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Shop Lights

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dweed1531

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#1
My ceiling is about 12 feet high.

What do most of you guys use? T8s or t5s?

I had a electrician out to quote. He said 6 2 light t5 setup with 41k would be best.

It's 24 x 24.

From what I read. T5 isn't enough of a difference then t8 for the cost.

Also when purchasing. I know to not get electromagnetic.

What else do I need to look out to get the setup right?
 

wawoodman

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#2
I have 8' T12 lamps on an 8 foot ceiling, 24 x 24 shop, as general shop lighting. Four 2-lamp fixtures. Each machine has local lighting, as needed.
 

bss1

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#3
I don't know the answer to your question but I can share my experience. I had my 22'x30' shop lit with 8 T12 fixtures. The fixtures were aging and overall the lighting was inadequate. At first I tried replacing one fixture with a T5 as a test. The lights are set at about 8' high in my shop and the T5 was just too bright. At 8' high it was just too uncomfortable to be around. If it were higher and more out of your direct line if sight, it might have been ok. I ended up changing out all of the fixtures with 4' 2 bulb T8 fixtures. This turned out to be just right in my shop and provided the upgrade from the old T12's I was looking for. Also the T8 fixtures and bulbs were a fraction of the cost of the T5's. One other thing to consider is that my shop has dark brown peg board walls and absorbs a lot of light. If I had white walls, I think I could have used less fixtures.

Good luck with your decision!
 

wrat

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#4
My ceiling is at 14' and i went with the "dim lights high- bright lights low" sort of approach, too. 60 x 100 shop.
Like wawoodman, In the big bay (60 x 75) I have 10 incandescent (!) fixtures with LED bulbs at full height, which is good enough to get around and see where you're going. Then at each machine and bench, went with a bunch of 4' fixtures and LED tubes down closer, depending on what was going on.
In the little bay (60 x 25) there's six 8' fixtures at full height. Good lighting in there, but still burning full fluorescent.
Never regretted the LED choice.


Wrat
 

jim18655

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#5
You need to know the lumen output of the fixture to compare the T5 to the T8 fixtures. T5 lights are usually high output lamps. LED would be the cost effective fixture in the long run and will start in a cold shop. Some fixtures will accept dual switching and dimming if required for your use. All the newer ballasts should be electronic so don't worry about the type ballast in the fixture.
Wire the shop for ceiling receptacles and you can chain hang the fixtures to get more light where you need it if clearance isn't an issue.
T12s are all but dead so stay away from them.
 

Billh51

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#6
I have 10' ceilings in my shop building. In the wood shop side which was built first I have t12 fixtures. The size of the shop is 26x32 and I have six 8' two lamp t12 fixtures that draw about 14 amps. The lighting is adequate but could be improved upon. I do have individual lighting at some of the various machines. Last year I added on a 28x32 addition to gain some well needed room in the original shop.
I divided the new addition about in half and finished off a 16x28 area for my machine shop. It has all white steel walls and ceiling which are also at a 10' height. In this side I used twelve 4' two lamp t8 fixtures. There is quite a difference in light output and the amp draw is 7-1/2 . The wood shop side is also finished off with wood walls and ceiling which are painted white. For the cost of the fixtures and the power to operate them, I think the t8s are a good buy for the money.
I know that led's are the new thing but for me right now I don't think they are cost effective for me at this time. I do have a few 4' led fixtures at my lathe and milling machine and they do work well.
 

jim18655

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#7
Big box store has 4' LED shop lights for about $6 more than fluorescent shop lights. 25% less power used and practically life-time lamps. Power savings and 1 or 2 lamp changes and they become cost effective.
 

Stonebriar

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#8
My shop is 27X30X10 and I have 6 8' florescent fixtures converted to LED each fixture puts out 13,000 lumens. It is nice and bright.

Rick
 

Eddyde

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#9
+1 on LED, I converted my shop and house to 100% LED lighting and love it. Nice quality light and super cheap to run. I couldn't imagine a situation where fluorescent lamps would be a better option.
 

dweed1531

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#10
Where did you get the leds? Lowe's or home depot?

I also want to hardwire whatever I decide.

I'm having a tough time finding led lights that I can hardwire.
 
Last edited:

Eddyde

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#11
For area lighting, I installed a grid of porcelain utility fixtures on 4" hexagon boxes, approximately 3.5 feet on center. At first I used 60W-19 lamps (standard lightbulbs), then I replaced these with the "pigtail" florescent replacement bulbs and finally I replaced those with LED replacement lamps. I added 4' LED Shop lights (from Costco) to for task lighting above the machines and workbenches. These come wit plugs but you can either mount outlets on the ceiling or snip off the plug and wire them directly to a box. My electric bill is a third or less than what it was with the incandescent lamps.
 

intjonmiller

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#12
My office was recently redone, upgrading from ancient (like 1970s!) T12 to T8. With four fixtures I had some time to chat with the electrician. I mentioned that I have a bunch of ballasts for T8s and the end connectors, but they were part of a custom fixture for a tradeshow display so there's no structure and I haven't found the time to make the new fixtures to make use of them and improve my shop lighting. His advice, even knowing that I already have like $100+ worth of ballasts, was to go LED because over a few years it will save me money.
 

RJSakowski

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#13
It's all about lumens. According to McMaster Carr, 48 T12 lamps are typically 2500 lumens @ 40 watts; T8 lamps are typically 3000 lumens @ 34 watts; and T5 lamps (46") are typically 2900 lumens @ 28 watts or 4450 lumens @ 454 watts. Most of the LED replacements that I have seen are running between 1800 and 2200 lumens.

My shop has about 25,000 lumens illuminating a 150 sq. ft. area which works for these aging eyes. I don't think that I would want to reduce the light any though.
 

dpb

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#15
If using fluorescent, I prefer a 5000k lamp for shop work. White light, most versions have a good color rendering index (CRI).
 

Zengineer

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#16
Old post so I am sure the OP has made his decision, but maybe this will help the next guy.

Electronic ballast T8's are perfectly fine (and inexpensive) for most home shops. If you are running 12hours a day you might consider spending more on T5's, but they are pretty much on their way out already. (not a bad technology, but LED's have pushed them aside before they really got into mainstream production numbers) 4' tubes are preferred regardless of diameter, have best bulb selection and are easiest to handle and store regardless of your choice of fixture.

I've used T8's with LED drop-in tubes, and they are a good way to go. T8 fixture and ballast, LED T8 tubes. Couldn't be easier.

As for colour temperature, I highly recommend 4100K, with 5000K being a close second. 6500K and 3500K are too extreme (Blue/cool and red/warm light respectively) for most peoples tastes. A CRI of over 80 is recommended, the higher the better here. (CRI 100 means perfectly represented colours by that light, important for more than just the pretty stuff - the orange wire and the red wire will look EXACTLY the same under light with a low CRI)

One note, magnetic ballasts at 60Hz can have a strobe effect on machinery at certain speeds, not recommended in a machine shop as machines can appear still while actually running! Electronic ballasts resolve this issue.

And a bit of natural light is really desirable if you can add it. ;)
 
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