Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Basement shop lighting

To date our basement has been lit with these incumbent clunkers, two in the shop and two in the hallway:
They averaged about two working bulbs per fixture and were generally in the way (hanging down 5" from the low ceiling floor joists), noisy, and ugly. And, man, are they heavy, it turns out. In the shop, they were in the middle of the space and cast little light to the sides and corners where I work.

In search of adequate task light in the low ceiling environment, I first tried a recessed can light with LED bulb, but it seemed like it was shining right in my eyes and cast a narrow cone such that many fixtures would be needed to achieve less total light than the old tubes.

The next iteration was to use strip lights recessed into the floor joists, hung on nailed up sticks. I wasn't sure how wide a beam would be cast and whether the bare LED bulbs would also shine right in my eyes, but it turned out great on all factors.

Here's the new shop setup with four 4' 2-lamp T12 fixtures, ballasts removed, and 18W 5000K dual-end powered T8 LED tubes with frosted covers installed. The walls and workstations are lit up like never before. The bright white light is just right. The bulbs light up in about half a second and run silently and flicker-free.


Here's a close-up of my stick mount hack job. That was time-consuming, but they came out level and at the right height. Half the bulb diameter protrudes below the joists.


The existing motion sensor switch was kept for the outer hallway/storage area and the shop lights split off to a new switch that stays on when the curtain is closed for dust control. If you look closely you can see a scar on the motion sensor switch where I nicked it with the Dremel while whacking off the corners to fit in the raised box cover. Oops. I'll have to live with that one.


The hallway/storage area got new low profile integrated LEDs. They cost a bit more than the other combos and do not have replaceable bulbs, but I didn't have room to recess fixtures in that area due to ductwork.


The project is a resounding success. The lighting is exactly what I hoped for, the new switch is a big win, we get more light with half the power consumption to boot. I heartily recommend this setup for low ceiling basement task environments.

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