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Old 01-01-2012, 09:29 PM
diamond diamond is online now
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 710
Default Which color of fluorescent bulbs is best?

I went to the store today to buy some fluorescent light fixtures and realized I now need to choose between "cool white", "natural light", and "daylight" T8 bulbs. The daylight have just slightly less lumens per bulb and are quite a bit more expensive than the others. I've never had fluorescents in my shop, so wondering which color of bulbs are recommended for RV building and general comfort to the eyes.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:34 PM
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mculver mculver is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 269

There's a whole profession around the answer. I suggest cool white.

Daylight is usually very blue, and "natural" usually isn't as bright.

If you want to go off the deep end, the two things to watch for are lumens (amount of light) and CRI, or color rendering index. But the short answer is that cool white balances these two factors.
-- Mike Culver;
RV-9 project sold but details of the build at
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:52 PM
diamond diamond is online now
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 710

If I remember correctly, all 3 choices at my store had the same CRI at 75 and all had about the same lumens at 2800 (I think). I certainly don't want blue light though, so thanks for the advise.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:59 PM
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CPSONE CPSONE is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 216
Default T8 Bulbs

I have Sylvania T8's Daylight, 6500K.
Package says 48" 32W. 2700 Lumens. 75 CRI.
Very white, like them...Picture taken without flash if you're wondering.
Is there supposed to be that much scotchbrite wheel dust on a 7A? There's my hat...

RV-6 emp, done-sold,
RV7A QB. Passed pre-cover and sold!
Disclaimer: Everything I say can be presumed to be wrong. Don't try this at home.

Last edited by CPSONE : 01-02-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:35 AM
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SMO SMO is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Salmon Arm, BC
Posts: 933

I lit my new (to me) shop recently and used these bulbs:

Colour temperature - 4100k, CRI - 78, Lumens - 2800

I like them.
Mark Olson
1987 RV-4 Sold
2003 Super Decathlon - Sold
F1 EVO Rocket, first flight May 31/14
First in line for the Sonex JSX-2T kit
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:45 AM
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AltonD AltonD is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dothan, Alabama
Posts: 1,492

First off, spend the extra money and get the 8 foot fixtures, Cold start.
This is money well spent.
Fluorescent lights have to heat up to put out good light. The non cold-start lights struggle in a cold shop.
Alton DeWeese
N526RV RV7A Tip Up, IO360 180 W/Hartzel BA prop.
Flying ~950 hours since Aug 2010

Construction Log
?The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.?

?Mark Twain
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:33 AM
RV10Man RV10Man is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 1,050

Cool white. Like Alton said, get the 8' high output (these are cold weather ballast also), you won't be disappointed. F96T12CW/HO.

Marshall Alexander
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:30 AM
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N713R N713R is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Flanagan, IL
Posts: 194
Default T12 fixtures

There is some sound advice on in some of these posts. Some are recommending 8' fixtures over 4s. That decision depends more on the layout of the lighting plan. It sounds as if you are on the right track with the T8s. The T5 54W fixtures are a good option, but depend on mounting height. Unless you are 13+ feet at mounting height, T8's are the better choice. Dont buy any T12 fixtures of any type, as this is a dying form, and bulbs are going to get very expensive, and hard to find in just a few years.
As far as color, I personally have 5000K lamps in my shop, I just recently relamped from 3500K lamps. I like the 5000K much better. If like it exceptionally bright, and don't like the yellowing. buy a couple of each, and take them home. Put them side by side, and have a look. Then you are only out 2 lamps, rather than a whole shop worth.
The 5000K are whiter. The 4100K are a little softer. 3500K has a yellow tint, and 6500K is getting into the blue-whites and is pretty harsh light.

Advice worth exactly what you paid for it.

Ben Schneider
RV-7 FWF & Finish Kit
N713R Reserved

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:41 AM
BlndRvtr BlndRvtr is online now
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NE Where
Posts: 378
Default Above 13'

If your mounting height IS above 13' (probably about 20-22') in a cold shop, then what do you recommend?

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Old 01-02-2012, 08:08 AM
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RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,932
Default 4 footers

My hangar is 45'x40 with 15 foot ceilings. I replaced the 4 foot 2 bulb fixtures with 4 foot 4 bulb T8 fixtures. To me the lighting is now perfect.

I would avoid 8 foot fixtures, just simply because of the cost and the slightly increased duty of installation and servicing.

There was a NYE party at a neighbors hangar. It is a huge hangar and he had 24!!! 4 foot fixtures that have 6 bulbs each. Interestingly, these fixtures have two circuits. The middle 2 bulbs on one circuit then all 6 on another. He turned them all on and I'm sure with the hangar door open, the light would be visible from Space!!!! Serious overkill and he admitted that.

Go with evenly spaced 4 footers, 4 bulb units. As noted above, 6 work great in my 1800 foot hangar.

Originally Posted by BlndRvtr View Post
If your mounting height IS above 13' (probably about 20-22') in a cold shop, then what do you recommend?

Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler AZ
RV-7 N717EE-Flying (Sold)
RV-7 N717AZ Flying, in paint
EMS Bell 407,
Eurocopter 350 A-Star Driver
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