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Flourescent lighting in shop

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  • Flourescent lighting in shop

    As some of you know, i am in the proces of building my shop in a 23x25 garage. Recently i went to the local electrical house for some 8ft flourescent lighting. The man at the counter said i should have no problem with this type of lighting as long as the temp is 50*or warmer.
    I get them home, install em, and guess what!!
    they came on about 1/2 strentgh and that was it. I went back and explained to the electric store and they said they have been having problems withe new bulbs ( mandated by Govt) that have a lower mercury content. Anyone else have this problem?? Anyone have a work around????
    <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br /><br />I can fix anything......where\'s the duct tape ?? :-)

  • #2
    I used some eight foot fluorescent fixtures in my shop also. But I used the High output fixtures and bulbs. Man those things give off some light. I like my shop bright. I will probably pick up a couple more from HD. I've had no problems with them.


    • #3
      I haven't heard of 1/2 strength problems but it is generally a good idea to leave flourescent lights on for 72 hrs straight at first to "season" the ballast. Honestly, I have no idea why but it solved all my flourescent problems.


      • #4
        All flourescent lights need to ionize the contents of the tube, so have trouble in the cold. That is why they are normally only used indoors.

        If they start up, indoors where there isn't a freezing wind blowing on them, they will soon rise to normal operating temperatures, and the light output will increase to normal.

        If they don't start, your shop is probably so cold that you will start a heater then come back later, at which point the lights will work.


        • #5
          I also am finishing up my 24' X 32' workshop. I plan on installing six 8 ft. lights and one 8 ft. light over the bench area. Too much?...too little?
          keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.


          • #6
            me thinks ya all misunderstood my question.

            at the time it was well over 70* and, just to be sure, I disconnected the lights and brought them inside. ( 72* after a few hours I hooked them up down in the basement, same result :-(

            I switched the new bulbs with some older ones that i had downstairs that i knew worked, and they work fine. Thats what I have in shop now. The bulbs are not the "ecologic" type. Since they are the "old fashioned type", i wont be able to replace them when they go south. When I go to the Big Orange this weekend, i will check out some alternative bulbs, or fixtures, or both ...............thanks for the info

            PS Greg, I have 4 2 bulb 8' and a double 4' over each bench and or station... Never enuf light I want the neighborhood to go dim when i turn the lites on..

            [ 10-13-2003, 06:11 PM: Message edited by: ralphthetoolman ]
            <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br /><br />I can fix anything......where\'s the duct tape ?? :-)


            • #7
              I changed out the 2 single incandescant bulb fixtures for commercial rated units i got at HD with 4 4 foot tubes each, (4" tubes are a bit cheaper, and easier to handle) The unit is 8" long with the bulbs arranged 2 tubes wide and 2 tubes end to end. I have a two tube 4 foot unit hanging over the workbench for additional task lighting. The set up is almost identical to my last house except for the difference that THIS time, before I got all of my stuff hung up, I went ahead and painted the entire shebang with semi-gloss pure white paint and, the difference in just having the paint is HUGE. My wife (and a few neighbors) have accused me of having the biggest bug attractor in Southern MD, whenever I'm working late.


              • #8
                There is no difference in light output with the new bulbs. Very frequently, bulbs take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up. This could be the case with 8 ft tubes as the electrical arc needs to travel a farther distance and excite a larger volume of gas than a 4 ft tube.

                FWIW, you can get 4 ft cold start fixtures with normal ballasts for $15-$20 at HD. The initial cost of the 4 footers is slightly larger than a single 8 foot fixture, but the bulbs are cheaper and you will save money in the long run on electricity costs and bulb replacement costs. 4 foot bulbs are also a lot more common, so you'll most likely get a better price when replacing.


                • #9
                  Open light fixture and look at ballast label, from what you said, it should read for T12 lamps.
                  (Since you did get old lamps to work) and it is possible you have defective lamps new from store, sometimes leaking.
                  The mercury free lamps have green tips. Also the skinny T8 lamps cannot be used in a non-electronic ballast.


