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Technical Shop lights

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blackanblue, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. oldcootnco
    Joined: Jun 10, 2010
    Posts: 66

    from neenah,wi

    I converted my 4 foot lights to ballast by pass bulbs. I bought mine from amazon, they cost me about 65$ per 10 bulbs the cost goes down if you by in bigger quantities. If you go to You tube look up Chris Notap he does a demo and gives part numbers. You might not need new tombstones ( bulb holders ) take one fixture apart and look at how it is wired. My bulbs are 5k lumens daylight. They work at sub zero temps. Love em.
    AHotRod likes this.
  2. I bought LED bulbs that work off the ballast. Damn they're bright. I only did one fixture,now I'll do the others.
  3. Picture doesn't do a decent job of showing the result of replacing my old fluorescent lights with an equal number of LED strips; but the difference is remarkable.
    IMG_20190821_112404 (Medium).jpg
  4. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,090

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I converted to no ballast 8' leds a few years ago in my 12' ceiling garage with a lift..The leds put out so much light that what bounces off the walls and floor lights up the underneath of a car up on the lift very well.. Well worth the cost/effort!!
  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,089


    I have been buying some of those Costco 4 footers just about every time they have them marked dow. I've got some in my old garage and it makes a world of difference.
    I'm just going to wire the ceiling of the shop with plug ins spaced so I can plug two lights into each one and easily change one out if I need to.
    seb fontana likes this.
  6. Well, I'll be damned. I had no idea this thread was here when I went down to my home improvement store and spent $60 on new 4 footer LED's. Put them in the fixtures and they didn't work. I had no idea I had to bypass the ballasts and would not have known how to do that anyway. I took them all back and bought the plain old fluorescent tubes.
    Now that I know what to do, I'll be changing to LEDs and I'll be watching how to rewire my 8 footer as the ballast has never worked ...
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,089


    I have one pair of LED 4 footers that are designed for putting in fluorescent fixtures but I think the buggers cost nearly as much as the whole light when Costco has them on sale price.
    I flat hate having to work in a dimly lit environment and have one of those red LED work lights from Costco that I use as a drop light most of the time.
  8. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,604


    I also had the two bulb fluorescent light fixtures on the 13' high ceilings and wanted to change everything to LED's
    I friend of mine who is a electrician came over and I thought we had to change all of the fixtures out but he said that he could retrofit the existing fixtures which saved me a ton of money.

    He simply rewired the existing fixtures and installed new LED bulbs.

    It is now twice as bright as the old fluorescent lights were and uses a lot less electricity and when I asked my friend how long the bulbs last he told me you will be dead before they ever burn out!

    It's worth the money when you realize how much so save on your electric bill and there is another plus that I was not even thinking about and that is the bulbs do not create any heat which helps on the cooling bill for the shop.

    I decided to change all the bulbs in my home to LED's and the A/C runs a lot less now then it did before.

  9. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 600

    from Sweden

    When it comet to life span, LEDs are different from what most people are used to. Most other types of lamps die suddenly, incandescent lamps often after about 1000h, halogen after 2000h and florescent tubes about 10 000h.
    The light emitting diodes themselves are often rated at 50 000h life, but that is not until failure, rather the time it takes at a specific power level & temperature for them to loose 50% of the light output. Many manufacturers, especially for the cheaper options, run the leds at higher power increasing the light output but reducing life by far, and may times it's not the leds that are the first to give up, often it's the electronics that control how much power the leds get that suddenly dies.

    So yes, in theory the led replacements can have a very long life if they're built well and made to last. In reality they fail much quicker than that in many cases. I recommend staying away from cheap "no name" options, and do check how long the reliable manufacturer says it's supposed to last.
  10. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,343

    dirty old man

    About a couple months ago I changed from 8' florescents to 8' led tubes. I used the kind where you bypass the ballast and hook hot to one end and neutral to the other tombstone (original tombstones for single round pin each end tubes).
    Used the original fixtures which had 2 tubes each plus I added one extra fixture above my big lathe, but I only put one bulb per fixture. Had 11 fixtures, now have 12 with one bulb each, replacing 22 bulbs with 12.
    My math says I reduced watt consumption by approx. 70%, and the light output is much brighter. If I find an area where I'm going to need more light, all I have to do is add another tube where needed,as the fixtures are hot for the unused side of the tombstone. Just have to pay attention to hot and neutral on the tubes and fixtures.
    My future grandson in law is a licensed electrician and he got the tubes at contractor price, approx. $23 ea.
    TrailerTrashToo likes this.
  11. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,997


    Yes! My whole shop is LED. From strip lights to task lighting to accent lights.

