Peace, Love & Little Donuts – Grid Light

A new Peace, Love and Little Donuts is opening in Worthington, Ohio. It offers the ultimate custom made, fresh donuts.

I was challenged by the shop’s architect to provide hidden lighting on the upper side of a suspended grid. It is made of 1×4 wood on 21″ centers. The idea is to provide light that reflects off the ceiling that complements the hanging bulbs on the below. The original concept called for slowly morphing color but was over budget. Instead, dimmable warm white was selected. The ambiance it created is very attractive. Both the owner and architect were pleased. The view below is looking up at the grid. You see the hanging lights, but nothing related to the LED strip.

Grid looking up

This lighting will operate at full capacity 14 hours per day, and the rest of the time at 50%. So the installation needed to be robust. Wood doesn’t conduct heat well so first I installed metal strip on top of the grid. It’s hard to know, but this extra heat dissipation should improve the life of the LEDs by 20%. Shoplight Solutions LED strip

I applied the six 12-foot LED strips directly to the metal, extended the leads and tied them to a central terminal block to make things easy to repair.

The power supply had to be mounted high up, rated for continuous duty, and remotely dimmable. For that I chose a 320 W power supply rated for 7 years. Note: This power supply cost $140. Contrast that to our 150W, open frame, DYI, 2-yr, 30,000 hour, non-dimmable power supply we sell for $26 which at 4 hours per day will last a long long time. The remote dimmer was also an industrial unit from Lutron.

Shoplight Solutions Power Supply

The six 12-foot strips can produce 32,000 lumens but the light is so evenly spaced, you hardly notice it.

Would I do anything different? For sure. This was a rush installation and the grid was already suspended. We made a several hundred trips up a 14′ ladder. I should have insisted that the grid be lowered. Also because of the rush, we compromised the metal strip instead of ordering the more ideal aluminum product. The installation of this coiled metal strip took an inordinate amount of labor and trips up the ladder.

This “cool lighting” installation shows the flexibility of LED strip to make a space unique, bright but cozy.

T8 LED Replacement Tubes, 2 Trends

Challenged by a customer, recently I have been on a mission to find the brightest, whitest and most efficient T8 tube but the trends are working against me.

The first trend is simple, the manufacturers, for the most part, are using efficiency gains to hold the lumens constant around 1,800 to 2,200, while lowering the bulb’s wattage. Hence when my favored supplier offered 145lm/W, they dropped the wattage from 18W to 14.5W. Of course this saves you money. Generally it makes sense because your fixtures have placed to provide adequate light.

The second trend is that it is becoming difficult to find 6000-6500 CCT tubes in stock. 5000K seems to be the limit. These 5000K bulbs produce a better light, but they don’t give you quite that daylight experience. 

If you are willing to purchase 25 bulbs, Shoplight Solutions can get most anything. For instance, we have a 22W T8 bulb, 5000K that produces 2600 lumens.

Currently we have a special on 6000K t8 tubes for $8.50 including shipping. Minimum order quantity is 2.

LED strip is the alternative if you want more light from your fixture. You can add any number of strips to retrofit a florescent fixture. I have an old 2 tube fixture that now has 4x 6500K strips at about 1900 lumens each. Very bright!! We also have warm white strip, 3000K. You can mix 6500 strip with 3000K and get a vary good spectrum. That’s the flexibility of LED strip.

-Ted