Thursday , February 22 2018
Home > Product Reviews > Shop Task Lighting: Comparing LED vs CFL vs Incandescent

Shop Task Lighting: Comparing LED vs CFL vs Incandescent

I’ve been curious about LED lighting for several years, but until recently the price of LED bulbs compared to compact fluorescent (CFL) or incandescent bulbs has been a deterrent.

What was the final deciding factor to switch to LED? I needed a good bulb for the task light on my mill and grinder. I’d been using 75W unfrosted (clear) incandescent bulbs because they gave off ample light. But after a few minutes they got too hot to work around, and I was afraid that splashing coolant on a hot bulb would lead to problems. I tried switching to CFL bulbs and found that a 20w CFL put out plenty of light … once it got warmed up. Unfortunately I didn’t like waiting 5 minutes for the bulb to get to proper operating temperature. And in the winter when shop temperatures were cooler (40-50 degrees F) I had trouble with extended warm-up times and even the occasional bulb flicker when using CFLs.

So I switched to a 13.5 watt LED flood bulb. According to the packaging, the bulb was equivalent to a 75W incandescent bulb. But I found the LED to be both brighter and whiter than my 75W incandescent or my 20W CFL. And the light was instantly bright (no need to wait for the bulb to warm up) and stayed cool to the touch.

After being pleased with my initial 13.5W purchase I have since purchased a 9.5W LED, as well as a 2.5W LED bulb to see how they compair to their incandescent counterparts. Since I now have several bulbs to compaire between I thought it might be nice to write a quick review of my findings.

Now, it should be said that I don’t have a light meter or any professional light-measuring equipment to properly measure lumens or color temperature. But after taking some side-by-side photos I didn’t feel like it was necessary. It was clear that CFL and incandescent bulbs put out a dim yellow light when compared to a comparable LED.

Here are some images – you all can decide for yourself.

The Contenders: 150W Incandescent vs 20W CFL vs 9.5W LED vs 13.5W LED (Flood)

I’m also going to provide links to the bulbs on Amazon so you can check pricing. Also check your local Costco (if you have one). Costco has been comparable or cheaper than Amazon, but all other stores I have checked (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc) have been more expensive than Amazon. So if you live by a Costco check prices there first, otherwise buy online from Amazon. Also, keep in mind that LED bulbs are more expensive than incandescent or CFL bulbs. Often a lot more. But they are more energy efficient and have a longer lifespan (20+ years). So in the long run LEDs are a better buy, even factoring in the higher initial purchase price.

9.5W LED (Click image to see Amazon Pricing)

13.5W LED Flood Light (Click image to see Amazon Pricing)

 

Now for the comparison:

Here’s the light output of a 150W incandescent bulb. Since both LED bulbs are brighter than the 75W incandescent they were designed to replace I thought I’d step up the comparison to a 150W bulb. Notice how the light has a yellow hue. Disclaimer: some of the yellow color is likely due to the lack of white-balance capabilities of my camera. The light looked a bit whiter in real-life. But not nearly as white as the LED bulb, as you’ll see in a moment.

150W Incandescent

Here’s the 20W CFL (after warming for at least 5 minutes). You can see that it’s not quite as bright as the 150W incandescent (which is to be expected since the CFL is designed as a 60W incandescent replacement). You can also see how yellow the light is. Some people like “warm” yellow light. But for task lighting I prefer white light.

20W CFL (after warming 5+ minutes)

Here’s the 9.5W LED. Notice how bright and white the light is compared to the incandescent or CFL bulbs.

9.5W LED (designed to replace a 60W incandescent bulb)

Here’s the 13.5W Flood Light. Notice that all the light is exiting the top of the bulb (which is exactly what you’d expect from a flood light – hence the dim lamp shade and bright, focussed circle of light on the ceiling). I think for task lighting (where you want the light pointed at a specific surface or object) this bulb is the ideal choice. But if you’re trying to light up a room the 9.5W LED is a better choice because it provides a wider-angle light similar to a traditional incandescent bulb.

13.5W LED (designed to replace a 75W incandescent flood light)

 

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of both LED bulbs. The 13.5W LED (flood) bulb is brighter and casts a more narrowly focussed beam than the 9.5W LED bulb.

