No announcement yet.

Shop light questions

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Shop light questions

    As stated in a previous thread, I'm in the planning phase of bulding a workbench for my garage. This workbench will require four shop lights wired together. The light will be only a few inches apart and separated by a plywood partition.

    1. Basically, how do i connect the lights with conduit? I've never worked with conduit before. Do the ends of the conduit that will be going to the lights need to be threaded or are there clamps that will hold the conduit in place? If the conduit needs to be threaded, can I cut it and take it somewhere to be threaded?

    2. Do I wire them in parallel or series?

    3. What should I look for in a fluorescent shop light? My garage is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.


  • #2
    Andy, please don't take this wrong but based on some of your questions I would suggest you solicit the help of a friend with an electrical background or hire an electrician.

    I think that most of the electrical types here will be hesitant to give you advice because they will be concerned that you will get hurt or hurt someone else. I am only basing this on your questions. I have no way of knowing your actual skill level but I do know to my way of thinking you are not up to this task if you need to ask if you should wire the lights in series or parallel. I can understand having questions about using conduit; what type and what fittings to use, etc.

    Also, you'll want a fixture rated for cold starting, down to Zero Deg. F if possible given you are in an area known for extended cold during the winter months.

    And whether you do it or have someone else do it, put your lighting on a circuit separate from any other equipment so that if a power tool trips a breaker you don't end up in the dark. Much safer that way.
    "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)


    • #3
      I had originally written a long reply defending my abilities; however, I will let it go and see if someone else will simply answer my questions. If you feel that replying to my question will somehow leave you responsible for my actions, then just don't reply; however, if you're like me and enjoy learning and doing things around the house then please reply.

      I'm sure that the lights are run parallel due to the voltage drop in series, but I thought I would check my thinking with the "experts" here and see if could make my high school electronics teacher proud. I always had a hard time remembering what dropped and what stayed the same in series and parallel. It's not intuitive if you don't work around it everyday.


      • #4
        Originally posted by adstott View Post
        It's not intuitive if you don't work around it everyday.

        You last statement is the reason I'd recommend you at least purchase some reference books on DIY wiring (The Home Depot and Lowes have a fair selection of DIY books written for the layman) and familiarize yourself with those areas that are vague to you. Although wiring, electrical theory etc. IS fairly easy, but it is far easier to get yourself in big trouble unless you are absolutely comfortable and confident with your knowledge, tools and appropriate hardware to perform a safe installation. If there's any doubt, hire a professional.
        Good luck
        Tools Rule


        • #5
          there a a number of different types of conduits,

          rigid, EMT, plastic, flexible, water Tight, and a host of others,

          Rigid is similar to steel water pipe, but there is no bur were it is welded, inside the pipe, so it will not nick or cut the insulation of the wire, can be steel or aluminum.

          EMT is a light tubing that is bendable and uses Fittings on that clamp on to the end of the tubing, either by a set screw or by a type of compression fitting,
          and is easy to bend with a "conduit bender"

          the plastic, is usually pvc and normally uses a glue on fitting,
          that is similar to pvc water pipe, but all made for electrical use,

          and there are pull boxes, and other type of ells and tees and such for different situations,

          below are a few urls that will show some of the fitting for conduit avable,

          first you need to know what you want to use, and if there are knock out (the little semi punched holes where you want to run the conduit)into the electrical box, or light housing, and if not one needs a "Knock out punch" that will punch out a hole of the proper size, for the conduit to enter,

          then lay out the lights and the conduit, and either cut and add fittings or thread, (depending on what you chose to use), and bend to fit, and properly fasten it in place,

          some information on conduit and how to install.

          MY suggestion is to go a home center and spend some time looking and asking questions as to the different types and tools needed, and make a choice of what type of conduit you want and then go from there,
          (my guess is the normal would be the EMT conduit)

          and I would suggest a book on electrical wiring, that gives simple step by step procedures, on how to wire a simple lighting circuit, Observe the wiring color and get a better understanding of how it and why it is done that way, and the grounding,

          I am not doubting your abilities but your current questions, suggest that your back ground in the the electrical area is very limited, and I think you need more information and more general knowledge of home electrical before considering this project your self,

          And I know that is what your trying to do by asking your question here,

          but I suggest you go to the electrical section of the home center, and try to find some one who has some knowledge of the process in volved and see how things go together and work, look a wiring in a commercial building or a building that has conduit, and observe how it was done,

          get a book on electrical wiring, I recommend the book wiring simplifed,

          I think it will show you much of the back ground you should have before starting a project like you stated,

          the cold weather starting lights are very helpful, stay away from the cheap cheap lights that many of the home or hardware stores sell, some of them will not last any time at all,
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


          • #6
            here are a few web sites that my help you in the wiring,



            Black is hot, white is neutral, and green is ground.

            IN the lights , black to black, white to white, and green to green or a ground screw,

            the normaly the only time the color code is broken is in a wiring a switch and one is using romex type wire, and the power comes into one of the light boxes, and you want to switch it, and so you pull one cable down to the switch (switching the hot wire, black) and since you only have the two wires (white and black) to work with, you mark the white wire black and use it to return to the lights with, from the switch, see url below, (but if your running conduit you can run two black wires to the switch or a black and red)
            general information,

            but if you have any doubts of doing it get some help from some one who has some experience,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


            • #7
              I already wired them, but thanks. Much nicer to have the extra light.