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Hi all,

I just wanted to share with everyone something I tried, which in my opinion, worked quite well. My workshop is in the basement of an old house. Often times, it feels more like a cave than a shop. Anyways, I had several fluorescent light fixtures which provided a reasonable amount of light, but I had problems with shadows. I would routinely find myself standing between my work and the light, and therefore create a shadow over the work. After some thought and research, I decided to try out some LED strips for lighting. I bought a 50 meter long coil of LED strip, and attached it to the underside of every joist (navigating many obstacles along the way). This LED light strip runs on 120V, and just simply plugs into a regular outlet. This particular strip is said to emit 300 lumens per meter, and was affordable, costing $85 for the entire 50 meter coil. I think the results are great. There is plenty of light and very little shadows. The only downside is that it does give a Christmas look to the shop.

Maybe this lighting option will prove useful for someone else. Thanks to everyone on this site for sharing so much. I love this site.

Building Electricity Gas Beam Engineering
 

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Nothing wrong with a Christmas look for your shop!

I personally prefer ample halogen flood lights plus LED flood and/or strip lights instead of the look of "bland office lighting" that florescent lighting creates, IMO. I believe I am in the minority with this sentiment. You can safely assume I hate working in offices, lol.
 

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Thanks for the post. I have considered replacing the florescent lights with LED in my shop. I don't have a problem with florescent except in cold weather they don't work as well.

As time passes, please update us with how the LEDs are working out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I purchased the LED strip from Lighting Ever. Its a strip of daylight white 3528 LEDs for 120V, 50 M long (4100064-dw-us). The item can be found here. I've had these up for a little over 2 months and I think they are great. No issues yet.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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My only concern is the LED light tends to lean into the blue spectrum, so it will change the way your staining and coloring looks compared to other lighting, or when you take a project out of the basement. Natural is best, but most people use incandescent lights, (still), in their homes and have the advantage of windows so if you use Cool White fluorescents or Daylight you are closer than you are with the LED's.

That being said, there is a real advantage to taking out the shadows, and this lighting might be it.
 

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No pictures of the install yet, but I just installed some LED strip lights from this company based on this thread. My shop is quite a bit bigger than the OP, so I ordered one string (164 ft or 50m) of the 5050 lights which put out about 2.5 times as much light as the 3528 lights he used. My shop is just north of 800 sq ft, and I'd say at that size one string its not quite enough to get the light I'd like, but close. Certainly workable, but for detailed work you'd want a bit more.

Rectangle Parallel Engineering Font Drawing


This is the routing I used to install my lights. A zig zagging pattern down every other or every third rafter would probably have been better, but my 8ft fluorescent fixtures are set up in a shape that would have made this very difficult. In the next couple months I'm planning to remove the fluorescents, reroute these lights and install a second string which should be more than enough light.
 

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300 lumens per meter and 50 meters gives just 15,000 lumens, not even as bright as a single four-bulb t5-ho fixture. In a 400-square-foot garage that would be just 37.5 lumens per square foot, not nearly bright enough in my opinion.

In my little 450 square foot shop I have four four-bulb t5ho fixtures and three four-bulb t8 fixtures for a total of approximately 100,000 lumens (probably more). You can never have too much light.
 

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The 5050 strip I used is 720 lumens per meter, (720*50/812) which gives me about 45 lumens per square foot. Its enough light for non-detail work. I'll probably use just the LED for things like cleaning and organizing, glue ups, milling, and rough sanding. I'll still use the fluorescents any time I'm cutting or fine sanding. Once I get a second string of LEDs up (90 lumens per sqft) I'd feel comfortable working without the fluorescents. I'm used to less light though, so for how many lumens per sqft are really needed is a your mileage may vary thing.
 

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I guess. It's just that lights are cheap and fluorescents work really well. I just don't see the need for LED strip lights like this.

Also, I would look into the deficiencies of small LED lights at color rendering. A modern t5 or t8 fluorescent usually has an 85-90+ CRI, but LED strip lights often don't publish it because it's very low (60-70%).
 

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In the garage I use a combination of a 50' LED rope light, and 2 work lights/flood lights attached to the rafters for work lighting. Otherwise the only light is the single bulb on the garage door opener. Luckily (I think?) I don't do much woodworking in the garage.

In my spare-bedroom-shop, I recently picked up one of these (1 comes with a pair of 4' lights) http://www.ebay.com/itm/161730359312?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Mounted them on the ceiling above my bench, and been pretty happy with them. Good amount of light where I want it
 

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I guess. It s just that lights are cheap and fluorescents work really well. I just don t see the need for LED strip lights like this.

