Friday, September 7, 2018

A bright idea.

Shortly after buying the house in 1990, I cleared out the basement and installed three rows of 4' fluorescent fixtures so I had plenty of light to work with.  This has worked well over the years but after building the layout to fit the room, the lighting didn't quite fit the layout.  I've often wanted to redo the lighting to reduce the dark areas caused by existing lighting.

Recently Quin was looking for some LED shop lights for his new garage and we stopped at Menards to see what they had and we stumbled across some that were on sale.

Here is what one area looked like with the existing fluorescents.  The far corner is a little dark.

The same area after I hung the first LED shop light to see how it would look...... much better.

This is what they look like without the diffuser installed, I also adjusted the exposure.  They have three LED's strips that produce 3300 Lumens with an output of 4200K.

Last night I got them all installed.  This time I tried position them above the layout to reduce any dark areas.  Please pardon the mess.

In some ways, they are a little brighter than I'd like but it's better than having dark areas.
Along with being cheaper to run, I also have the option to turn them on and off individually by means of their pull chains.  Even with less than half of them on, there is still more than enough light to work under.

Since March I've had to step away from the layout to focus on some personal agendas.  As of today most of those agendas have been completed and I hope to be returning to my trains and the layout as Fall approaches.


  1. That new lighting looks great Allen. My train room and layout lighting has been 100% LED since I started it in 2013 and it's been a very good decision. I think you will find that in addition to using less electricity that they will run cooler than the fluorescent bulbs.

    1. Thanks Brad. I think it was the right decision as well. I can tell they are running cooler already! What I'm hoping for Brad, is it will help with the colors when I'm taking pictures. The Fluorescents always gave that greenish hue and I had to adjust for that.

  2. Great move Allen and welcome back.Haha.
    I just had 3 additional LED installed in my garage so I can at least see the new layout. Not cheap but well worth it in the long run.

    1. Thanks Rod. It's good to be back, if only for a short time until I can stick a fork in ALL the agendas. In the long run, these shops lights were cheaper than buying the rolls of LED tape and making my own, only because they were on sale. But still a good move as you say.

  3. Allen, nice "quick win" improvement. To get that kind of light and not have to trade off for excessive heat will be nice. (well, in Texas it would be for sure...things are already hot enough here.)

    1. Thanks Doug!
      So I've been told recently. It's not much better here either.