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matts37chev 12-08-2011 08:38 AM

what do you use for lights in your shop/garage?
i have 2-- HO (T12) cold start 8' fluorescent lights, with some randomly placed, cheap plug in 4' fluorescent.

i noticed the big 8' lights were getting dimmer than the cheap 4' lights.

(talking to wife, she said those big lights are 7-8 years old)

:P the HO 8' lights were like a movie scene with the heavens opening up, and angels descending, when i first got them !! :P

but it is dark in the garage now, so i went and bought new tubes for the 8' HO lights and WOW :eek: what a difference :cool: :thumbup:

when i went to get the new bulbs, i decided to buy one more 8' HO fixture to replace one of the small 4', but its so bright now i don't know if i need it.

but, i got it now, and you cant have too much light, right? :pimp:

Irelands child 12-08-2011 09:18 AM

I have enough 4' fluorescent 48watt shop fixtures that brain surgery is possible.

I had salvaged a truckload of 8' fixtures @ a buck apiece and tubes 20 years ago when GE tore down a building, enough to light up my neighborhood. The tubes all finally went - and the replacements were way too expensive, so the fixtures were sent to scrap as well.

matts37chev 12-08-2011 11:04 AM

i'm also curious what kind of work light do most guys use
i have a couple old school lights and one fluorescent
i kinda like the fluorescent because it has a magnet to hang it, built in

ogre 12-08-2011 11:36 AM

i converted my friends 10k sq ft shop w/ 18 ft ceilings, from metal halide to 4ft, 6 bulb T8 fixtures 2 yrs ago. the power company had rebates and calculated the energy savings payback to 2.5 yrs. very efficient lighting. we do have a string of the 8 ft HO fixtures, 110 watts for each bulb and they do not last long. i have not replaced any of the T8 bulbs, but have had to replace the HO bulbs 2x in 2 yrs. it seems that they have max output for 6 mth or less and progressively go down to black ends.

my own shop has a grid of switched outlets on the ceiling. i use a mid-range/cost 4ft, 2 bulb T8 fixtures with a wire cover as my shop ceilings are @ 8 ft. the cheaper fixtures do not last and have hard start times in the coldest part of my shop.

for work lights i have a couple of 300 watt flood lights that i can move around on the floor or hang from strategically placed hangers on the ceiling. and a fluorescent work light.

DanielC 12-08-2011 12:55 PM

I have a small garage, and have been using it pretty much since I was a kid. It has five lights in it, and some windows.
This picture shows four of the lights.
Closest, is a six foot fixture, it has two HO (110Watt) T12 tubes. This is an odd lamp, and I have to go to a specialty lighting supply to get new lamps for it.
Over the cluttered bench, is a 4 foot, "shop lamp", that uses T8 32 watt lamps. Just your normal "home depot" type shop light.
On the back side of the garage, is an old two tube four foot fluorescent fixture. This was made from parts salvaged from an old fixture, and is so old, it uses a starter, the little can about the size of a turn signal flasher. This fixture takes about 4 seconds to warm up, and come on, but it has always come on, and I do not think I have put new lamps in it since about 1980?

Over the bench, by the windows, are two 6" 500 watt theatrical Fresnels.
This is a close up picture.
These fixtures are on gimbals, and can be pointed anywhere in the garage, and focused from a fairly narrow spot, to a wide flood. They are wired into dimmers.
These lights can also supply a bit of radiant heat. In fact, I have taken these lamps down, mounted them on a stand, and used them to help cure gelcoat and fiberglass in cold weather. The picture is taken around around 50 or 60 percent of full output.

gow589 12-08-2011 03:43 PM

I use florescent lights and I paint everything in the garage white; ceiling floors and walls. It helps with reflectivity.

I have no windows for a couple reasons. One is, no one looks inside. Second, on bright days your eyes adjust to the bright window and make it difficult to see inside. Skylights might be a better solution but I have a drop ceiling and not ready to put roof windows. I have a hard time getting the bathroom vent to seal.

