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Forum topic by Rob_s posted 09-12-2016 08:10 PM 1552 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rob_s

72 posts in 89 days


09-12-2016 08:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

The lights in my shop consists of 16 double-bulb, 4 ft long, fluorescent light fixtures for a total of 32 bulbs. Most of them are out, or on their last legs. What’s stumping me is the easiest way to change them out at the lowest cost. I know I can rent a scissor lift and go that route, but that will entail either taking the trailer to pick it up, or paying to have it delivered and picked up, and I’m hoping there’s an easier way.

I know that there are all sorts of pole-style devices for changing screw-in bulbs in high ceilings, with suction cups and the like, so I’m hoping there’s some method of changing these bulbs I haven’t thought of or am not aware of.

any suggestions?


30 replies so far

View 01ntrain's profile

01ntrain

146 posts in 538 days


#1 posted 09-12-2016 11:47 PM

I’d probably just do the scissor lift method. You may have some ballasts that are bad, as well….

We tried those suction-cup things in our maintenance shop years ago, they didn’t work very well, or at all.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#2 posted 09-13-2016 12:11 AM

Rent a scaffold. I’d probably go with a scissor lift first depending on price.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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joey502

487 posts in 986 days


#3 posted 09-13-2016 12:19 AM

I would also rent a lift. The lift would be much safer than any other option i can see.

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nightguy

213 posts in 130 days


#4 posted 09-13-2016 01:12 AM

Check into a service that does that and has there one lift and do some cost comparison, your time, your danger, ext.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2417 posts in 2389 days


#5 posted 09-13-2016 01:12 AM

A step ladder will do the trick.

At a shop, that I worked in, once, every year or two they would use a roll around scaffold to access the many light fixtures. They replaced all the lamps and cleaned all the reflectors. This kept the shop well lighted.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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woodbutcherbynight

2465 posts in 1876 days


#6 posted 09-13-2016 01:38 AM

Consider converting the fixtures to LED’s. You would have no more ballast to worry with and they supposedly last longer. I bought some here LINK

At the time they were on sale for 39.99 for four, I see they have since gone up so maybe shop around. Like anything else they have pros and cons. The light is very bright straight down but they are a single row with none pointed at an angle so about a foot down from the top you get shadows. I only have a 12 foot ceiling so changing them was fairly easy. Not difficult once you do the first fixture. They do have a 1 to 2 second delay if that is a concern. Here are two pics

If you stay with the others get lift and be safe. Nigtguy had a good idea of checking to see if you can get them serviced cheaper. If you had to replace a couple of ballast would be a time and back saver.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Rob_s

72 posts in 89 days


#7 posted 09-13-2016 10:09 AM

Re: LEDs, I’ve considered it but I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze. Among other things, the bulb life increase isn’t as great going from fluorescents to LED as going from incandescent to LED, and the18’ distance from floor seems to mean I’ll need a special (more expensive) version of the fixture. Not to mention, with 16 fixtures to replace its going to get even more expensive, even at $40/ea.

I think I could do this from a 16’ stepladder, since I figure I only need to get my feet up 12’ off the floor or so for the 18’ fixtures, I just really don’t like the idea of being balanced up there trying to fiddle with something overhead.

I was hoping to avoid the scissor lift precisely because I’m afraid I’ll get stuck replacing ballasts as well and then I’ll be on the hook for a much longer rental. I figured if there was some trick for replacing the bulbs I could go that route first and then see if any ballasts needed replacing.

I’ve considered calling someone else to do it but the way I figure it they’ll still have to rent the lift and buy the bulbs, so that’s just going to be even that much more expensive.

Maybe I’ll look into renting the rolling baker scaffold instead. I see Home Depot selling one for $550 so I’m assuming the rental will be less expensive than that.

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drzaius

11 posts in 751 days


#8 posted 09-13-2016 03:32 PM

I could be wrong, but I don’t think a baker scaffold would be safe at that height. I’m an electrical contractor & we do lots of this kind of stuff. A scissor lift is almost always the way to go. One man on a lift can do way more than 2 men with scaffold. And lift delivery is less costly than scaffold setup & teardown. You can rent by the day, or week. 3 days rental is usually about the same as a week.

A 14’ step ladder would do, but servicing fluorescent fixtures from a ladder can be tricky because of their length.

While your up there, you might as well clean the fixtures too.

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Rob_s

72 posts in 89 days


#9 posted 09-13-2016 04:23 PM

Yeah, doing that off the stepladder doesn’t sound fun at all, even though I know it would reach.

