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New Shop lighting

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  • New Shop lighting

    OK, I am at the point that I need to decide on lights for the shop. It is a 20 ft by 20 ft with 9 ft walls that peak at about 12 feet in the center. One wall is a 20 foot by 2 foot deep work bench. the space will have a vertical mill in the middle along with a lathe. I know I want T-8 fixtures, the question is how many? They need to be the 4 foot length to make hauling new bulbs easier.

  • #2
    Roger, you will get more replies than you ever wished for!
    What I found that works quite well and is economical is "shop lights." These are two-tube T-8s with an electronic ballast, a pull-chain switch and a 6 or 8 foot cord. I mount mine to outlet boxes on the walls and ceiling. I only turn on the ones that I am using, (that is a damned lie! I usually leave them ALL on cause I am lazy!)
    Since these units only draw about 70 watts, you can put six to an outlet. Vary the chain length, depending on whether you need clearance or strong light.
    I think that I got these on sale for about $18.00 each.
    Four units will do a pretty good job over a 20-foot bench.
    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


    • #3
      My new building is 20 x 30 and same 9' ceiling. I used four 8' fixtures (use four 4' bulbs in each) equally spaced and centered. I have no complaints and have not had any problems with shadows. They also had no problems starting and no flicker with slightly below-freezing temps.


      • #4
        Most people have had such poor lighting for so long they don't know they have poor lighting.

        I helped a friend put lights in his 28 X 32 shop (8' 6" walls) and I convinced him to install 24 fixtures (4 four foot tubes/fixture...40 W tubes)...96 tubes in all. Four switches section them into 4 separate groups.

        He's said quite a few times how much he likes having that much light available.
        Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


        • #5
          I would go with at least 8 double fixtures each containing 2x4' bulbs. This gives you two rows of lights just about full length of your shop in one direction spaced from the wall and each other by 6.66' If you want more light, install another row for 12 fixtures total, with rows spaced every 5'. I'd do like one guy said and use the units with pull chains so you can tailor it to your liking and for different jobs.



          • #6
            I like florescent's, I have mine in weird spots to clear vehicles on the lift and to light up certain areas better.



            • #7
              I have a shop that is 24'x32' and 10' ceilings. I have put 3 rows of 5 fixtures with 2 t8 lamps in each on t different switches so every other comes on with each switch. this lets me see if I am just getting something and if I am working I turn on both switches. The load of the ballast type fixtures is small so I have all 15 fixtures on 1 15amp circuit and still have extra power if I were to add more.

              The work bench area is another matter. I have a 14' long x 32" deep bench and I started with 3-2 lamp t8 fixtures in a row (not enough light) and have now put 3-4 lamp t8 fixtures and don't now how I was able to work before. I STRONGLY suggest you think about 4 lamp fixtures over the bench. Also go to the local electrical wholesaler or lighting shop and get the 850 series of t8 lamps they are the brightest out put but no more watts with better color to see things.
              Like Duffy said, you will get many ideas. Best of luck.

              Mr. Fixit in the Family


              • #8
                I put the T5 high output, high bay, 6 bulb fixtures in my shop. These are super bright and put out a good light for machine work. These are the type of light I used,
                Mark Hockett


                • #9
                  I was thinking about 3 rows of the 4 bulb t8's spaced 5 feet apart, but I was not sure if it was overkill or not. I'm painting the ceiling gloss white and the walls a flat white.



                  • #10
                    I just had a new 24 x 40 building (12 ft ceiling, interior all white steel) built. I went with six 4-bulb T-8 fixtures evenly spaced (8 feet apart) with DAYLIGHT BULBS. I am very happy with the amount of light but I don't think there is such a thing as too much light in a shop.
                    Jon Bohlander
                    My PM Blog


                    • #11
                      I have four 4' two bulb T-12 fixtures and two 4' T-8 fixtures in the front of my shop, the area(12' X 20' X 8' ceiling) that is going to be my machine area. I am going to add lighting to that.
                      I plan on adding at least two more 4' T-8 fixtures to that area. The existing T-12's will be run to failure, then changed out to T-8's. I plan to have two circuits on the lighting to vary the lighting levels for working or just getting parts.
                      Before anyone says go to T-5, the T-5 bulbs do not fit in my fixtures and I do not want to buy new fixtures to hang in the shop. I have about 20 more 8' four bulb T-12 fixtures here I got out of a school remodel. I will clean them up, convert the ones with one or both bad ballasts to T-8 and set aside any good ballasts to be used at a later date.


                      • #12
                        Since it's your comfort and safety that we're talking about here, the more light the better.
                        Nobody likes working in a poorly lit cave.
                        JIM : You don't get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.


                        • #13
                          10-4 on that cave thing. It has the potential to be dark since the only openings are a 10 X 10 roll up door and a walk in door on one end. I just didn't want to get all those lights up and need to wear sunscreen inside because of too much or too harsh lighting. I'll probably go with the daylight type tubes since they should last a long time. They will only be used 4 or 5 hours a day for 9 months of the year.


                          • #14
                            I have my fixtures end to end in 3 rows. I put a 6" long wires coming out each end of the fixture with a male plug on one and a female on the other. I have the fixtures by short chains on Eye hooks then I plug the fixtures end to end. The very first fixture in each row plugs into a wall receptical at the ceiling with a light switch on each row.

                            The BIG advantage to this is when a fixture goes bad you can take it down very easy must up plug both ends then unhook it from the ceiling. If the ballast has gone bad or some other problem it makes it extremely easy to replace or repair laying on the work bench.

                            I have had enough of trying to repair lights while standing on a step ladder. It is a pain in the @#$%.

                            Another big advantage is if I move I can take all the lights down in 30 minutes move them to the new house and new shop and put them up again in about 1 hour. With the lights connected end to end they can be connected in any arrangement I like if the new shop is longer or shorter its no problem to attach an extra light to each row.
                            Last edited by gary350; 05-18-2011, 08:41 AM.


                            • #15
                              I set my shop lights up in a checkerboard pattern using 2x4 foot, 4 bulb fixtures, flush mounted. The fixtures are 4 foot apart and are wall switched on 4 circuits, one circuit for each area. The daylight bulbs also give a much nicer light to work in. I dislike pull chains and consider it a safety hazard to wonder around in the dark trying to find and turn on a light switch.

                              As stated above, one can never have enough lights.