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Thread: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

  1. #1

    Default Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    My hobby/work shop is 24x48, I have been using old 4 bulb 48" flourescent light fixtures hanging from the metal rafters ( 4 of these are used )
    for lighting the shop, they were free so I installed them and they seem to work ok in the summer but hard to start in the winter, I have a wood stove for heat but don't run it all the time so I need some efficient lighting to suppliment the flourescents until the
    stove can bring up the temperature.
    I want the best bang for the buck, I don't care about looks or anything and can hang
    them anywhere. Incandesents or Halogen would work great but need something that
    is cheap on the electric bill, I have CFLs in my house but don't know if they will work
    in cold temps, so I am looking for sugguestions.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop



    CFLs would have the same cold starting problems as your regular florescent.

    The proper solution is to replace your florescent fixture with LED such as the Cree CR22 2'x4' fixture.
    http://www.creeledlighting.com/Produ...fers/CR22.aspx

    Alternatively you can replace your florescent tubes with LED tubes. And you can take the ballast out with the EarthLED DirectLED™ FL for more savings.
    http://store.earthled.com/collection...placement-tube

    -

    If you are just looking for supplemental lighting:
    Since you will be turning the supplemental lights off once the florescent is lighted up I do not see efficient lighting to be necessary.
    But incandescent light bulbs will be banned starting in 2012 so keep that in mind.

    -

    The other solution is to go with more normal downlights and bulbs.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...)-light-engine
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-LED-BR30-bulb
    But by the time you get sufficient light you could have spent the same amount as going with the Cree CR22 or LED tubes. (New fixtures plus wiring plus bulbs.)
    Last edited by LEDninja; 09-10-2011 at 10:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    How cold is the shop and how old are the lights and ballasts in the current flourescent tube lights? I had similar issues with the old twin tube flourescent shop lights in my 1100 sq ft unheated and uninsulated garage when we moved here 10 years ago. They were pretty old though, and when it was below 30-40 degrees barely half of the eight lights would come on. I was looking for a budget solution and started out replacing the existing lights with new 4' twin-tube flourescents I got for around $10 each at Walmart. I was pleasantly surprised that the new cheap lights came on in temps as low as 10-20 degrees just fine.

    I'll eventually replace them with something nicer and more expensive, but for now these are a big improvement over the old lights I had, work much better in the winter, and all eight lights cost less than one of the nice light fixtures I'd like to eventually get.
    Ha ha, you fool!! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia; and only slightly less well known is this: Never go against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    I live in western NC and temps inside the building get to freezing alot and sometimes
    20s, colder than that and I stay in the house. I don't know about the ballast, they came
    from a school that converted to different lighting, they are good quality.
    CFL are really cheap now so I will try some to see how they work, maybe they will have
    the bugs fixed in 120v Led bulbs soon, have the price down and I can add some of them soon.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    I'm fond of LED, but it's not the TCO leader for illuminating large spaces. T8 florescent tubes with electronic ballasts should easily start down to 20F - or colder - and are exceptionally cost-effective.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    "Light Guide: Demanding Environments
    In low-temperature environments such as refrigerated areas, fluorescent lamps can experience adverse performance such as "fluttering," reduced light output and difficulty starting by the ballast. In such applications, enclosed fixtures, special "cold weather" fluorescent lamps and/or jacketed lamps can help ensure reliable performance...

    Cold weather ballasts that can start the lamps at temperatures below 0°F should be specified for applications where the ambient temperature is expected to be below 50°F."

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Another vote for electronically ballasted T6 fixtures. You can also slip those clear plastic sleeves over the lamps to boost their low temperature performance a little bit as they will help the lamps retain more heat.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    From what I have read (googled) a T8 = 34 watt and T12 = 40 watt. I have a whole
    pallett of the lights and fixures, some have 34 watt phillips with a green end cap and some 40 watt GEs. I guess I need to swap any 40 watt tubes out with 34 watt and get new electronic ballast, or look for a 2 tube complete setup at one of the big box stores.
    So it looks like I need to make sure the fixures are T8 with electronic ballast, well Lowes and Home Depot will be my next stop tomorrow morning.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    The common t8 4 foot lamp is 32W. It should be operated only on electronic ballasts. If your fixtures have old magnetic ballasts, but are otherwise decent, swapping to electronic ballasts and 32W T8 lamps will be an improvement. But, they will still be dim when they are cold. They should start reliably, and won't flicker when cold, but they will take several minutes to warm up. Same goes for CFLs-They will generally start when cold, but take a while to reach full brightness.

