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Thread: Lighting needs

  1. #1
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    Default Lighting needs

    I'm planning out my basement work shop (14'x25' ) and am trying to figure out how much lighting I need. I remember reading an article in a magazine a few years ago that showed a picture showing the height from your work bench to the ceiling and the spacing between the light fixtures and how far from the wall they should be. I was thinking of using a drop ceiling so I was leaning towards the 4 tube 2x4 fixtures but they are pricey. Any suppestions?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Can't say how many you need for your space, but in my 24 x 26 garage I have 5 - 2 bulb fluorescents and a single 100W regular bulb.

    Switched so that the incandescent is on its own and a single fluorescent is also by itself. Using 3 switches allows for the level of light I need for specific tasks.
    Please remember that free advise from the Internet is worth what you paid for it ...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    The older you get the more light you will require.

    I used a bunch of those cheap (about $20) two 4' tube fixtures. The last ones I bought were quite noisy so I won't be doing that again.

    A friend built a fairly large shop and installed an array of compact flourescent bulbs screwed into regular light bulb fixtures and he is happy with it.

    I would have the lights interspersed on at least 2 circuits so you can have general lighting but with the ability to brighten it up when you feel it is necessary.

    I also have a floodlight over my TS, one over my bandsaw and a couple over the main area of my workbench for task lighting when needed. To be honest, only the one over the bandsaw gets much use.

    Sorry I can't tell you how many of each fixture you would need but if you are going with a minimum numbers ensure that you can expand the system when you wish without ripping out drywall etc.
    billh

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry from Winnipeg View Post
    I'm planning out my basement work shop (14'x25' ) and am trying to figure out how much lighting I need. I remember reading an article in a magazine a few years ago that showed a picture showing the height from your work bench to the ceiling and the spacing between the light fixtures and how far from the wall they should be. I was thinking of using a drop ceiling so I was leaning towards the 4 tube 2x4 fixtures but they are pricey. Any suppestions?
    For my 22 x 25 (550 sq. ft.) basement workshop with 8 ft high ceilings (open joists, measurement from workshop floor to bottom of first floor decking), in the late 80s I used lighting guidelines (probably from Fine Woodworking) and ended up with 17 double 48" tube fluorescent fixtures for a total of 1360 watts. I also have a small clip-on lights on my bandsaw and drill press and a magnifying fluorescent fixture stuck in one of the dogholes of my workbench.

    All the fixtures are on one circuit and in the initial installation, with fewer, more evenly distributed fixtures , I left lots of wiring length between the fixtures around the tablesaw and workbench to add more fixtures if needed and, yup, found that I needed to add more light in those areas, largely to eliminate shadows on one or another side of a workpiece or the ts blade. Eight of the fluorescent fixtures essentially provide lighting for the tablesaw/sidetable and 10 ft. workbench.

    I painted the bottom of the first floor decking and the sides of the joists with white paint (flat or semi gloss) to reflect light down and positioned the bottom of the fixtures level with the bottom of the ceiling joists.

    Based on the present configuration of my workshop in couple of areas where I don't need as much lighting I've 'turned off' a two of the fixtures simply by rotating the fluorescent tubes so the electrical connector prongs aren't making electrical contact.

    I still have reasonable vision and have only started using low power glasses for reading newspapers. But as billh our maturing eyes are going to be gathering fewer points of light in the future.

    btw, if you have access to the ceiling joists, Scott Landis' Workshop book has a super strong, cheapo shopmade wood storage rack design that uses the strength of the joist system and adjoining wall. And, if you have open ceiling joists, the spaces where you don't have lighting fixtures, you can use for storage ( it's difficult to have too much workshop space)


    good luck

    michael

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    I've had it with fluorescent tubes and ballasts. As they burn out I'm replacing them with CF bulbs.

    In my 26' x 36' shop I have three rows of 4 lights, each row on it's own switch.

    I buy the 5500k/45w bulbs from Alzo Digital, one advantage is I don't have any color issues when taking pictures. And I found out very quickly that I prefer the "white" light over the "yellow".

    Cheers, Don

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    If you are going with fluorescent tubes go with the T5. Lower profile smaller tube and more energy efficient. I have a 20 X 17 shop and have 4 of these 2 bulb fixtures and there is plenty of light and there is no annoying humming you get with normal fluorescent lights.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    The older I get the more light I need.
    My basement shop is 11.5' x 31.5'. Walls and ceiling are painted white.
    The floor is a very light grey sheet vinyl.
    I have 8, 2tube 4ft fixtures mounted to the drywall ceiling. These are the small diameter tubes.
    Lots of light now.

