George’s Upgrade to LED Lights

Duration: 6:27

The lighting in George’s shop was due for a change; an upgrade to LED lights. This video isn’t meant to be a comprehensive how-to. It’s more of a 100,000’ view of the decisions George made about his new LED workshop lights.

Looking at upgrading

George’s shop has 8’ fixtures that take two T12 bulbs, and 2’ x 4’ fixtures in a drop ceiling. When George first explored LED workshop lights he would have had to completely replace the 8’ fixtures with new LED fixtures. Very expensive. Today, 8’ LED bulbs that DON’T require a fixture change are available. When you install them you remove (and recycle) the ballast. Rewiring is pretty simple.

The drop ceiling side of the shop

On the drop ceiling side of the shop, which uses 2’ x 4’ fixtures, George did an experiment. In a couple fixtures he swapped out the fluorescent bulbs for LEDs. This requires a high speed ballast. He also completely swapped out a couple fluorescent fixtures for 2’ x 4’ LED fixtures. In the final analysis, he prefers the light that comes from these fixtures.

The gain

LEDs use less electricity than fluorescents, and are better able to fire up in cold environments. They’re also dimmable, if you get the right bulb, though that isn’t much of a benefit for a shop. Plus, LED bulbs should outlast all of us.

For your shop

Do some research, crunch the numbers, and see if an upgrade to LEDs is a bright idea for you.

More tips

We want to help make your shop as pleasant and efficient as possible. Get the most out of your shop time by checking out our great shop tips.

Discussion
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17 Responses to “George’s Upgrade to LED Lights”
  1. Roger Cracknell
    Roger Cracknell

    I have changed 3 of 4 fixtures to led lights and I am quite happy with it.

    Reply
  2. Lawrence
    Lawrence

    Good piece. Thanks. I added four LED 4′ lights in my garage shop. You only touched on it, but I’ve found that the lighting quality in my shop with the LEDs is delightful. Quite soft and don’t get that flicker that you see in florescent lights. Certainly better than the old incandescent lights.

    Reply
  3. Bud
    Bud

    In addition to this approach, there are now LED lamps that will directly replace standard T8/T12 bulbs without the need to remove or replace the ballast, even if the ballasts are not electronic. This is a very quick and easy way to upgrade now that they are available.

    Reply
  4. Jim Sherbundy
    Jim Sherbundy

    I have two lamp 48″ industrial fluorescents, open with reflector. My plan is to install line voltage LED lamps in existing fixtures. I am having ballast failures regularly. Ang lamp replacement is just plain dumb when i can do line voltage bulbs.

    Reply
  5. George Single
    George Single

    You can Get the 4 foot T-8 and T-12 on eBay a box of 25 just over $107 They change the same as your 8 foot bulbs Take out the ballast and Wire Directly, Note When you Buy the LED’s they Wire in one of Two ways, the Line “L” and the “N” either on one side of the Bulb or the L/line/Black on one end and the N/neutral/white wire on the opposite end, They come in 18 to 22 watts and from 3400k to 6000k choice of Milk or frosted Bulbs, Warm light or Cool white, Your 6000k is a pure white light and the Warm is a yellow light like the screw in tungsten E 26 bulb. I prefer the 22w cool White 6000K and it is the closest to Sun light in colir and it is Best for matching color when painting. https://www.ebay.com/itm/10-100-T8-22W-4ft-LED-Tube-4000K-6500K-Fluorescent-Replacement-Milky-Clear-Lens/263325044446?hash=item3d4f654ede:g:UBAAAOSwbeNdAh2f

    Reply
  6. Patrick Ewing
    Patrick Ewing

    George,
    What did you mean by “the florescent lighting may fire if your shop is not heated”? Do you mean they may catch on fire?
    Regards,
    Patrick

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Patrick,

      Here is what our expert had to say: No, he meant “light up”, not catch on fire. Some fluorescent bulbs will not operate at lower temperatures.
      Paul

      If you have any other questions, please chat, email, or contact Customer Service at 1-855-253-0822. 

      Sincerely,
      Codi
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  7. Alberto
    Alberto

    Hello George, any advice from an expert about the best light color temperature to use in a woodworker’s shop? 2700K, 4500K or 7000K ? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Alberto,

      Here is what our expert had to say:
      It’s a matter of personal preference. Most of mine are full spectrum bulbs (5500K I believe) but others prefer cool white or daylight bulbs. I’d suggest trying some different bulbs in your shop environment to see what you like the best.
      Paul

      If you have any other questions, please chat, email, or contact Customer Service at 1-855-253-0822. 

      Sincerely,
      Codi
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  8. David Hart
    David Hart

    Hi I have changed my work shop tubes to led .All you need to do is disconnect the supply cables and reroot them to one end of the tube as marked on the LED tubes

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Daryl. With the LED bulbs I used the ballast does not get used, so needs to be removed from the system. Final wiring is a neutral on one end of the new LED, and a hot on the other end.
      Thanks
      Paul
      Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply
  9. Blake Dozier
    Blake Dozier

    Thank you for the video. My 20’x20′ shop has fifteen two tube, four foot, fixtures and the LED replacement costs have been fairly expensive. If I can find them at somewhere close to the price you mention, you may have convinced me. By the way, Bud (down below), doesn’t leaving the ballasts hooked up negate some of the electricity savings?

    Reply
  10. Jerry W Hinkle
    Jerry W Hinkle

    Are you paying attention to the color of the led tubes? Meaning the heat color or kelvin temperature of the outputof visible light. Also, which color are you using?

    Reply