13.5W LED (flood) vs 9.5W LED

 

Here’s a look at the comparison between the 20W CFL (cold) and the 9.5W LED. There’s a big difference in the light output (both lumens and color) between the two until the CFL has had time to warm up. But after a 5 minute warmup the CFL puts out a yellow light similar in brightness to the LED bulb.

20W CFL (cold) vs 9.5W LED. After 5+ minutes the light output between the two is similar in brightness, but the CFL casts a yellow light.

And just for fun, here’s a comparison of a 2.5W LED vanity bulb, compared to four 40W incandescent bulbs. I will be switching out the bathroom lighting next. With five bulbs @ 2.5 watts apiece, that’s 12.5 total watts, compared to 200 watts (five bulbs at 40 watts each). And the quality of the light is better (whiter).

2.5W LED vs 40W incandescent Vanity Bulbs

In conclusion: would I switch out every light in the house to LEDs? No, not yet. Not until they come down in price.

But I will be replacing any burned out bulbs with LEDs over the next several years. However, if I were to build a home I would seriously consider investing in LEDs from the start. If not every light bulb, I’d at least buy LED lights for those hard-to-change fixtures like you find in a high vaulted ceiling. I’d rather break out the ladder once every 20 years than once every 2 or 3 years. But that’s just me. Maybe some of you like messing with a ladder in your living room …

I know it sounds like I’m a huge advocate for LED, so why am I not switching out every light in my house? Somehow swapping out 20 or 30 functioning incandescent bulbs seems wasteful to me. And it would probably take me all afternoon to do it. So I think I’ll wait until they burn out and replace them one-by-one with LED bulbs. By the way, I’ve been writing the date on my bulbs as I install them (with a sharpie). That way I will know how long they truly last. Sorry for the tangent, let’s get back to the point of this article.

For task lighting in the shop I think LED lights make an excellent choice!

The fact that LEDs have instant-on brighness (no warm-up needed), and are cool to the touch make them a clear winner over incandescents. Why haven’t I compared the LEDs to Halogen? Because I don’t own a halogen bulb. I never have. I’ve never felt like their brightness justified their over-the-top energy consumption. They are too hot and too inefficient for me to justify using around the shop. I realize that there are applications where halogens make sense (like photography lighting) but I don’t have the need for them because I can get by with non-halogen light sources for all of my hobby needs.

You might have noticed that I haven’t provided a price comparison between the bulbs. That’s because to me looking at the purchase price of an LED bulb ($8 to $20+ per bulb) vs a CFL ($1 to $3+ per bulb) vs an incandescent ($1 or less per bulb) is a very short-sighted way to look at such an investment. You really need to look at the operating price of the bulb over the bulbs lifetime. An incandescent bulb costs less than a dollar and might last anywhere from 1-3 years depending on how many hours a day you use the bulb. A comperable LED bulb would cost $20+, but would last 20+ years (25,000 hours or more). So you’d need to buy 7 or more incandescent bulbs (assuming optimistically that they last 3 years each) to equal an LED bulb’s lifespan. So that $1 bulb will actually cost you $7 or more, and that’s just considering the purchase price alone, not the difference in efficiency.

The real cost of the incandescent comes from the wasted energy over the life of the bulb. I’ve found that a 9.5W LED = 75W incandescent = 20W CFL (looking strictly at light output or “lumens”). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a 9.5 watt LED bulb is far more efficient (and thus less expensive to operate) than a 75W incandescent, and is twice as efficient as a 20W CFL.

I don’t think anyone would argue that a CFL is more efficient than an incandescent, and an LED is more efficient than both a CFL and an incandescent. So if you’re worried about the electric bill (or the environment) and conserving energy is a primary concern for you than an LED light might seem like the best choice (it seems like the best choice to me). But as soon as you start comparing different types of bulbs other factors besides energy efficiency start to creep in. I’m not an expert on lighting, so I’m sure that there are other considerations I haven’t thought of. There are probably people out there that would argue that an LED bulb is somehow worse for the environment than an incandescent just like some people argue that CFLs, while more energy efficient, are worse than incandescent bulbs because of the negative impact they have on the environment when disposed of (mercury), or the risk they pose when accidentally broken, etc. I’ll leave those discussions to other websites. I don’t want to get into that here. All I wanted to do was show a simple comparison of the quality of light you get from LED bulbs.

