Shop lighting?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by AppFan, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. AppFan

    AppFan Been here awhile

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    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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  2. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    One of those dual 4ft tube housings.... the actual name of it escapes me now.
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  3. AppFan

    AppFan Been here awhile

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    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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  4. Stkmkt1

    Stkmkt1 Been here awhile

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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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  5. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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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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  6. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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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 (50º+ 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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  7. 30Bones

    30Bones Long timer

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    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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  8. chollo9

    chollo9 Screwed the Pooch

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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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  9. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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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.
    #9
  10. ADW

    ADW 'tard bike restos

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    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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  11. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

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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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  12. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    How I installed mine:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Jim :brow
    #12
  13. Hoodcounty

    Hoodcounty Adventurer

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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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  14. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Interesting comment on bugs & I can just hear the sketers plotting against you!:D
    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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  15. cablebandit

    cablebandit Web Adventurer

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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.
    #15
  16. Guano11

    Guano11 Behind Bars....

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    :photogLOL
    Watching with interest; I'll be throttling up my garage lighting as well using the (unswitched) ceiling outlets intended for the garage door openers.
    Are there any remote on/off switching options, or am I relegated to pull cords? I'm not in a position to re-wire those outlets as switched...
    #16
  17. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    Home Despot and Radio Snack both have radio-actuated remotes for stuff like this . . . the unit plugs into the outlet, and the remote (looks like a keychain unit for your car) turns it on or off --

    find an employee whose skin has cleared up and ask . . . . .I have one controlling the exteriror lights on our garage . . . with a range of approx 50 feet, it works great.

    Also, wrt bugs -- I picked up a screen for the garage door (8 X 20 foot) . . .it is the height of luxury to work out in the Entropy Lab on a summer's night and NOT have bugs everywhere. Just sayin . . . . ..
    #17
  18. 30Bones

    30Bones Long timer

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    I plan to get one now that I brew beer exclusively in the garage now :1drink
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  19. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    Yes, I kept the same housings and converted them. Unlike fluorescents, LED bulbs are powered by connecting the 'hot' wire to one pin on one end and the neutral wire to the corresponding pin on the other. LED bulbs do have four pins, two on each end, just like fluorescent bulbs. This is only so that the bulbs will work in a fluorescent fixture (that requires four pins). I can take some pictures of the fixtures, if you would like. What you'll see is one fixture converted to LED with two 6000-6500K (brite white) bulbs compared to a fluorescent fixture with 4000K (soft white) bulbs. I did not convert one fixture because I've never had any issues with it. It's still on the original bulbs and ballast. I expect it will fail, some time, in the future. At that time, I'll re-wire the fixture and replace the fluorescent bulbs with LEDs. If you'd like, I can provide a wiring diagram. I also converted a fluorescent fixture over my basement work bench. This fixture did not have a ballast as I know them. It had an arrangement at each end where the hot/neutral wires went to a coil/magnet which also had a transistor wired in-line. Sorry if I'm not describing it well. I simply re-wired that fixture so that one end was 'hot' and the other neutral for only one LED bulb as the 4000K (soft white) was plenty illumination.

    My garage has a 12' ceiling and the fixtures hang on 12" chains. I have never had the fixtures sway from the wind as they're slightly above the garage door when it's in the open, mostly horizontal, position.

    I sourced the bulbs from Earth Energy Solutions. You can order on-line or call and speak with Donna. Full disclosure: this company is owned by my brother-in-law. He is a professional engineer in Denver. A lot of the products that he sells are used/installed in his own home (esp. the LED bulbs). He stands behind what he sells. And, for those curious, I paid retail for the bulbs. :D
    That's what I figured. But, one fixture has been a "rock" so far. Of course, now that I've posted something like this, it'll fail post haste....
    #19
  20. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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