# Workshop lighting

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by BJC, Dec 24, 2015.

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1. Dec 25, 2015

### Vigilant1

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Are you asking because you want to buy some, or because you don't believe what I wrote?

Here are the shop lamps at Menards for $10.97. They aren't on a special price now, they are frequently available for less than$10

While you are there, pick up some bulbs, they are $1.98 each. So, that is 385 lumens per dollar. If anyone knows where complete LED fixtures and lamps are available for that price, chime in. Initial price isn't everything, but it is often a significant factor when the utilization rate will be low. Add in the fact that the lumens per watt are about the same as LEDs, and, well, you can see why this might be an attractive approach. This is the first place I checked, you can probably do better ( I have). I'm also sure it is possible to spend a lot more, as you did (I'm not questioning what you spent), I just didn't want anyone to get the idea that it was necessary to do so. Merry Christmas. Last edited: Dec 25, 2015 2. Dec 25, 2015 ### Kyle Boatright ### Kyle Boatright #### Well-Known Member Joined: Nov 12, 2012 Messages: 815 Likes Received: 444 Location: Marietta, GA I'm asking because I bought several T8 shop lights for the hangar last winter or spring. I did a fair amount of research at that time, and didn't find any that were priced close to what you listed. Like you said, the Mendards' website does turn up$2 bulbs and $11 fixtures which use two T8 bulbs (your links didn't work for me, BTW). We don't have Menards here. A quick look at Home Depot's site shows T8 bulbs starting at about$7 and two bulb fixtures starting at about $15. 3. Dec 25, 2015 ### Midniteoyl ### Midniteoyl #### Well-Known Member Joined: Sep 4, 2003 Messages: 2,406 Likes Received: 500 Location: Indiana I haven't bought the t8/t12 type leds for my shop yet, but I have bought the standard bulb type when they are on clearance for$1-$4 a piece, than I found a bunch of these Brooder Lamps on sale for a little more than$5 a piece, took off the clamps, cut and hardwired in the cord and let them hang by the cord. The 75w equivalents are actually closer to 100w in effective brightness.. Very bright and cheap lighting that works year around..

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4. Dec 26, 2015

### Dan Thomas

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We're looking at high-bay LEDs for the hangar. Like this: Energy Saving Bridgelux Industrial Led High Bay Lamps 100W, AC85 - 265V, 50 - 60 HZ

They claim 100-110 lumens per watt, and better than 92% efficiency.

This one claims 130 lumens per watt: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lightest-120w-led-high-bay-light-130-lmw-weighs-only-12kg-lighting?trk=sushi_topic_posts

LEDs are coming and they're getting better and cheaper and everything else will give way to them. All fluorescents have mercury in them and the regulations will just get worse regarding their disposal. And in a hangar like ours, changing a tube or ballast requires getting the scaffolding out and setting it up or renting a manlift. And the ballasts don't last long anymore (no PCBs allowed) and the electronic ballasts are expensive. The tubes we get are failing sooner, too. They're becoming an expensive pain.

Bring on the LEDS. Sooner the better.

5. Dec 26, 2015

### Lucrum

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I get the brightest bulbs in stock. I like to see what I'm doing.

6. Dec 26, 2015

### Vigilant1

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That's a good low-cost approach, especially if your local utility offers rebates or special pricing on the typical residential-use LED bulbs. Lots of small, cheap, moderate output lamps give even lighting. The driver circuit in any LED lamp will likely fail well before the stated life of the actual light emmiting diodes themselves. Having the driver circuit fail in a $3 bulb won't be the budget buster that having one fail in a$200 snazzy industrial high-bay LED unit would be. These units are coming down in price all the time, and the mass-produced residential LED units are gonna stay cheaper than industrial models.

But, I don't think the folks who own my municipal hangar would like to see me hardwiring lamp cord as part of a permanent wiring system, or having units like this hung using the lamp cord as the mechanical support.

Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
7. Dec 26, 2015

### Midniteoyl

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They might not, seeing as you have to stay to code, but I own my shop (on my land) so did what I wanted .. However, the strain relief on the lamps and junction boxes are more than capable of holding these as its just a socket and reflector and doesnt have to hold the huge ballast of a Sodium or Metal Halide lamp.

Even if they last only 10-12khrs, I feel they are still worth it in the long run. I got them fairly cheap a couple of years ago and they can be found that cheap now, so running and replacement costs are low. Besides, the only florescent lamps I haven't had to change every 1-3yrs are the ones over my kitchen sink (those bad boys have been running 8-12hrs a day, every day, for at least the 11yrs I have been here as they came with the house), the rest have just been crap.

8. Dec 28, 2015

### bmcj

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It seems to me that the fluorescent tubes and fixtures don't last as long as they used to... has the quality declined in more recent production runs?

I always wonder when I see bulbs like this if the beveled reflector does much? It seems like the LED's don't protrude far enough for the reflectors to do anything.