Even though LED bulbs are 10 to 20 times more expensive than incandescent bulbs, in my opinion they are well worth the investment simply because of the quality of the light they produce. Let alone because of how efficient they are or because of how long they last (which depending on the manufacturer is said to be 20 to 25+ years).

I’d be interested in hearing what you guys think. What have your experiences been with LEDs? Click on the link below to leave your comments on the forum.

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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.

26 comments

  1. Tyler

     

    What a very informative explanation you have given for each globe.  My choice would be the 13.5W as you mentioned for its specific spot light.  I have only used a LED torch setup on my mill (which I made up myself) it has got 3 settings on it.  A single light which is not very bright, the second is a very bright light (good enough for working on) and the third is a flashing light.  The bright setting I use all the time when the workshop lights are insufficient.   On my lathe however, I use the standard light which was factory-fitted.  This I only have used once or twice since I purchased it  back in mid October 2011.

     

    Hope this helps and thanks for sharing!!

     

    Mtw fdu.

     

     

  2. Nice write-up, Tyler.  An important distinction wrt LEDs is that they are inherently more narrowband than either CFL or incandescent, when incandescent being the only true wide-band emitter.  “White” LEDs, IIRC, are actually blue LEDs with a few yellow, red & green junctions thrown in to “whiten” the light.  This means that you have a few distinct colours of light that look white when seen together, but this isn't the same as everyday “white” light that we see when walking around outside.

     

    I haven't tried LED bulbs in my shop, mainly because of cost.  I use cool-white (a more bluish white than the one you tried) CFLs for my close-up lights and have my main lighting provided by regular 48″ fluorescent tubes in hanging shop lights over each machine.  Next time I'm at Costco, though, I'll take a look at their LED bulbs.

     

    -Chris

  3. Hi,

    Nice article, I have to agree that LED makes the most sense.  I mostly make my own fittings though.  I like the idea of a LED worklight for the lathe!

    For those who want a more technical document I can recommend http://sound.westhost.com/lamp…..index.html as he does a very thorough job of researching his topics.

    I read his first article, though I have not been able to keep abreast of all his subsequent articles.

    Regards

    Peet

  4. Tyler,

     

    Great article that raises two questions for me: have you noticed any difference in glare or other qualities of the light as it might affect how easily you could see finish defects or scribe lines? and, I have been surprised at the number of locations in my house where CFLs have not lasted long at all.  Have you seen similar problems in any locations with LEDs?

    I have begun to try LEDs in a few places, but they have not yet standardized very well.  As a result, I can't always find a matching LEDs (shape or style) between different stores or from one year to the next.  That isn't relevant where a single light is used, but an obvious problem in multi-lamp fixtures or where I have found a type I like.  I assume that every 13.5 W LED puts out about the same amount of light, but the light pattern may not be the same between brands, and the style is unlikely to match.  Given an earlier post about different colors of LEDs in a lamp to give the white light, I also wonder if colors for similar LEDs will match between manufacturers.

    I have slid off-course here.  I agree with you about the benefits of LEDs for machine lights, especially heat, and I have them on my bandsaw fixture and on the lights I use for both my lathe and mill.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  5. I use LED's in little task lights, clip on jobbies from names like LED Lenser and Rolson. These use 'high brightness' LED's, but more recently I've been looking at Cree's. These are used on my hunting rifles and the power is amazing, these are also becoming much cheaper now and more widely available. 

     

    In more general terms, machine lighting should be DC. I know there are many task lights out there that work off the mains and everyone is comfortable with that, but machine lighting should be low volt and DC, not least because of safety issues through voltage, but because AC lighting causes stroboscopic effects and has been the cause of many accidents. Because the alternating current is effectively switching the light off 50 times a second, whilst latent images in our eyes and retention in the lighting element smooth this out it can cause a stroboscopic effect on moving machinery, and in a bad case can make rotating machine appear stationary. 

     

    Back on the mains LED's, there's a little way to go with these just yet, not least the price, but in there is this comparison effort manufacturers are going through to try an explain to folk that a 'X' watt LED gives out the same light as a 'X' watt incandescent type, same thing with low energy tube types that prevail so much now. To date this has proven to be tosh for me, and any judgement should be made through trials, not spec alone. 

