Dimming Frustration and 1-10V

The old Triac dimmers for incandescent bulbs just worked. No problems. But, they don’t work on LED or CFL lights although some lower wattage LED bulbs and fixtures are supporting Triac dimming. Recently one of my better suppliers offered Triac dimming on their panels. It read like a switch selectable option. Not so, only 0-10V was stocked – Triac was special order. 

The 0-10V doesn’t dim all the way to off, but stops dimming at 10-20% which is often ok. Full dimming will be available someday. But the worst part is that you have to pay $50+ for a special dimming switch and run 2 extra control wires from the fixture back to the wall switch – not renovation friendly. Or you can spend even more for a remote solution, even voice controlled through Amazon or Google devices. 

For more about 0-10V dimming…

Warehouse brighter, saves 75% w/ 8′ LEDs

Impression Products, Charleston, WV, is the leader in reconditioned toner cartridges for laser printers. Their warehouse was lit by 2-tube 8′ fixtures. Some of the fixtures had bad ballast, others had aging tubes. Shoplight removed the ballasts and wired directly to the tube holders. After seeing how bright the new LED tube was, they used only one LED T8 tube on each 2-lamp fixture. As you can see below the results were amazing while using about 25% of the electricity. Interestingly, this had a dramatic impact on the moral and productivity of the workers which resulted in better space utilization in a much better organized warehouse.

“We tell everyone about you and your lights and how awesome they are!”
– Impression Products Office Manager.

Shoplight Solutions Services did the installation.

Note: 2 other locations using our 44W 8-foot tubes, placed a second orders with in 2 weeks – happy customers.

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.



Woodworking Shop Upgrade

At first glance, Bob’s shop was well lit by a number of 100W CFL bulbs. The problem was they cast shadows over the equipment where operator stands. This is one of the problems with point lights and fixtures. In the picture you can see the empty sockets on the ceiling. Also the shop has a low ceiling and Bob is well over 6′. These blinding, exposed, bulbs hanging down made the ceiling seem lower.  And, the CFL bulbs would get smashed occasionally when moving long boards.

Using the linear bulb aluminum profile/extrusion with diffuser, we created a custom light that ran the full length of the shop which eliminated 90% of the shadows. Then over each piece of equipment, like the chop saw, we added a second custom light positioned ideally to remove the remaining shadows and provide increased illumination to the cutting area.

The channel and diffuser eliminated the bright spot, pixel effect of bare LED strip which is important on a low ceiling. It also spreads the light more like a florescent tube providing ambient light. Even though the light is bright the channel-diffuser is tiny, only 3/4″ x 3/4″. So with the hanging bulbs removed, the shop seems larger and ceiling taller. We not only doubled the lumens in the shop, but improved the light quality and distribution. These three measures are important for woodworking where fine detail and finishes are required.

Shoplight Solutions developed the solution for Bob and helped install the first “runs”, giving Bob the knowledge and materials to complete the work.

Solar Off-Grid

Several Shoplight customers with off-the-grid homes were delighted to find that we specialized in 24VDC products, because they can readily tap into that voltage. Without converting to 120VAC, they now have a better option for bright lighting that conserves precious watt-hours.

We’ve started a new page dedicated Solar and off-the-grid applications.

We hope that you will comment and challenge us to find useful high efficiency products for this growing niche. Renewables are the future!

Airelight Ceramic LED, Super Thin

 If you don’t want to look at bright LED “dots”, then you need a diffuser. (Shoplight Solutions is not offering aluminum channel with a diffuser.) Airelight integrates LED lighting into a ceramic diffuser mounted on an aluminum flat bar. The total thickness for this bright light is only 0.2″. Just use a router to put a shallow recess in wood or plastic and you have a elegant light.

Contact us for more information. Below is a picture of the sample that we can send out.

Strip News: Warm White Hi-Lumen

Bright White Hi-Lumen, Pro-grade strip has been a great seller. People appreciate the 17% increase in brightness along with the thicker copper and best adhesive. Shoplight Solutions is now stocking the Warm White in the hi-lumen version. It is now an option throughout our store.

Please consider the hi-lumen, pro-grade strip for your next project

We can special order strip up to 150 lumens/Watt, 24VDC. If you are using solar power, then this high level of efficiency is important.

The Color Rendering Index of sun light is 100. Typical florescent bulbs are 50-60. Shoplight Solution LED products range from 70-83. Many applications require high CRI such as art and wood finishing where true color are critical. Studies show that you will feel better with higher CRI light. We can now special order 94 CRI LED strip. The cost is less than you would expect. Contact us for more details

Presentation well received

Thanks to the Woodworkers of Central Ohio (WOCO) for the opportunity to present Introduction to LEDs. I had fun preparing it and presenting it. I especially appreciate the great questions and high level of interest. The feedback was good too. The hands-on conversion of a shop light especially in interesting and I gave away 2 converted fixtures. I really hope to give this presentation through out the mid-west.

Also, a number of WOCO members asked me to visit their shops to discuss their lighting. I brought various relevant LED samples so we could see the lights operate in their shop. The visits seemed to clear up confusion about the available options and help them proceed with upgrades. I helped some of them make a conversion as well. These look to be needed services that I am happy to provide.

If you need an on-site visit or would like to discuss a presentation for your organization. Please contact me at leds@shoplightsolutions.com