Shop Lights - Easy on the Eyes
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  1. #1
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    Default Shop Lights - Easy on the Eyes

    My shop was originally set up with 4 tube T5 fluorescent lights. As I add machines I have been installing round LED Hi Bay lights that I get from Amazon.

    These LEDs are bright and low cost. The problem is they are "hard" on the eyes. Lots of eyestrain at the end of the day. They also seem to be triggering migraines on my guys who are sensitive to them.

    Any suggestions for bright but eye friendly lights?

    I have ceilings, 20' and 12'

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Auto View Post
    My shop was originally set up with 4 tube T5 fluorescent lights. As I add machines I have been installing round LED Hi Bay lights that I get from Amazon.

    These LEDs are bright and low cost. The problem is they are "hard" on the eyes. Lots of eyestrain at the end of the day. They also seem to be triggering migraines on my guys who are sensitive to them.

    Any suggestions for bright but eye friendly lights?

    I have ceilings, 20' and 12'
    .
    thats why bare unfrosted light bulbs were frosted then lamp shades put on to diffuse light or spread it out. some led lights with no diffusers or shades are harsh on the eyes

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    'Inexpensive' usually means very high color temp, around 6500K. That's hard on most people. You can try pale yellow filters over your lights, or buy some in the 4500K range. Much more comfortable.

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    On fluorescent and LED replacement there are 2 things to look for color index and color expressed as degrees kelvin. The color index I do not understand so I just ignore it and go by the K number. 2800K to 3200k are considered warm lights and are easy on my eyes. Commercial fluorescent and LED replacement can go up to 6500K and be a bluish white. I can not even walk through the Home Depot lighting area without getting a migraine from those demo bulbs.
    The lower number K LED replacement bulbs are available you just have to look for them.
    Not everyone is made sick by the higher temp bulbs otherwise they would not sell them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post
    On fluorescent and LED replacement there are 2 things to look for color index and color expressed as degrees kelvin. The color index I do not understand so I just ignore it and go by the K number. 2800K to 3200k are considered warm lights and are easy on my eyes.
    The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is basically how close the color spectrum of the light is to that of an incandescent light at the same stated color temperature. A 100% CRI means that the spectrum is exactly thermal. Cameras care more about CRI than do people, but still if the CRI is too low, the light will look strange, as will the colors of things under that light. I would get a CRI of at least 80%, and 90% is nice. But try it yourself, as people vary.

    I agree that 2800K to 3200K is warm looking, and easier on the eye, and 5000K isn't bad. I think Cool White fluorescent is around there, but this is from memory. My wife is very sensitive to the color, so the under-cabinet lights I installed in the kitchen are 2900K with high CRI, and she likes this very much.

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    I find most Led lights uncomfortable for long-term use, regardless of the color. Most of the local markets have retrofitted fluorescent lights with the LED replacement tubes and by the time we're done shopping I feel eyestrain.

    There is no such thing as a white LED and all these colors are made by adding phosphors to blue LEDs. I've read several articles suggesting that not only are LED lights uncomfortable for many people but they may actually cause long term eye damage. With LED backlights on phones and monitors most of us are already spending a lot of time around this unnatural blue light.

    In my home shop I use fluorescent daylight tubes and don't find them to be a problem. As mentioned, part of the problem is the small surface area of the LED lights and the lack of diffusion. You might make things better by hanging diffusers beneath the lights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Gwinn View Post
    ................... I think Cool White fluorescent is around there, but this is from memory. ...................
    "Cool White" is 4100K. That's the only temp I'll get.

    Steve

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    The LED driver in them could also have some flicker to it. Try taking a video of hte light with your phone and do the same with the a flourescent. The frame rate of hte video can show how much it flickers.

    Better quality LED's might have better drivers to prevent it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloomautomatic View Post
    The LED driver in them could also have some flicker to it. Try taking a video of hte light with your phone and do the same with the a flourescent. The frame rate of hte video can show how much it flickers.

    Better quality LED's might have better drivers to prevent it.
    Thanks for the replies

    We did try some Waldmann LEDs, very expensive and not much better for the eyes.

    These are the general type I have been buying

    150w High Bay Led Light - UFO Dimmable Low Bay Lighting Fixture (250W-400W Metal Replacement) IP65 Waterproof 5000K Daylight for Warehouse Gym Workshop Factory UL DLC Listed - - Amazon.com

    I am going to look into some kind of filter or diffuser I can clip on there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloomautomatic View Post
    The LED driver in them could also have some flicker to it. Try taking a video of hte light with your phone and do the same with the a flourescent. The frame rate of hte video can show how much it flickers.

