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Shop Lighting Commentary

Discussion in 'SAFETY ISSUES & EQUIPMENT' started by cathead, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. cathead

    cathead Active User Active Member

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    With the influx of the new LED lighting, I expect some of you have already added some of the
    new high efficiency lights. My shop has mostly 4 foot fluorescent lights so will be slowly
    phasing them out in favor of the new more efficient and environmently friendly lighting.
    I just bought a test under counter light by Feit and installed it over my kitchen stove. It
    really puts out the light for it's small current draw. I see there are 4 foot LED shop lights
    available now and wondering if any of you have installed and used them. Most of these
    shop lights seem pretty expensive to me so decided to procrastinate a bit and take my
    time in the change over. Another factor is the fact that all my 4 foot fluorescent lights
    are hard wired so would probably have to junk them and replace with the new. I have
    not seen any LED 4 foot replacement bulbs but just replacing the bulbs would be easy.
    I doubt such a thing exists though as the fluorescents run on very high voltage and the
    LED operates on low voltage. I'm curious to know your experiences.
     
  2. rgray

    rgray Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I got 10 of the 4 foot led florescent replacement bulbs about 6 months ago. They are great. Wish I had more 4 foot fixtures. I have more 8 footers and am anxiously waiting for 8 foot led bulbs. They are just starting to show up on ebay, but the price is still pretty high.
    The local costco store has snap on 25 watt work lights. Incredibly bright. I put 3 of them in the rafters in on of my shops and now use them (75 watts) instead of turning on my 3 eight foot HO florescents (660 watts)
     
    Bill C. and cathead like this.
  3. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    When I did a complete remodel of our kitchen some nine years ago, I elected to go with LED lighting. It was cutting edge technology at the thime. Although they were more efficient at the time than halogen, they had ways to go.

    Today, LED is arguably the most efficient lighting available, running in the 140 lumen/watt range. Often, efficiency is rated in terms of efficacy. LED lighting is fundamentally different than other lighting in that it projects the light in one direction, typically a 120 degree cone, as opposed to nearly 360 degree radiation of incandescent and fluorescent lights. Back light has to be reflected to be useful in most case and there are losses associated with that. Because the LED's provide a greater percentage of useful light, their output seems higher than it actually is. They use efficacy to describe the useful light output. I used warm white LED's, (~3000K) for ambiance but the cool white are the most efficient.

    LED's are low voltage DC devices and regular household current has to be transformed. Standard transformers have energy losses associated with them which reduces overall efficiency. Additionally, LED's have to have current limitation provided to prevent thermal runaway and self destruction. This is most simply done by placing a ballast resistor in series with an LED string. These resistors transform electrical energy into heat, again reducing the overall efficiency. Great strides have been made in the driver circuitry for them. Modern LED drivers usually use some sort of switching technology to drive the LED's. This typically runs more efficiently than other forms.

    I always look for light output on any LED I buy. Don't trust high intensity claims unless they are backed up by specs. Commercial LED lighting providers use two metrics to describe their product; equivalent light output and actual output. Equivalent output is usually compared to a standard incandescent bulb (40 watt, 60 watt). Fluorescent replacements usually give actual lumen output. T12 fluorescent lamps typically have a an output of around 3500 lumens for a 40 watt lamp. If you want an equivalent amount of light in your replacement fixture, you should be looking at this as a guideline.

    For the more adventurous, there is LED strip lighting. I used this on our front porch instead of fluorescent lamps. A five meter strip replaced four fluorescents. My wife insisted that I put a dimmier on them because they were too bright. They are found in strips running up to 5 meters long. They have a self adhesive backing and run on 12 volts dc with built-in driver circuitry. They can be cut at intervals of 3 LED's, usually about 1-1/2" and the can be connected together to make longer runs. I mount them on an aluminum backing, 1/8 x 2" flat or 1/2" aluminum channel (sold as plywood edging at the local DIY). It helps with heat sinking which increases light output and service life and should replacement be necessary, makes for easier work. Replacement of defective LED's, should that happen is done by cutting out the bank(s) of three and solderingng the replacement. This is something I have yet to do. I provide the 12 volt dc power with high efficiency switching power supplies which are quite economical now.

