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I have a tractor storage barn & shop. I will be installing some overhead lighting in three work bays. I want to use fluorescent strip light fixtures. Here are my concerns with fluorescent lighting.

The barn is not heated. I'm here in South Carolina. Daytime winter temps can range from a low of 20 degrees to a high of 70 degrees. I would say that most mornings are around low 30's & we generally climb to a comfortable 60 on most any day.
I'm concerned that fluorescent does not work well in the lower temps but I've been told to use LED fluorescent lamps-four foot length & I will have no problems.

So if LED lamps will work what bulb size are these-T5 or T8? Also can I use any fixture or must I get fixtures designed for LED lamps. What's the difference between an LED specific fixture & an ordinary florescent fixture. I don't see myself ever needing light in the barn at night. But just in case I may hang one or two old fashion always ready incandescent light bulb fixtures.

With all the choices I really don't know what to do. Also, I don't need any fancy fixtures. This is a working storage shop. White tin & two bulbs per fixture is all I'm looking for. Home Depot appears to have the best prices so far, but I can't get a straight answer from them on the Led lamps. Can someone ad to this. Thanks!
 

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I just replaced all my shop/garage 8ft light fixtures with 4ft LED fixtures. Two 4ft LED's for each 8ft 2 bulb fixture. Each LED has what is similar to a 2 bulb fluorescent. I have been fighting these fixtures for the 4 years that I have lived here. I initially replaced the ballasts, but it made littel difference. Sometimes they would all work, but most times only some of them would work, even in the summertime. There were 3 8ft long fixtures and sometimes only one bulb in one fixture would work. Seven bulbs would not come on and that was summertime!!!! What did work in the winter were very dim, so not much light then either. Now it is like bright daylight in there. Where I had 3 of the old fixtures, I now have 6 of the new LED's. They are cheap imports, but seem to work very well. I probably could have got by with only 3 fixtures, but I wanted bright lighting. Here is what I got, although I got them much cheaper on sale some time back, but had not put them up until recently.

Dave

https://www.rakuten.com/shop/yescomusa/product/11WSL001-6K-4P_buy/

lighting2.jpg

lighting.jpg
 

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When we moved, I had the task of entirely redoing the garage. I had to run service and completely wire it for my needs.
My garage is my shop...so I had to have light. Lots of light.
Originally, due to cost, I bought several 4' twin tube light fixtures. They worked ok, but they certainly dont like cold temps. They also dont like on/off cycles. Fluorescent bulbs like to turn on and stay on. They last MUCH longer this way.
After having a couple go out, I began to look into LED bulbs to replace them using the existing fixtures.
The trouble with doing this is the cost of the bulbs. I found that to get good ones, I would be paying quite a bit including the fixtures, since my old ones were the cheapie $10 ones and they have lasted about a year before taking a dump. Some have made it a bit longer, but they wont have to make it much longer.
The other problem with the cheap lights is the ballast. They are generally all replaceable, depending on how much work you want to put into it, and how much money. Eventually, youll need to replace the ballast, even with LED bulbs in them, as you are still using them to fire the lights.
I found my local Menards had a good 4' twin LED light that I could surface mount to the ceiling (an important consideration for me, but not for everyone). They arent cheap, but go on sale fairly regularly for $40. Ill be using 10 in a 24x36 shop on two circuits.
Lithonia Lighting
For my needs, these fit the bill quite nicely for the output, mounting and power usage.
Power is something else to watch. The LED bulbs for the fluorescent fixtures sometimes use just as much power as the fluorescent bulbs they replaced. Depends on style and manufacturer.
The ones Im using use about 32 watts total. Basically one bulb from an old light, and more light output.

Now, that said, I do know a guy who built a nice pole barn and used the cheaper hanging lights from Menards. They are $25, have two "lights" to simulate the output of a standard 4' twin tube fixture, and work very well. If I could surface mount those, Id have used them.
I will be using one over each workbench though.
The Smart Electrician

I guess my point of all of this is a couple things.
Fluorescent light fixtures with LED bulbs can cost as much or more than LED lights. No sense spending more if its not necessary.
LED lights do not have cold startup issues like fluorescent do.
LED fixtures generally are about half the wattage use of fluorescent fixtures, assuming decent quality. This also depends on output, but in general, they are much less.
This savings can actually pay for the lights themselves over fluorescent.
When Im done, Ill have twice the light I currently have, and will use no more electricity to get it. For me, thats a big deal.

