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Old 04-09-2013, 02:44 AM   #1
AppFan OP
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Shop lighting?

I finally ran electric out to the shed in the backyard. Any recommendations for lighting? It's 12x16 with no windows and will be primarily used for woodworking projects and storage.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:26 AM   #2
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One of those dual 4ft tube housings.... the actual name of it escapes me now.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:47 AM   #3
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One of those dual 4ft tube housings.... the actual name of it escapes me now.
Fluorescents? That's what I was thinking but I'm seeing T5 and T8 etc. and all kinds of price ranges. I'd rather spend the right amount up front and get something that works, just not sure what that is.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:58 AM   #4
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Unless you're hanging the fixtures about 20 feet high, go with the T8 bulbs. Each provides 32 watts of light. A T5 bulb is 54 watts and is intended to be hung higher in the air. You can just hang a few twin tube T8 fixtures with reflectors to shoot the light down and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:36 AM   #5
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You get what you pay for applies with these lights-the ballasts are crappy on the low ends choices & the reflectors not so good either. Shop around.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:40 AM   #6
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The large home improvement stores sell a cheap fluorescent fixture (~$30), with two T8 bulbs, that are supposedly rated to work in cold weather.

I have two in my (heated) garage (50+ year 'round). One fixture would burn out bulbs or have the ballast fail and other other just "keeps on truckin'". I just replaced the fluorescent bulbs with LEDs (fixture needs rewiring to work with LED) in the problematic fixture. The difference is pretty amazing.

Granted, the bulbs are not cheap (~$50 ea.). But, now I don't have to worry abut ballasts burning out or bulbs that don't work in the (relative) cold. They're mounted about 12' off of the floor and two fixtures easily illuminate a 20' x 18' garage.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
The large home improvement stores sell a cheap fluorescent fixture (~$30), with two T8 bulbs, that are supposedly rated to work in cold weather.

I have two in my (heated) garage (50+ year 'round). One fixture would burn out bulbs or have the ballast fail and other other just "keeps on truckin'". I just replaced the fluorescent bulbs with LEDs (fixture needs rewiring to work with LED) in the problematic fixture. The difference is pretty amazing.

Granted, the bulbs are not cheap (~$50 ea.). But, now I don't have to worry abut ballasts burning out or bulbs that don't work in the (relative) cold. They're mounted about 12' off of the floor and two fixtures easily illuminate a 20' x 18' garage.
So did you keep the same housings and convert those to LED? Pics, links would be helpful. Same sized garage and high ceilings make it tougher to light well and I hate having lights hang 3' from the ceiling when winds pick up with the door open.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quality T8s are worth the money. Cheap ones are noisy and don't work well when it's cold. Two 8' bulbs throw more light than four 4' bulbs so install those if you can. If you buy fixtures without bulbs, then you have choices of the color/spectrum of light to get. I like what they recommend for kitchen installations (sorry, can't remember which that is) for shop use.

My two cents, of course.

Interesting info, Bronco, I'll have to check that out. No matter what fluorescents you buy, you will be replacing bulbs and ballasts down the road . . ..
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:00 AM   #9
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Make certain the ballasts will work in cold weather . . . .

Also, give as much thought to task lighting as overall lighting . . .given the size of your shed, it's gonna be hard to recreated open area sunlight in there . . . . difficult to make sure that you can't throw a shadow on your workpiece or tools . . . . . .

painting the inside with white paint will increase the light levels and eveness a great deal, way out of proportion of the cost of the paint.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #10
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NEVER too much light

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painting the inside with white paint will increase the light levels and eveness a great deal, way out of proportion of the cost of the paint.
Agreed. Painted my shop a light beige for that reason, reflectivity. Couldn't go with white as it was just too stark.

A 12x16 shop sounds to me like room for 3 banks of 4 lights each. Put one right in the center and then with the outer two banks hedge them closer to the wall than an "even spacing" would give you...that way things closer to the wall will also get good light. I have a 17x18 shop and a 22x18 garage and each have 4 banks of 4 lights (w/2 bulbs in each, so 32 total), with one switch operating the center 2 rows and another switch for the outer two rows. So I can just throw on the two middle ones if I don't really need to do anything in particular, but can go "full Hiroshima" by flipping on the outer two banks if I really need to light it up. In my case having the outer banks closer to the walls both illuminates the tools nestled up against the walls (drill press, grinder, etc.) and also will help light up the outer sides of a car. With the lights "centered" the roof of the car would block a lot of the light, that's why I put the outer ones waaay outboard, almost against the outer walls.

You can NEVER have too much light in a workshop. Ever. (Especially as your eyes get older). Yeah, it costs more, but you'll be so much happier with it!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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A lot depends on what hight you'll be hanging these new fixtures. For my money its t8's at 6-8ft above the floor. As an example of how over board a guy can go, in my 20x20garage. I have 128linear foot of t8's ( 6-8' aff) have to say working under thoes conditions, is a shear joy!!!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:19 PM   #12
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4 Walmart LOA fixtures going for about a year and a half now. I paid about $11 each, and $20 for the 8 T-8 bulbs.





How I installed mine:




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Old 04-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #13
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I use converted 4 foot twin tube units in my shop.

Since I like a LOT of light, I went to LED bulbs in the 7000 kelvin range.
They are expensive, but I have 10 of them in the bike area which measures
24 X 24. There are no shadows and I can find all those things that seem to fall on the floor when they should be in my hand.

You can get 4 foot T8 bulbs in the same kelvin rating and have more light than you might imagine and still use a cheap wally word fixture.
With traditional bulbs you'll loose 30% light in the 1st 18 months and need to re-lamp 4x and replace ballasts 2x before my led units requiire replacement.

For the car/truck area I use Par 38 7000K LED floods. Easy to wall and ceiling mount in par holders and places light in the wheel wells and engine compartments where it's needed.

Best part of the deal is that with the doors open, LED produces no UV, which means no bugs.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:53 AM   #14
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Interesting comment on bugs & I can just hear the sketers plotting against you!
As for cold start lighting-it only takes a few minutes to get them rolling & bright so not a big issue there. You must gauge the number of fixtures and type of light to the type of work you will be doing. My largest "mistake" when I built my shop was to build 6 skylights into the roof as I do a lot of wood working & like natural light. The plastics available at that time in the 1970's simply don't last and I covered them up when I roofed the shop last time as they had hazed up and too expensive to do them right 23nd time around. I still have lots of windows that make for poor insulation but lots of good "free" light. Look in a school classroom if you want to see plenty of light & the number of fixtures it takes to make that happen. Read about the various types of tubes being sold and their purpose.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:09 AM   #15
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Figure out how much light you need, then double it. My garage looks like an operating theater. Remember as you age you'll also need more light also. Might as well make it look like the surface of the sun from the get go.
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