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Stupid Easy LED Shop Lighting

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by 49T&C, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Mar 9, 2017
    49T&C

    49T&C Member

    Archer, FL
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    84
    I've had old T-12 florescent lighting in my shed for 20 years now. Three rows of four 2-bulb metal fixtures. Center of building is 16 ft tall. Have had typical issues - flickering, dim sometimes, especially when below 50 degrees, humming ballast, hard to replace the center row bulbs... I recently bit the bullet and bought some "Bypass Ballast" LED bulbs that use the same fixtures and tombstones, but no ballast at all. While I was rewiring the current fixtures, I thought - Huh! I could mount some tombstones in an eight foot piece of PVC rain gutter and mount this over my toolboxes. I could also use these rain-gutter fixtures down the center isle of our barn. These bulbs are 2400 Lumens each and are suited for damp conditions - just cannot use a dimmer with them, but didn't intended to.

    I went to HD and bought a 10 ft section of PVC gutter. The metal gutter was grey inside where PVC was white, so better reflection. I cut it down to 100 inches and mounted the tombstones. (8-32 X 3/4 in little bolts and a drop of Gorilla glue on each tombstone because I'm anal about things being mounted well). Only one end of the bulbs get the wiring, the other tombstone just holds the bulb in place. I wired up the tombstones in the middle of the gutter and drilled a whole in the PVC for the wires to feed thru and connect to my power. I screwed a 1 X 4 piece of wood to the top for some structural integrity, screwed in some eye bolts - at each end and one in the middle for hanging.

    These things work like a champ!! Instant on, no flickering, no heat, no real weight and great light.


    Bulbs are $10-15 each depending on where you get them. Gutter itself is under $4 if you do not want too use the ends. The gutter-ends add another $7, but look nice and "finished". On the high side this makes about $42 for an 8 ft fixture. Its also the last one you will have to buy.

    If you want to experiment, try making a 4 ft one with just one bulb. You will be pleased. Once you make one, you will instantly think of other places that need additional light and this type of setup may be the answer.

    49T&C
     
  2. Mar 9, 2017
    wheelie

    wheelie beeg dummy 2019 Sponsor

    York, PA
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    Mar 6, 2004
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    3,605
    Great tip. Thanks.
     
  3. Mar 9, 2017
    OzFin

    OzFin Vintage Jeep Guy

    Michigan
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Messages:
    566
    This sounds pretty good. My flourececents don't like the cold either and the shop is not heated, I need to make some. I appreciate the thourogh description.
    Oz
     
  4. Mar 9, 2017
    termin8ed

    termin8ed I didn't do it Staff Member

    Mason, MI
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
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    2,772
    I had cold start balasts at the old garage and they worked good but you still got the humming. Installed led florescent style lights in the new garage and love them. Didnt get really cold this year but instant on and they are bright. Think they where just under $40 for the 4 ft fixture.
     
  5. Mar 11, 2017
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs 2019 Sponsor

    At the foot of...
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    Apr 4, 2010
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    4,560
    x2 bought a bunch of 4 footers for my garage at Costco, I think they were $30 each.
     
  6. Mar 11, 2017
    daddyusmaximus

    daddyusmaximus New Member

    Indiana
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    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    28
    I saw some LED lights at Wall Mart for florescent fixtures and picked some up but haven't installed them yet. What are these "tombstones" you speak of?
     
  7. Mar 12, 2017
    PeteL

    PeteL Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    Aug 3, 2003
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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Mar 12, 2017
    daddyusmaximus

    daddyusmaximus New Member

    Indiana
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    Feb 7, 2017
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    OK. Now I get how you built your own fixtures. Cool. I didn't even know you could buy those parts separate. Probably pick these up at Lowes right? I'm going to use my existing fixtures for now, but the ability to build your own for future projects like workbench lighting is nice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  9. Mar 12, 2017
    49T&C

    49T&C Member

    Archer, FL
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    84
    Ace Hardware has the tombstones - $1.99 per pair. You could bolt the tombstones directly to a joist or the ceiling and not use any sort of reflector if you want to light your ceiling. The gutter was just a quick and cheap reflector. Another idea is to make an 8ft one and hang it over the garage door (outside on the eve). Wire it up to the light on the garage door opener... Light as you go in and turns itself off with the interior light. Your wife would probably love it.

    49T&C
     
  10. Mar 16, 2017
    commanlerwrangdo

    commanlerwrangdo Sponsor

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
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    463
    What part number was that lamp at HD? All the LED bulbs that I see coming up on their website say that the rapid start ballast is required and no wiring mods are needed. Seems to me that defeats the idea of power saving by eliminating the ballast.
     
  11. Mar 16, 2017
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Super Moderator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
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    6,104
    Theres LED tubes made for use with ballasts & ones made to work without the ballasts. As you noted the "without" will be more energy efficient but even the "withs" come out more efficient than the fluorescents they replace.


    How to Buy: T8 and T12 LED Fluorescent Replacement Tubes

    H.
     
    Keys5a likes this.
  12. Mar 16, 2017
    49T&C

    49T&C Member

    Archer, FL
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
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    84
  13. Mar 17, 2017
    PeteL

    PeteL Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    Aug 3, 2003
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    6,701
    Thanks for this tip! Been waiting for an affordable way to LED light my bench.

    I got some on ebay for $7 delivered and they are fantastic. Found the fixtures at the dump today, only took two wire nuts to eliminate the ballasts.
     
  14. Mar 31, 2017
    Steve's 70-5

    Steve's 70-5 Member 2020 Sponsor

    Louisville, Ky
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    Nov 12, 2009
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    909
    Working on a school remoldel. Changing all lighting to LED, I think,there ar 3 tractor tailer loads of new fixtures. All the old fixtures in the dumpster, they are treashing a lot of T-8 fixtures. I grabbed 5 . Hard to buy new fixtures, when you have a good source for used fixtures

    If you run a fixture with a electronic ballest, it should come on in the cold.
     
  15. Apr 5, 2017
    PeteL

    PeteL Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    Aug 3, 2003
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    So.. I took one of my new $6 LED tubes, attached a corded plug directly to it.

    Result? A king-hell worklamp!!! Best ever.
     

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