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Thread: Shop lighting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Madison Lake, Mn
    Posts
    38

    Shop lighting

    Not sure if I'm in the right thread area but....I'm having a real problem with my fluroscent(sp?) lighting. I always buy the very cheapest dual bulb units and when one light goes out I know its the fixture and not the bulb. My shop is 10 years old and I've replaced all the fixtures at least once. At this time about 1/3 of all my lights have one bulb out which means fixture replacement. I do all my wood cutting in the section of my shop with no heat so lighting is a bit more challenging (sometimes it gets a little cold here in Minnesota....table saw won't start until I turn it by hand for a while to free up the grease....eye glasses fog over almost instantly....faster than instantly if you wear a face mask for dust protection). The lights seem to have the same life span whether in heated area or unheated. I'm wondering if anybody has any suggestions for another type of lighting for shop use...some kind of hanging light? Am I better off by just buying more expensive fluorescent lights?
    Ken
    Wood worker wannabee
    W0CSC
    Semper FI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,440
    I'm just curious, you are trying new bulbs in the fixtures right? And the sockets aren't just loose or cracked right? As those can be easily replaced.

    I spent a few years working in an office park working on florescent fixtures and rarely had many go bad, just usually a bulb out (black on one end) or a bad socket. As you said, they may have been just cheap ballasts or something. Are the ballasts making a whining noise by chance?
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    5,320
    1. Not sure I agree with your "one bulb out - it's the fixture" opinion. I've replaced a lot of single bulbs over the years, without needing new fixtures.

    2. The cheap 'shop light' fixtures usually are fairly temperature sensitive - it's the cheap ballasts.

    Better quality light fixtures are well worth the extra cost in the long run. Some (many?) are cold weather tolerant, and will allow the tubes to fire at below freezing temperatures.

    I upgraded my 26 X 32 shop lighting a couple years ago, using 8 foot fixtures. I have three rows of two-tube fixtures, spaced a tad over six feet apart. Each row has three fixtures (24 running feet, and six tubes), and each row is switched separately. With all nine fixtures lit, it's brighter than daylight in there!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Madison Lake, Mn
    Posts
    38

    Bad light

    In every case, and there have been a lot of them, I tested the bulbs and they would work fine in another fixture. I replaced the fixture, installed the same bulbs and both bulbs worked fine. Keep in mind these are the cheapest fixtures I could buy and I think someone told me once that they don't have a ballast. I also have had more than one person tell me that if one bulb goes out you have to trash the fixture. I have four 4-bulb units in the same shop area salvaged from a commercial office remodel and the bulbs seem to last forever. Maybe I should try one good quality 2-bulb unit and see if that will make a difference.
    Ken
    Wood worker wannabee
    W0CSC
    Semper FI

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Ken,
    I put 4 tube 4 footer from Home Depot 4 years ago and there still going strong, they weren't the cheapest but what can I say.
    I guess your light are proof, "You get what you pay for"
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,440
    So the sockets on the ends aren't cracked or something like that...does sound like a cheap fixture.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    When it gets cold out the cheapie Home Depot ones in my garage either flicker or refuse to turn on. The cheapie ones in my basement shop seem to last but hum like crazy.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Posts
    9,076
    I use the $18 ones from Lowe's with electronic ballast and T-8 lamps. They say they will start when cold but it never gets that cold in SoCal. I have been running the same ones since day one (fixtures, not lamps).
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,440
    Tip: For the colder climates it's been suggested to run the 40 watt bulbs instead of the 34 watt bulbs, tends to make the ballast warm up faster and stop flickering. We used to do this at the office park for the storage areas, seemed to work. In the freezing weather, you had that dim light for about 30 seconds, then they kicked in.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    2,784
    I use the 27.00 4 ft 2 bulb, and 45.00 8 ft 4 bulb units from HD. Granted, it doesn't get that cold here in TX, but I've been out in sub zero temps before, and the lights came on fine...maybe at about 80% to start with, then warmed up pretty quick. Usually I couldn't stay out there very long myself. These aren't the most expensive units, but seem to hold up fine. I do have one unit that hums. But it's not noticeable when the stereo is running.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3


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