    5165_zpsh07gwrup.jpg 5171-2_zpse9mbjcwl.jpg

    It's NEVER been this clean since. Haha.
    Desoto291Hemi, ffr1222k and i.rant like this.
  12. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,509

    from washington

    Do you have the maid come in and dust once a week ? :rolleyes:
    upspirate likes this.
  13. Tri-power37
    Joined: Feb 10, 2019
    Posts: 382


    At work the 20 year old flourescents just weren’t cutting it anymore. We opted to change the whole fixture as it made better economic sense and the light reflected from the new boxes worked out better. We traded a electrician the electrical work for work we did on his truck. He was 20 feet up on scaffolding on a Sunday while I passed him up all the stuff he needed. He explained that flourescents continuously get dimmer the moment you turn them on and keep getting dimmer forever. But led lights lose a very small amount of brightness in the first little while and then maintain their brightness much much longer. That was 2 years ago and to me they look just as bright as the day they were installed! We were so happy with them we retrofitted leds in the paint booth. We never noticed a lower energy bill because our power company keeps raising the f@#$ing energy rate!
    oldcootnco likes this.
  14. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 631

    ken bogren

    I seem to recall a thread here about keeping the lumens down to 3,200.

    Anyone else recall that? Any opinions?
  15. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 631

    ken bogren

    Still wondering about howmany lumens is too many.
  16. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,018

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    Lumens is how much light the device puts out. “Too much” is up to you, depending on your shop and how bright (or dim) you want it to be.

    Color temperature, expressed in Kelvin, describes what the light looks like. Ranging from “cool” (bluish white) to “warm” (yellow/orange).

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    upspirate likes this.
  17. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 353


    Here is an example of before and after. I had mine installed about a year ago and love them. Please ignore the off topic car and focus on the dark shop before LED's were installed.

    Attached Files:

    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  18. Tri-power37
    Joined: Feb 10, 2019
    Posts: 382


    I will not ignore that tasty looking Chevy II !
    LAROKE likes this.
  19. chop job
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 496

    chop job
    from Wisconsin

    My son PAINTED these for the FUEL CAFE coffee shop in Milwaukee Wi 20 some years ago. Not very bright but priceless. 20190830_110319.jpg
    David Gersic likes this.
  20. This is how I wired my conventional fixtures to use the 4ft LED's, I also removed the ballast.

    Turn off power.
    Cut black and white close to the ballast.
    Cut all red, blue, yellow close to the ballast.
    (cutting close to the ballast leaves you as much wire as you might need. you may decide to trim it as necessary.)
    You can leave the ballast in or remove it.

    The next steps depend on how your fixture is currently wired, but it's super easy. The gist of what you are doing is that all the sockets on one end will be connected to black and all the sockets on the other will be connected to white.
    So, take those red, blue and yellow wires that you cut and attach them all to black on one end and white on the other.
    Sometimes, if there's jumper wire, it's usually yellow, you can use that jumper and then you'd only have to connect one of those sockets to power. That makes it even easier. HRP
  21. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,545

    V8 Bob

    I agree with you about cutting all wires close to the ballasts, to provide most if not all wire for the new LEDs.
    But some 4' T-12s, like all of mine, have two pins on each end. The two pin bypass LEDs power +/- to just one end, leaving the other "tombstone" simply holding the lamp. This is why you have to change the 2-pin tombstones if the originals are shunted (both pin terminals connected internally).
    All my 8' T-12s were single pin, requiring the new LEDs to be powered on each end, like your 4' tubes described above.
  22. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,018

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    Mine were easy to wire. Cut everything off, remove ballast. Connect power cord to pigtail wires to LED bulb.

    The “bulb” has plastic pins, to fit tombstone holders, but that’s all they do.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    upspirate likes this.
  23. Okie Pete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,109

    Okie Pete

    IMG_2484.JPG Replaced the ones in our shop with LED's . Wow it's bright in there now . This fixture has been hanging in the shop for years . It's never worked . I took it down , knocked out 30lbs of mud dobber nest . New wires , LED bulbs and hung it in a new spot . Wow it works great .
  24. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,316


    Costco has 4 foot 2 tube shop lights on sale right now for $19.99. Same ones I installed in my shop to replace the florescent ones I initially installed when I built the shop. Bought one more for over the tool box.
    shop light.jpg
    KoolKat-57 likes this.
  25. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 513


    dirty old man likes this.
  26. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,908



    In our old backyard converted Rumpus Room, we took down the single bulb light fixture and picked up two 4 foot long fluorescent light fixtures. They were for the whole garage lighting scenario, purchased at the Douglas Aircraft Surplus Supply Yard. The fluorescent lights when installed, lit up the area, but when we were working inside of the motor compartment or the cab, we still had to use those “hot” hanging bulbs in wire enclosures for better lighting up close.

