Shop lighting w. electronic flourescents - kinda sorta

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Blog entry by curliejones posted 06-06-2012 08:16 PM 6619 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been contemplating the new shop for some time now and I’m doing some problem solving along the way. I’ve tried electronic flourescent lighting in the house and have yet to get more than 3 years from a fixture before the ballast goes out. What’s the point in saving money on electricity then spending it on new flourescent ballsts? My last solution in the kitchen (heavily used) was to go back to fixtures calling for std. A-base bulbs and putting CFLs in them. It is working great so far. If a bulb goes out, bulbs are only $3 when bought in multi-packs and a lot simpler than changing the ballast or the fixtures as I’ve done in the past. I’m aware of the cold temp. sensitivity of CFLs and I’m prepared to go to incandescent bulbs for a few months a year until LED bulbs come down in price . I’m sticking with simple for the shop and here’s what I’ve settled on – white ceramic fixtures with 12” white reflectors screwed into them and CFL bulbs screwed into them. For locations requiring more lumens, I’m using a two way splitter and installing two bulbs. A couple of 20W CFLs will give the light of 150 Watt incandescents bulbs. I decided to order just a few of the reflector/fixtures to try them and I’m more than pleased with the lighting. The reflector was the missing component and I even considered making something from sheet metal to nail up behing the ceramic fixture until I found these – they are called farm lights and are marketed under both “Designer’s Edge” brand and “Coleman Cable” the company that bought the brand in 2011. The reflector /fixture (product number L-1710) cost $9 ea., and is intended to screw into a simple socket, such as a ceramic fixture, and help reflect the lighting downward. It provides a socket where one can easily screw in a CFL or a Y-type splitter for two bulbs. The fixtures are UL approved, guaranteed for 2 years, and rated for incandescent 200W. Two 20W CFLs will hardly be 20% of the amp draw it is rated for. I already had some keyless ceramic fixtures (no switch and cost $1.85 ea) and I bought some with a pull chain ($3 ea). I like being able to turn some off if desired. I also plan to use y-splitters ($2.25 ea)and try to have more light when needed as well as the possibility of having some incandescent bulbs halway screwed in and on standby in case of cold weather. I live in SE Louisiana and I’m hoping that the CFL rated for 0F will warm up for adequate lighting during our coldest weather. Worst case – spend 20 minutes or so swapping out bulbs twice a year. The “trial run” in my shop is working out marvelously. I have more light from 4 CFLs than I did previously form 8 incandescent bulbs and I’m using half the watts. It is hot weather here, but I’ll deal with the cold temps when I must and save $$$ the rest of the year. Please note* Shop the fixtures for I found some e-tailers wanting 2-3Xs the price per each L1710. Best wishes, I hope this post was en”light”ening!

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

3 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 06-06-2012 08:29 PM

I use the electronic ballasts with 48” tube bulbs and have never had one go bad. I use the daylight bulbs and they put out a very good light.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7578 posts in 2764 days

#2 posted 06-06-2012 08:48 PM

I use 8 foot flourescent bulbs. They put out great light.

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View Bob Aber's profile

Bob Aber

9 posts in 2146 days

#3 posted 06-06-2012 11:39 PM

I have used two 5 foot bulbs in my workshop and they have worked great for over 3 years now.

-- Router Table Reviews

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