Questions and recommendations for Fluorescent lighting in a workshop

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Bob in St. Louis

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Hey guys,
I've got a question for you. I'm looking to re-do the lighting in my basement workshop. I don't understand all the nomenclature and specs of Fluorescent fixtures, and frankly don't really want to make a hobby out of researching this.
I've looked at the Grainger website, and they've got the fixtures I'm looking for, but the price range is from $35 up to $100, and the only differences I see in the specs are a few watts.
Here's the page I'm looking at
(Note; Oddly enough, the most expensive option is the shortest fixture, at 24")  :scratch:

I'm looking to install four, 4' dual bulb fixtures. In the wintertime, the room might get down to 55 degrees, so cold start is a factor.
I'm not worries about the reflectors, but they'd be nice. Of course, I'd like the $35 unit over the $90 unit, but I'd like to get the correct thing the first time.

The (4) 4' units I'm using now, I got at Home Depot 12 years ago, and the never did work correctly. "My bad" for not taking them back and waiting this long. But they're dying and need to be replaced.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  :thumb:
Bob

Speedskater

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Home Depot sells some good ones and some bad ones! The low priced one is the good one.

I have eleven  dual 48 inch units  in my unheated garage. While I don't use them a lot in below freezing weather, they always light.
Spent some time experimenting with bulbs, looking for the best color temperature to wax the cars.

Commercial Electric "Shoplight" uses two 48 inch T-8 tubes.

#140-857
Model # HBSL-35
Internet # 202022572
Store SKU # 140857

Bob in St. Louis

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Good info Mr. Skater, thank you for that. I'm still a bit gun shy of the budget chain store units though.
How old are yours?

Speedskater

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Just 4 years.

Speedskater

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Another thing to watch for is interference noise.  Some of the new electronic ballast fluorescent's make a ton of interference right in the FM radio band!  The above unit is good but the more expensive HomeD unit is real bad.

Bob in St. Louis

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Good to know, thank you.  :thumb:

JerryM

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Hi Bob,

Stay away from anything T12. It's a bygone technology. Go with T8 technology and call it a day. 32 watts will perform nicely, up to about a 10' fixture height. Higher fixtures than that may benefit from reflectors, or a T5 product. After that, bulb color comes into play. This is rated in Kelvins, and is listed on a bulb as something like "4100K". Picture heating up a piece of carbon steel with a rosebud or torch. As it heats, it changes from black to orange to yellowish to white. Those colors are Kelvins. The higher the number...  You may also care about the Color Rendering Index, or CRI. This is a more difficult number to determine, but Grainger folks should be able to answer. The CRI reflects the quality of the light compared to sunlight. A CRI above 90 is pretty damned good. Other than that, the ballasts should be warranted for at least five years, and the bulbs for three.

Have fun,

Jerry

Bob in St. Louis

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Great info Jerry, thank you!  :thumb:
I never understood what the "T" was, but it's good to know to stay away from the "12".

THanks!
Bob

srb

Yes, "T" stands for tubular and the number is the diameter in 1/8" - T5 = 5/8"D, T8 = 1"D and T12 = 1-1/2"D.

The major part of a flourescent fixture is the ballast, and unfortunately I don't know how to determine quality other than maybe warranty.  Most ballasts are rated between 40,000 and 100,000 hours, but because they generate a higher voltage to start, the number of times they are turned off and on in each day can also affect the life of both the ballast and certainly the bulb.

I have some inexpensive Home Depot type that are over 10 years old, so they are kind of hit and miss as to how long they will last.

Steve

Bob in St. Louis

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AAhhhhh...very good info.
So regardless of the "T size", aren't the sockets all the same size?
Meaning that the two pins are spaced the same, regardless (with the exception of some of the 8' units that have the single "nipple" type)?

Bob

JerryM

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AAhhhhh...very good info.
So regardless of the "T size", aren't the sockets all the same size?
Meaning that the two pins are spaced the same, regardless (with the exception of some of the 8' units that have the single "nipple" type)?

Bob

No. They're size-specific.

srb

The T8 and T12 both use the same medium bi-pin spacing, but the T5 is a smaller bi-pin.

 

But that doesn't mean that you can interchange T8 and T12 bulbs as the ballast and operating current is designed for the particular bulb (outside of a few rare ballasts that can support both), so in most cases it requires a ballast change.

Steve



Bob in St. Louis

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More good info, and more things to keep an eye out for. Thanks guys!
For a guy that "just wanted to buy some damn lights", this is turning out to be more thought than I wanted to put into it.

A fellow that works (worked?) for Grainger contacted me and said we'll chat on Monday.
So it looks like my lighting issues will be over soon.
Just in case anyone is interested, I'll let you know what I end up with.

Bob

p.s. Since I'm "re-modeling" my workshop, I thought about starting a thread, complete with photos of it all.  Not sure if anybodys interested in all that though?

srb

For a guy that "just wanted to buy some damn lights", this is turning out to be more thought than I wanted to put into it.

Yes, but the fact remains that you are on an audio forum, Bob!  You could "just want to buy some damn chewing gum", and I'm sure you would get the same in-depth detailed analysis.  Including the benefits of cryo-treating your Juicy Fruit!

Steve

Bob in St. Louis

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 :lol: Yea....I guess I knew that going in Steve, but I wanted to deny it, deep down inside.
At the end of the day, I want to buy the correct tool for the job. Anything less will be money spent (wasted) and frustration for years to come.
I'd rather take the hit now (within reason) and be done with it. I've got many more projects "in me", and proper lighting will help them get them done right.
As it is, everytime I go in there, I'm pissed because the lights suck. It's so frustrating.  :duh:

JohnR


Bob in St. Louis

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http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=186.0
Sorry John. It's been about 8 months since I posted in that board, I forgot all about it existing.  :duh:
Would somebody please move this over there?

Bob

JerryM

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thunderbrick

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Yes, but the fact remains that you are on an audio forum, Bob!  You could "just want to buy some damn chewing gum", and I'm sure you would get the same in-depth detailed analysis.  Including the benefits of cryo-treating your Juicy Fruit!

Steve

 :lol:

Scott F.

Hiya Bob,

A couple of things, since these are going in a workshop you really don't want exposed bulbs. Start swinging lumber around and you're going to get showered with glass...been there. You want to go with a two lamp wrap fixture. It has the wrap around cover on it. That way when you whack it with a piece of lumber it only cracks the lens.

I agree with the other guys, T-8s are the way to go. 41K lamps should give you decent color rendering for doing finishes on wood. That's what I have in my shop.

That said, I'll drop off four fixtures to you later this week once it dries up and I can get to the barn. I've got about 15-20 of them. They are used but still in good shape. Most have Advanced ballasts (a good ballast mfgr) and the lamps have about 5000 hours on them so you should get 5-8 more years out of them before you have to re-lamp.

No worries about compensation, I get these for free. In fact this summer I'm gutting another building and going to bring home ample to replace the ones I give you plus get a dozen or so more for the new barn I'm building :thumb: