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Joe Reed
08-12-2003, 05:55 PM
I gonna be moving into a new house in a couple of months and, of course, am deciding how to set up my new garage. My present 2-car garage has 2 4-foot 2-tube flourscent fixtures on either side and one over my workbench (along with a couple of portable spotlights I use when under the hood, under the carm, etc.
I'm wondering if there's a better option - like maybe those halogen lights like they use in stores like Home Depot and Costco (with eyesight like Mr. Magoo, I need all the help I can get!). In those stores, they have a gazillion of 'em hung way up high. My garage ceiling is a little over 9 feet, so I don't know it those would be the best solution there.
Anybody got any creative (and inexpensive!) solutions??

Ed Wynne
08-12-2003, 06:33 PM
Joe,
What kind of floor do you plan on having?
My garage was painted a fairly glossy white, and when its not covered with all the junk my kids and wife through out the door, the combination of the two ceiling fan lights (Oh I really recommend putting ceiling fans in you garage,if its not AC)
and the flourescent light over my work bench is really pretty bright.

If your floor is darker than mine, I would just recommend lots of the flourescent tubes...
They are cheap and don't get too hot...

Ed

Joe Reed
08-12-2003, 07:05 PM
The floor is going to be plain concrete with a clear sealer. The walls are going to be a very light color, and the ceiling is white. I hadn't considered ceiling fans, but that might be a good idea!
Now.....if I could just find ceiling fans with those super-duper halogen lamps hanging from it! images/icons/grin.gif Of couse, that might melt the paint off the cars.....

08-12-2003, 07:20 PM
those lights are metal halide and are very expensive. the yellow ones are high pressure sodium and not good to work under but make great security lighting. I recommend the old faithful 4 ft flourescent light with 2 40watt tubes. don't buy the energy savers they put out less light. I have a 4 footer every 3 feet in my one car garage, and have them on 2 switches so that I can turn on every other one if neccessary. I also have them plugged into receptacles in the ceiling, so that I can just have all the lights on in one area if I am just working there, but my ceiling isn't 9 ft tall. also think about alot of receptacles around the walls so you are always close to a plug in, and put them on a ground fault breaker. Too bad I'm not gonna be in Memphis longer or I'd help you take care of this graemlins/cheers.gif

PC
08-12-2003, 07:48 PM
The lights at Home Depot and Costco arenít halogens the HID (high intensity discharge) lamps. They give off tons of light and are very efficient but theyíre pricey and there arenít too many fixtures available for small spaces. (oops, looks like Chuck beat me to that)

I agree with Ed and Chuck, multiple fluorescent fixtures are cheap, will give you lots of light with low power draw and low heating. Spread the fixtures out to give even light distribution and save the halogens for task lights. I have a low ceiling too. Iím always wacking stuff on the lights, door opener and ceiling so I recommend fixtures with covers or grills over the tubes.

I also agree with gloss white on the walls. It helps with the lighting, collects less dirt and spider webs and cleans up much easier than flat paint or bare walls. I know a guy whose garage has black walls with a whole bunch of halogen track lights. Its very dramatic for showing off his cars (itís an 8 car garage) but it would be horrible to work in (he doesnít).

Get florescent drop-lights too. When youíre wedged up under the car theyíre way less painful to brush up against and the diffused light is easier on your eyes. Youíll also be less likely to uncork a fuel line while your body is jammed under the frame rails and spew gas all over a hot light bulb. (Trust me, thatís not fun.) images/icons/shocked.gif

Donít forget the air lines and lots of extra power outlets. graemlins/hammer.gif


PC.

[ 08-13-2003: Message edited by: PC ]</p>

SilentUnicorn
08-12-2003, 08:23 PM
my 3 cents worth

8 foot high output with cold start ballast...is the way to go. slightly more expensive .but you wont need as many. cold tends to kill the normal florescents. cold start ballast will light up at like better than 20 below. may not be a factor if your climate is warm, or you heat your garage 24/7.

Mark

tony barnhill
08-12-2003, 08:40 PM
good topic as I also am working on garage addition...my ceiling will be a dropped one & I want lights recessed in it

08-12-2003, 09:35 PM
then get some 4' recessed fixtures and put 'em in instead of ceiling panels

Joe Reed
08-12-2003, 10:35 PM
8' tubes with cold start ballasts sounds like the way to go. I've got regular ballasts now, and they really slow starting in the winter...

08-12-2003, 10:56 PM
joe you can buy 4' tubes and fixtures more than 1/2 as cheap as 8'. I have an incandescent lite that burns while I heat up the garage and then I fire up the flourescents. It takes more energy to start a flourescent than it does to run it for an hour so I use other lites when I'm just gonna be in the garage for a minute

tony barnhill
08-12-2003, 11:44 PM
chuck...that's what I'm gonna do...thinking about off white for wally & checkerboard tile floor...not that you can see much of the floor!