The above lights are very similar to others, but its a good idea to be familiar with how much light output you want per light, and the color temperature, so that you can make accurate comparisons to others you might be looking at.
Im not sure Id have considered the cheaper LED light had I not seen them in use, in person. I prefer to stick to known names as they are generally better quality.
 

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I bought 4' long LED fixtures at BJs (like a Costco). Each box had everything needed to install from scratch and they were ~$27 each. No more flicking florescent tubes when I go out into the garage in the winter! :yahoo:
 

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I am guessing that maddog is starting from scratch installing new fixtures. If that is the case don't even think twice - just get LEDs and be done with it.

I have multiple flourescent fixtures in my barn and shop. I've tired of buying bulbs and still not having the light I desire. When I installed these fixtures there was no such thing as LED.

I bought a cheap 4' LED shop light from Lowe's last week to try out. I had a dark corner in the basement where I used it. Although it is soft white - ~2700k - it's fine for where it is. I am going to start replacing the barn fixtures with LEDs as I can afford to - just have to watch the Kelvin rating as I want 5000k lights in there.
 

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I bought a 10 pack of Honeywell Shop lights from Sam's. They were on sale for $22 each. Wish I would have bought more. Honeywell LED 4s Club

I had 4 florescents in my shop. We put up 9 of these, now we got some light. 4 of these were twice as bright as the old lights. I'd say if you are starting from new just buy good LED lights and don't waste your time.
 

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The life expectancy of LEDs can be up to 50,000 hours. So yeah, swapping over may be an initial expense, but you shouldn't have to change anything for many years once completed.
 

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I bought a 10 pack of Honeywell Shop lights from Sam's. They were on sale for $22 each. Wish I would have bought more. Honeywell LED 4s Club

I had 4 florescents in my shop. We put up 9 of these, now we got some light. 4 of these were twice as bright as the old lights. I'd say if you are starting from new just buy good LED lights and don't waste your time.


I bought one of those with the plug in cord and pull chain from Sam's to use over my workbench about 2 years ago. That helped make my decision to replace all the overhead fluorescent lights with LED's, but these had to be wired up.

Dave
 

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I started reading some articles on lighting my new shop after posting here. There is a ton of confusing info out there. According to much of what I read, I have too many lights in my old shop. They are wrong, like like it bright.

I tried a lighting calculator. It said I just need 12 four foot LEDs in the new shop.:laugh: It's about 10x what I have in sq ft now. Ok 90 lights might be a little much.:dunno:
 

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I started reading some articles on lighting my new shop after posting here. There is a ton of confusing info out there. According to much of what I read, I have too many lights in my old shop. They are wrong, like like it bright.

I tried a lighting calculator. It said I just need 12 four foot LEDs in the new shop. It's about 10x what I have in sq ft now. Ok 90 lights might be a little much.:dunno:
I have a 500 sq ft shop. I have 5ea of 4 ft LEDs in it. It is very bright. No dard areas in the shop at all.

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I started reading some articles on lighting my new shop after posting here. There is a ton of confusing info out there. According to much of what I read, I have too many lights in my old shop. They are wrong, like like it bright.

I tried a lighting calculator. It said I just need 12 four foot LEDs in the new shop.:laugh: It's about 10x what I have in sq ft now. Ok 90 lights might be a little much.:dunno:
I found a few of those "calculators" when I began looking into adding lights. Most of it made no sense at all.
I do know that for my 900 sq ft, two rows of 5 4' double LED lights that Im using will work fine. I too like it bright. I believe most said Id need 6-8 older fixtures with less output than I now have.
My neighbor runs about 4 in his and thinks its plenty. Its like being in a dungeon when I go over there. :laugh:
 

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I started reading some articles on lighting my new shop after posting here. There is a ton of confusing info out there. According to much of what I read, I have too many lights in my old shop. They are wrong, like like it bright.

