Author Topic: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?  (Read 35724 times)

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Offline Aegwyn11

  • Posts: 168
  • South Dakota, US
Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« on: August 30, 2009, 04:18 PM »
Starting with a blank slate here...need some good shop lighting BAD. From what I'm reading, it seems like fluorescents are going to be the best way to go for me for general lighting (I'll use smaller direct light lamps for task lightning when needed). Sooo, it seems that T8s are probably the most popular for new setups, but I've seen some comments on T5's. What would be ideal?
Nick & Tanya

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2009, 04:51 PM »
The light output on the t-5's is usually greater.  Bulbs are harder to find though and generally pricier.

Peter

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4312
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 05:17 PM »
T-5s are "better" but in addition to the higher cost they also dislike cold environments.
If your shop is unheated T-5s might not want to start-up in the worst of winter.

Offline djwong

  • Posts: 32
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2009, 09:22 PM »
I installed two American Fluorescent MFW432R8American Fluorescent MFW432R8 fixtures on the ceiling of my 2-car garage.  Each fixture has 4 32W bulbs, is instant on, and has a nice metal body with an acrylic defuser.  This is what is generally specified for kitchen counter lighting.  I use 3000K bulbs, which is considered a "warm" fluorescent bulb.  I use T5 bulbs in my kitchen.  T5 bulbs are slimmer in size, have greater efficiency for more light per watt, and have less mercury than T8 bulbs.  They are more expensive and fixures are a little harder to find.  T8 and t5 will both be "colder" then any incandescent light - more blue less red.

I think I get 20 or 25 foot-candles at 36 inches off the floor, of well defused lighting.  General task lighting should be 30 to 50 foot-candles.  Kitchen preparation counters are usually recommended to be 50 foot-candles.  My lights are mounted on a 9 foot ceiling.  You will get more light output at workbench height the lower the fixture is mounted.  When I actually get to convert my garage to a workshop, I will add more fixtures over specific task areas.

Offline djwong

  • Posts: 32
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2009, 11:05 PM »
Just found my light meter and measured the output in my garage.  I get 20 - 25 foot-candle between the light fixtures, and 35 foot-candle directly under it.  Very good general lighting, but for task lighting for old eyes, I wish I had 40 - 50 FC.

Offline bonesbr549

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Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2009, 09:10 AM »
The more candles the better for sure.  I will add one comment.  Do not and I mean do not skimp and not get electronic balasts in your lights.  I had my two car garage and put in a lot of lighting.  It was great.  However, I did not know at the time and the electrician gave me an option of the standard or electronic balasts.   I skimped and put in the cheaper ones.  Well I put them in summer, and when it got cold those things buzzed like crazy.  It drove me nuts.   I priced replacing them, but at 6 units it would have cost a ton each.  Thats when I found out about electronic balasts and why you want them.  Needless to say I did not spring for the extra and just dealt with it but that noise was awful.  Great in the summber but will drive you nuts in the winter.  I sold that house and now my lights are elctronic balast and quiet as a mouse. 

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4312
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2009, 09:39 AM »
One of the reasons T-5's are "better" is that they require electronic ballasts, and since they're still fairly new you'll only find fixtures with good or better quality electronic ballasts. It's not only the sound that is "improved" with electronic ballasts, the flicker jumps up from an annoying 60 hertz to an imperceptible 10,000 hertz.

Electronic ballasts are available for T12's and T-8's too. You can find really cheap "shop light" fixtures at the big box stores in T-12 form that include cheap electronic ballasts. If the package doesn't specify the type of ballast just pick it up. If it seems too light it has an electronic ballast. At that price level the quality is similar to the 4 for $10 screw-in fluorescence. They either work fine or they die young.

Offline Aegwyn11

  • Posts: 168
  • South Dakota, US
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2009, 11:00 AM »
So basically, what I'm getting out of this is that T5's are better, but more expensive. I'm not worried about the availability...I'll get whatever I get from my local electrical supplier...they're so much easier to deal with than the big box places and typically actually cheaper (plus they can order stuff if they don't stock it).

I can across some other information that recommended 100 FC's. You guys are all saying 30-50. So is 100 WAY overkill? I really just want to do this once and be done with it.
Nick & Tanya

Offline djwong

  • Posts: 32
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2009, 12:08 PM »
I found a pdf document with the Illuminating Engineer Society's recommendations for lighting levels.  They have a section on woodworking (numbers in foot-candles)...

Woodworking
Rough sawing and bench work.................20-50

Sizing, planing, rough sanding,
medium quality machine and
bench work, gluing, veneering
cooperage...............................................20-50

Fine bench and machine work,
fine sanding and finishing.......................50-100

I would plan an ambient light level of 30 FC and have higher light levels over specific task areas.  It would probably be unnecessary to have your whole workshop to be lit up to a high level.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4312
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2009, 12:10 PM »
How much light you need depends on what you're doing and how old you are.
If older you need more light, no joke. If assembling tiny stuff you need more light
and it needs to be more directional for better depth perception.

In my basement shop I wanted to simulate a room with windows on one side
so I installed a continuous row of two tube T-12's ('cause I'm cheap) along the wall
just out from the shelves. Over the floor area I added some more fixtures in a wide
spread pattern. Then, installed fixtures directly over the table saw and work bench.

If cost isn't a big deal install a lot of fixtures and put them on a few switches so
you can power them up as needed. Also, as pointed out above, the closer the light is
to the stuff you want to see the brighter the light will be so avoid the temptation to
install them as high as possible just to get them out of the way.

Offline Notorious T.O.D.

  • Posts: 506
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2009, 06:25 PM »
First go with 8 footers rather than 4 footers as they are much better.  Go with Hi-output which use 110 watt bulbs IIRC and if you are in a colder climate get the ones with cold startup features.  I think these fixtures run about $50 each less the 2 bulbs at Lowes now.  Bulbs are less than $10 each I would guess.  I have 4 of these units in my 2+ car garage in PA and my friends call it the "Surface of the Sun"...  Its that bright.

Best,
Todd

Offline Greg_R

  • Posts: 153
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 02:56 PM »
+2 to Todd's comment.  I put eight 8' fixtures in my 20x30ft space (4 rows, 2 fixtures in line) and do not consider it to be overkill.  It is very bright for a garage but adequate for a shop.  I also installed white cabinets around the top of the room... this helps reflect a lot of light and keep the space bright.  A quick coat of white paint would have done the same thing.

Offline RonWen

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Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2009, 05:01 PM »
I agree with Michael on the window effect lighting.  There are times such as when using a marking knife that lighting directly overhead tends to bleach out the knife lines to the point of almost disappearing.  With side "shadow" lighting the lines magically reappear.



How much light you need depends on what you're doing and how old you are.
If older you need more light, no joke. If assembling tiny stuff you need more light
and it needs to be more directional for better depth perception.

In my basement shop I wanted to simulate a room with windows on one side
so I installed a continuous row of two tube T-12's ('cause I'm cheap) along the wall
just out from the shelves. Over the floor area I added some more fixtures in a wide
spread pattern. Then, installed fixtures directly over the table saw and work bench.

If cost isn't a big deal install a lot of fixtures and put them on a few switches so
you can power them up as needed. Also, as pointed out above, the closer the light is
to the stuff you want to see the brighter the light will be so avoid the temptation to
install them as high as possible just to get them out of the way.

Offline Aegwyn11

  • Posts: 168
  • South Dakota, US
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 02:10 PM »
I actually ended up going with a combination of fluorescent and incandescent. 3 8' long tandem T8 fixtures (4 4' bulbs each....8' bulbs are too much of a pain) for the fluorescent and 6 incandescent recessed can lights. I put the two outer fluorescents on one switch, the middle fluorescent on a second switch, and the incandescents on a third switch. All said and done, I'm very happy with the result...with all the lights on I get a very bright, balanced light.

Also, I got my lights at a local electrical distributor...I highly recommend these places over the big box stores. The people working there typically know what they're talking about and you can get to know them (you see the same people every time you go in). The only trick is to find one that sells to the public. Oh, and I paid less than I would have paid at the big orange or blue.

As for the T5 vs. T8 question, I did find some information that pointed towards T5's being geared to higher ceiling installations. Due to their higher light concentration (more lumens out of less surface area), they need more room to disperse their light. For ceilings under 15 ft, T8's seem to be the way to go. Over 25 ft, T5's. In between, and its kinda up to you.
Nick & Tanya

Offline joraft

  • Posts: 860
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2009, 03:26 PM »
I'm in the process of setting up my shop lighting, and I found this report very helpful:

Fluorescent verses Metal Halide
John

Offline MStewart

  • Posts: 2
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2011, 09:15 PM »
Hi all, I really like your forum! I know this is a old thread but could someone please tell me where I can get these T5 HO fluorescent fixtures and really high FC bulbs. My shop currently has T12 and they are useless for fine work and filing I would like it to be as bright as the sun!! lol I have tried Lowes and Home Depot and they look at you like you have two heads and can't find them. Thanks for any advice on this.

Offline Bill Hendrix

  • Posts: 72
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2011, 10:54 PM »
Hi, MStewart, and welcome to the FOG.

About 6 months ago I replaced six 8' T12 fixtures in my shop with twelve 8' T5HO.  The difference is stunning.  I wish I had done it much sooner.

The fixtures I used are 8' flourescent strips from H.E. Williams company.  They are the 76 series fixture configured with 4 54-watt T5HO bulbs.  I used the 4100K Phillips tube.  I have 14' ceilings with white ceiling and walls and now measure 120 lumens at the top of the MFT's.  At 59 years of age, the change in lighting has resulted in a substantial improvement in project accuracy.   [blink]

I bought the fixtures from Ray at Stanion Electric Company here in Wichita.  


http://hewilliams.com/Lighting%20Guide/LGV30874.pdf

Offline MStewart

  • Posts: 2
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2011, 11:01 PM »
Hi Bill,
Thank you very much for quick response I sure appreciate it! I work will steel as a bit & spur maker and it sure would be nice to see what I am doing. Here is my website and what I do

www.stewartbitsandspurs.net

Mark

Offline FulThrotl

  • Posts: 100
Re: Shop lighting - T8 or T5?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2011, 03:09 AM »
Starting with a blank slate here...need some good shop lighting BAD. From what I'm reading, it seems like fluorescents are going to be the best way to go for me for general lighting (I'll use smaller direct light lamps for task lightning when needed). Sooo, it seems that T8s are probably the most popular for new setups, but I've seen some comments on T5's. What would be ideal?

ok, i am an electrical contractor, for what that's worth

always use electronic ballasts

t5 lamps are not worth the price differential over t8. don't buy them
if you need more footcandles, get t5 HO

they are 54 watts as opposed to 32, and require a HO ballast

at 55 years old, t8's work for me. your milage, and eyesight, may vary
... it's not good.... my festool dealer
knows me by my first name....
...i'm suspecting i'm his 401K.....