[ 08-12-2003: Message edited by: tony barnhill ]</p>

PC
08-13-2003, 06:10 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tony barnhill:
...thinking about off white for wally & checkerboard tile floor... <hr></blockquote>

Wally ought to be happy being off white. images/icons/wink.gif Like I said before, I recommend gloss.

The checkerboard floor is very cool. Be sure to use flooring that has color all the way through the bulk of the material like composite tiles or porcelain tiles. Ceramic tiles get their colors from a glaze that will chip off the first time you drop a wrench or roll a floor jack over it.


PC.

78Z
08-13-2003, 06:56 PM
those setups sound like luxury. I used a desk lamp for lighting for the longest time. Now I have one of those proper stick work lights. I could use some insulation though.

https://members.shaw.ca/spitfire1500/images/Oct2002/compare.jpg

08-13-2003, 07:05 PM
you have more room than I have images/icons/wink.gif

78Z
08-13-2003, 07:28 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Chuck Cougill:
you have more room than I have images/icons/wink.gif <hr></blockquote>

Not anymore. That picture was taken last year when we first moved in. Right now its full of yard stuff, kids toys, etc. The Jeep is even outside.

08-13-2003, 07:34 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by 78Z:


Not anymore. That picture was taken last year when we first moved in. Right now its full of yard stuff, kids toys, etc. The Jeep is even outside.<hr></blockquote>

thats what yard barns are for graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Larry Kronemeyer
08-13-2003, 07:37 PM
I've got 22 8' units in my garage, do keep the garage warm in winter, only need something on walls for shadows when painting. Use the flourescent drop lights in and under the cars, safer and better light, still get hot, but not as hot as bulbs. My high out-put halogen from Home Depot gets too hot, only use it in the driveway.
Larry

clint
08-14-2003, 10:50 PM
2.5 car garage, 2 8', 5 4' florescent, 2 florescent trouble lights, 1 on reel(long type), 1 free(short light) I use a rechargeable 7.2 makita flashlight for most undercar lighting, just easier for me to deal with. Halogens get too hot, are delicate for moving work lights, and too bright sometimes. Incandescent bulb trouble lights are still the #1 cause of shop fires. My lights near the wall are angled to put more light to the center of garage. Try to keep a light above your workbench, near vice, and grinder. No windows in my garage, and plenty of light. If it is a free standing garage and you plan on getting a compressor, put it in a tool shed on the side, with a power switch in the garage. Just a side note there, I have an 80 gallon compressor, and it is loud.

piman
08-15-2003, 02:07 AM
Hello Joe,
a point as you refer to the ceiling being 9 feet high. Hang the lights as low as practicable, as light intensity works on a square rule, double the height, and you quarter the light intensity.
Obviously you need them out the way, but keep them as low as possible.

Alec graemlins/cheers.gif

Steve
08-15-2003, 02:16 PM
Some good advise........ I need to look into my lighting options, so there is a lot to work with here.

Mark Jones
08-18-2003, 01:36 PM
Joe,

In my new garage (30x24) I installed 7 4ft 2 bulb fluorecent tubes (one over the bench). They do a great job of lighting the garage (white walls and ceilings)

Mark

GTsRFine
08-19-2003, 06:31 PM
Joe - give some consideration to putting A/C in your garage. If nothing else, put in a window unit.
Advantages: lower humidity (less rust), higher comfort level in muggy summers, fewer bugs, less mildew in the carpets,etc.

BEEJAY7
08-20-2003, 06:15 PM
Joe

I've always found that florescent's give the best lighting in a garage, most other types seem to cast too many shadows for my poor old eye's to cope with!.....Plus I always use a high powered hand lamp, for detail work.

Cheers graemlins/savewave.gif graemlins/england.gif graemlins/savewave.gif

Tom Bedenbaugh
08-23-2003, 02:36 PM
Joe for what it's worth I have Walmart 4" lights in my tractor sheid. and they have worked fine for 0ver 4 years. I replaced one bulb sense putting them in. I have 8 of them and a drop light for close work under the hood. I bought a Hamton free standing fan that I can move to where I'm working. The one thing you can't have too many of is outlets. I have them everywhere. Also have them put a 220 outlet where you may want to put a compressor.

tony barnhill
08-23-2003, 11:26 PM
3-ton central heat & air in the Garage-mahal...but, I prefer the old fashiopn 3' round fan that rolls around & can point directly on you when you're working!

Xracer
08-24-2003, 12:16 PM
In addition to lots of flourescent lighting, you might also want to install a couple of reel-type work lights on the rafters over where you work on your car.