I tried a lighting calculator. It said I just need 12 four foot LEDs in the new shop.:laugh: It's about 10x what I have in sq ft now. Ok 90 lights might be a little much.:dunno:
I thought you were succumbing to the weather misfortunes and just leaving the roof off the new barn!! :mocking:

If you are going new get the LED fixtures. Some have the plugs / receptacles wired into them so you can daisy chain rather than having to hardwire each one....easy installation that i did in the basement.

If you have old florescent fixtures you can get replacement LED bulbs that fit in the tombstones. The ones i got a couple years ago for the garage & workshop needed the wiring redone to remove the ballasts but have worked fine since putting them in. Like MDrew i went overboard according to the online design calculators but I like it bright also!
 

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The life expectancy of LEDs can be up to 50,000 hours. So yeah, swapping over may be an initial expense, but you shouldn't have to change anything for many years once completed.
As many of us have discovered, the life expectancy of the LED emitter may be 50,000 hours but the supporting electronics can fail much sooner than that. Admittedly I've had pretty decent luck with inexpensive LED bulbs and fixtures but I have had a few fail WAY short of the expected life.

Similar to the ballast for florescent, LED emitters all require a miniature DC power supply inside to supply the low voltage. It is these power supply components that many times will fail prematurely and leave you with a dead LED bulb/tube.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am guessing that maddog is starting from scratch installing new fixtures. If that is the case don't even think twice - just get LEDs and be done with it.

I have multiple flourescent fixtures in my barn and shop. I've tired of buying bulbs and still not having the light I desire. When I installed these fixtures there was no such thing as LED.

I bought a cheap 4' LED shop light from Lowe's last week to try out. I had a dark corner in the basement where I used it. Although it is soft white - ~2700k - it's fine for where it is. I am going to start replacing the barn fixtures with LEDs as I can afford to - just have to watch the Kelvin rating as I want 5000k lights in there.
Yes- I'm starting from scratch. It's a new barn/shop. I'm sure I will go straight to LED. Glad you mentioned Kelvin rate. I was thinking 6K but your 5K is probably a good all around choice. I haven't checked bulb prices yet so I don't know if the Kelvin rate changes price. Thanks.
 

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Yes- I'm starting from scratch. It's a new barn/shop. I'm sure I will go straight to LED. Glad you mentioned Kelvin rate. I was thinking 6K but your 5K is probably a good all around choice. I haven't checked bulb prices yet so I don't know if the Kelvin rate changes price. Thanks.
6500K is supposed to simulate daylight, but it sure doesnt to my eye. Its very harsh and has a somewhat blue tint to it to me.
5000K is much better to my eye.
Everyones eye is a bit different though!

For my lights over my workbenches, Im looking at 4000K, which is a warmer light yet. I prefer warmer tinted lights for closer work.
 

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I have been enjoying these for about a year:
Hyperikon LED Vapor Proof Fixture 70W (150W Equivalent) LED Garage Lighting, 5000K Frosted Cover, 4Pack - - Amazon.com

They are silly bright, very easy to install (no external power supply), and sealed... in case you do painting and the like. I bought and installed the 4 pack of 70w units in the 5000 kelvin color. My little shop is 25'x25' and 4 of these light it up enough to hurt your eyes walking in from the dark.
I have a lot of the Hyperikon branded lights, including several outdoor flood lights and some other internal lighting. The company has great US based service and the products are quality. You do pay more, but so far it seems to have been worth it.

Direct sunlight on a super clear day is just under 5000 kelvin. Full overcast can reach as high as 6000. To my eye 5000 to 5500 is perfect. Great contrast, good comfort, and good efficiency (more "punch" per watt).
 

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I thought you were succumbing to the weather misfortunes and just leaving the roof off the new barn!! :mocking:

If you are going new get the LED fixtures. Some have the plugs / receptacles wired into them so you can daisy chain rather than having to hardwire each one....easy installation that i did in the basement.

If you have old florescent fixtures you can get replacement LED bulbs that fit in the tombstones. The ones i got a couple years ago for the garage & workshop needed the wiring redone to remove the ballasts but have worked fine since putting them in. Like MDrew i went overboard according to the online design calculators but I like it bright also!
I couldn't find a calculator for that much natural light. Couldn't find a tool to turn down the sun. Guess I gotta go with the roof.
Lighting is still an important plan to make.
 
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