  6. @Mtw fdu – by torch, do you mean flashlight? If so, I think we have the same flashlight. Are you using the Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight?

    Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight

    [Image Can Not Be Found]

    If so, I know why. I love my flashlight. I played with a friends on a camping trip this last summer and purchased 3 when I got home. One for the shop, one for the car, and one for the house. I was actually thinking of doing a review of it also, but I thought it would be too Off Topic for the readers. But it's an incredible light. It puts even my largest MagLight to shame in terms of brightness and is tiny and light (not heavy). About the only reason to keep my MagLight is in case I need to bludgeon someone with it.

    I assume when you said you're using a setup on your mill that you made yourself you meant that you made some sort of mounting mechanism for the flashlight? If so, please post a pic of your mount. If, however, you meant that you made your own light from scratch than I'm definitely interested in how you did it. I've been meaning to buy some LEDs from ebay and make a few scratch-built lights just to see how they would turn out. And if yours flashes and has multiple settings than I assume you're using some sort of microprocessor? I know it's off topic, but I'm a sucker for electronic projects.

  7. @Soundreflections – wow, I can already tell I'm going to enjoy the link you posted. I haven't had a chance to read anything more than the list of topics, but they look fairly up-to-date (2009 and newer for the most part) and include other energy topics I've been interested in (alternative energy sources like wind). Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    I intentionally tried to keep this article non-technical because I knew that there was already a slew of other posts on the web that get into the nitty-gritty tech stuff. I wanted this article to answer visually (with pictures) the simple question of “Which puts out better, brighter, whiter light most efficiently and with the least amount of heat?”.

    My hope was that I would help some of you guys finally take the plunge and try an LED bulb. I don't know about you guys, but it was hard for me to shell out $20+ for a single bulb without being able to see a side-by-side comparison of the quality of the light. Basically I was holding off until someone I knew had tried a bulb. Friend, family. It didn't matter. I wanted to get the opinion of someone I knew and trusted before I bought a bulb. Which is silly I guess, because if the bulb was a total flop I could have just taken it back. But I guess I'm old fashioned when it comes to new products. I don't trust reviews from people I don't know, and I don't trust packaging or marketing materials. But I've been waiting for a few years now and still nobody I knew had purchased an LED bulb. So I decided to shell out $20 and see for myself. And I'm glad I did. So hopefully there are other guys out there like me that just needed someone else to take a chance and try the bulbs out and give honest feedback. That's all it would have taken for me.

    Anyway, thanks again for the link!

  8. jimryan2000 said:

    Great article that raises two questions for me: have you noticed any difference in glare or other qualities of the light as it might affect how easily you could see finish defects or scribe lines? and, I have been surprised at the number of locations in my house where CFLs have not lasted long at all.  Have you seen similar problems in any locations with LEDs?

    I haven't noticed a difference in glare or my ability to detect scribe lines. But that's because I haven't really been looking for those differences. But the next time I'm in the shop I'll see if I notice any difference. However, I have noticed a huge difference in the quality of the pictures I can take when using LEDs as a light source instead of incandescent or CFL. Basically the LED illuminated images look bright and crisp, similar to what you get when using a flash, but without being washed out like you get with a flash.

    To you second question, I have also had a few CFLs fail within a year or two. Maybe 2 or 3 out of the 30 or so bulbs I've been using since 2005. We bought a new house in 2005 that had a lot of lights and an expensive electric bill. We swapped out almost every bulb in the house with CFLs and our electric bill dropped by about $20 a month (about a 15% reduction). Back then CFLs were still expensive (maybe $5 each?) so I was glad that the swap paid for about 4 bulbs a month. But like you said, I had a few early failed bulbs, and for no apparent reason. They weren't indoor bulbs that I used outdoors or anything, they just failed.

    I haven't really had my LED bulbs long enough to know if they will live up to their lifespan hype (obviously), but I can say that none of mine have failed. And from what I've read, some (all?) bulbs will loose some of their luminosity over time and the “lifespan” isn't necessarily saying how long the bulbs will last before they go black, but how long they will last before they've lost 30% of their brightness. If I have a $20 bulb that lasts 50 years, but is only 70% as bright as it was when I purchased it I will be thrilled.