                  • #10
                    CrossXgrain........finally, someone who is close to understanding the problem right.
                    It is not temp!!, it is not wiring!!!! it is simply those goofy bulbs. Yes the ballast says T12 and the bulbs were matched to the lamp by the man at the electric shop. However, they are the "new" type.
                    Green ends, ecologic and they dont work for ****
                    i don't care if its 80*and have been on for 2 hours, they still don't work.

                    Goin to HD today and pick up 3 of the High output.
                    That should end the problem
                    it just erks me to see how goverment is eeking its way into our daily lives :-(
                    <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br /><br />I can fix anything......where\'s the duct tape ?? :-)


                    • #11
                      T8 is the way to go.

                      The skinny bulbs are the new wave and may eventually be the only ones you can buy. I just lit a roughly 12x12 quadrant of the garage with two of 8', 4-bulb fixtures and they are amazing.

                      Instant on, no buzz, beaucoup light, cold-weather resistant electronic ballasts.

                      The 4-bulb, 8" fixtures are about a dollar more than the 4' fixtures, so a much better deal (although many boxes are missing parts and you should open and check before leaving the store). I am going to add two more on that side.

                      You can also buy different light temperatures for better effects than the depressing "cool white". I used SPX bulbs (HD didn't have 'em, try Ace) and they are definitely better.

                      I will scrap or convert the two hanging T12 fixtures that were already here, soon. I think Canada is banning new T12 sales within a year, and US may not be far behind. Whatever the rationale, T8 is the way to go.


                      • #12
                        I work construction, though no longer work in the field enviroment, I have seen 100's of 1000's of fixtures installed in the past 15 years in hospitals, schools, office buildings, nearly everywhere.

                        This is just in a small portion of the state. I can not forsee banning any bulb that would not work in any of these fixtures! The cost to replace all these fixtures would not be acceptable to the public. Thus, those in office that passed such a law would be barried alive in a pit of s**t!
                        John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


                        • #13
                          T12s might become the asbestos of the 2000s... we will need to change them all to Save The Children, etc.

                          T12 has the double-whammy of energy inefficiency and pollutants (Hg), compared to what is now available.

                          Fortunately, T12 fixtures can be updated to T10, and that seems to be where they are heading. T8 and the T10 replacements have enough going for them on their own (in energy savings for institutional customers, and light quality) that they are now the norm for new construction.

                          It shouldn't be necessary to point out that if they are that much better, the market would choose them on their own... and it is. I don't know why it needs a regulatory kick in the pants, either.


                          • #14
                            Woody, bulbs naturally go through changes without government interference. New buildings are built, spaces are remodeled, ballasts changed, etc. Years ago, all light fixtures in commercial spaces were 120v. 277 came along and had substantial savings, so when new construction and remodels came, they went with 277.

                            Same thing goes for T-8 and T-12 bulbs. T-8 bulbs are more energy efficient yet they produce just as much light. they've been putting T-8 fixtures in buildings for years now. The one I take care of just turned 7 and every flourescent is T-8. Even T-8 ballasts are becoming lower in price. Since the costs are the same or less now for the new bulbs and fixtures (to go along with the energy savings) The world will naturally take the route of the new improved version.


                            • #15
                              I did a side by side comparison of the T8 vs. T12 fixtures. I compared the 8'/4 bulb T* to the 8'/2 bulb high output T12. In my opinion, they weren't even close. The T12 was MUCH brighter. So, they buzz a little. That won't make any differance in a woodworking shop...and they turn on within a second. Thats fast enough for me.

                              Mark IV, if I read your post correctly, you needed 2 T8 8' fixtures to light up a 12' X 12' area. I am using 1 8' high output T12 to illuminate each 10' X 12' section of my shop. It seems more cost effective than using the 2 T8's.

                              I don't know all the environmental ramifications or energy consumption details of the different bulbs. If the T12's are outlawed, I'll switch over to whatever is the latest technology when the T12 bulbs become unavailable. But, in the mean time, I'll stock up on spare bulbs and enjoy an awfully bright, yet buzzing, workshop!
                              keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.