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Thread: Improved visibility in the shop?

  1. #1
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    Default Improved visibility in the shop?

    I recently visited with an electrician (who was) renewing florescent lighting fixtures mounted in ceiling tile spaces. The conventional fixtures are about 2'X4' and maybe 3" to 7" deep/thick.

    The replacement fixtures are about 1/2" (13mm) thick, weigh very little , last 2-3 times as long and use much less power --> LEDs !!

    The thought occurs to me that these rugged lightweight panels (although they have a power supply sized like a small "ballast") could be installed on the walls of garages/woodshops/metalshops(etc) and provide the sort of diffuse lighting afforded by window-walls , which make fine finishing and much other work much more convenient.

    The product i saw was intended for commercial higher voltage (300?volts); i assume , but don't know, if lower standard voltages are available. [LEDs themselves are inherently low voltage devices (1-5volts) , but they might be wired in series to approximate service voltages {and limit expensive high current wiring].

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Costco sells 4' 2-bulb fixtures for about $30 on sale, and LED replacement bulbs for older 4' fixtures. They have cords and plugs. I've seen them, a little cool for my taste but not as cold as cool white. That's an area where LED's need work, I'm more of a warm white kinda guy.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    The LED replacement units for installed flourescent fixtures are excellent. You have to remove the ballast and do a simple rewire, but then you just pop in the replacement units and voila -- no more flickering, humming or buzzing or poor cold-temp operation.

    Even new 4-foot long LED fixtures for shop use are coming down in price. I put three of those in my workshop for a massive improvement over a mix of incandescent lights.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    My version of improved visibility in the shop was learning 3M made bifocal safety glasses...
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    A friend just replaced his 4' fluorescents with leds (the CostCo ones mentioned above) & what a difference! Yes - a bit cooler than warm flourescents - but very clear & bright.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Definely using these in the new shop. Longer life, less juice and more output.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Over on the Garage Journal there is a forum dedicated to shop lighting and electrical wiring. It's more for garage lighting but still a lot of info in there.
    http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/f...splay.php?f=30

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I have a dozen of the Costco lights in my new shop and am very happy with them.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I find the first cost hard to swallow. There are eight 2-bulb 4' florecent fixtures (SP?) in my shop - about $12 or $15 each on sale. The white painted ceiling makes one big reflector. Works great. Our winter cold weather would make the LEDs attractive for the garage.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    The LEDs consume less power than the fluorescents.
    I figured that the payback in lower electric bill was 2-3 years.
    AND, the LEDs don't hum, flicker, start slow in cold or wear out.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I just bought four of these as a test

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercia...3161/205331022

    to replace my 8' double flourescents , as the ballasts crap out

    The light is much more directional because of the reflector,so it seems that I get almost as much light from 3700 lumens vs.5400 for the flourescents, though the ceiling is darker.

    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    My tiny, crammed up shop in the garage has a couple of four foot flourescents and some dedicated desk lamps, and still the artificial light is barely enough for some close work. So I mounted some surplus mirrors from the house in a couple of strategic locations. It brings in more daylight and affords me a broader view outside and really makes the space seem bigger. Doesn't use any electricity, and makes it a little less likely that I will get sneaked up on while I am intent on my work.

    Slightly off topic, I really enjoy having daylight in the shop and have the door open as much as possible. I hate the contemporary steel and fiberglass roll-up door and the ugly,space hogging hardware from which it hangs. When I can get to it, I'm going to replace that POS roll-up with a pair of bi-fold redwood doors with inset windows. Painted house color on the outside, I'll paint part of the inside white and leave part of it bright. But first, SHE wants a wall and a door between the woodshop and the laundry-pantry, which occupies the other third of the original garage. But first on the list is another ten thousand pounds of front yard landscaping to install. Yay.
    Our real enemy is the
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    Slightly off topic, I really enjoy having daylight in the shop and have the door open as much as possible. I hate the contemporary steel and fiberglass roll-up door and the ugly,space hogging hardware from which it hangs. When I can get to it, I'm going to replace that POS roll-up with a pair of bi-fold redwood doors with inset windows..
    Good trick with the mirrors.

    My shop has a large sliding door, which I quite like. My wife suggested changing it out for a roll-up door, but I quickly vetoed that plan for your reasons above. A sliding door is also a lot easier to fabricate and install. Just food for thought.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    You guys need to rethink the roll up door:



    This lets in plenty of daylight.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    So that's what you guys call a roll-up door. Around here those are overhead doors. I imagined that roll-ups roll up like a window shade.
    That all glass door looks neat and lets in lots of light, but it also lets the less than honest, or the desperate, see all those expensive tools ready for the taking, not to mention the winter cold here in rust belt Ohio.

