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Thread: Lighting-Hardwire or Plug?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    996

    Lighting-Hardwire or Plug?

    I'm trying to find T-8 fixtures for the shop and the only hardwired ones are expensive (~$50), whereas the plug-in T8s are as cheap as ~$12 each. I wanted to hardwire for cleaner wiring, but are there any sources for reasonable hard-wired T8s?

    Any suggestions on how to ceiling mount the shop lights with plugs and keep the wiring neat and tidy (so there aren't plugs and cords everywhere)?

    JH

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Rutherford Co., NC
    Posts
    800

    I hired a friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Helmboldt View Post
    I'm trying to find T-8 fixtures for the shop and the only hardwired ones are expensive (~$50), whereas the plug-in T8s are as cheap as ~$12 each. I wanted to hardwire for cleaner wiring, but are there any sources for reasonable hard-wired T8s?

    Any suggestions on how to ceiling mount the shop lights with plugs and keep the wiring neat and tidy (so there aren't plugs and cords everywhere)?

    JH
    who happens to be an electrician to run wire and boxes in between the joists and put them all on a single wall switch. My basement shop is small, so it was pretty easy to plan light locations in advance. I hung my own T8 lights and a couple of halogens, plugged them in and used some extra romex staples to gather affix any excess cord. I just leave the pull-chains 'on' and when I walk downstairs and flip the switch, viola! I have light. And if I ever move the lights go with the shop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    23,791
    Jake,

    I am installing 11 8' 4 bulb T-8 fixtures in my shop. 3 rows of 3 fixtures and 1 row of 2 fixtures. I bought them at HD and they cost $38.00 ea. I have a switch box at the end of each row of lights. I used a appliance cord to get power into the first fixture and then ran 18 gauge copper wire (3...whi, blk, grn) to power the other fixtures in each row. The copper wire is covered by the covers and then the lamps installed. I used just a short piece of the appliance cord to plug into the outlet box. Each outlet / row of lamps in controlled by it's own switch.

    Here is a photo

    lights.JPG
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 10-31-2007 at 10:13 PM.
    Ken

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    St Marys, West Virginia
    Posts
    597
    I have those shop lights. I installed outlets above the rafters. I don't know if you have a finished ceiling but if not this works ok.

    The shop lights are cheap, it those bulbs that cost ya! I use the "sunshine" brightness bulbs and get plenty of light from them.
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    One good turn deserves another

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh, Australia
    Posts
    1,004
    A different country, but I put all my lights on plugs (in the ceiling) which in turn were hard wired back to wall switches. I can now add lights through double adapters, use extension cords to move them, remove lights easily or replace them as needed, I am sure you get the picture. This was advised by the electrician who did the installation and I have never regreted it.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Du Bois, PA
    Posts
    68
    You have to watch with the cheap shop lights, the ends are not fastened rigid enough on some so they don't make good contact with the bulb pins. You will probably be just as happy hard wiring them in, no need for boxes or receptacles this saves a few bucks.

  7. #7
    It's been my experience that the plug version of all 4' fluorescent fixtures are all pretty crummy. If you want a good ballast and a bright light you need to pay the premium.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Somerville, MA
    Posts
    123
    At the LOML's insistance, I had a professional electrician look over my basement wiring to make sure I wouldn't burn the house down. With regard to the lights, he said that while everything I had done was technically up to code, it would be obvious to any inspector that Joe-handyman had done it. In particular, no professional electrician would have spent the time to put in outlet boxes for plug-in lights. He also referred to the plug-in lights as throw-aways.

    I can confirm that the plug-in lights are cheap. I've had to return a number of them because they didn't work out of the box, and others died within a year or two. BUT... I still think I save money since I don't charge myself for the electrical work, and I can replace the cheap lights 2-3 times before I would have spent as much as a good model. And when I replace them, it's just a matter of plugging the new light in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Sterling CT
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    2,457
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Rohrabacher View Post
    It's been my experience that the plug version of all 4' fluorescent fixtures are all pretty crummy. If you want a good ballast and a bright light you need to pay the premium.
    I agree.. I have a ton of hard wired quality fixtures that have been going strong for at least 7 years, where the few HD plug lights have pooped out twice in that time. plus the good ones are quieter

    lou

  10. #10
    The real key to the difference in the performance of Cheap vs. Quality T8 or any flourescent fixture is in the quality of the ballast. Ballasts can do all of the following: increase efficiency (more light per Watt), Decrease efficiency (less light per what, think cheap fixture), Increase light output and maintain efficiency (makes more light but uses an equivilant increase in power) reduce light and maintain efficiency (makes less light and uses an equivilant reduction in power. Lighting designers us all of these "tricks" in high level (expensive) applications.


    What we need to know. If a basic strip fixture works in your shop decor, it should cost $40 +/- for and 8 foot 4 lamp fixture. Hard wire it with as many switches as you and your budget come to terms with.

    If you put in one 8 foot 4 lamp T8 strip per 100 square feet of shop floor you will get +/- 100 foot Candles on your work surface. That's alot of light. Modern office calls for 30-50 FC, so you be the judge.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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    2,550
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Panis View Post
    With regard to the lights, he said that while everything I had done was technically up to code, it would be obvious to any inspector that Joe-handyman had done it. In particular, no professional electrician would have spent the time to put in outlet boxes for plug-in lights.
    This is what I have. Installed by licensed electricians. The building isn't mine but the company I work for paid for the installation which makes it possible to work in the shop for them in the day time & do hobby work on my time off. The tools are mine.
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    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

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