Lighting question for Vic


rodger.
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I am moving to a new, smaller shop, and need some advice on lighting. I read your article from 2013 on TWW, and still need a bit more advice!

My new shop will be approximately 12 x 20, and the ceilings are 10'. If I use t8 ballasts with 5000 k lamps, how many should I use? Also, should the ballasts be 2 lamps or 4 lamps?

Thanks for your help!

Ps - I posted this in the public forum in case other people were wondering about a similar scenario for their own shops.

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There's a web-based program out there... google should find it for you... I want to say it's on Philips site, but not sure -- no matter what we inputted, it seemed to give an answer with Philips tubes... You input the dimensions and it gives you a table of options for various lighting levels, color temp, etc... Our old space was Phillips 850 series, 6500K 32w T-8 tubes. Our new space is T-5. We looked at LED, but it was totally not going to happen... T-5 is costly, but not like LED... if your going to be in the space for a while, T-5 may be worth it but if it's like a year or four, just go 8.

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Went for the final viewing today.  Measured the ceiling, and its actually closer to 11'.  Garage door is already insulated, so thats one less thing to do.  Ceiling is sprayfoamed and drywalled, so thats good too.  Only one wall is uninsulated, but at all the walls are drywalled and mudded.  Need one of those cellulose guys to come in and blow insulation into the one wall.

 

Think i will go with delts MS for the floor, and put 3/4" T and G over the top.  For a small shop, this sould be relatively inexpensive.  I will use a pressure treated 2X4 "ramp" by the garage door, sealed with caulking, to keep the underside of the floor dry.  I think I will also install a threshold strip to prevent water from getting to the door as well.

 

Maybe I'll start a journal when I get into the new space.  There certainly will be a lot to do to get up and running again!

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Pug your shop sounds about 1/2 the size of mine. I have 8 X twin tube 4 foot T8s running at 4000K cool white (total 16 tubes). That is really bright enough for the entire shop. I have 9 foot ceilings which are white as are the walls to aid reflection of the light. You may find that 4 X twin tube 4 foots or 5 foots (total 8 tubes) will more than do the job. T8s are instant start up with no startup flicker and no ballast to worry about. They are also high frequency so there is no stroboscopic effect. Some fluorescents oscillate at similar speeds to drill press rotation or band saw movement so the blade/drill can end up looking stationary. A bit like old Westerns when you see the spokes on the wagon wheels going backwards. You can always hang the lamps from chains. That's what I did to get them down to around 7 1/2 feet from the ground.

 

Task lighting is also good addition to have so you get lighting just where you want it. I use portable LED lamps from IKEA see here

 

You probably only would need 5000K to 6500K colour if you are filming. But even then you can process it in the computer.

I come out of the shop into near darkness at night and it takes my eyes sometime to become accustomed to the low light - so I know my shop is illuminated well. If you walk from a bright day outside into the shop your eyes don't see much difference so the balance is good.

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Pug your shop sounds about 1/2 the size of mine. I have 8 X twin tube 4 foot T8s running at 4000K cool white (total 16 tubes). That is really bright enough for the entire shop. I have 9 foot ceilings which are white as are the walls to aid reflection of the light. You may find that 4 X twin tube 4 foots or 5 foots (total 8 tubes) will more than do the job. T8s are instant start up with no startup flicker and no ballast to worry about. They are also high frequency so there is no stroboscopic effect. Some fluorescents oscillate at similar speeds to drill press rotation or band saw movement so the blade/drill can end up looking stationary. A bit like old Westerns when you see the spokes on the wagon wheels going backwards. You can always hang the lamps from chains. That's what I did to get them down to around 7 1/2 feet from the ground.

Task lighting is also good addition to have so you get lighting just where you want it. I use portable LED lamps from IKEA see here.

You probably only would need 5000K to 6500K colour if you are filming. But even then you can process it in the computer.

I come out of the shop into near darkness at night and it takes my eyes sometime to become accustomed to the low light - so I know my shop is illuminated well. If you walk from a bright day outside into the shop your eyes don't see much difference so the balance is good.

The only reason I chose 5000k is because that is what Vic suggested in his lighting article. I also believe this is what Marc uses, but of course he does a lot of filming in his workshop.

I like T8s, so this is likely the route I will go. The last sets I bought were from Home Depot, but they buzzed too much for my liking, so I will need to go with higher quality units this time around. They were also pretty large. Each fixture was 8 feet long and held 4 bulbs.

Thanks for the advice.

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Hey Pug! Paul-Marcel said you wanted a little advice.  

For simple cost effectiveness, T-8s are still the best buy.  My recommendation for 5000 Kelvin temperature has to do with scotopics.  Basically, you see better in a whiter light at lower light levels.  It is mostly a personal preference, but one I see employed regularly in shop/production type facilities. I still have 4100 Kelvin lamps, but will change when I finally can afford to go to LED tubes.  At the rate they are coming down in price, that will probably be within two years. It's wild that two years ago the simple payback going from T12 to the LED tubes were 35 years and now they are about 5 years. 

 

The only software I'm aware of that is free is also far from user friendly.  You have to know a lot about lighting to fill it out.  As far as spacing, mostly think in terms of shadows.  If you read the article I did for Marc, you know my ceiling height is 10 feet and I have my 4 lamp, 4 foot fixtures set at the ceiling at 10 foot on center.  For a narrow  and long space such as yours, I would use the reflective properties of the wall (use white or a light color) and space 2 lamp fixtures 1 1/2 to 2 feet in at each end and along the length on each side.  You can probably get buy with a total of 6 fixtures. I'd split that into two circuits, if it's convenient, front and back. 

 

These are "back of the napkin" layouts, but should give you good enough light.  With these type of fixtures, it is easy enough to add to a circuit with a little conduit and wire, also. I would go with a high ballast factor to drive the lumens at their maximum.