Also, I would look into the deficiencies of small LED lights at color rendering. A modern t5 or t8 fluorescent usually has an 85-90+ CRI, but LED strip lights often don t publish it because it s very low (60-70%).

- soob
There's a couple reasons working together for me. I have 8' T12 lights currently, and they've been very problematic. They worked fine when I bought the place two years ago, but after a couple months they started going dark. New bulbs, worked fine for a couple months and then started to go again. One went out entirely, replaced it, immediately the rest went almost completely dark. I'm at the point where I just wanted to replace everything and start from scratch, and the LED strip lights let me do that without doing any wiring. Also, my shop is mostly unheated (shares a wall with heated rooms) except for a small kerosene space heater on the coldest winter days, and up here that means -20s outside and 30's in. LEDs are a lot more reliable for those conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the update TheLastDeadMouse. I will be interested to see your pictures.

I'm not lobbying anyone to convert to LED strip lights, but I think they are a very good option nonetheless. The advantages that I see are:
1) Very disperse light, eliminating shadows
2) Low power consumption. In my case, the 50M strip equates to 15,000 lumens or roughly 10×100W incandescent bulbs. The reported wattage for the strip is 4.8W/M or 240W total.
3) Relatively inexpensive. I calculate roughly $1 for 200 lumens. You don't need to buy or install any fixtures. Nor replace any bulbs.

Additional benefits to me are that due to my very low ceilings. I gained some headspace. And, I no longer have to worry about breaking lights by accidentally hitting them with a piece of wood or tool.
 

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I've been replacing my four footers with four foot LED's Costco is selling. I will not be going back.

Of course, the LED's don't care about the temperature, so that will be a plus for many.

If you need task lighting, check out lightingwill.com. I've bought from them several times for house lighting bars (e.g., 20" aluminum strips with 45 LED's for ten bucks) and have been happy with the results. You order do get here by slow boat from China, however, so plan on up to a month for the product to arrive. However, it arrived working and well packaged.

All my shop tools, like the drill press, band saw and grinders now have sixty watt equiv. screw in LED's.
 

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Thanks for the update TheLastDeadMouse. I will be interested to see your pictures.

I m not lobbying anyone to convert to LED strip lights, but I think they are a very good option nonetheless. The advantages that I see are:
1) Very disperse light, eliminating shadows
2) Low power consumption. In my case, the 50M strip equates to 15,000 lumens or roughly 10×100W incandescent bulbs. The reported wattage for the strip is 4.8W/M or 240W total.
3) Relatively inexpensive. I calculate roughly $1 for 200 lumens. You don t need to buy or install any fixtures. Nor replace any bulbs.

Additional benefits to me are that due to my very low ceilings. I gained some headspace. And, I no longer have to worry about breaking lights by accidentally hitting them with a piece of wood or tool.

- isotope
hope this works out good for you. One challenge with the rope lights and many of the 'decorative' LED options is that their light depreciation is high. Generally from the epoxy/silicones the chips are set in. Since these are blue lights with some phosphor to convert that blue to white, while the LED has long life, the electronics and plastics aren't that good on some of these.

Check the CRI (Color Rendering Index) there are "grades" of everything. In california to qualify for utility rebates CEC proposes minimum of 90 CRI

LED is definitely a get what you pay for game right now… so many of the budget options are likely to disappoint in the longer term.

T8 Fluorescent bulbs run ~2 bucks for 3000 lumens, and have 85 CRI

T12 is expensive and much lower light (with current Dept of Energy bans on the brighter versions)
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
MrRon,
As many have pointed out in this thread, there are multiple options for LED lights. But, fundamentally, there is no reason why you couldn't get enough light. As a ball park calculation, I have a roughly 300 sf shop and lighting equivalent to 15,000 lumens, this suggests that you would need roughly 60,000 lumens in your shop. Your ceilings are higher, so more light wouldn't hurt. Depending on whether you want to simply replace the bulbs in your existing fixtures or install strip lighting, this may or may not be doable. If you tell us more info on your current lighting situation, people might have some good ideas for you.
 

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What we're all looking for is lumen output. LED's get us there just as good as florescents.

I installed two three way circuits. The thousand foot portion of the shop I do most my work in has about fourteen four footers. It's good enough to go, by a mile. However, I plan on adding about seven more and I shouldn't have shadow anywhere.

That should be somewhere in the ball park of seventy-five thousand lumens at about eight hundred forty watts.

The other eight hundred square feet is storage and I find four or five four footers toss enough light for those purposes.
 
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