Shop Lights

The lighting in my garage shop has always left something to be desired.  The type I installed were the cheap two bulb florescent  variety from either Home Depot or Menards.  These inexpensive fixtures do not have electronic ballasts and tend to buzz quite a lot.  I’ve noticed that they seem to damage new bulbs, as I could only get a couple months out of them.  The garage was never fully lit, there was always a bulb or fixture not working.

At work they are doing some remodeling, and were going to scrap eight 2’x2′ fixtures meant to be mounted on a ceiling grid.  There are a couple advantages to using these fixtures versus my existing.  First is the electronic ballast, which means instant on and no buzzing sound.  Additionally, in each fixture the ballast is nearly new.  Second, I can mount these directly to the ceiling (not hanging from chains).  Lastly, square units have a plastic light panels that have are more finished look.  The downside is the lower wattage rating.  The existing 48″ tubes are 40 watts, these U shaped tubes are rated at 32 watts.

Previous Shop Lights

Given the pros and cons, I decided it was a good trade off to get a more reliable light source.  But since these were removed from a machine shop, there was some cleaning to do.  No problem, just time consuming and the job is made easy by using Super Clean.  I have never used a product that can remove oil/grease so easily.  Just be sure to wear protective gloves, it’s fairly unforgiving on the skin.  Also, if you ever use it on aluminum, be sure to rinse it off thoroughly.

New Shop Lights New Shop Lights - Cleaning New Shop Lights - Close up

Another bonus was that each fixture still had the wip attached.  I only had to move it from the top of the fixture to the side.  Drilled four holes for mounting to the ceiling (16″ on center) and tapped into the existing electrical boxes I already had in place.

New Shop Lights - Wiring New Shop Lights - Wiring

Not too difficult, just a bit time consuming.  The entire project took about 5 hours to complete.  Luckily I had some help from my son, who did the cleaning/rewiring of the last two fixtures.

New Shop Lights - Completed New Shop Lights - Completed

The “instant on” aspect is excellent, and the lighting is now even throughout the garage.  The downside, as I noted earlier, is the decreased light output which is noticeable.  Still a worthwhile project, and the old lights went to the local scrap collector.


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