Shop lighting

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  • December 04, 2018 11:11 AM
    Message # 6945077

    I am interested in replacing the fluorescent lighting in my shop with LED. I'm looking for advice regarding the type of light to get.  I want a white light rather than a yellow light so I think that means 4000K to 5000k but I am not clear about the brightness.  Will 4800 lumens be too bright?

    Also, does it make sense to replace my fluorescent fixtures one for one with LEDs or will I not need as many?

    Is there a limit as to how many can be chained together or is that dependent on the fixture?

  • December 04, 2018 11:48 PM
    Reply # 6946284 on 6945077
    Don Michael (Administrator)

    Tom, You are correct on the "temperature". Daylight is generally 5000K. The LEDs I got from Costco were 4100K and they are acceptable. I wouldn't go any lower. As to brightness, lumens, you should be able to find a spec for the bulbs you currently have and compare it to the LEDs you intend to buy. Is your current lighting adequate? If not, don't worry about the lumen output of the LEDs. It probably is greater than what you have. I find lumen specs for these bulbs to be a little misleading. I just replaced 4 CFL 40 Watt equivalent (We) bulbs with 40 We LEDs. The specs were about a 10% increase in lumens but the room is substantially brighter, a whole lot more than 10%, with the LEDs. 

    If you're concerned with overkill, you could try to install 2/3 the number, but leave room for a 1:1 swap. Unless your shop was already very bright, you'll probably like a full swap to LEDs. More important, though, is to consider the placements so that you get the light where it is most needed.

    Are your current lights chained together. If so, no problem since LEDs draw about 20% less power than fluorescants. If not, add up the wattage of the LEDs. While you can put about 1500 W on a 15 amp 110V circuit (if there's nothing else on that circuit), I wouldn't go over 1200. Unlike Christmas tree light strings, I don't think they spec a number of fixtures that can be chained.

    The best deals on these lights used to be Costco; 2 2-bulb 4' fixtures for under $50, but they seemed to be in batches. They'd have them for a few weeks, then none for a couple of months. Ocean State Job Lot had two varieties of 2-bulb, 4' fixtures recently for $17-18 each. Don't know if they still have them. I'm told that the Habitat for Humanity Restores sometimes have them for a similar price.

  • December 05, 2018 6:30 AM
    Reply # 6946541 on 6945077

    Costco also sells 4 ft LED replacement bulbs, 4 for $38.  4100K, 1700 lumens, 14W. If you have flourecents now, one alternative is to try a pack and see if they work for you. Here's a link:

  • December 05, 2018 6:33 AM
    Reply # 6946544 on 6945077

    Don and Mike,

    Thanks, that helps a lot.  I feel that the current lighting is not bright enough so I will probably swap them out 1:1.  I also want to light another section that is currently not lit so I'm thinking I'll need 4 fixtures.  I was looking at this 4-pack.

    Last modified: December 05, 2018 6:34 AM | Tom Shirley
  • December 05, 2018 8:48 AM
    Reply # 6946690 on 6945077

    Everything Don said....  I installed similar 100We 5000k LED fixtures.  Very nice. 

    Fluorescent lights actually have a fairly high current rating even though their power consumption is lower (go read about Power Factors) so you can safely install many more LED fixtures using the wiring you have for fluorescents. No worries. 

  • December 05, 2018 12:48 PM
    Reply # 6947120 on 6945077
    Tim Holiner (Administrator)

    I am also thinking of upgrading to LED. Home Depot has Philips t-8 replacements for about $45 for a ten-pack. Best deal I've seen. Not sure of the color temp, but much cheaper than Costco.

  • December 05, 2018 2:01 PM
    Reply # 6947273 on 6945077
    Don Michael (Administrator)


    That's a fair price. At 42W each, you should be able to daisey-chain at least 4 units.


    That HD price looks like bulbs only. A fluorescent takes current at one end and discharges at the other. An LED uses one end only. Converting the fixture used to amount to cutting the wires to the discharge end, bypassing the ballast, and reconnecting at the input end. I've heard that newer bulbs are designed to go into a fluorescent fixture without modification; they just ignore the outlet wiring. I've no experience with those, however. 

  • December 06, 2018 9:10 AM
    Reply # 6948250 on 6945077

    Hi Tom I just got two 4’ leds from Costco for $20.00 each.

  • December 06, 2018 10:19 AM
    Reply # 6948382 on 6945077
    Tim Holiner (Administrator)

    Don - the Philips bulbs are meant to directly replace flourescents without any rewiring. I got a couple of similar, but more expensive, replacements at Costco and they work fine. I think that they require electronic ballasts, though. Magnetic ballasts are a nogo.

  • December 06, 2018 2:59 PM
    Reply # 6948811 on 6945077

    I have had the impression, correct me if I am wrong, that replacement "bulbs" are not as bright as replacement fixtures can be.

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