Furniture & Lighting Home Workshop
How to Upgrade Your Florescent Shop Lights to LED

In this video from the ever-clever Chris Notap, Chris converts the fixtures for his T8 florescent shop lighting into LED tube-accepting fixtures. He runs through two methods of the upgrade. You can use a plug n’ play solution, which you simply install in the fixture like any other bulb, and then there’s a proper retrofit.

Plug n’ play is easy, but it leaves the ballast intact which will continue to consume energy even though it is not used. A retrofit involves removal of the ballast, some hardware replacement, and some rewiring. But all of this is fairly straightforward, as Chris so clearly demonstrates.

Chris also experimented with bulbs of two different color temperatures, 4100K and 5000K. After living with each for a few days, he thought they were both great and a huge improvement over the old florescent bulbs. The 4100K is a bit softer and warmer, the 5000K a bit harsher/brighter. He says he would be happy with either color temp in his shop. He estimates a 20% improvement in light quality in his shop and these bulbs are rated at up to 50% less energy consumption than conventional tube lighting.

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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