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  • Shop lights

    I'm looking for bay lights for my shop. They will be about 12 feet off the floor and need to cover 40ft by 40ft area. I was thinking 400 watt mercury halide (4 total). I decided I would post for recommendations since I know nothing on the subject. They need to be able to start in cold (30degree F.) weather.

    Any ideas? Thanks

  • #2
    Shop lights

    I recently went through lighting my shop. I went with continuous rows of flourescent fixtures. They are not as hot as some lighting systems, you can put quite a few on one curcuit and with the continuous row, the wiring is very straight forward (just bring one feed in and then run from fixture to fixture). I simply screwed the fixture right to the ceiling.

    My area is 31' x 47'. I went with a 2/12 vaulted ceiling (peak at 15').

    I was planning to go with 4' fixtures, with a 4' space between. The electrician who helped me with the panel box recommended continuous fixtures - so much easier to wire. The 8' fixtures were only a couple extra bucks, and it really did save on the wiring (of course the bulb cost is double).

    Every one I asked advised me to put in lots of lights.

    I have only been using this for nearly a year (the shop is a work in progress) and I find it a great lighting system - minimal shadows. The coldest I have used it is about 38°F. I have not been bothered by the warm up time on the fixtures (I don't even notice an issue). The temperature is generally 45 to 60°F.

    I see a post from one other member ("Bill736") who has had problems. All I can say is I really like the arrangement I have. I got the fixtures and bulbs from an electrical supply company - perhaps they were better than from a big box store?

    I actually wired it with 3-#14, and alternated the supply from fixture to fixture (so I can turn on every other fixture or all). In all I have 4 rows (set up as 2 pairs) of 5 - '8 fixtures (works out to 80 - 4' tubes) - on 4 switches (T8 bulbs). I can really play with different lighting levels. That is about 2500 watts, with a white ceiling and I plan to paint the walls white too.

    Sincerely, David


    • #3
      I might suggest when installing fluorescent fixtures to space them away from the ceiling by 3/4 inch or so- use some common 1x2 or something as spacers. Gives the metal with the ballast mounted on it some additional space for cooling. You can always add a plate with a wire clamp on it to the junction box if you're worried about code.
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


      • #4
        I like to use the 8' floresant fixtures with multiple tubes, only problem is with the television being near the ceiling they tend to reflect in the screen.
        "the ocean is the ultimate solution"


        • #5
          Use T-8 4foot alto 850 bulbs with new electronic ballasts. Be sure that the reflectors are polished aluminium.

          A 4 or 6 bulb fixture will far out perform the MH fixture. I know from experience.


          • #6
            The problem with those four 400 watt fixtures that you propose is they equate to almost 1/2 ton of cooling in hot weather. If you arent airconditioning, ignore my comment.
            Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


            • #7
              Originally posted by Duffy
              The problem with those four 400 watt fixtures that you propose is they equate to almost 1/2 ton of cooling in hot weather. If you arent airconditioning, ignore my comment.
              Four 400 Watt fixtures will put 1.6 KWatts of heat into the room. Even though some of that energy leaves the fixtures as light, that light will become heat when it is absorbed by the various surfaces in the room. The remainder of the energy will leave the fixture as heat. So the full power consumed in these fixtures will become heat in the room.

              In winter this may be desirable: you may actually save on your heating bill. In summer, with or without AC, you don't want it. With AC, the AC will have to remove all that heat. Without AC, you will certainly feel it.

              I would recommend the most efficient lighting fixtures for summer and use actual heaters for heating in winter. You can get multiple fluorescent fixtures in many configurations. I have seen up to 10 or 12, 8 foot tubes in one fixture that is mounted on a portable stand. Or you could combine two or more standard fixtures yourself and mount the unit on a roll around stand. Use individual switches for better light control. 50 or 100 Watts of fluorescents will provide the same light as your mercury halides at a fraction of the heat. They will also lower your electric bill; both directly and indirectly with lower cooling costs.
              Paul A.
              SE Texas

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


              • #8
                Honestly I don't think you have the height to use 400 MH fixtures. Your welcome to download and run any of the "Free Trial Lighting Software" programs you'll find on the net to see what I mean.

