where are the LED shop lights?
July 1, 2006 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Why can't I find LED shop lights?

Halogen shop lights are fantastically hot and dangerous, as I learned by helping a friend paint a bedroom on a summer day.... why can't I find cool, efficient LED shop lights on a portable stand? I'm thinking about this style of light. I've only found the handheld tube lights that my mechanic has hanging from his shop ceiling.
posted by Steve3 to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Individual LEDs aren't powerful enough yet. A cluster of them might be bright enough together but then the light would probably be too diffuse since a collector works best with a point source.
posted by randomstriker at 8:11 PM on July 1, 2006

Good question. I have seen hard-core techno-greenies fashion LED lights for domestic applications (helps that their solar systems are 12v), but you can't buy LED lights to screw into a normal light fitting and I don't know why. I don't think the technical issues are a consideration (having seen them made from scratcha nd working fine), maybe it's jsut a matter of the chicken and the egg, there's no demand so no supply, hence no demand.
posted by wilful at 8:19 PM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Then there could be a collector for each bulb, like the the inova X5.
posted by Steve3 at 8:25 PM on July 1, 2006

you can't buy LED lights to screw into a normal light fitting

Sure you can, just search.

Re shop lights:
posted by intermod at 8:50 PM on July 1, 2006

Halogen shop lights are fantastically hot and dangerous

Yeah, but LED's (particularly green and blue) are fantastically expensive.

Your best bet is to use fluorescents. Self-ballasted fluorescents are like the replacement incandescents you can screw into a plain-Jane light socket. You'll want a high-lumens tube, perhaps an array of 2 or 4 if you're feeling saucy. There are plenty around, and since this is for a shop light, you won't care about the Color Rendition Index (CRI) -- essentially the color accuracy of the tube. High CRI tubes use rare-earth elements to "fake" a pure white light, but you probably won't notice the difference unless you were doing color-critical work like photography or graphic arts.

MaxLight makes some 200W fluoros that put out shitloads of light. I'm sure Osram/Sylvania and GE produce similar models. The higher the W, the more the light output, in general. I haven't seen too many self-ballasted tubes that go higher than 200W, probably for safety reasons.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:19 PM on July 1, 2006

Just in case you're asking yourself, "Yeah, but can a 200W fluorescent really compare to a 500W halogen? -- take a look at the normal applications of use for that bulb: gymnasiums, warehouses, churches...

Should do the trick. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:22 PM on July 1, 2006

Is this enough light? this might be better.$410.00 for the LED lamp
posted by hortense at 1:05 AM on July 2, 2006

I just have a comment. If your plans include judging colors with any accuracy, halogens are still the best way to go. If fluorescent light looks off to you, an LED will be even more so. If you haven't already, I suggest picking up a white LED flashlight to decide whether that's even where you want to go.
posted by evil holiday magic at 3:07 AM on July 2, 2006

Any lamp is going to generate heat as well as light. For a given amount of light, you'll get the least heat from the most energy-efficient lighting technology.

It should be no surprise to you to find out that halogen lamps are very inefficient; only standard incandescents are worse.

White LEDs are better, but very expensive. High intensity discharge lamps (high-pressure sodium and metal hydride), long favoured by indoor gardeners, have their own problems.

As others have said above, the best commercially available technology today for a compact and portable lamp is probably compact fluorescent lamps; though if you're going all-out for energy efficiency at any price and don't care about CRI, this may change quite soon.
posted by flabdablet at 3:52 AM on July 2, 2006

What you may want is a Luxeon Star.
posted by polyglot at 5:21 AM on July 2, 2006

Response by poster: Intermod's first google hit is effectively what I'm going for, except in a DIY project.

I'm not really concerned about the CRI, it just seemed to me there should be a better way to see what we were painting than sharing a small room with a space heater that happened to put out light too.
posted by Steve3 at 5:47 AM on July 2, 2006

If you're going to DIY with banks of consumer-grade colored LEDs, be aware of two things:

1. The current-limiting resistors that these projects typically use produce no light, only heat. If your aim is to use a stack of LEDs to make a lot of light and as little heat as possible, you should run them in a long series string with no resistor, and design a switching power supply to supply the string with a fixed current.

2. Even with the best possible power supply arrangements, your project will put out more heat than a CFL-based fixture with equivalent light output, as well as being much much much more expensive.
posted by flabdablet at 6:47 AM on July 2, 2006

I don't know what kind of shop you have, but you may not want the LEDs because of their terrible colour reproduciton. They are starting to get bright enough, but their range is very limited.
posted by jmgorman at 6:57 AM on July 2, 2006

For comparison purposes: the LED streetlamp from Hortense's second link puts out 450 to 1200 lumens depending on the light color you want, consume 19 watts, and cost $725.

Typical 18 watt supermarket-grade compact fluorescent lamps are good for about 1100 lumens, and I've bought them for as little as AU$2.50. To be fair, that's just for the lamp itself and doesn't include a housing.

The 600 watt halogen lamp you originally linked to would emit something of the order of 14000 lumens, and the 200W CFL that C_D linked to is a 12000 lumen unit.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 AM on July 2, 2006

"why can't I find cool, efficient LED shop lights on a portable stand?"

Because LED's time has not yet come for main/ambient lighting. White LEDs last for less time than coloured LEDs. When you cluster them together in the sort of numbers required for ambient lighting, heat disippation becomes a problem and this knackers their lifetime furter. As the technology improves this will be resolved, but this is basically why LED fittings you're hoping for aren't widely available. With LEDs think emergency and accent lighting for now.
posted by nthdegx at 10:50 AM on September 2, 2006

« Older Cosigning for a student loan   |   Copywrite hints and tips Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.