Basil
08-24-2003, 12:26 PM
I have two sets of 4ft flourescent lights. One set hangs over my work bench at the back of the garage and the other hangs about in the center of the garage. It is usually adequate, but I also have a coupld of those portable HID lights that I can light up a specific work area with if needed. Speeking of garage lights, I also recently installed a new security light in front of the garage and that thing lights up the entire block it seems. It also has a setting where you can have it stay illuminated, but at a low intensity, until 3 (or 6 or 24) hours after sunset. In other words, it comes on at a low level after sunset and stays on for 3 or 6 or 24 hours (you set the time) even of no motion is detected. Then, after the set time it will go out unless motion is detected. One of the settings causes it to stay on at low level (about 1/2 power) until sunrise the next morning.

Basil

thegoodbeamer
08-25-2003, 10:24 AM
I just have to add something to this thread.So much good advise one has to decipher.I would add that having a couple of 4' florescents mounted on each wall at about the 7' level as well is a good way to go.It eliminates a lot of shadow areas.

tony barnhill
08-25-2003, 11:09 AM
Chuck...I'd almost say drop them to about 4 feet from the floor - especially if you're gonna do bodywork...have you ever walked through the repair section of your local bodyshop...invariably they have a corner bay with lighting along the wall so the bodyman can see any imperfections while he's primering

thegoodbeamer
08-26-2003, 09:43 AM
Tony.
I know what you mean.I just don't have enough room to do so.

tony barnhill
08-28-2003, 10:17 AM
I've a friend who has a set of overhead garage door tracks mounted along the wall & overhead of his garage work area....between them he mounted a piece of plywood instead of the door (after all, its up against a sheetrock wall!)...on that piece of plywood are several 4-foot flourescent light fixtures....he leaves it 'up' most of the time but if he's working on a body or needs additional lights down low, he 'lowers' it....in the roof over the plywood are his fixed lights that work whether the plywood is 'up' or 'down'....I've always thought that was a neat & inexpensive idea.

08-28-2003, 06:33 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tony barnhill:
Chuck...I'd almost say drop them to about 4 feet from the floor - especially if you're gonna do bodywork...have you ever walked through the repair section of your local bodyshop...invariably they have a corner bay with lighting along the wall so the bodyman can see any imperfections while he's primering<hr></blockquote>

I have some portable lights down low but intend to add a row down low if I ever get time
graemlins/savewave.gif

tony barnhill
08-29-2003, 09:43 AM
I'm also using portable lights...but, if I had the room, I'd use my friend's overhead garage door idea.

08-29-2003, 11:34 AM
if you don't have room nobody does graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Jim Weatherford
11-27-2003, 04:17 AM
I live and work by the idea that you can't have enough light in a work area, my wife hates it and doesn't see how I can work in such a bright area without getting a sun burn or snow blindness and my office is over lit as well.

I just improved my garage and workroom lighting again getting rid of the 8' shop lights. I often visit the builders supply overstock warehouses in my area and I found 4-3'X 4" lighting fixtures with defusers for $35.(total!!!) that price even included the 4' daylight tubes and ballastís, pre-testing verified that everything worked and installation took about two hours including wiring them into an existing circuit from the previous lighting with independant switching this only requiring minor re-wiring using flex made it easy and faster than hard conduit. I still have a 3 tube 4'er directly above the bench but general shop lighting was improved by at least 50%

I also believe that you can't fix what you can't see. I'm very pragmatic about that kind of stuff, besides the older I get the more light I need to see well, I did say pragmatic didn't I?

[ 11-27-2003: Message edited by: Jim Weatherford ]</p>

Gary Lloyd
12-04-2003, 08:20 PM
I guess most of this thread was done while I was on vacation (Alaska Cruise) I just had some time to go thru and read it all!!! Some really great ideas!! I think this one stood out!!! Great idea!!
posted 08-28-2003 07:17 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've a friend who has a set of overhead garage door tracks mounted along the wall & overhead of his garage work area....between them he mounted a piece of plywood instead of the door (after all, its up against a sheetrock wall!)...on that piece of plywood are several 4-foot flourescent light fixtures....he leaves it 'up' most of the time but if he's working on a body or needs additional lights down low, he 'lowers' it....in the roof over the plywood are his fixed lights that work whether the plywood is 'up' or 'down'....I've always thought that was a neat & inexpensive idea.

steve99
01-29-2004, 09:01 PM
Joe,

All of the suggestions have been helpful here, If I could add my $0.02 worth. The newer T-8 fluorescent fluorescent lamps are instant start, and will start down to 0 deg. F . They are also more engery efficient as each lamp is only 32 watts. They put out a little more light than the old T-12's (what we all know of as fluorescent tubes). However, they require a different ballast to power them. These are also available in the Home Deopt's of the world as well.