48" (T12) Fluorescent Bulb Problem


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Old 06-02-16, 11:50 PM
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48" (T12) Fluorescent Bulb Problem

My shop is divided into two rooms. A large room for dirty jobs like cutting, grinding, etc. A
much smaller "clean room" is loaded with test instruments for electronics.

The small "clean room" has a standard 48 inch (two bulbs) shop fixture. About 15 years ago I
purchased a box of T12 bulbs at a military surplus auction. 25 watts was printed on each bulb.
Nothing else. They were perfect for this small room. They're all gone, and I can't find a good
substitute.

The T12 bulbs available in home centers are all 40 watts. You can get cool white, daylight, or
natural. The glare from these "modern" fluorescent tubes is horrendous! I tried a silly fix,
hoping it might work. I've got frosted mylar sheeting that I wrapped around each bulb. I thought
it might reduce the brightness and glare. Didn't work.

I like this "old fashioned" shop fixture. Are there any T12 fluorescent tubes available on the
web with a soft glow, similar to those military surplus bulbs I used for so many years? (If there
is no solution, I'll reluctantly junk this fixture.)
 
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Old 06-03-16, 12:41 AM
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I have nothing to offer concerning obtaining more of the surplus tubes but I suggest that you try some new "daylight" or "full spectrum" tubes for a few weeks before condemning the new tubes. When I first installed a fluorescent lamp in my daddy's garage (some fifty years ago) he absolutely hated it, preferring the old 300 watt incandescent that had horrible shadows. I don't remember it taking even a month before he was ready to install several more fluorescent fixtures.

I did the same thing in my mother's kitchen and had the same result. It is human nature to resist change and you have to stick with it for a while to see the added benefits. For myself, I can't stand the "warm white" fluorescents or other "warm" color lighting but far prefer the "cooler" color which is a misnomer in that the color index temperature is actually higher in the lamps with a more bluish rather than yellowish color.
 
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Old 06-03-16, 03:48 AM
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Try using an LED dimmer style light fixture. You don't need to scrap the "old fashion" fixtures if you like them. Just add a regular screw in bulb type fixture and buy LED bulbs.
Today's LED's are very good and give excellent light. If you get dimmer types you can adjust the lighting level.
In contrast to what FURD says, IMHO I think fluorescent tube lights are clumsy, ugly and inefficient. I have done just the opposite in as much that I have removed several fluorescent fixtures in kitchens in favor of screw in incandescent bulbs and now use LED's.
As far as the temperature is concerned it's a matter of the type of room and mood you're looking for. For a work room, a bright or daylight is preferable. For a bed room or living room, warm light is usually preferable.
It's all a matter of personal preference.

BTW they now have LED tube lights (florescent style) that are guaranteed for about 20 years. They cost about $40.
 
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Old 06-03-16, 06:59 AM
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$40 is on the high side for LED tubes. I bought non dimable ones for under $20 each. You have to watch some only work with a ballast. Those you do not want. Stupid to continue to use a ballast that is just something waiting to fail that use electricity in addition to the bulb. You want ones that don't need a ballast.
 
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Old 06-03-16, 09:42 AM
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In contrast to what FURD says, IMHO I think fluorescent tube lights are clumsy, ugly and inefficient.
Clumsy? Maybe, but how often do you change them? Ugly? For the most part I agree but in a work room the aesthetic features take a back seat to function, at least in my book.

As for inefficient...Replacing the tubes on existing fixtures is easy, takes very little skill and will almost always be less expensive than changing the entire fixture. The fluorescent will be far more energy efficient than a plain incandescent although IF you have the money to change to LED lamps or fixtures then the LEDs will definitely be more efficient.

It all comes down to how much work a person wants to go through and how much money they wish to spend. A lot hinges upon the cost of the electricity itself.
 
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Old 06-03-16, 06:15 PM
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Well, I appreciate all your replies. I wasn't asking for more military surplus bulbs. That was
just a lucky accident. Whoever manufactured these T12 bulbs for the military performed a small
miracle. I used them uncovered (no light diffuser) and they produced a pleasant glow with no glare.

Anyone who has a medium to large size shop knows how important proper lighting can be! I've
come close to serious injury in my own shop several times. All I had to do was stop for a few
seconds and adjust the portable lights attached to the benches and stationary power tools. You
want everything in your shop blazing with light. Ask the folks who investigate shop accidents
for the insurance industry. Poor lighting can cause injury or death.

In the small "clean room" I don't want super bright lighting. Too much glare washes out the
displays on my test instruments. In fact, I frequently sit in this room with the lights off.

Before I junk my old fixture I have a couple of ideas for diffusing the glare. If nothing works,
I'll buy a modern fixture with dimmable CFLs or LEDs.
 
 

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