A problem people often do not realize is the florescent lights like I have, can limit the wave length of light. While everything is well lit, it can still be difficult to see what you are looking at. This can strain the eyes or make you tired when you don't even realize it.

One way to see this, go to your tap set. Pick up a medium size tap and read the shaft. Now go to a smaller tap till you cannot read the numbers. Now take it outside and see if you can read it. I can easily read a tap in natural light when I couldn't even see writing on the shaft under the florescent light.

I am not suggesting not using florescent. I use it for obvious reasons (size of the shop, large lamps, etc) but I do have a light tree I point on different projects from time to time. When the light tree on I can feel my eyes relax and it is just easier to see things.

trees 12-08-2011 04:54 PM

Sky lights in my shop are beyond all expectations. Even though I have 8 of the latest lighting technology, I only turn them on when it is very cloudy out side or if the sun is down. My eyes do not have the light gathering capability as they once did, so I need good lighting. A lighted magnifier is extremely useful, especially when I am digging metal shavings out of my finger tips. I have a couple of LED lights for working under a vehicle. One is on a stand and the other is a trouble light style. They can be irritating when using my auto darkening welding helmet.


1ownerT 12-08-2011 05:26 PM

In my 24x24 I have 6 twin tube 8' HO Florescent fixtures, ceilings and walls are painted gloss white.

timothale 12-08-2011 05:43 PM

shop lights.
The 4 car house garage has no windows, 2 light circuts, 4 flouresent fixtures in the front and 4 in the back, It has 4 ft of insulation in the attic and the cinderblocks have the cores filled with insulation, and a gas furnace, but with 3 cars inside, tool box, welder, tire balancer, tire changer, upholstery sewing machine and a deep freeze and fridge not enough work room, the light fixtures like the warm room. The 5 K sq ft shop has low temp flouresent fixtures in the front half but with 16 ft walls , not enough light in the work areas, I use 500 watt halogen work lights, and some HF magnetic base lights with rough usage bulbs. I have a lot of reading lights from garage sales, one on the radial arm saw, one on the drill press, band saw, lathe etc practically every machine has it;s own light,

matts37chev 12-08-2011 05:47 PM


Originally Posted by 1ownerT
In my 24x24 I have 6 twin tube 8' HO Florescent fixtures, ceilings and walls are painted gloss white.

also doubles as a tanning booth :P :cool: :P

327NUT 12-10-2011 06:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
My main garage is about 55 ft. wide, 35 ft. deep and 14 ft. high, I get by on 8 sets of 4 ft. 2 tube fixtures and 3 sets of the same over the work bench.

1ownerT 12-10-2011 08:23 PM


Originally Posted by matts37chev
also doubles as a tanning booth :P :cool: :P

It comes close. When I am out there at night I have to take a moment when I go outside to let my eyes adjust.

garyroushkolb 12-20-2011 05:09 PM

Try T-5 light 4 foot units if you want some really bright work area that look like a sky lite when you have it beside a normal T-8 bulb. I've got a couple at the front over my lift and they really help. Only problem the are pricey.

TurboS10 12-21-2011 09:36 AM

High effciency T8's with chrome reflectors. The light is whiter which makes it appear brighter. I only have three fixtures in the front side of my shop right now (1200 ft) and it is plenty to work. I am going to double it when I get a chance to run some more pipe and hang them.

I had (8) 8ft T12's with no reflectors in my old shop that were not as bright as these small fixtures.

Reflectors behind the lights is key to getting all of the light from a florescent. Without good reflectors your getting 60% of the light they are putting out and the rest is just absorbed into the surface under the bulbs. Light colored walls, as mentioned, helps alot too. BTW, I was an energy engineer in a previous life and we used the little T8 fixtures with reflectors in buildings all across the US.

matts37chev 12-21-2011 09:51 AM

I did some searching on both the T5 and T8 lights, and most of the results came up with grow lights :eek:

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