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Garage Work-Light Questions

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Garage Work-Light Questions

Old 07-27-08, 11:24 AM
  #1  
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Garage Work-Light Questions

I am interested in a work light for the garage now that I have been doing more repairs myself.
I looked at some Craftsman, but some of the pedestals got terrible reviews for plastic parts and pins that broke easily.
Thinking about going to Lowe's or Home Depot for a Halogen light. They have several for under $20. I don't need anything super fancy, and was prepared to spend a hundred bucks, but looking around have found plenty of lighting for under $50.
Wondering whether I need 250, 500, or 1000 watts. Kidding, I think 1000 would be overkill, but I live in Florida, and the garage has no A/C, just cooled with 2 fans. I don't want a dang sun-lamp over my shoulder.
Is Halogen too hot, and should I be looking at flourescent?
Is 250 watts plenty of juice for basic bicycle work?
I want to mount on the ceiling, which is finished with basic drywall/plaster. Should I just get a single light with a pedestal, or use a floor model tilted up?
So, recommendations on lights?
What do you use?
Thanks.

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Old 07-27-08, 11:31 AM
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I use a flourscent fixture that uses the 4' long tubes. I just hung it from the ceiling with chains.
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Old 07-27-08, 11:46 AM
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I hate point source lighting. I can't stand the glare. I've got a number of twin-tube 4' fluorescent lghts hanging from the garage ceiling. Try and put one directly over where you work on the bike. If you've got a bench, get another over it. You want the sort with an electronic ballast (less/no flickering, no chance of it ever humming or buzzing, more efficient, works in the cold (not a problem in tampa, I guess...)) that will drive t8 bulbs (the thinner, one inch thick ones. They use less power for the same amount of light.). My local big box hardware places have them from $15 to 30 a pop, depending on how ugly you're willing to get, and how it's turned on and off. For the times that I really have to have a point light, I use an old fashioned trouble light, with a modern CFL bulb (doesn't break as easily as light bulb filament.)
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Old 07-27-08, 12:04 PM
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You can get 4' flourescent lights from Lowe's for like $9. Get two of them and place them on opposite sides of your workspace and everything will be evenly lit with no shadows. Hang them from the ceiling or mount them on the wall about 2-3' from the top.
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Old 07-27-08, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
You can get 4' flourescent lights from Lowe's for like $9. Get two of them and place them on opposite sides of your workspace and everything will be evenly lit with no shadows. Hang them from the ceiling or mount them on the wall about 2-3' from the top.
Same here. The ceiling of my garage was drywalled, so I put on a coat of white paint before I put up a couple fixtures I got for about $5 each at the local house-parts-recycling place. I did a little wiring and voilą!- as light as day during the long winter nights.

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Old 07-27-08, 01:18 PM
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Flourescent lighting fixtures (single/double shop lites, 4 or 8 footers) hung from or mounted on the celing are best. Halogen work lights are too harsh and very spotty. I don't like them for bike work.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
I hate point source lighting. I can't stand the glare. I've got a number of twin-tube 4' fluorescent lghts hanging from the garage ceiling. Try and put one directly over where you work on the bike. If you've got a bench, get another over it. You want the sort with an electronic ballast (less/no flickering, no chance of it ever humming or buzzing, more efficient, works in the cold (not a problem in tampa, I guess...)) that will drive t8 bulbs (the thinner, one inch thick ones. They use less power for the same amount of light.). My local big box hardware places have them from $15 to 30 a pop, depending on how ugly you're willing to get, and how it's turned on and off. For the times that I really have to have a point light, I use an old fashioned trouble light, with a modern CFL bulb (doesn't break as easily as light bulb filament.)

+1. The electronic ballasts with T-8 fluorescents are the way to go. These do flicker, but you won't notice because they're at like 20,000 cycles as opposed to 60 with the old standard T-12 (1.5" dia.) bulbs.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:43 PM
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+1 for the long tube florescents ( I use 8' tubes) as they will reduce shadows, are not that expensive, relatively energy efficient, produce less heat for the amount of light (i.e. more efficient - or did I already say that?), and therefore easier on your eyes and pocketbook.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
Flourescent lighting fixtures (single/double shop lites, 4 or 8 footers) hung from or mounted on the celing are best. Halogen work lights are too harsh and very spotty. I don't like them for bike work.
Not to mention that the halogen lamps are very hot. Great for winter...not so good for summer.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:49 PM
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skip the halogens..I am using them for my ebay picture lighting

the heat they put off is amazing, my room temps goe up drastically
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Old 07-27-08, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
Flourescent lighting fixtures (single/double shop lites, 4 or 8 footers) hung from or mounted on the celing are best. Halogen work lights are too harsh and very spotty. I don't like them for bike work.
Same here. I have two 2' fluorescent double tube fixtures hung from chains from my garage ceiling and they give plenty of even, non-glare light. If your garage is big or has a high ceiling, perhaps 4' double tube units would be better.

