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Electricity getting very expensive in the Workshop

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Heck even I switched out my six 40 watt tubes for LED tubes in the larger shed. Lit maybe 200 hrs/yr.  It wasn't obviously the money driving it. I may never reach the payback period.

I just don't like the unnecessary energy usage, the mercury contamination, the slow start and unreliability in cold temps,  the short life and disposal problems of the old fluorescent tubes. It's a vast improvement any way you look at it.

But, I think halogen bulbs give a far better color spectrum than incandescent, fluorescent or LED bulbs -- at least from an artist's perspective.

LED's are improving that way, but you really have to look at the specs to tell if you're getting something pleasant to live with. fluorescent were generally poor that way as well, so for shop use, LEDs are no worse and might be an improvement.

I usually like a warmer light environment, so I go for the ~3000 - 3500 K +-  "soft white" types instead of the "daylight" types at 4000+ K, and look for 90 or better CRI (color rendering index) in the home so there aren't big holes in the color spectrum.

A few years years ago a local coffeehouse changed over to LED fixtures (with non-removable bulbs) -- talked into it by an electrician because their old incandescent ceiling fixtures and wiring were having ground problems. The owner was proud of the change, but after the change customers looked like walking cadavers, and the art shows on the walls might have been painted in gray tones. It was (and still is) an ugly light to sit in.

Another factor if you live in air conditioning country: you pay for the light then you pay to pump out the heat...  a 100 Watt light puts exactly 100 Watts of hear into your room!

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Ive recently swapped out over 50 GU10 halogen lamps for LED in the house. The saving with them is far greater than fluorescents as a 50 watt halogen replacement with approximately the same spectrum is only 5 watts. So only one tenth of the cost to run.

Anyone want a big pile of halogen bulbs and 6 foot tubes just ask!

Hi Andrew
  What are the current/induction implications of keeping the ballast in circuit? I must admit that offhand I don't know, but it would seem to be slightly counter productive, given that the driving current for the led's should be less than the tube current but perhaps enough to create some ballast losses? As my 8ft tubes fail I am replacing them with two 4ft led tubes held in the centre with terry clips and removing the ballasts, and it looks like they are producing similar light levels to the 2x8ft tubes they replace. I have found that 2x4ft led tubes can be had for much less than 1x8ft led tube! I am spoilt by the fact that when I put the lights in I used plug in ceiling roses and chain suspension, and that combined with my low ceiling means that they are really easy to get down, I imagine yours are a lot higher?

Phil, yes the main workshop is high giving access issues, and the rows of lights are wired in plastic conduit running between beezer boxes on top of each light, the lights being chain suspended. This makes taking an individual light down quite difficult.

As for the ballast issue - I don't know the answer. I suspect that the current limit for the leds doesn't rely on the reactance of the ballast, as it would seem from the instruction sheet that it can be totally eliminated (with dire warnings regarding being a competent electrician!)

Turns out that I would need a further 41 LED tubes to replace all the 6 foot 70 watt fluorescent tubes that I have distributed between the welding shop, the foundry, the wood workshop and a Portakabin. This would be  a further 'investment' of 553.50 so that's NOT going to happen. I console myself with the fact that their use, unlike the main workshop, is pretty intermittent.

Scary to think that with the original 77 (total) 70 watt tubes there was 5,390 watts off lighting if all were on at once, which of course was actually never the case.


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