    As to Jim's (comment #11) yes, everything you said is true, but for me, as finances are now, first cost is still a problem.
    When and if the cost ever gets reasonable I'll probably replace the florescent fixtures with LEDs as they fail.
    Last edited by Tom Robb; 11-10-2016 at 03:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    There are a few technical considerations you should think about if you are installing new or replacing electric lighting in your shop, as there is a lot more choice than there used to be. Here is an abridged version:

    1. CRI (colour rendering index): Think of this as how well the colours of objects under the light source are rendered compared to an ideal black body source such as sunlight or an incandescent lamp. The ideal source has a score of 100. Modern tri-phosphor fluorescents such as a T8 or T5 tube with an electronic ballast will be somewhere between 80 and 85, which is pretty good. Most newer LEDs are also in that range. CRI is a consideration when you are trying to judge colours of paint for example.
    2. Colour temperature: This is literally the temperature of a black body light source, expressed in degrees K (Kelvin), or its equivalent when the source is not a black body. Think of this as the way the light source appears to your eye. There is a psychological component to this. Old style incandescent bulbs, which we all had in our houses, are at the red end of the spectrum, about 2700 K, and appear to our eye to be quite warm. Skin tones look good under this source. Daylight is towards the blue end of the spectrum, at about 5780 K, and appears very cool. 30 years ago, most commercial 4 ft fluorescents were 4100 K (quite cool), which doesn’t render skin tones as favourably as warmer sources and is generally why we associate fluorescents with institutional lighting. Most people don’t like this colour temperature. Now most modern fluorescents can be had in 3000 K, 3500 K and 4100 K versions. The 3500 K lamps are a pretty good compromise and most people like the look of these lamps. LED are generally available in 3000 K and 4100 K.
    3. Total light output: This is expressed in units called lumens, which is the metric unit for measuring the total amount of visible light emitted by a source. Most new bulbs or fixtures will tell you on the package the number of lumens they put out. An old style incandescent 40 Watt bulb puts out about 450 lumens, which leads us to . . .
    4. Luminous Efficacy: You can think of this as efficiency, that is, how much light out you get for power in. This is expressed in terms of lumens per watt. The more lumens per Watt, the more efficient a bulb/lamp/fixture is. Incandescents range from about 8 lm/W to about 20 lm/W, depending on bulb size and whether or not it is a halogen bulb. Halogens are not that much more efficient than a regular incandescent. Fluorescents range from a low of about 40 lm/W for some compact fluorescents, up to 96 lm/W for the newer 4’ T8 and T5 tubes. LEDs have made significant advances in the last few years to the point where some T8 LED replacement kits are up to 124 lm/W. For interest’s sake, the efficacy of daylight ranges from 130 lm/W in a clear diffuse sky down to 105 lm/W. Efficacy of daylight varies widely with solar altitude and other sky conditions.
    5. Illuminance: Think of this as the amount of light landing on a working surface. It is expressed in terms of lux, which is defined as lumens per square metre. If you had 5000 lumens lighting 10 square metres of surface, that would be 500 lux on the surface. The equivalent imperial unit, which many will be familiar with, is footcandles. The conversion is about 10 lux per footcandle. How much light do you need in your shop? The Illuminating Engineering Society recommends in the range of 300 – 750 lux (30 – 75 fc) for workshops. Older eyes, like mine, will need a little more, younger eyes not as much.

    How many fixtures do you need to provide that light? That depends greatly on a number of factors including the area to be covered, the height of the light source over the task being lit (e.g. bench or boat), the shape of the room, the reflectivity of the ceiling, walls and floor and how the fixture is designed to get the light from the lamp to the task. You should also consider how much of a point source the light is. Too much light coming from too small a source makes it hard to look at as well as making it hard to distribute properly.

    Having said that, the formula for calculating illumination is I = Ll Cu LLF / Al, where
    I = illumination (lux, lumen/m2)
    Ll = luminance per lamp (lumen)
    Cu = coefficient of utilization
    LLF = light loss factor
    Al = area per lamp (m2)

    Coefficient of utilization, Cu is a measure of the efficiency of a fixture in transferring the lumens to the working surface and will depend on things like how the reflector (if there is one) is designed. It is a ratio, and always less than 1, probably in the range of 0.75 – 0.85 for fixtures likely to be used in a shop.
    Light loss factor, LLF accounts for the fact that older lamps and bulbs don’t put out as much light as new ones. Lamps degrade, get dirty and the ballast on fluorescents are not 100% efficient. You need to provide more light when the lamp (bulb) is new to compensate for these losses as things age. LLF is also a ratio and is usually taken to be about 0.9 for fluorescent and 0.05 – 0.95 for LED.