    So from what I've read so far, early failure doesn't seem to be a big issue with LED's (with one exception – dimmers, see below). But maybe that's because they aren't mainstream enough yet and haven't been around long enough for people to start saying “hey, my 20 year bulb only lasted me 7!”.

    About dimmers: Apparently some people have seen LED failure when using them with older dimmer switches (the kind that dim the light by dissipating heat – old fashioned dimmers). The new dimmer switches switch the lights on and off several hundred (thousand?) times a second to accomplish dimming, and don't harm dimmable LED bulbs, but could harm non-dimmable LED bulbs. So if you're going to use an LED bulb with a dimmer switch, make sure it's a newer switch and compatible with your LED, and make sure your LED is designed to be dimmed. Otherwise you might have an early failure.

    I have also read about some quality control issues with a few bulbs that had a frosted housing (the frosted coating started to flake off within a year resulting in an uneven release of light from the bulb). Because of this I haven't purchased any bulbs with a frosted cover.

    As for your comment about standardization, I'm having that same dilemma also. There are dozens of styles of lights right now and some of them look really strange, like a bulb I saw that was bright orange but supposedly turned bright white and gave off white light when turned on.

    Orange bulb (off)

    Orange bulb (on)

    Who want's an ugly orange bulb in their fixture? So it sounds like we are doing the same thing, buying all the lights at once for a single fixture (like my 5-bulb bathroom vanity). That way they are all identical. I guess the problem will come if one of those burns out and I can't find a replacement that matches. But if that's 20 years from now I probably won't really care. The bulbs will be cheap by then and there might even be some better technology to replace them with.

  9. ironring1 said:

    An important distinction wrt LEDs is that they are inherently more narrowband than either CFL or incandescent, when incandescent being the only true wide-band emitter.  “White” LEDs, IIRC, are actually blue LEDs with a few yellow, red & green junctions thrown in to “whiten” the light.  This means that you have a few distinct colours of light that look white when seen together, but this isn't the same as everyday “white” light that we see when walking around outside.

    So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Why would the wide-band produced by the incandescent bulb be important? Is it an eye fatigue thing?

  10. Jerry said:

    … but more recently I've been looking at Cree's. These are used on my hunting rifles and the power is amazing, these are also becoming much cheaper now and more widely available. 

    Yep Jerry, my flashlight that I mentioned above uses a single CREE LED and it's incredibly bright. And one of the bulbs I purchased had Genuine CREE LED plastered on the packaging. I think it was the brighter 13.5W bulb but I'll have to check. The LEDs are little yellow squares that are surface-mount SMDs like this one

    Image Enlarger

    and not the old fashioned through-hole LEDs with two legs like this one

    The CREE SMD style LED seems far brighter and more compact than the old fashioned through-hole style LED.

    In more general terms, machine lighting should be DC … because AC
    lighting causes stroboscopic effects and … can make
    rotating machine appear stationary. 

     I've noticed this before with my chuck jaws, but only for a split second as my lathe either sped up or slowed down. I can see how this could be scary if one of your lathe speeds was the “sweet spot” and just the right speed to make your chuck jaws look like they aren't rotating. That would be dangerous. Although my shop is quiet enough that I'd notice the lathe noise, but in a larger shop or in a shop with multiple machines running … or in my shop with the radio on … Yep, it could be dangerous.

    So are you talking a 12v European-style DC system? Any recommendations?

    Back on the mains LED's, there's a little way to go with these just
    yet, not least the price, but in there is this comparison effort
    manufacturers are going through to try an explain to folk that a 'X'
    watt LED gives out the same light as a 'X' watt incandescent type, same
    thing with low energy tube types that prevail so much now. To date this
    has proven to be tosh for me, and any judgement should be made through
    trials, not spec alone.

    Yep, I've seen inconsistencies here also. One manufacturer saying that their 9.5W bulb is a 60W equivalent while another is saying their 9.5W is a 75W equivalent, etc. Instead of going by that I've found it's easier to look at how many lumens the light puts out, and then comparing that to a luminosity chart for incandescent bulbs (wikipedia has a chart). But even this isn't foolproof. My 2.5W vanity bulb is supposed to put out 130 lumens, but is as bright as a 40W incandescent which is rated at 500 lumens. So either my 40W bulbs are getting dimmer with age or my 2.5W LED bulb is rated conservatively.