I agree that halogens are too hot and too much like spotlights to be of much use. Also fluorescents consume much less power. A 2' tube is only 20 watts and a 4' is 40 watts so you will probably need only 80 to 160 total watts which is way under what the halogens would consume. Finally, double fluorescents units are much cheaper to buy than halogen lights too.

A good flashlight (I like the 1W or 3W LED-type) is a handy supplement for looking into tight places and the interior of tubes, etc. but the overhead lights will be plenty for almost everything you do.
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Old 07-27-08, 02:02 PM
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+1 Fluorescents. Then get a trouble light on a reel, mount that on the ceiling somewhere from a hook. That is good for close work/inspections, etc.

+1 small LED flashlight for looking down seat tubes, etc. Can be had from Big Lots or similar for $5 or less.
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Old 07-27-08, 04:19 PM
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Flourescent it is.
Thanks!


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Old 07-27-08, 04:43 PM
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I have 14 4 foot fluorescent tubes in my two car garage and it's still not enough. The walls and ceiling are not finished. I'm sure that white-painted drywall would make a big difference. My old shop was larger, but finished and painted white and four 8 foot tubes was pleanty.
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Old 07-27-08, 05:47 PM
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What you need in Florida is 4 foot Daylight Deluxe colour tubes.

They will give you a "cooler", appearing light than any of the other temperatures,

eg Warm White, Cool White, etc.

Also, when they start to burn out, trying to carry 4 foot tubes is much easier that 8 foot.


Regards,
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Old 07-27-08, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by J T CUNNINGHAM View Post

Also, when they start to burn out, trying to carry 4 foot tubes is much easier that 8 foot.
That can be a problem if you don't have an Es U Vee....
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Old 07-27-08, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
I have 14 4 foot fluorescent tubes in my two car garage and it's still not enough. The walls and ceiling are not finished. I'm sure that white-painted drywall would make a big difference. My old shop was larger, but finished and painted white and four 8 foot tubes was pleanty.
I think in your case, you need a light like this:



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Old 07-27-08, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I think in your case, you need a light like this:




You're a Madman!
Keep up the good work.


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Old 07-28-08, 12:49 AM
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When you buy your flourescent fixtures don't be afraid to pay a little more for the middle priced versions intended for workshop use. I bought some of the real cheapies for the basement and they just do not put out the amount of light I thought they should. However when I bought one for over the bench I paid around $25 and got a fixture that really made the two 4 foot tubes light up the world. I'm now a believer that flourescent fixtures to some extent are a "you get what you pay for" sort of deal.

You'll also likely find that you want more than you think you'll need. For an average one car garage I'd suggest five 4 foot units. One over the bench at the end of the garage and the other 4 spaced about 1/4 way in from the walls on either side and spaced evenly lengthwise. Adjust that to suit what you have and want to light up.
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Old 07-28-08, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Slackerprince View Post
Iwas prepared to spend a hundred bucks
Totally unecessary overkill. HALOGEN!?!! Am glad common sense prevailed and/or everyone talked u into Fluorescent.

If u have money to thrown, spend it on good stand, a wheel trueing stand, or some fancy lightings/background so u can take pictures like 55/Rad.
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Old 07-28-08, 03:27 AM
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I recently finished my garage/shop. These are the before and after pics of lighting. The T8 fixtures made a world of difference.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
I use a flourscent fixture that uses the 4' long tubes. I just hung it from the ceiling with chains.
Same here
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Old 07-29-08, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
+1 for the long tube florescents ( I use 8' tubes) as they will reduce shadows, are not that expensive, relatively energy efficient, produce less heat for the amount of light (i.e. more efficient - or did I already say that?), and therefore easier on your eyes and pocketbook.
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Agreed. I use the 8' 2-tube ones from HD that have a reflector - important since the shop ceiling is unfinished - hung with chains.

HD also sells clear plastic protector tubes that slip over the light tube. I've whacked the tubes pretty hard (mostly with 2x4s) and have yet to break one.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:06 PM
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I remember those pics Danno posted from a thread before on bicycle lights. IIRC it's a surplus spotlight from an Army tank. Would probably be good for stripping paint, getting a quick spot tan, cooking a thanksgiving turkey.

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Old 07-29-08, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I think in your case, you need a light like this:





I want one of those! Where can I get one?

I like a Halogen standlight (I'll go down to 150 watts) for occasional work, but much prefer fluorescent or metal halide (for those big spaces, or a Wobble-light should I need that). Putting plenty of fluorescents everywhere is your best bet--you won't believe how bright 500 watts worth of 4' strip-lights are, especially those electronic T8's!
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