    Let’s put this together for a calculation for a 10’ x 20’ workshop, about 200 ft2 or 20 m2 (near enough). Ignoring for the moment things like reflectivity and room shape, let’s assume we want 75 fc or 750 lux on our surface. Reworking I = Ll Cu LLF / Al to solve for Ll gives Ll = Al * I / Cu *LLF. Assume a Cu of 0.80 and LLF of 0.90. Ll = 20*750/0.8*09 = 16875 lumens.

    A 2-lamp T8-replacement LED fixture is about 4700 lumens. Therefore we would need about 16875/4700 = 3.6 or about 4 - 5 fixtures, depending on how old you are and how dark the surfaces in your shop are. While this calculation could be refined, it gets us in the ballpark.

    Others have mentioned the merits of LED vs fluorescents, including slightly greater efficiency, longer average life, insensitivity to low temperatures and ability to be switched often without affecting lamp life. Most of us, if we install LED lights in our shop, will be unlikely to have to replace them in our lifetime.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Robb View Post
    So that's what you guys call a roll-up door. Around here those are overhead doors.
    Sorry, chalk it up to a (temporary, I hope) brain failure. My door is commonly known as an overhead door. It has double paned glass so isn't too bad for winter. But I'm in the relatively balmy PNW. Where I live I worry more about raccoons then human intruders.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Sorry, chalk it up to a (temporary, I hope) brain failure. My door is commonly known as an overhead door. It has double paned glass so isn't too bad for winter. But I'm in the relatively balmy PNW. Where I live I worry more about raccoons then human intruders.

    Jeff
    The door pictured "rolls up" in panels. I count five, they are hinged, and roll on a track on each side. An overhead door is one panel that "flips up".

    Then, there are roll ups that are much smaller pieces of metal, that roll into a tight roll at the top of the door, and bifold doors, and barn doors that roll to the side on a track, and...
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Regional differences perhaps? The one panel flip-up is something I've only seen in California. Yah, regional differences. For instance, the grass strip between the sidewalk and the street is sometimes called the tree lawn, or has no name at all. In NE Ohio (Akron area at least) its the devil strip. Go figure.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    My version of improved visibility in the shop was learning 3M made bifocal safety glasses...
    been using these FOR A WHILE on the tractor & motorcycle

    way cheaper than replacing my prescription lenses WHEN, knot if, they get ding'd

    knot to mention their wrap around protection

    as i age i never seem to have enuff light

    when i was putting the lights in my barn i doubled the recommended numbers and that is still knot adequate

    so now i have a portable flood light on a tripod for when i'm working on important stuff

    i may need to give these new fixtures a good hard look

    thx,

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Does anyone have experience with tubular skylights? It seems like one of these (perhaps the 14" diameter) over a workbench would be a viable option for natural light away from exterior walls.
    http://lightbenders.biz/?gclid=CLeF7...FUlyfgodpoQNnQ

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Two bits of random inputs:
    On the web, you can get bifocal safety glasses where the magnification is at the top instead of the bottom -- very handy when working overhead, or when you're wedged upside down in the bilge for some random reason.

    Also, glass garage doors are better in nicer neighborhoods, with nicer cars and/or a clean shop. I've got the neighborhood, but not the clean shop. Cars are ok.

    Chip

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    You guys need to rethink the roll up door:



    This lets in plenty of daylight.

    Jeff
    Jeff, what does that door cost, compaired to a solid one, and is it double pane glass?

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by bheys View Post
    Does anyone have experience with tubular skylights? It seems like one of these (perhaps the 14" diameter) over a workbench would be a viable option for natural light away from exterior walls.
    http://lightbenders.biz/?gclid=CLeF7...FUlyfgodpoQNnQ
    We have had one in an interior bathroom for over 10 years. Works great. When we first put it in, you would walk by the room and figure that someone had inadvertently left the light on . So far no leaks although somehow small insects still find a way to get in and you need to pull the bottom diffuser and clean it out every once in a while.