    But you're right, things need to be standardized further. It will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next few years.

  11. Basically, we “see” things because they reflect the light that bounces off of them, and things appear to be different colours because they reflect different wavelengths differerently (e.g., red things tend to absorb all but the red wavelengths, etc).  Our vision has evolved to use a broad-spectrum source of light, the Sun.  At the end of the day, it depends what you are looking at.  Some things will be more visible in narrow band light (particularly those things that reflect those bands well), whereas others might not.  I'm not sure what implications this would have in the home shop environment.  It's not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, but a different thing.  It could have advantages in some situations, and disadvantages in others.  I think that it's worth doing comparisons in different situations to see if the quality of the light from the LED bulbs is generally preferable, as their heat and durability strong-suits are definitely pluses in my book.

     

    -Chris

     

  12. Ah, gotcha.

    Yea, I haven't noticed any negative effects yet (ie certain things being harder to see, increased eye fatigue, etc) but I haven't had my LEDs that long. Maybe 100 hours of use compared to hundreds of thousands of hours working with incandescent or fluorescent lighting. I do remember when I was a kid that fluorescent tube lighting (like you find in schools and office buildings) used to give me a headache and I preferred incandescent bulbs. But eventually I either got used to fluorescent lights, or they improved and no longer cause headaches.

    I can say that I haven't had any headaches with the LED lighting yet, and I have noticed that things seem to be overall easier for me to see. But I think that has more to do with my own personal preference for bright white light. I have an aversion to dim yellow light (I hate dimmers, candlelight dinners, etc). So it's possible that things aren't really any easier to see, I may just simply like the bright white light better.

    I'm also lucky because my eyes are still good. Maybe some of the folks who have started to see a decline in their vision with age can comment on whether they see an improvement after switching to LEDs?

  13. Also, when it comes to measured light intensity, keep in mind that “lumens” measure visible light with the human eye's sensitivity in mind.  That is, you can have a red light and a blue light with the same intensity in lumens, but these would have very different intensities in terms of “radiant flux”, which just measures the absolute amount of emitted radiation, regardless of the wavelength.  One reason why the “equivalent” incandescent bulb for an LED or CFL bulb has such a high power consumption is that the vast majority of the radiated light from an incandescent light bulb is infrared (e.g. invisible); you spend a lot of money on light that you don't get to see.  Finally, those Cree LEDs actually contain many LEDs in the same package, and the lens on that package is intended to give a wider beam of light.  Traditional LEDs are put in packages that are designed to give very narrow beams of light (e.g. narrow viewing angle)

  14. Arguably the target should be simple. As daylight is our natural environment the closer we can get to that the better, and I think it's that which puts LED's 'white' appearance in a good place. Colour temperature is a science in itself, my main exposure to it has been through photography, but sign making and vehicle painting also are areas I've had experience in where the colour temp is best kept close to 'daylight' so that judgements about colour matching etc can be made soundly. Having done that I can say that fresh full spectrum or white light is a very pleasant way to work for me at least, and if your eyes are having to work hard to keep a clear image with the green bias of some fluorescents, and the yellow of incandescent bulbs, then surely that means less fatigue.

     

    On the DC lighting for machine tools subject, I believe it's common for 24V to be used. The stroboscopic effect can occur when the mains frequency is divisible evenly into, or by, the RPM of the machine, plus any symmetry the moving part has to be taken into account. The result is that for a given pulse of light the machine is in a certain position, the next pulse has the machine possibly a few revs further on but in the same position, or a similar looking part has come into the same position, flash goes the light, our minds stitch the pulses together into a potentially seamless, and apparently stationary, subject we are looking at. As mentioned the effect can vary, the bulbs do blend the pulses together through not losing heat from the element and regaining it fast enough hence retaining light output, but there is this general view that DC lighting simply does not suffer from this under any circumstances because it's constant light.

     

    There's no particular system I can recommend really, there any any number of manufacturers making clip-on 'goose neck' style lights like mine, a truck's 24V or a car's 12V map reading light is an example, Rigging up a suitable DC supply would be easy, just get a plug in style transformer of sufficient power to drive the lamps according to their rating, many however come with them. If there's any particular thing I would recommend it would be to buy the lights in pairs, helps with keeping shadows to a minimum. I'll take some pics of mine tomorrow and put them up, it's 01:30 here Confused.