I was really hoping to avoid the cost of the lift. Even just a pusharound lift if going to run me $300 for the week not counting delivery, etc.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3210 days


#10 posted 09-13-2016 04:36 PM

LED’s are great – - -but they are not all created equal.

the LED life is measured as “L70” which is the point where you have 70% of the light output. Since LED’s don’t have filaments, they don’t fail that way, the chips get dimmer and dimmer.

HOWEVER – - the electronics driving them is where a lot of the cost is. and just like the old Cheap 6 packs of Compact Fluorescent lights – - the electrolytic capacitor will crap out – so keep in mind as LED gets Cheaper and Cheaper…. often it is because they have “cost optimized it down to have the cheapest of the cheapest parts.

When you need to rent a lift to replace the failed items – the fact that you got a free one under warranty is not such a great deal
So if you make the switch – - you get what you pay for.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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WoodES

36 posts in 1159 days


#11 posted 09-14-2016 03:12 AM

I have found 4’ LED tubes at both the orange & blue boxes that fit the T8 fluorescent fixtures without a ballast change. Price was reasonable considering the life of the tube and I don’t see a lot of difference in outpute

If you have T12 bulbs (the old standard), I haven’t looked to see what is available. I just change those fixtures to T8.

Just found a t8/t12 LED direct replacement. Pricey, but you don’t have to change it very often…

Orange Box

Blue Box

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Rob_s

72 posts in 89 days


#12 posted 09-14-2016 10:52 AM

I have a few issues with thenLED replacement idea.

The first is that the LEDs are typically on,y rated for 40-50k hours of life, while a standard T8 or T12 Re good for 36k, so there’s not really that much of a longer lifespan.

Second is that some things I’ve read suggest that the standard LED conversions don’t work as well for the higher ceiling like I have.

Third is that there are a lot of mixed reviews. Unlike a fixture you can reach easily from a standard stepladder, if I go rent a lift, install a new pair of bulbs, (or, God forbid, 32 bulbs) and they don’t work, I’ve suddenly taken on a much more involved project.

The cost is up to 5-7x as much, meaning it’s a lot of money on top of the lift rental to potentially have it not work.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3927 posts in 2711 days


#13 posted 09-14-2016 09:08 PM

Do your lights need to be that high? It would seem that less lumens would be reaching the floor at 18’. If they don’t need to be that high, I would suggest dropping them down to around 10’. A scissor lift will work, but do you have enough free floor space to move it around to where you need it?

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

832 posts in 690 days


#14 posted 09-14-2016 09:48 PM



LED s are great – - -but they are not all created equal.

the LED life is measured as “L70” which is the point where you have 70% of the light output. Since LED s don t have filaments, they don t fail that way, the chips get dimmer and dimmer.

HOWEVER – - the electronics driving them is where a lot of the cost is. and just like the old Cheap 6 packs of Compact Fluorescent lights – - the electrolytic capacitor will crap out – so keep in mind as LED gets Cheaper and Cheaper…. often it is because they have “cost optimized it down to have the cheapest of the cheapest parts.

When you need to rent a lift to replace the failed items – the fact that you got a free one under warranty is not such a great deal
So if you make the switch – - you get what you pay for.

- DrDirt

+1

It is almost always the power supply that fails, usually due to heat, and usually the heat destroys the large electrolytics.

One thing however is the LED tube replacements have a lot more room for the power supply.Not having it crammed into a lightbulb screw base, but instead spread out a bit over the backside of a tube helps keep things cooler.

Of course the corollary is the manufactures will see this as an opportunity to use lower quality (cheaper) parts in the power supply since it wont be exposed to as much heat…..

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WoodES

36 posts in 1159 days


#15 posted 09-15-2016 05:01 AM


I have a few issues with thenLED replacement idea.

The first is that the LEDs are typically on,y rated for 40-50k hours of life, while a standard T8 or T12 Re good for 36k, so there s not really that much of a longer lifespan.

Second is that some things I ve read suggest that the standard LED conversions don t work as well for the higher ceiling like I have.

Third is that there are a lot of mixed reviews. Unlike a fixture you can reach easily from a standard stepladder, if I go rent a lift, install a new pair of bulbs, (or, God forbid, 32 bulbs) and they don t work, I ve suddenly taken on a much more involved project.

The cost is up to 5-7x as much, meaning it s a lot of money on top of the lift rental to potentially have it not work.

- Rob_s

I have had t8’s fail long before the 36k life and have several that are showing signs of failure. I don’t see signs in the LED’s, but I have only used them for several months. When I exhaust my T8 supply, I’ll replace them with LED’s.

Good discussion though

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