    Better quality LED's might have better drivers to prevent it.
    +1 to this. I am sensitive to flickering light up to at least 60 Hz, which means when my inlaws go into the fake christmas tree display area at Bronner's I need to make myself scarce, as it is highly disorienting to be completely surrounded by thousands of rapidly flashing lights. I guess most people aren't sensitive to flicker at that frequency, so they don't even notice.

    Fluorescent lighting flickers at twice the frequency, since it generates light at both +120V and -120V (LEDs are of course diodes, and cheap ones only produce light on half a cycle). Fluorescent lighting also only dims to about 35% intensity in between. It's not surprising to me to hear that LED lighting can cause eye strain if the drivers aren't modulated to keep the light steady.

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    I have T5 fluorescent low bay fixtures in most of my shop. I chose 3500kelvin color temp because I like it- this is the same color as a halogen incandescent. These are also high cri lamps. I just recently bought an led low bay fixture from lowes. This is a lithonia lighting fixture so no crap I suppose. The quality of light is not near as good. Very harsh. I think I am going to stick it in my welding bay and buy a few more of the t5 fixtures for the rest of the shop.

    The T5 fixtures I got on ebay for $80 each and they have been good.

    The quality of light seems to be pretty much neglected in LED low bay fixtures. I think they are just in a race for max lumens per watt. I know high cri and lower color temps are possible with led's but nobody seems to make them in low bay fixtures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxcarPete View Post
    Fluorescent lighting flickers at twice the frequency, since it generates light at both +120V and -120V (LEDs are of course diodes, and cheap ones only produce light on half a cycle). Fluorescent lighting also only dims to about 35% intensity in between. It's not surprising to me to hear that LED lighting can cause eye strain if the drivers aren't modulated to keep the light steady.
    This often not true anymore with electronic ballasts. The frequency is much higher like 20khz or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloomautomatic View Post
    The LED driver in them could also have some flicker to it. Try taking a video of hte light with your phone and do the same with the a flourescent. The frame rate of hte video can show how much it flickers.

    Better quality LED's might have better drivers to prevent it.
    To really see the flicker take your LED flashlight and shine it on dripping water. (in the dark) The drops will look like a strobe light is on them even though the light "looks" constant.

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    Diffusers will make a big difference - just some lexan or plexiglass that's been lightly sandblasted will do the trick. I've used that plastic sheet you find in recessed kitchen fluorescent fixtures which works well. Also makes the light less unidirectional too, so shadows are not as sharp.

    You can also play around with coloured plastic sheeting too. If you want to reduce the colour temperature a bit (I prefer 4000-4500K) you can try thin yellow plastic, which will block some of the blue. I did that on a couple of LED microscopes I have to improve contrast and it helped a bit. Reduced eyestrain too. I got a collection of coloured plastic sheets off amazon for $10 or so to try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    "Cool White" is 4100K. That's the only temp I'll get.
    That sounds right.

    I looked up the kitchen undercabinet lights. They are 3000K with a CRI of 85%.

    These were bought in 2013, and I don't think they are made any more: Philips "eW Profile Powercore".

    The Dimmer is a Lutron reverse-phase type, and only goes down to something like 25%, which is a bit to bright sometimes.

    Modern LED units and power systems probably can do better. I recently bought some LED Monolights for photography, and they dim linearly from 100% to 1% in 1% steps. The color temp is 5400K, and the CRI is something like 95%. Looks like sunlight. Does not flicker.

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    I think led is the best choice for the most of situations, when we are talking about light. Most of the led strips have a very warm color, that will not irritate your eyes. But you need to be careful when you are looking to buy a led strip, because there is a big variety of them and you could choose a wrong one, that will work for a short period of time and you will have a lot of headaches during the exploitation period. I highly recommend you to buy LED strips from specialized market places, that can give you guarantee and a good consultation, so you won't get a led that won't fit your needs or will burn your home wiring, wich is a well known issue

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    Put high quality lights on the machines.

    Most high bay lighting of any kind is horrid. I mean, fluorescents are terrible. Their blinking can freeze motion

    Eyestrain can be from too bright or too dim.

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    Wearing a hat helps with glare on my glasses, I wear a hat from when I get up till I go to bed.


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