    LED Supply sells drop in replacements for 4' fluorescent's. Environmental Lights also sells commercial fixtures for area lighting. Both are on-line and companies I have had excellent service from.

    Bottom line: LED lighting is more efficient but it is still quite pricey compared to other forms. I have fluorescent lighting in my shop and am not contemplating replacement of same at this time because the incremental savings in electricity for LED replacements is not that great yet. I have replaced almost all incandescent lighting however and will use LED lighting for all new projects. The LED technology and the driver technology are both making great advances. Costs will come down in the near future, due to improved technology and volume manufacturing. It may be advisable to wait a few years to be able to take advantage of forthcoming advances.

    A factoid: Not many people realize that white LED's are fluorescent devices. They replace the mercury vapor excitation with blue LED excitation. Much off the efficiency gains in recent years had to do with developing better phosphors.
     
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  4. cathead

    cathead Active User Active Member

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    RJS,

    Yes, I see that you can get 4 foot LED lights that fit in the fluorescent units I have. The fluorescent transformers
    are some thousands of volts I believe so do they transform it down again and then feed the LED strip? It would
    be more efficient if one started with 120 volts rather than the high voltage or does one have to rewire the fixture
    and remove the ballasts? I would think that would be the sensible thing to do if I were building these bulbs myself...
    If one has to go through two transformers to get to the voltage the LED needs, it wouldn't be the most efficient.
     
  5. rgray

    rgray Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The 4 foot leds I put in my florescents are rated for 85-277 volts. Supposedly you can leave the ballast in...I removed them from my fixtures...If your going for efficiency...no use powering the unneeded ballast.
     
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  6. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I don't believe that the old ballasts are thousands of volts. Their function is to limit the current in the tube. The starting circuit heats a filament to vaporize the mercury and start current flow in the tube. It switches out when the tube fires. I haven't measured actual voltage supplied to the tube so I can't say anything definitive about it. HF lights may be a different kettle of fish. They do not use the starter circuit. I have never measured voltage on those either. From the description of the LED Supply lamp, they give about a 30% increase in efficiency over the fluorescent fixture. I would expect the fluorescent manufacturers would spec. overall efficiency as would concerned energy conservationists. If that is the case. the quoted values are in line with what I would expect. (fluorescent's have about an 80-90lumen/watt efficiency, cool white LED's about 100-140 lumen/watt). I would expect that the drop-in replacements have a switching type driver and are able to accommodate a fairly wide range of voltages. I would call them up and ask. They have very knowledgeable tech support.

    If I were going to build my own, I would use the 12 volt strips instead. You can use the fixture as the base. Strip out the guts of the old fluorescent fixture. Use an aluminum strip for mounting. You can also mount directly to the fixture but the impairs any future maintenance. Purchase a suitable switching power supply. DigiKey right in your back yard is a good source is Jameco in California. We machinsts are very capable of making any required mountings, adapters, etc. I did bounce lighting in our kitchen with a double row of these strip lights and it does an excellent job.

    For alternatives, there are some interesting LED's out there. I have a couple of CXA 1310's that will put out almost 2000 lumens from a single 6mm disk. The cost was reasonable, under $10 as I recall. I purchased a LuxDrive 700 ma Flexblock for driving them. In terms of $/lumen, probably about as good as you will find. We have the automotive headlighting technology to thank for that. The big problem with these is that they are blindingly bright. For area lighting, you would need to design some sort of diffuser.

    Bob
     
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  7. ogberi

    ogberi Active User Active Member

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    One item that should be in every shop is a battery backed emergency light. They aren't expensive, and easy to install. My shop has one small window, and at night it's pitch black in there. Being able to see if the power goes out is important for safety.
     
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  8. VSAncona

    VSAncona Active User Active Member

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    I recently replaced all the T12 fluorescent tubes in my shop with LEDs. All of my fixtures were hardwired and the magnetic ballasts were starting to fail after some 30-40 years. The retrofit was pretty simple -- just bypass the ballast (you can remove the ballast or leave it in, but no power goes to it) and wire the tombstones directly. It took about 5-10 minutes per fixture. The light is great and the best part is no more annoying buzzing from the dying ballasts.

