A Poor Retired Plumbers Take on LED
Hi there, forum Fraternity,
You know how you send me out to the workshop as soon as get out of my pajamas. Yes, she replied without a hint of compassion.
Well do you know what that costs to send me out there. Yes, she replied. What I asked. Peace and quiet she answered.
I think quite a few members will be in similar situations, especially if like yours truly, retired with a little too much time on oneís hands, and consequently head out back to embrace the sweet clutches of a sawdust environment
Now I am lucky and blessed with a fairly large workshop and although the rewards are self-evident in that there is space to swing a router, there are certain downsides, mainly running costs.
Now here in the UK the mortgage was the big drain on your purse, but the utility bills are edging up there alongside to carve itself a niche in the old wage packet.
It makes you aware of your monthly outgoings and as such you look for ways to reduce costs, which I always find actually cost you initially. You have to weigh up the outlay against the savings and have to in most cases look at the long-term benefits as it isnít going to happen overnight.
A few years ago, we were all advised to rip out our light bulbs and replace with the new Halogen ones, which I did and I still remember the actual cost i.e. £124 ($150). The upside to this was you developed night vision in that you ventured into a room and did what you had to do and left just as the bulb reached full lumen.
Now I have told to rip out these nasty halogen ones and replace with the LED, with instant start, which like a good citizen I did, and it was a dam sight more than £124.
The only down side was on the first night I went to bed and stripped off I saw myself in the bedroom mirror for the first time in years, I almost put the old bulbs back.
So where is this leading if anywhere. Now in my workshop I have 14 of five ft florescent tubes and 21 of two ft ones on the ground floor. This equates to as follows:
14 tubes @ 58watt equals 812watts
21 tubes @ 18watts equals 378watts
Total is 1190watts
I need the lights on all the time I am in the shop and that equates to quite a bill at the end of the quarter.
16 tubes @ 22watts equals 352watts
12 tubes @ 9watts equals 108 watts
Total is 460watts
Saving is 730watts
In each case I went for the 6000 lux daylight tubes.
Cost from E bay was a 12 pack of 5ft Energiser T8 @ £104.50
Cost from E bay was a 4 pack of 5ft Energiser T8 @ £ 40.58
Cost from E bay was a 12 pack of 2ft Energiser T8 @ £ 44.77
Delivery was free and they arrived in good condition.
If anyone wants to check it out the E Bay item number is 401743861501
Now initially a couple of years I considered this but technology hadnít quite caught up with the introduction of LED, but now we have retro fit ones which makes life a whole lot easier.
This section of my letter deals with the actual install method I choose, and alternatives which I felt might be of some help to our members who are thinking about this cost cutting upgrade.
So here goes.
There are two led tubes i.e. single ended and double ended. I chose the single ended purely as there is less wiring involved.
There are two types of existing florescent tube fittings, those with magnetic ballasts and the electromagnetic ballasts. The magnetic ones have a starter which usually sticks out of the side of the fitting and can be removed by a push and twist. It will also have an internal capacitor. While the other has no such extras, its all contained within the ballast itself.
The easiest way is to buy the likes of the Energiser T8 which comes with its own starter and you simply remove the existing starter, replace with the Led starter and insert the new LED tube, and thatís it. You donít need a starter and its really just a fuse to protect the tube.
I didnít use this method as the ballast etc. are all still live, but if you are not confident on wiring this is the way to go.
My method was to disconnect the ballast, starter and capacitors, but just leave them in situ or not, and wire a 240v live feed (hot) and neutral direct to one end baton fitting and completely disconnecting the opposite baton as its only job is to hold the tube in place. I didnít need the fuse starter as all my light fittings already had fuses build in. And thatís it. Each fitting took about 10minutes to wire.
A couple of things you have to look for is whether the end baton is shunted or unshunted. Some fittings have an internal connection within the end baton fitting which does not work with led tubes. I have a photo shown the reading you should expect i.e. open circuit, if you get a closed circuit the batons must be swapped out. Always check before ordering as many shops give you the unshunted batons free of charge.
Secondly remember to mark with a sharpie which end is your live as the Led tubes only activate from one end.
So thatís its lads, hope you gleamed something from my ramblings and not too boring and at this point you ask was it worth it. Initially yes. The first thing you notice is how bright the workshop is now compared to the yellow light it was before. (see before/after photos) I also have my lights on three separate circuits and rarely have them all on at once so I am running on most occasions the equivalent of one to two 100watt light bulbs.
So, putting aside Lumens and lux how does it feel. Well the old ones were a warm beige affect which was ok but I needed more of them to get a proper light on to the surfaces, however I went for the daylight ones and have to say the difference is remarkable. I now see all my mistakes and open joints a lot clearer. Yes, well worth the money and effort.
Last statement, how did a poor retired plumber get this past she who is almighty. I just explained the cost of lighting the shop was getting prohibitive and that I will be saving money by spending less time in the workshop and more time with her in the house.
My apologies for not being more involved lately but my recovery from my turning accident took way longer than expected, and getting served hand and foot from my good wife my have delayed my recovery somewhat if you catch my drift. But Iím back hail and hearty.