    Tim

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry from Winnipeg View Post
    I'm planning out my basement work shop (14'x25' ) and am trying to figure out how much lighting I need. I remember reading an article in a magazine a few years ago that showed a picture showing the height from your work bench to the ceiling and the spacing between the light fixtures and how far from the wall they should be. I was thinking of using a drop ceiling so I was leaning towards the 4 tube 2x4 fixtures but they are pricey. Any suppestions?
    Henry, the article you are referring to may have been from Fine Woodworking. In the article the author recommends 100 fc (foot candles) at the work surface. As we get older, more light is needed and better. I used his recommendations in my 20 X 24 shop with a vaulted ceiling. I have 4 rows of 5, 2-bulb 4 ft fluorescent lights. (20 fixtures on two circuits). The whole shop is painted flat white. Normally I only use the two outside rows as it seems there is more than enough light. If I turn on all 20 I am sure there is "at least" 100 fc at the work surface.

    If you would like a copy of that article, send me a PM.

    Fred Alexander

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kondra View Post
    I've had it with fluorescent tubes and ballasts. As they burn out I'm replacing them with CF bulbs.

    In my 26' x 36' shop I have three rows of 4 lights, each row on it's own switch.

    I buy the 5500k/45w bulbs from Alzo Digital, one advantage is I don't have any color issues when taking pictures. And I found out very quickly that I prefer the "white" light over the "yellow".

    Cheers, Don
    Are these the ones Don ?

    ALZO 1146-55 45 WATT - COLOR TEMP 5500K 2800 Lumens - Equivalent to 170 watts of Tungsten/incandescent light
    Used in our ALZO 600 "Cool Lites" and ALZO 100 Light kits
    These bulbs are larger than the ALZO 27 watt bulbs and will not


    fit in the ALZO 300 light fixture. 1146-55 Dimensions ALZO 1146-55 45 WATT Photo CFL Color Temperature = 5500K
    $9.75 ea


    I assume you need a special socket for them, or do they fit a standard socket?
    Kevin

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Those are the ones Kevin, they screw into a normal/standard socket...

    Cheers, Don

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry from Winnipeg View Post
    I'm planning out my basement work shop (14'x25' ) and am trying to figure out how much lighting I need. I remember reading an article in a magazine a few years ago that showed a picture showing the height from your work bench to the ceiling and the spacing between the light fixtures and how far from the wall they should be. I was thinking of using a drop ceiling so I was leaning towards the 4 tube 2x4 fixtures but they are pricey. Any suppestions?
    Was an article in Wood magazine from about 7 years ago - this it?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry from Winnipeg View Post
    I'm planning out my basement work shop (14'x25' ) and am trying to figure out how much lighting I need. I remember reading an article in a magazine a few years ago that showed a picture showing the height from your work bench to the ceiling and the spacing between the light fixtures and how far from the wall they should be. I was thinking of using a drop ceiling so I was leaning towards the 4 tube 2x4 fixtures but they are pricey. Any suppestions?
    Henry,

    What you can do is contact a big distributer like Wesco, Nedco, Westburne and ask to speak to their lighting specialist. I used Wesco in Edmonton. They should be willing to calculate what you need based on the room dimensions, table height etc. To much light can be as bad as to little.

    Once you have independent, objective input you can make your decision.

    Don

  13. #13
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    Hutch

    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Burch;

    Once you have independent, objective input you can make your decision.

    Don
    Aint that true ,hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    As other have said

    the lighting I installed 6 years ago ,man was it brite
    , is not good enough now with age and eye changes/glasses

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    I like the idea of having the lights on 2 seperate circuits and will be looking for quiet fixtures. I also thought that I had to finish the ceiling, but I guess I don't have to finish it. I definitly want to err on the side of more light and I can always remove a bulb or two if it's too much light.

  15. #15
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    A.B. Normal

    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry from Winnipeg View Post
    I like the idea of having the lights on 2 seperate circuits and will be looking for quiet fixtures. I also thought that I had to finish the ceiling, but I guess I don't have to finish it. I definitly want to err on the side of more light and I can always remove a bulb or two if it's too much light.
    Henry, don't remove lamps from fluorescent fixtures, it causes ballast failures, as does not replacing failed lamps promptly.

    In my my home shop I added toggle switches to a few fixtures that aren't need on a routine basis, that allows me to turn them on as required.

