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Thread: Lighting the Small Workshop - by Jack Lindsey

  1. #76
    We are setting up a 10,000 sf shop and this article was extremely helpful.
    One question, does the fixtures in the rows have to be continuous? How do you determine the fixture spacing in the same row? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  2. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Persaud View Post
    We are setting up a 10,000 sf shop and this article was extremely helpful.
    One question, does the fixtures in the rows have to be continuous? How do you determine the fixture spacing in the same row? Thanks in advance for your answer.
    No Neil, the fixtures do not need to be mounted in continuous rows. They can and frequently are mounted individually. The explanation is lengthy so if you want to pm me a mailing address I'll send you a copy of an article I wrote that includes diagrams and an example. I discussed continuous row mounting in the Sawmill Creek article since that method usually has lower electrical wiring costs.

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    30
    Hi Jack,

    Following on my previous question earlier in the thread and Neil's question on lighting rows being continuous, my space is not a perfect rectangle. You advised me earlier to put 2 rows of 5 two light fixtures in my space. How do you compensate for different room widths? In other words, the first 10 feet of my basement is 15.75 ft wide and then narrows to 13 feet for the remaining 11 feet of length.

    My thought is to just divide the room and half and light accordingly. I'll still have 10 lights. I'll just adjust the wall spacing and row spacing to match the dimensions.

    Does seem reasonable or do you suggest something different?

    Thanks,

    --Joel

  4. #79
    I'm a little confused, Joel, about the dimensions of your space. In your earlier post (June '14) you described two areas totaling 456 sq ft and now they total 263 sq ft. Is this the same space or do you now have a different area you want to light? If it is new, how high is the ceiling, and what color are the walls and ceiling?

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lindsey View Post
    I'm a little confused, Joel, about the dimensions of your space. In your earlier post (June '14) you described two areas totaling 456 sq ft and now they total 263 sq ft. Is this the same space or do you now have a different area you want to light? If it is new, how high is the ceiling, and what color are the walls and ceiling?
    Sorry for my poor description. The space is the same. I have two areas in my basement divided by mechanicals. One is approximately (289 sq ft) and the other 9 ft by 18 ft (167 sq ft). The first area is what I was referring to in my follow up question. The length of that space is approximately 21 ft; however the width differs. If you were to divide that space in two, you would end up with the front of the shop at 11 ft by 13 ft and the rear of the shop at 10 ft x 15.75 ft. If I light the shop in continuous rows, I'm concerned the lights in the rear will cast shadows since they will be too far away from the wall. Of course that's where I'm planning to put my workbench.

    My thought was to light the front of the shop as suggested ( 2 rows of 3 lights ,7.5' apart, and 3' from the walls) and the rear of the shop with 2 rows of 2 lights, about 8' apart, 4' from the walls. Total fixtures remains unchanged from the original recommendation, but the layout is designed to match the dimensions.


  6. #81
    Joel, I'm having difficulty envisioning what you propose. Can you post a drawing showing the floor plan with the proposed fixture locations and all dimensions? If not I'll pm you my mailing address and you can mail me a drawing. I'd rather be sure I understand what you are proposing before offering an opinion.

  7. This is very helpful. Does any of this change for a micro-shop?

    I have a tiny hand-tool workshop that is 8x12 with *maybe* 7' high ceilings. I'm tempted to go with Pixi LED panels to scrounge every last bit of headroom, but they are obviously $$$$. Possibly too much depending on how many fixtures I need.

    Do I adjust any calculations here, such as assuming the loss of 1/2 of the light output, or accounting for the fact that the angles between the lighting and work surface will be much "steeper" given the low ceiling?

    Thanks!!

  8. #83
    It depends on the color of your walls and ceiling, and the type of fixture you install. If the room surfaces are a highly reflective matte white color you will probably get 40% to 50% of the lamp lumens at the work surface from a bare lamp fixture or 45% to 55% from a fixture with a reflector so yes, 50% is probably in the ball park. If the walls and ceiling are dark you will get less.

  9. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lindsey View Post
    It depends on the color of your walls and ceiling, and the type of fixture you install. If the room surfaces are a highly reflective matte white color you will probably get 40% to 50% of the lamp lumens at the work surface from a bare lamp fixture or 45% to 55% from a fixture with a reflector so yes, 50% is probably in the ball park. If the walls and ceiling are dark you will get less.

    Walls and ceiling are (mostly) white. Ceiling itself is coarse stucco. I was mainly concerned that the calculations may be "overwhelming" for a such a small, low ceiling shop, but if you don't think so I'll design to them. Thanks for the quick reply!!