9. Dec 29, 2015

### VFR-on-top

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I've a bunch of bulbs that still work, but the fixtures are long gone. I think I paid about $10 bucks for them. Maybe I got what I paid for. You may be right, but the recession is perfect for large shop hanging (around the 9' level) -- most of them won't shine directly in your eyes except the ones directly in the vicinity of where you are standing. 10. Dec 30, 2015 ### Alan Waters ### Alan Waters #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jun 4, 2009 Messages: 530 Likes Received: 79 Location: Conover N.C. I'm using four ft. fixtures which have six T5 bulbs. Best I have ever used but I think nothing beats natural light. 11. Jan 3, 2016 ### studentasaur ### studentasaur #### New Member Joined: Jan 3, 2016 Messages: 2 Likes Received: 1 Location: Ohio I have quite a few CFL's, and do not care to replace them unless LED's continue their downward cost trend. The biggest cost driver would be the initial cost, and service life, not the operating cost. I use a small halogen on a clamp and swivel for my detailed model RR work. With the above being said, I like the LED light quality/ spectrum better than CFL's. Just not enough so that I would spend any extra cash to change them. 12. Jan 4, 2018 ### BJC ### BJC #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Oct 7, 2013 Messages: 9,757 Likes Received: 6,537 Location: 97FL, Florida, USA I confess, I tolerated the flurescents, mostly because the cost / quality of the fixtures that I looked at was unfavorable. As Dan pointed out, LED lights are getting better (and, hopefully, cheaper), so I’m looking again for experience reports with four foot or eight foot LED light fixtures in workshops. Thanks, BJC 13. Jan 4, 2018 ### TFF ### TFF #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 28, 2010 Messages: 11,736 Likes Received: 3,325 Location: Memphis, TN I have added some led 4 foot fixtures in the car port, wife's sewing/ art room and tool shed. Worth it. They replaced regular bulbs not fluorescent. I have had plenty of fluorescent and it's no contest. Will see how long they last. That is the only question. 14. Jan 4, 2018 ### Hot Wings ### Hot Wings #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Nov 14, 2009 Messages: 6,454 Likes Received: 2,363 Location: Rocky Mountains I recently replaced the T8 lights in our kitchen with retrofit LEDs that work with the ballast removed. I'd already bought a couple of LED shop lights, but even though they were on what I considered the expensive side, I really liked them. The retrofit units are quite reasonable in price and worked out so well that I'm going to be replacing all of my shop lights (4' fluorescent) with them. It will take some labor and time to rewire the fixtures (about 10 minutes each) but the cost savings compared to buying ready to hang 4 foot LEDs makes it a fair trade - IMHO. My shop lights were/are already pretty good because I at one time did painting and needed good light for body work and color matching. I expect, based on the kitchen retrofit, to see a noticeable improvement with the LEDs. 15. Jan 4, 2018 ### Little Scrapper ### Little Scrapper #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,352 Likes Received: 3,281 Location: Wisconsin My entire shop I swapped out all the old ones and put new 2x4 LED lights in. Really inexpensive at Menards and extremely bright. My energy bill dropped to nothing and I have 2 lights on 24/7 because it's a safety code. I would never go back. 16. Jan 4, 2018 ### BJC ### BJC #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Oct 7, 2013 Messages: 9,757 Likes Received: 6,537 Location: 97FL, Florida, USA Other than having to rewire an existing fluorescent fixture to bypass the ballast, what are the advavtages and disadvantages of “ballast compatible” 48” LED tubes verses not ballast compatable? Can LED tubes be used on one side with fluorescant on the other of a two-tube fixture? BJC 17. Jan 4, 2018 ### Little Scrapper ### Little Scrapper #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,352 Likes Received: 3,281 Location: Wisconsin I just looked up my bill. I paid$90 each complete. Takes 15 minutes to pull the old troffer light out, drop the new one in and wire it. The beauty is you get the whole fixture for that.

Keep in mind, I have a suspended ceiling so probably not apples to apples

18. Jan 4, 2018

### Hot Wings

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The ones I bought will work either way - with or without ballast. IMHO those are the ones to get since it lets you simply swap the units yet lets those of us not scared by a little rewiring to get rid of the ballast and it's possible failure point and energy consumption. The down side is that they seem to be harder to source local. I paid $7.50 each - including shipping from Amazon. 19. Jan 5, 2018 ### Vigilant1 ### Vigilant1 #### Well-Known MemberLifetime Supporter Joined: Jan 24, 2011 Messages: 4,163 Likes Received: 1,888 Location: US I bought some LED replacement lamps for my 48" T8 florescent bulbs, the kind that bypass the ballast. They provide better light than the old bulbs, and I like the fact that when one burns out i can just replace it without having to replace the whole fixture. Sure, they say the LEDs will last 50k hours, but I have my doubts. Just one bad capacitor in the driver and the unit is dead, just like with CFLs. 20. Jan 5, 2018 ### DaveD ### DaveD #### Well-Known Member Joined: May 28, 2010 Messages: 320 Likes Received: 152 Location: Perth, Western Australia I bought a 50m string of white LED's off ebay. They were about A$50 from memory. Hung them around the roof of the shop to give distributed lighting (fills in the the areas of shadow created by the floro tubes). As an added bonus I can unhook them to get light wherever I need it, especially areas with limited space (under cars, behind workbenches). Cheap and well worth it.

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