    Regards, Rod.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kondra View Post
    I've had it with fluorescent tubes and ballasts. As they burn out I'm replacing them with CF bulbs. ... I buy the 5500k/45w bulbs from Alzo Digital, one advantage is I don't have any color issues when taking pictures.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    Are these the ones Don ?
    ALZO 1146-55 45 WATT - COLOR TEMP 5500K 2800 Lumens - Equivalent to 170 watts of Tungsten/incandescent light
    Used in our ALZO 600 "Cool Lites" and ALZO 100 Light kits
    These bulbs are larger than the ALZO 27 watt bulbs and will not
    fit in the ALZO 300 light fixture. 1146-55 Dimensions ALZO 1146-55 45 WATT Photo CFL Color Temperature = 5500K
    $9.75 ea
    Okay, I'll bite...
    What is the problem with 4ft fluorescents? I know you can buy 5500k bulbs for them also. I would take the new skinny T8 units over the older fat T11 ones, primarily because of the electronic ballast has no discernable flicker, and the instant-on aspect.

    But in contrast I've become a bit more disenchanted with CF bulbs. I find that the ones in my house definitely "age". I put 3 in a dome fixture in my dining room about 2-3 years ago. They were great at first. But now I can definitely tell that they take a good 5-15 minutes to come up to full brightness. They pop on at about 85-95% brightness (that is a highly scientific measurement known colloquially as a "guesstimate".) and then warm up to full brightness.
    It's not about you.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Lighting needs

    For my shop which is 22' x 23' I have independantly switched 2 rows of 4 each of 100w compact florescents and then on another switched bank I have a total of 12 double 4' t8 florescent fixtures. Each of these can be turned on or off independantly though I have found that when in the shop I tend to keep all of the lights on ...

    John

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMulder View Post
    Okay, I'll bite...
    What is the problem with 4ft fluorescents? I know you can buy 5500k bulbs for them also.

    But in contrast I've become a bit more disenchanted with CF bulbs. .
    In all fairness, my fixtures are now twenty six years old and the plastic ends are brittle, doesn't take much to break them and it's a pain to replace them and even more of a pain to replace a ballast. (10' ceiling)

    Cost wise one 45w CF bulb is the same price as a daylight tube.

    I am NOT using the CF bulbs you purchase from Home Depot, the bulbs from Alzo Digital are meant for photography and so far have lived up to their claims of bulb life.

    Cheers, Don

  19. #19
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    Lightbulb Re: Lighting needs

    I don't understand the "noisy" ballast issue. I have 7 really cheap fluorescent fixtures that I bought at McDairmid lumber 20 years ago and have yet to hear any noise out of them. I've never seen flicker unless the basement was ridiculously cold. In the basement I've replaced only 2 out of 14 tubes in 20 years.

    I have a 6 tube fixture in the kitchen and another 4 tube in the laundry room and 1 and 2 tube units in the bathrooms and have never heard buzz out of any of them - except for the one time I was standing under one when a surge hit. boy did they sing then. The upstairs ones get the most use and abuse. In 20 years I've replaced the bulbs once and am about to do it again. Cheap ride. The ones I have replaced more often are the expensive 24 and 32/36? inch tubes.

    CFL bulbs - well, I've tried to be the good soldier and made an effort to get used to them. Replaced 4 in the first year - one was my mistake - put it in a lamp socket that had an inline dimmer switched to half power - lasted about 2 minutes.

    I've tried various kinds - mostly those that are supposed to be replacements for 100 watt incandescents - found them awkward to read by - decided to swap the 100 watt bulb back and haven't had a problem since. The incandescent was considerably brighter. I've noticed by comparison that the light from the CFLs seem a bit greenish - the incandescent was warmer.

    Used smaller ones in a trilight that's connected to a switched wall outlet - they take about 2-3 seconds to light up after the switch is thrown. Always have to pause before entering the room.

    CFL's are useless in a cold area (-10 to -40) - Winnipeg garages or soffit lighting - take forever to brighten up. A friend who uses them for outdoor lighting turns them on in fall and shuts them off in spring - what's the point? I've never been able to find a cfl for cold weather use - they probably exist - but I've never been able to find one.

    Same thing for the supposed dimmable ones - no one I know carries them - and I've asked - problem is most of my switched lamps are on dimmer switches. However, I have seen them advertised on line - but $10+ for one bulb - get stuffed!

    I work under fluorescent lights all day at work with no problems, no flicker, no noise, but at home, I cannot read for more than a few minutes by the light of a CFL. Guess I'm just a dinosaur but I'd hate to have a whole basement lit by them.
    Last edited by Glenn from Winnipeg; 11-03-2010 at 02:46 PM. Reason: missed something
    Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

    Glenn from Winnipeg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Lighting needs

    Glenn, I think if you try the 5500k version of the CF bulbs you will notice a difference. The light temperature is a big deal

    Cheers, Don

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