  10. #85
    Excellent article. What I still have an issue with is this. When doing lathe work, getting good lighting on the front of the piece being worked on, i.e. where the lathe turning tool is in contact with the wood, is difficult. Light sources behind the lathe or over the top of a lathe just don't illuminate where the work is taking place. If I could only place a lamp on my stomach, then I could see well what I'm doing. Ned

  11. I appreciate your article and the time spent responding to questions. My shop was formerly an artist studio but the lighting is inadequate for woodworking purposes. The dimensions are roughly 16'x31', so that is about 500 sq ft. The ceiling is 13' and has 16 flush mounted can lights roughly uniformly spaced over the ceiling. I have experimented with replacing one of the 25 W halogens with a 1400 lumen LED (5000K) with little if any improvement. The LED approach would give me about 45 lumen/sq ft, which is about half what you recommend. Part of the problem is the 13' ceiling so I am looking for some kind of fixtures that can be suspended from the ceiling at about the 10' level. Any hardware recommendations would be appreciated. Since I need to replicate this 16 times, the labor and hardware cost is a concern.

  12. #87
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    5
    What a great reference article - I wish I had known about it when I first started analyzing lighting for the new shop I am building. For a variety of reasons I decided to do all- LED lighting, and oh, what a morass of disinformation one has to wade through in the LED lighting world alone.
    I ended up installing a test area of eight different LED strips with differing Lumens per foot and CRIs from 80 to 95. as closely as I could get I divided them into groups of 2500 - 3000K and 3500 - 4000K. I'll have a LOT of lighting, so the general relationships of higher CRI > more $$$ and higher color temp > more lumens per watt and fewer $$$ was naturally of interest.
    Jack, as you noted, how lighting ls perceived involves the matter of personal taste. As with audio system comparisons (louder = better), lighting has a similar aspect, brighter = better. So I got a Lumen meter and with dimmers, set the intensity of each LED strip at the test bed level to be the same.
    Sampling a number of people (woodworkers, architects, family members) and switching the different LED strips on and off and viewing black walnut, white oak, mahagony and maple on the test surface, I was very surprised at the results. First of all, paying a big premium for very high CRI made no difference to anyone, so it seems that CRIs of 80 - 83 are just fine. Next, while some preferred a higher color temperature for some woods, and lower color temp for other woods, EVERYONE strongly preferred a combination of 2500 to 3000K plus 3500 - 4000K lights.
    The most expensive strips with low- profile extruded aluminum heat sinks and even using cheap Meanwell AC to DC supplies cost over $250 for a four- foot length. And all the work of mounting the strips, making the connections, etc. had to be done. The least expensive was a ready- made 48" troffer from Lithonia lighting with a 120V wire- to- the box connection, 1/5th of the $$ vs. the high end. When I tested just the two Lithonia 3000K and 4000K fixtures on people, they liked the result as well as the most expensive color temp mix of the fancy strips. So it's nice to go forward knowing that the cheapest solution is just as good by the crowd's perception.
    I will keep the original test setup so I can show people what a peice of this wood or that will look like in the light that they have at home, assuming that I can more- or- less recreate it. It also produces big differences in the perception of finishes. It's instuctive to look at a color chart as you switch the lights from one color temp to another.
    I would encourage everyone to try some experiments like this to test your own favorite lighting recipe.

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ Area
    Posts
    2,503
    Jack, I am building a new house and workshop. The workshop will have 9 ft side walls and vaulted ceilings that are about 14 feet at the peak. The shop will have an irregular outline. I would like to target 100 ft candles or more. The walls and walls and ceiling will be painted white. The floor will be concrete, current plan is unpainted. I would like the fixtures to be as low profile as possible, with high CRI and color between 3000K and 4000K. I really like these fixtures from a chinese manufacturer.
    https://www.lonyung.com/displayprodu...?proID=2492729

    I got a quote a few months ago. 32 eight foot fixtures rated at 6800 lumens each, >80 CRI were $1350 delivered. They are only 36mm tall. They are available in 2ft, 3ft, 4ft, 6ft, and 8ft. They connect end to end. I just did quick math assuming 50% of the output is useful. I'd need 80 eight foot fixtures or 160 4 foot.

    I have a few of questions;
    1) With LEDs that point to the floor do I still assume 50% of the light hits the work surface?
    2) If I do these strip lights, I will have fixture fail over time and the housings are not standard so I would have to order a bunch of spares I think. I could do T8 fixtures and retrofit tubes but that seems silly if I just want LEDs. thoughts on this?
    3) Any other fixtures I should consider?

    Here is a pic of the shop with rough dimensions.

    shop dimensions.jpg

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    4
    This is an excellent article Jack. I have been asking questions about ballasts for years and basically got nowhere. I am a maintenance electrician and have dealt with an many types of fixtures, lamps, bulbs and layouts.

    For those of you who want to go LED and have a normal shop (basically not too low of a ceiling and probably fluorescent lighting as described in the article, you can easily convert using LED tubes that esentially take the place of the fluorescent ones.

    If you are not electrically inclined, utilize lamps that work with the ballast that is installed in the fixture for a simple remove and replacement of the lamps. If you have fixtures that are two lamps wide that operate using the same ballast, I would replace two lamps at a time.

    If you have dying fluorescent lamps, and are trying to save a bit of money, pair up a still live lamp with another still live lamp and put two new LEDs in the other.

    If you are able to swap ballasts, then you should have no problems eliminating them and purchase lamps that run directly from line voltage and still use your existing fixtures. This way you no longer need to replace aging ballasts. The lamps are more expensive up front, but cheaper in the long run.

  15. #90

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