    One thing to note is that your tombstones have to be the non-shunted variety. I think most of the older T12 fixtures are this type, but if you're replacing T8 bulbs, you may have to replace the tombstones as well. They aren't very expensive though.
     
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  9. cathead

    cathead Active User Active Member

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    OK SUPER! AND they would start instantly if the shop was cold I would surmise. So where would be a good source for
    some 4 foot LED replacements?
     
  10. VSAncona

    VSAncona Active User Active Member

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    They're not affected by temperature, but they do take a second to turn on. I'm used to it now.

    I bought mine on sale at 1000bulbs.com, but the ones I bought are no longer in stock. Amazon sells them as well.
     
  11. cathead

    cathead Active User Active Member

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    OK, Thanks for the help. Burt
     
  12. roadie33

    roadie33 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    What is the model number on them and how well do they light?
     
  13. VSAncona

    VSAncona Active User Active Member

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    These are the ones that I bought first:
    https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/113414/FOREST-MT8W09.html

    They were cheap (around $10 a tube) but they are only rated for 30,000 hours. The color temp is 4100K, which is equivalent to cool white tubes. They're not bad colorwise, but after I put them in I needed a couple more tubes and I tried these:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PG7QIGW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    They're 5000K and the light seems more white. If I had it to do over again, I would probably go for the 5000K LEDs for a shop. I'm no lighting expert though, so you might want to get some other opinions as well.
     
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  14. roadie33

    roadie33 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Those Amazon tubes are not cheap.
     
  15. roadie33

    roadie33 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  16. Holescreek

    Holescreek Active User Active Member

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    We found replacement 4' LED bulbs at Home Depot last weekend.
     
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  17. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    An interesting vendor. I'll add it to my collection. Thanks for sharing, VS
     
  18. Dougsshed

    Dougsshed Australia Swarf Registered Member

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    I recently built a shed within my large shed because the main shed has no insulation whatsoever. It can reach over 40 deg Celsius in there. So I partitioned an area, built stud walls and a ceiling.
    Doing this allowed me to get rid of the old 4' twin flouros and replace them with 12w LED downlights. These new light have several advantages:
    They are daylight temperature so give me a natural tone in an artificial environment. This is important when seeing the right colour matters.
    They have no warm-up time like flouros.
    They last just about forever. By the time they die, there will be a much better option probably.
    They cost almost nothing to run. I have 16 12w lights which, if I were to run them all, is a total 192w. The flouros I had to cover the same area with poorer quality light were 18 x 40w twin fittings that totalled 1440w and that doesn't allow for the start up charge that flouros use.

    I have been advised that, if you want to put LED tubes in your existing fittings, they won't last as long as LED flouros in the fitting that is designed for them.

    In all, the LED downlights are fantastic. It was an excellent investment. My eyes don't get so tired and I can see my work detail much better. And I save plenty on the power.

    Hope this helps. If you wanted to see photos, I can arrange this for you.
     
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  19. mattthemuppet

    mattthemuppet Active User Active Member

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    i saw those 4ft tubes in home depot too $21 per tube for a Cree brand drop in, which is a great deal imo.
     
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  20. rgray

    rgray Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  21. cathead

    cathead Active User Active Member

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    If you use the drop in kind of LED bulbs, the ballasts are still in the circuit causing inefficiency. It would be
    much better to get the kind that does not include the ballast in the circuit with 120 volts applied directly
    to the ends of the bulbs. Drop in is easy but maybe not the best way to go in my opinion.
     
  22. TOOLMASTER

    TOOLMASTER you don't want to know Active Member

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    I went with bulbs..more for less
     
  23. mattthemuppet

    mattthemuppet Active User Active Member

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    you can make your own relatively easily and for not that much money. I made these yesterday in about 4h for roughly $5 each.
    IMG_4442.JPG IMG_4444.JPG IMG_4445.JPG
     
  24. Jmkimsey88

    Jmkimsey88 United States Swarf Registered Member

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    At one point every light in my part of the shop was out of action. (I blame this on the EDM situated directly behind me.) The only light I had
    to work with was an old, but extremely hardy lamp attached to the lathe itself. Spooky but a nice change of scenery, Hazard pay would have been
    nice though.
     

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