     

     

  15. Jerry said:

    On the DC lighting for machine tools subject, I believe it's common for 24V to be used. The stroboscopic effect can occur when the mains frequency is divisible evenly into, or by, the RPM of the machine, plus any symmetry the moving part has to be taken into account. The result is that for a given pulse of light the machine is in a certain position, the next pulse has the machine possibly a few revs further on but in the same position, or a similar looking part has come into the same position, flash goes the light, our minds stitch the pulses together into a potentially seamless, and apparently stationary, subject we are looking at. As mentioned the effect can vary, the bulbs do blend the pulses together through not losing heat from the element and regaining it fast enough hence retaining light output, but there is this general view that DC lighting simply does not suffer from this under any circumstances because it's constant light.

    Regarding the strobe effect of AC power, fluorescent lights strobe at a much higher freqency.  I once found a speed indicator for my mini-lathe that took advantage of it.  It consisted of a band you would print out and tape to your lathe chuck.  The band was divided into four rows of alternating white and black blocks.  The blocks were a different size in each row, but the number of blocks in each row was a factor of the fluorescent light frequency.  The blocks in each row would just be a blur as the chuck started rotating, but as the chuck approached the rpm indicated by one of the rows, the blocks in that row would become visible and appear to be rotating.  The apparent rotation of the blocks would slow as the chuck rpm increased.  When the rpm exacly matched the rpm indicated by a row, the blocks would appear to be stationary.  As the chuck rotation increased the blocks would begin to rotate again, but in the opposite direction from whenthe chuck speed was less than the indicated rpm.  As the chuuck speed continued to increase, the same thing would occur with the next row of blocks.  Anyone who has ever used a “Strob-o-tach” or for that matter, an old engine timing light, has seen the effect.

     

    Jim

  16. Tyler

     

    Yes it is very similar to what you have posted.  Here is a pic of how I mounted it on my mill. 

     

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    As you can see by the pic, it is positioned using a hose clamp connected to a bolt.  Very simple but effective!!

     

    As you mentioned down here in Australia we call it a torch whereas you guys call it a flashlight!! WinkWink

     

    Mtw fdu.

     

     

     

     

  17. Tyler, if you want I can design a home-brew LED driver.  It should be easy to make a form of a housing / reflector for it, especially for all those lucky buggers to have a mill as well.  Just let me know what functionality you would like and I can investigate.  Perhaps one should do that on a separate thread, it will get technical!

    BTW most LED fittings have a driver that drives the LED at about 200 – 500%, with a 10% duty cycle. (That means it is only on for about 10% of the time).  That is how they get so bright.  Sorry to get technical!

    Regards

    Peet

  18. @Jerry, yes, please post pictures when you get a chance. I'd like to see your lighting setup. And thank you  (and everyone else) for your education on lighting!

    @jimryan2000, I've used a timing light, but I've never heard of the chuck speed strips you mentioned. That's an interesting way of measuring your lathe speed. I assume you'd need to know the frequency of the shop lights? Or did the strips come with a light source at a known frequency?

    @Mtw fdu, clever and handy setup. I have one of my flashlights (and a couple of penlights) that I keep in my shop, but no way of mounting them. I have always just held them if I needed some extra light (like to examine an internal groove on a bore). Your solution got me thinking of making a flashlight clamp that would fit on a noga-style adjustable magnetic base. I've been meaning to make an adapter for my video camera, so I'll probably make one for my flashlight at the same time. Thanks for the idea!

    @Soundreflections, Definitely! As far as functionality, I'm not sure what you mean. I wouldn't want it to be dimmable or anything. I think a cool project would be to design a replacement for an 18″ fluorescent bulb. So basically a clear PVC tube with LEDs in it. I haven't seen any for sale yet in stores, but another member made a lamp for his lathe that was about 18″ long and looked like a fluorescent light. But I think his just looked like a flurorescent, it didn't actually fit into an 18″ light socket (ie it didn't have 2 leads at each end of the bulb). It would be nice to be able to replace my bulb in my lamp over my lathe with an LED bulb. My lamp uses a 13W T5 bulb. But I'm sure that adds a lot of complication to the project. 