    And of course ours is the older model without the built-in solar panel and night light, so you get no light from it at night. I suspect you would still need a fairly robust additional light for working when its dark out.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    My shop is intentionally made to look as though it came out of the last century a time when I was working on dirt floors and with China cap light fixtures. I chose wood rather than dirt for the floor but used diagonal sheathing and light fixtures I made myself. One concession is the warm CFL light bulbs which work very well. Here is the new/old looking shop where one can travel back to the heyday of wooden boats in a time warp.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulf View Post
    Jeff, what does that door cost, compaired to a solid one, and is it double pane glass?
    Because I never asked I don't know what a conventional door costs. I suspect that I paid at least double. The glass in my door is double panes. That door is heavy. Kitsap Garage Door sold it and did the install. I highly recommend them.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by bheys View Post
    Does anyone have experience with tubular skylights? It seems like one of these (perhaps the 14" diameter) over a workbench would be a viable option for natural light away from exterior walls.
    http://lightbenders.biz/?gclid=CLeF7...FUlyfgodpoQNnQ
    One of the first things I happened to do to this house. Not the workbench but the living room. It was my excuse to buy a corded sawsall. It wasn't difficult to install and I think it would work well over a workbench. the length of shiny reflective tube from the roof to the ceiling depends on the locations and pitch of the rooff.

    This is another thing that I added recently for way cheap and now wouldn't do without. I can put it almost anywhere, with no cord, and it stays where you put it, and the powerful beam can be focused. It comes out of the holder and fits in my pocket for checking the gate after dark, etc. Not real thrilled that it has three modes, bright, not so bright, and strobe, and requires switching through them each time sequence to get to the only mode I use, bright. Duh.

    Our real enemy is the
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    As a data point, my shop door is a conventional flush panel steel overhead garage door, 9' wide. Mfr claims R 16 insulation. Cost last year was about $1500 installed with a remote opener.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I like those lights that Ron turned us on to.
    Wonder how they compare to my floresent ones that are very close to natural daylight.
    Anybody?

    Wordsmith Vol.37 / # 217 page 58 has an LED shop upgrade piece.
    basil

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by goodbasil View Post
    I like those lights that Ron turned us on to.
    Wonder how they compare to my floresent ones that are very close to natural daylight.
    Anybody?
    .
    Model Wattage Lumens CCT CRI Input Voltage Frequency Power Factor
    54103161 35 3200 4000K 84 120 60Hz .95

    Above is from the spec sheet for the units. The colour temperature is 4000K, which is warmer (redder) than full daylight but will appear bluer than an incandescent. Depending on which fluorescents you have now, the new LEDs may be about the same or they may be cooler (bluer). You can look at the ends of the tubes of your existing lights and there should be a colour temperature number or designation printed on them. It will likely say 3000, 3500, 4100 or perhaps Cool White or Warm White or perhaps Daylight. 4000K is considered to be Cool White. Daylight tubes are cooler at about 5700K.

    As far as colour rendition is concerned (that's the CRI = 84), they won't be as good as daylight or incandescents, but they will likely be better than older fluorescents.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I took some pics today but I'm crap at posting ,but I can email them
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    I've changed 3500k for 5000k ( florescent ) the change in quality of lighting is unbelievable! (Two car garage that about 15 years ago I installed over 140lf of 3,500k lighting along with some adjustable task lights that are moved as required).Now after upping the color to the higher k, detail work is easier and the workspace is more inviting to work in. Once I use up the remaining ballasts on hand, I'll start replacing with LEDs. Will probably start with 7k's in key areas and assess if I want to continue or throttle back for completion. Just for the record...I'll avoid the use of ballasts - just another part that can/will fail.
    Last edited by the_gr8t_waldo; 11-16-2016 at 10:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    That all glass door looks neat and lets in lots of light, but it also lets the less than honest, or the desperate, see all those expensive tools ready for the taking, not to mention the winter cold here in rust belt Ohio.
    There are garage doors with insulated windows at the very top only. Might be a good compromise.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    After reading this thread I went out and bought a one tube LED shop light at The Home Despot for $20, rated about 3000 lumens. Very bright! Much better than my old 4' T8 lights which hum and are definitely dimming.

    Thank you for this thread.

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    Default Re: Improved visibility in the shop?

    It looks like I will have to replace the aging fluorescent lights in my kitchen with LEDs. Last time I looked a 4' fluorescent replacement bulb was around $100.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    As a data point, my shop door is a conventional flush panel steel overhead garage door, 9' wide. Mfr claims R 16 insulation. Cost last year was about $1500 installed with a remote opener.
    I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the door, but there is something whimsical about the R-values claimed by door manufacturers in general. If the door is 2 1/2" thick polyiso, it might measure R-16 at the center of the panels, but overall will be much less. http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...t-garage-doors

    R-6.5 per inch is about the best you will get from any common insulation (polyisocyanurate) and R-10.3 from aerogel.
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