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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Don't Work In A Dark Cave - 120V LED Daisy Chain Lighting

Safe And Sound Inside!
Now that my fabric "Hangar" is complete and my RV and Helicopter are inside, I realized I would not only need some heat (more on that next week) but also some way to illuminate the large space without breaking the bank. It's 24' x 22' x 12' so quite a large volume. In order to allow me to do maintenance and modification tasks over the winter I would need a good amount of light. Probably like you, I don't enjoy squinting! So, how can you light up the space, minimize shadows and keep the power use to a minimum? Oh, and NOT create so much heat to melt the plasticized fabric or set fire to anything else? After some research, I found 2 solutions that are working VERY well.

The Original 5000 Lm Shop Light
A couple of years ago, I cleaned out my garage. It was LONG overdue. I found so many things I had...ummm..misplaced that I should probably think about cleaning it more often. Naaah. Well, I had purchased a set of 2 LED hanging shop lights. These were 5000 lumen bright white (5600K) that hang from included hooks and bits of chain. They were about 27.00 each and work well. There is a chain on one side to turn it on and off and a grounded plug and wire on the other. Each light requires it's own outlet to work. On the long walls of the hangar I would need to add a bunch of extension cords to go from one side to the other. I did hang one of them up (the other is in the, now cleaned, garage!) and it works. The chain goes around the crossbar of the building's frame and it's secure.

Original Light
They are 4 feet long and the building is 24 feet....hmmm that's 6 lights on each side. 300.00! to completely light the space. No way. Even if you cut the number in half, it's way pricey. I know you're asking, what about hanging a single row of 6 from the rail that travels down the peak of the roof? Well, it's 12 feet above you, hanging on bits of chain. I worried that wind might cause them to fall. Scary stuff. Also, I'd have to rig up a switch to turn them all on or off (not too hard) AND have to install them way up there. I'll admit, I tried putting one up. The light was bright, but diminished too much when close to the ground. It was better when it was 5 feet up the wall on each side.

New Daisy Chained Light
Back to the internet, looking for another solution. Wow! A lot of choices. Most of the 5000 lumen styles were around the same cost, so that's wasn't all that helpful. Then I hit upon something new. A set of lights that were DESIGNED to be daisy chained together and run off a common plug and switch! They came as a set of 8 for only 57.99 (on Amazon) These are smaller and lighter, but do not put out the same level of brightness. Still, for 8 of them (around 2200 lumens each and warm white) they are a much less expensive choice that is easier to wire/install. No chain or hooks are included, but since they are so lightweight, I just used some extra cord I had lying around and tied them to the cross bar. Works great!

It's nice to be able to work in a well-lit and well-heated indoor space over the winter. Be ready, I have lots of projects that had become "back burner" ones because of the inability to work during the cold months. I can't wait to begin!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

8 comments:

  1. Here is something you need to look at: 16 feet of DOUBLE LED strips (Twice the light/inch). I bought some that runs on 24vDC but you ca get them at 12vDC also. I use the RGB w/white on my Pergola on the patio. For your application "White Only" They can be cut to any length from about 4" to 16' in increments of 3 LEDS. Also look for SMD 5050 or better, LED's for more Lumens

    https://www.amazon.com/LEDENET-Double-600LEDs-Flexible-Lighting/dp/B00MEHR5EG?th=1

    Other options:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078YGBZLG/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B078YGBZLG


    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Led-Pods-2x18W-Cree-Leds-Spot-Light-Fog-Lights-Offroad-Bar-IP-67-Waterproof-/163352266872?_trksid=p2349526.m4383.l4275.c10#viTabs_0


    https://www.ebay.com/bhp/led-work-light

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank,
      I use the strips for all sorts of things, but in this case (indoor/outdoor) mounted on a metal pipe, the housed version works best. Especially noting that it has a diffuser lens.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. In our new home, our 2-car garage doubles as my shop. I just installed 11 4' LED shop lights; three over the workbench, two at the foot and two each left, center, & right. They're linked together in three sections plugged in to what used to be two 75 watt bare light fixtures. It turns gray Seattle days into a cheery place to work. You'll love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      I know... it's great when there are no shadows!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Very cool... I've found the same solution in my (stick construction) shop -- lots of distributed smaller lights beats the shadows around large equipment. Also less nuclear-blast blinding in that one "sweet spot."

    Since we're getting negative temperatures this week (I'm also in CNY), I'll be curious to see your heating solution. Even "mostly" (badly?) insulated, my shop's LP heaters gulp a lot of propane weeks like this one, and I think my shop's smaller than your tent.

    Finally, be sure to report on your snow-load performance... do you clear snow from that fabric building or does it slide off by itself acceptably? Concerned or no sweat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      I completely agree, distributed lighting is the bomb! Next week I will be writing an article outlining my heating strategy and devices I am using. I just tap the inside of the building with a long broom and the snow slides right off. The pitch is pretty extreme.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. I have a rounded 20' ShelterLogic over my woodpile, and find wetter snow tends to stick to the middle third or so at the spine -- it will pile up until the weight of the snow JUST starts to crush the metal frame, and that flex is enough to pop the snow off in a dramatic shudder. Like you, I go out and whack the outside before that happens when I can, but when the shelter is full you can't get to the inside.

      Yours being a new installation, keep an eye on it in the next two days -- mine sheds perfectly until it doesn't.

      Delete
    3. Wolfe,
      Solid advice, as usual! I am watching it accumulate now. Bleh.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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