                Additionally the others have posted valuable comments concerning the heat generated from MH fixtures and is some thing you'll have to deal with in the summer time.

                But the best suggestion by far was the fluorescent fixtures with highly polished reflectors. Not the tiny squares you see in office buildings designed to keep computer screen reflection to a minimum. But the half shell / full length reflectors the nearly double your light output.

                Go ahead and download a free trail version and run the fluorescents, with and without reflectors. Then run the MH fixtures too. Set design lumins for 110 @ 42" work height and compare the energy consumed vs: lumin output. Don't forget to include additional cooling load too.


                • #9
                  Harleys cause fluorescents to fall.. use lamp chain around them in loops.
                  OR don't crank a harley inside.

                  I always put a combination of incandescents and fluorescents in. That way while the long ones are a blinkin.. ya can still see.. IN plants with Metal halides, I snuck Halogens in at critical areas.. cause if the power blinks.. they have to cool to relight..
                  they have a thermistor in them, it lights on ac, then switches to dc..

                  Nobody complained..

                  It makes sense to leave a heat gap over the lights.. just in case..
                  Excuse me, I farted.


                  • #10
                    We use 250 watt MH at 14 feet inside a flood fixture, and it's very well lighted. We use 400 watt bulbs at 20 feet plus. They will start in any temp, even inside 36 degree coolers and sub zero freezers. Keep in mind if you turn them off, they won't restart immediately, the bulbs need to cool down before they will start again which takes a few minutes, many of our fixtures also have a small halogen backup in them for power blips.

                    Metal halide lighting is good bang for the buck,(dollars to lumens), they also have the best color rendition throughout the life of the bulb , which is important where I work. Also long bulb life, and by that I mean several months of 3 shift operation.

                    Also be aware that these are Hight Intensity, and will likely cause issues with most any auto darkening welding hood, even the high dollar ones (speaking from experience here).
                    Last edited by Iraiam; 09-08-2011, 08:10 PM.


                    • #11
                      I have a 40x72 shop 13' ceilings. I used 10 400w MH & love them. They are white natural light. I have them wired where I can turn on 2 or 2 or 3 or 3. They make low bay & high bay, use low bays. You can get them for almost free or free. Also mine are all 4 tap so I wired them with 14/2 wire 230V. I have a 12x54 heated area I put in 4, wired 2 & 2. 1watt of MH is the as 5 incandesent. It was a great choice for me. I can work at night with 2 lights on & it's just like daylight. Too bad your not closed I'd hook you up. I have well over 100.


                      • #12
                        Maybe we could work this out


                        If your serious about the hook up, maybe we could work this out. I travel to Chicago every month or so. I wouldn't mind a short drive to save some jack! How far from Chicago?


                        • #13
                          I use the standard 4' florescents.



                          • #14
                            This kind of lights are better suited for taller ceilings like 20 ft ceilings the light does not spread out far and wide.

                            Fluorescent lights are better suited for low ceiling height and they are low power much lower than 400 watts per light.

                            Here is a link to a place that has 100s of 8 ft fluroescent light fixtures for $4 each.


                            • #15
                              I bought a bunch of 8' T8 fluorescent fixtures to replace the old style T12 high output fixtures.

                              I put my kill a watt meter inline and checked power usage. The T8's use about 100-102 watts. The T12 HO's use 277 watts. Quite an energy savings.

                              The T8's use four 4' bulbs. They put out a little less light than the T12's but I plan to use twice as many of them. The T8's also don't have reflectors.

                              I am trying to figure out what I can do for reflectors.

                              OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                              THINK HARDER


                              MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC