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I’ve got a space and I’ve got a floor.  Time to address the lighting.

Truth be told, there wasn’t a whole lot I needed to do with the lighting.  It wasn’t that bad to start with.  But now that I’m done with it, I’ve got eyeball-searing brightness in every corner of the shop.  Check it out


Basically, I did two things here.  First, I replaced the fluorescent bulbs with LED bulbs.  I was able to get bulbs in bulk at the local home center for just $5 a piece.  There were a lot of fixtures, so I was happy with that price.  If you’re looking to replace fluorescent tubes with LED, there are two basic kinds you’ll find.

  1. Direct replacement LED bulbs.  This is the kind I went with.  They’re cheap(ish), readily available, and they work with the electronic, instant-start ballasts in modern fluorescent fixtures.  If you have an older fixture that doesn’t have an electronic, instant-start ballast, then you’ll want to do some checking or go with another kind of bulb.  In my case, the fixtures were pretty recent, and the bulbs lit up properly.  The strength of these bulbs (that they work with your existing fixture without modification) is also their weakness.  They rely on the ballast to work – and the ballast is the only part of a fluorescent fixture that typically ever goes bad.  Not very frequently, in my experience, but they do go bad.
  2. Direct-wire LED bulbs.  These bulbs do not require a ballast to run (that’s a plus).  But since your fixture probably has a ballast, you’ll have to modify the fixture to get them to work.  That sounded like extra work to me (that’s a minus).  Also, the ones I found were more expensive than the direct replacement bulbs (that’s a second minus).  If you have older fixtures with incompatible ballasts, then these might be your only option.  If you do install direct-wire LED bulbs, you won’t stay awake at night wondering if you’re about to have a ballast go bad.  (But if that’s what’s keeping you up at night, your life is way too boring…)

For those of you interested, these are the bulbs I used, and they totally rock: Philips 472910 LED Instantfit 4-Foot T8 Tube Light Bulb

Of course, my biggest reason for replacing the bulbs had nothing to do with ballasts or LEDs.  I just didn’t want to break an overhead fluorescent bulb with an errant piece of wood…

Anyway, once that was done, the only remaining task was to add some additional fixtures over where the garage doors rest when up.  Nobody I know except me installs lights over a raised garage door because… well… when the door is up, the light is pointless.  But I did, and I just did it in the style of the lights that were already there (and then added LED bulbs).

The Scorpion Report

I am happy to report that I have had ZERO SCORPION SIGHTINGS in my shop space since putting in the floor.  That makes a few scorpion-free weeks as of this writing.  Since that time, I’ve killed scorpions in the main house on the bathroom ceiling, and scurrying across the gym floor.  So maybe there’s something to my “Anti Scorpion Measures” in construction.  Buoyed by this initial success, I plan to look for other ways to incorporate ASMs into the remainder of the shop build.

That’s all for now.  Next time, electrical!