    I'd troll eBay for 4 x 32W ballasts from Sylvania, Advance, or GE, and stay away from no-name units...
    Jim

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Quote Originally Posted by brickbat View Post
    I'd troll eBay for 4 x 32W ballasts from Sylvania, Advance, or GE, and stay away from no-name units...
    My cheap dual-tube Lithonia units haven't given me any trouble whatsoever in my garage, which gets below 50F should air temperatures drop below 40F. Winter this year in Dallas was unusually cold, staying well below freezing for 2+ weeks and otherwise around 40F for weeks on end.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Thanks, I think I have it right finally. 32 watt bulbs T8 are for electronic ballast. My
    fixtures have 34 Philips and 40 watt GE bulbs that only say (F40) I guess thats 40 watts but the 34 watt ones also say F40, I bought a box of 12 tubes and they say F40
    so I guess they are the old T12 type even thou I don't see T12 or T8 anywhere.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckinnc View Post
    Thanks, I think I have it right finally. 32 watt bulbs T8 are for electronic ballast. My
    fixtures have 34 Philips and 40 watt GE bulbs that only say (F40) I guess thats 40 watts but the 34 watt ones also say F40, I bought a box of 12 tubes and they say F40
    so I guess they are the old T12 type even thou I don't see T12 or T8 anywhere.
    The T## identifiers on florescent tubes is the nominal diameter in eighths of an inch. T12's are approximately 1.50" in diameter; T8's 1.00" in diameter, T5's 0.625" in diameter. T12 & T8 tubes use the same bi-pin base and are mechanically (but not electrically) compatible.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    After having no light in the garage last winter after the temps got near zero I've sworn off florescents for any cold locations. Incandescent still rules for cold locations.
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

  14. #14

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Quote Originally Posted by kaichu dento View Post
    Incandescent still rules for cold locations.
    Actually, LED rules for cold locations, but incan assists in keeping your hands warm
    Last edited by blasterman; 09-14-2011 at 06:52 AM.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic ryguy24000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    your florescent are probably old t12. My vote is to go with LED tubes. they are great in cold weather and don't require a ballast.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy24000 View Post
    your florescent are probably old t12. My vote is to go with LED tubes. they are great in cold weather and don't require a ballast.
    Sorry, I was thinking old school florescent/incan only and must now stand corrected! Anyway I went with an old incan fixture that I had laying around for the garage, but will definitely be buying warm and neutral LED's in the future as they become more affordable.

    I'll be warming my hands this winter with a Streamlight.
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

  17. #17

    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckinnc View Post
    My hobby/work shop is 24x48, I have been using old 4 bulb 48" flourescent light fixtures hanging from the metal rafters ( 4 of these are used )
    for lighting the shop, they were free so I installed them and they seem to work ok in the summer but hard to start in the winter, I have a wood stove for heat but don't run it all the time so I need some efficient lighting to suppliment the flourescents until the
    stove can bring up the temperature.
    I want the best bang for the buck, I don't care about looks or anything and can hang
    them anywhere. Incandesents or Halogen would work great but need something that
    is cheap on the electric bill, I have CFLs in my house but don't know if they will work
    in cold temps, so I am looking for sugguestions.
    Personally, this is what I'd do:

    Goto HD and buy a 6 tube high bay- they sell them for 80$. T8... put 6500K (or 5000K) lights in them.

    Now if you are exceptionally handy, you can 'over power' the tubes by wiring a second ballast up with them. They'll heat up twice as fast and put out almost twice the light- for twice the power.

    LED lights are nice, but expensive.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need to replace lights in 24x48 unheated shop

    For this application, I would go with incandescent lighting.

    The primary reasons being:
    1. They are inexpensive and easy to find.
    2. Instant on
    3. Their inefficiency manifests itself as heat, which is what you need to get the fluorescent lights warmed up anyways. Turn them off when your tube lights are up to full brightness.

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