures for $35 each. I need to buy lights anyways and a regular 4' fluorescent fixture is $20, so it's not much more to go for the LED version and I won't have temperature problems or ballasts to replace. I also plan on putting the lights on motion sensor switches in the garage so they're only on when I'm in there.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:29 PM   #12
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Not to dissuade anyone from buying LED lighting, including myself, but LED bulbs are literally electronic devices. How many electronic devices has anyone ever owned that have lasted 50,0000 hours? That's 5.7 years of continuous use (i.e. 24/7/365).

I have a computer router that has lasted that long along with a cable modem. Neither ever used a fan or generated much heat. I can't think of any electronics, including LED TV's, that have lasted near that long.

Like most things, the whole is only as good as the weakest part. There is no question that LED lighting can be made to last 50,000 hours. The question is whether what is being sold will last that long. I am skeptical - but hopeful.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:42 PM   #13
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I have a Quantex tower running Windows95 that still works perfectly. But for some reason the Netscape on it doesn't work anymore.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stan_R80/7 View Post
Not to dissuade anyone from buying LED lighting, including myself, but LED bulbs are literally electronic devices. How many electronic devices has anyone ever owned that have lasted 50,0000 hours? That's 5.7 years of continuous use (i.e. 24/7/365).

I have a computer router that has lasted that long along with a cable modem. Neither ever used a fan or generated much heat. I can't think of any electronics, including LED TV's, that have lasted near that long.

Like most things, the whole is only as good as the weakest part. There is no question that LED lighting can be made to last 50,000 hours. The question is whether what is being sold will last that long. I am skeptical - but hopeful.
Gen 1 and some current LED people get high output by overdriving the LEDs. Output is fantastic, but failure time is short.

Those who use a proper power supply will see above average light output per watt, and much longer life span.

As to output, don't use a light meter to compare conventional fluorescent or other gas bulbs to LED. Meter readings on the LED will be lower than the others, but actual usable, visible light will be significantly higher.

I buy the LED stuff for everything in my home and shop because of the output and longevity, not the energy savings.
Also bear in mind that starting lumens and mid life lumens on any gas bulb are much different. With the LED the degradation in output is only around 30% at end of a very long life.

As to price, I work with a bunch of guys who try to make a living selling LED fixtures. Most have a skilled accountant in their back pocket to dazzle the prospective buyer with payback over time in Kw savings.

Give the tube guys another 4 years, prices will be down to an acceptable level for most household buyers.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:40 PM   #15
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Just saw a YouTube video of Matt Risinger where he replaced his two round fluorescents with LED panels (but he admitted to frequent on-off cycles killing his bulbs at least 1/yr). Matt installed the Cree SL24/40 (24" and 40" respectively) LED panels (the SL40 costing about $149 for reference). http://www.cree.com/Lighting/Product...ient/SL-Series and http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cree-40-i...word=cree+rl40

Also saw a Ask This Old House episode recently where the electrical guy re-engineered the basement of a homeowner so all the basement lights went on with 1 switch. He also installed 7" Commercial Electric replacement LED fixtures where individual bulbs had been that looked real good (about $20 ea for comparison). http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercia...6241/204372304 and http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercia...2?N=5yc1vZc7p5. This does not speak to the OP's original question but would be my solution if using individual ceramic bulb sockets mounted on the ceiling. Remember to shop for lumens, color (2000k-4000K seem to work best for general illumination) and quality (Energy Star endorsement really does matter).
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