    Those fluorescent tubes were bulky, flickered, got lots of dust and were a little worrisome. When a replacement was necessary, every hardware store had a replacement bulb. That was a plus. But, there were times when transporting those glass tubes was not worth the effort. Sometimes, taking out the old, long bulb was a chore and same goes for the installation standing on a ladder, up near the ceiling, reaching up high.

    These days, those new era, LED lights give off more “clear” light than any fluorescent bulbs. They don’t break, and are less expensive in the long run. Recently, I had the choice to get fluorescent fixtures, (modern looking) for the ceiling. Or a set of 4 feet long LED flat fixtures in the garage. The area was over the cabinets to light up the whole garage. If I needed a light for underneath cars or inside for some wiring connections, I already had a portable shop light that gave off a “daylight view” of the dark areas. So, there is the need for both, old tech and new tech.


    Now, about LED string lights…that is something we cannot get over as far as decorations are concerned. The old style warm light bulbs give off a mellow tone that just satisfies the eyes compared to the stark bright white LED light show on the newest string of lights. Outside trees, porches, and walkways, all look better in the warm tones vs. the bright LED white. If power efficiency is your thing, then LED is the way to go. But, if the design factor comes into play, warm lighting seems a lot better and pleasing to the eye.
    These warm, string of lights, added as decorations, makes any garage workplace look and feel like home for the holidays, all year around. They can also be able to utilize a remote control... YRMV


    I only needed one long flat LED fixture to light up the whole garage. The light is hidden on top of the new cabinets and nothing is hanging over the cars or counters. Over the work counter, I have two smaller, flat, LED fixtures that are removable for up close and personal lighting scenes. Those two have plenty of direct lighting for small counter work on models or modifying some little thing. When I walk away, those LED counter lights go off from the light sensors.
    Yes, when we were teenagers, fluorescent was the way to go in most shops/garages. But moving on with the times and even for the design factor, these new LED lights are the answer for efficient, bright lighting. Good for the senior eyes and for all others, too. Now, there are no more hanging fixtures, worries about changing the bulb(s) standing on a ladder, reaching up, being upside down.

    The garage, with the new cabinets and the new lighting, looks like an office inside of the house. My wife had the last say, as she now likes going out into the garage for something. When she pulls her car up, inside of her side of the parking area, the whole cabinets and lights look very stylish and functional.

    There is even another counter LED light, motion detected, inside of the cabinet area where the dog food containers are located. Open the door and the area is well lit. So, there is no need to turn on the large LED, whole garage light.
  27. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,343

    dirty old man

    In post #71 I related the installation of LED tubes in my shop lights, replacing the 8' florescent tubes and ballasts, and how pleased I was/and still am, with the results. There is however, a caveat to offer: :confused:
    In my bedroom at home, I have a ceiling fan where the ceiling light fixture used to be with a triple bulb fixture as part of the fan, using small incandescent bulbs. Since I was so pleased with the LEDs in the shop, I replaced the bulbs in the fan with LEDs. I live alone and frequently at night I'll watch old "Gunsmoke" reruns and the like on TV after going to bed. TV is an older vacuum tube GE with remote and color. Had considered replacing it with a new, flat screen TV, but a recent discovery makes me glad I'm such a tightwad.:)
    Had been just lately having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep more than 3-4 hours. In searching around online, I found an article cautioning against exposure to "blue light" such as the light emitted from LEDs within an hour or so of going to bed to sleep, or at least attempt to sleep! :eek:
    So I began turning on a bedside lamp(incandescent) as soon as I enter the bedroom and turn off the light on the fan.o_O
    Once again, I'm sleeping uninterrupted 7-9 hours unless I set the alarm for an early rise for a purpose.:) Have told a number of my friends about this and they report much the same results.
    raven and Cliff Ramsdell like this.
  28. kevinwalshe
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 429


  29. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 927

    from Indiana

    I posted earlier how I had changed mine over to LED and really just wanted to add for anyone considering going to LED that the fluorescent lights are probably going the way of the incandescent light bulb and the Dodo bird shortly. Might as well change now.
  30. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,604


    I had 8/ 8" fluorescent light fixtures that my electrician told me I did not need to take down and he simply converted it for LED bulb. He even left the ballasts and just disconnected all the wires to it.

    He told me if I ever have to change the bulbs which he said may never happen in my life time just to remember which end is the hot end.
    It only took him about one hour to convert all of my existing fixtures and now when I turn on the lights at night you can see an ant on the floor because that is how much brighter it is in the shop.

    I liked it so much I changed 58 recessed can lights in my home to LED fixtures because the price for the complete New fixture which comes with 5 different light selections was only $2.00 more then buying new bulbsfor the whole house.
    It not only saves on the power bill but the bulbs never get hot so it also saves me running the A/C unit as much for another power saver.
    I think the electrician charged me $75.00 for doing it.
    My advice it was worth every penny to change to LED's

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