 

I believe I referenced a site that lists "approved" fixtures in the article for Marc.  I would definitely buy something that is on that very expansive list. 

 

Sounds like you should have a very comfortable shop.  Enjoy!

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I have a couple of comments to share, stemming from a rather intense study of 'energy efficiency' opportunities at my place of business. Bear in mind that this is a heavy industry, so these observations may not scale down to the personal shop level.

'LED lighting uses about 40% of the electricity required by T8 flourscents, to produce equivalent usable illumination ( yes, we measured before and after replacing fixtures ). Operating life for the LED units exceeds 200,000 hours in many cases. That means no tubes or ballasts to replace. Also, no hazardous waste from spent tubes. For any of our applications, switching to LED from T8, Metal-Halide, or High Pressure Sodium has a payback less than 3 years. Also, as Vic mentioned, a higher color temperature (whiter) light provides more usable illumination from the same power. As an example, our HPS high-bay lights (2500k, maybe?) seem very dim, even though a light meter says they produce 4 times the light power of a Metal-Halide equivalent, which is around 4500k. Both consume 400+ watts of electricity, and are being replaced with 185 watt LEDs at 5000k. The LEDs are MUCH easier to see by.

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Bear in mind that this is a heavy industry, so these observations may not scale down to the personal shop level.  'LED lighting [...]  means no tubes or ballasts to replace. [...]  switching to LED [...] has a payback less than 3 years.

Just curious - does that 3 year calculation include only the purchase costs of lighting fixtures, tubes, and electricity, or does it also include the space and effort for stocking and changing tubes and ballasts?

 

This could be significant for a hobby shop user (but difficult to put a $ number on).  Say you have limited shop time, and one tube is out.  Do you work with less light, or do you make a trip to the home center instead of making sawdust?

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The payback calculation accounts for the initial cost of parts and labor for installing the LEDs. The operating costs for energy, replacement parts, and maintenance labor are then compared between the LEDs and whatever they are replacing to get payback. If you look at cost of storing and disposing of the replacment lamps, that's icing on the cake. But as I said before, I'm working at a huge scale ( nearly 2000 fixtures and between 4 & 5 Megawatts of electricity ), these numbers may not work for a small shop.

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wtnhighlander, my day job would be the guy you deal with for incentives at the local utility.  I develop energy projects in the industrial commercial and agriculture sectors. That's how I've learned about this stuff.  Yes, in an industrial setting the O&M savings are huge. The saving in cold storage is also huge, due to much less heat for the same light output.  My payback numbers are average for specifically tube replacement in a small commercial project, which would equate well to a shop and at our local energy rate of $0.0731/kWh.

 

Pug, ballasts for high performance T8s come in low, normal and high output.  It is commonly denoted as L, N, and H.For Sylvania you?ll see ISL, ISN< ISH, GE use Max-L, Max-N, Max-H.  The easiest thing is to check the specification sheet.  Looks for Ballast Factor.  Low is  approx. .77, Normal - .9 and High - 1.15.  It determines how may lumens it pushes for the lamps.  A typical T8 lamp produces 3100 lumens.  combine that with a high ballast factor ballast and you get 3100 x 1.15 = 3565 lumens.  it also draws more power, but not a problem if you want the light.  If you plan on using occupancy sensors, be sure to use program start ballasts.  

 

In a couple years, tubular LED will be at a point you will not need to learn how to read LM-79 and LM-80 test sheets, but for now there is still a lot of inferior product on the market and you should consult an expert to make sure you're getting a quality product that will last the stated life expectancy.  

 

Pug, if you're on Facebook, look me up. PM me a photo of what you'd like to buy and I'll let you know if it is a decent product. Otherwise, look it up on the CEE for T8s. If you want to go with LED, then look those up on the Design Lights Consortium website. http://www.designlights.org/qpl 

 

I apologize if the hotlinks don't come throuh.  I'm typing on my DiNovia keyboard for our entertainment center PC.

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I've looked on the approved list, but it is pretty intimidating for a guy who is just looking for shop lights. Are the items listed simply the ballasts that come in the strip fixture itself, or is it the model number the entire lighting product? I don't really want to buy a fixture, and then have to swap out all of the ballasts.

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Okay Vic, I went and took a photo of the ballast from a fixture that may fit the bill. I looked on the approved list, but the listing has an asterisk, and I'm not sure if this is the one on the list.

Accupro AP-RC-232IP-120-1

I'll post a photo in a little while.

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I looked up the spec sheet on that.  It is a normal ballast factor ballast ballast.  I drive the lumens at .87 of the rated lumens. I think a high ballast factor would be better, but that should do. Where are you buying your fixtures? Are they a package deal or?  make sure the lamp is am 800 series.  like F32/850...as opposed to F32/735.  the 8 and 7 signify the color rendering index of 80s and 70s, respectively.  The 50 and 35 or the Kelvin temps 5000 and 3500, respectively.  

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No special price, they are off the shelf units from Home Depot. They run about 60 dollars each unit (no lamps), so not cheap. I am going to look at an electrical supply today.

Thanks again for your help Vic.

Here is the link to the fixture with the Accupro ballast.

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/48-in-t8-double-strip-light/972615

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As Vic mentioned, color temperature is not all you should look at.  Philips has their TL850 which are pretty good, but the TL950 has the same color temperature but an even better color rendering index.  That can be important when it comes to getting the color of a finish right, especially if you're trying to match something existing.

 

LEDs are sure nice, but for a hobbyist like myself, the payback would be really long.  And as others said, there is a LOT of junk LED product out there. If it's cheap, it's probably no good.  The bad stuff looks great at first, but in as little as a few hundred hours the lumen output can drop drastically, as well as some nasty color shifting.

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