    It would also be cool to have a few task lights that designed in a similar style to your typical yellow task lights (or are they “trouble lights?”) that use halogen bulbs. These are very handy, but I always hate how hot they get (unless you're using them in a cold winter shop environment …). 

    So a grid of LEDs in a square pattern that ran off of 120v AC would be very cool. I've seen one that mounts to a camera hot shoe, but the light is $90! Here's an example. 

    It's not the same on that I saw, but it will give you an idea. The one I saw ran off of a DC wall wort, or off of D batteries. But I'd rather have one that plugged in with a regular durable power cord like the light above. So how hard would it be to design a home brew setup for either of those projects? If there's enough interest maybe I could even get some PCB's printed. 

  19. And yes, it would be a good idea to start another thread if you decide to make an LED driver. Maybe we should start a “shop electronics” forum section?

  20. @tyler_1, I think a shop electronics section could be handy, as lighting, CNC conversions, etc. can follow there.  I should soon start on the hardware for a electronic carriage stop, that will then reverse the main motor (I cannot reverse my leadscrew – yet), so thread cutting for instance one can then just worry about the depth of cut and the system will stop – reverse – forward for you.

    The problem with a replacement flourescent tupe will be powering through the ballast, etc.  I don't think one should modify the fitting, as you then cannot drive a normal lamp.  How about a strip that attaches to the fitting, yet not powered through the fitting?

    My local electronic supplier has some 10mm LED's that can give 90K milli candela on normal power!  Will see what we can do for a DIY project!

    Regards

    Peet

  21. It took me a lot longer to tidy up for this shot that it did to take it! Wink

     

    Here's the Rolson LED lamp I use, this one uses AA's, but they last for ages:

     

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  22. If you want them to last forever, it may be worth the effort to rig up an old cellphone charger to replace the battery. I have dozen of them all over the place with no use for them and I'm sure that one will have the right voltage or at least I can add a resister.

  23. Again this is more technical, but a small circuit, using a variable regulator would be best.  about 4 components, and you can match several battery combinations, depending on the supply.  If you drop the current with a resistor, quite a number of active circuits will struggle.

    Regards

    Peet

  24. How about a strip that attaches to the fitting, yet not powered through the fitting?

    Sure. That would work just fine. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with! I agree tho, it would be best not to modify the lamp. I would still want to have the ability to revert back to a regular bulb. 

    Hmm. Is there no way to design the circuit so that it uses the power directly from the lamp? The only reason that would be handy is because then you could make replacement bulbs for any fluorescent lamp. And there might be a market for that!

    @Jerry, I wasn't able to find a similar lamp on Amazon, but is this about what you have? 

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/mini-c…..C=101255 

    @Soundreflections, I agree. When I get a chance I'll add a Workshop Electronics section to the forum. 

  25. Yeah that's pretty much the same thing Tyler. Tbh I'm tempted to see if a couple of Cree 3's can be hacked in there, as the one thing about this particular goose neck is that it's firm, unlike many many others I've come across that are just too feeble to support the light in any position. 

     

    I'm keeping this one on batteries for maximum portability, I only have to change them a couple of times a year. It's an eternal pity that rechargeable batteries are not sufficient voltage for max performance, but they do occasionally if needed.

     

    As a side issue I seem to have accumulated a lot of Cree 3 torches for various reasons, for a bit of fun I mounted this lot up for a photo:

     

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    I may well knock up an adjustable mount for a couple of these. You get about 6 hours from them, but they are CR123A rechargeable 3 and 3.6V cells. In reality I'm pretty good at turning the battery lights I use for machining off and on as required, so they will probably perform better than the regular high brightness LED's my existing lights have in duration, but certainly in illumination.

     

    Until you've witnessed the power of Cree's it's not easy to grasp just how good they are, add the optional lenses one can get to them and the beam strength can actually become a minor hazard, inadvertently look straight at one and your vision is lost for some minutes through the latent image. I have one torch with a lens that turns the beam into a true projection of the led surfaces (one up from bottom on the left side of the group on the gun), that group of four squares in Tylers image is projected with a focal distance of around 100m, at that distance the illuminated area is around two metres square, and is enough light to be able to sight a target through a scope one hundred metres away. Amazing things.

  26. i started switching off from incandescent bulbs to led lighting. they are energy efficient and more practical to use. maxim lighting is an example of led products.