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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wiring ceiling lights in my shop and my wife looked at me like I was crazy (she does this often) when I explained to her that all 9 3 bulb T8 fixtures would be on one switch. She thought it would be 3 fixtures x 3 switches so you could turn on however many you wanted.

This is a 30 x 30 space with 3 rows of 3 lights. Do you have your shop lights split into groups or zones and if so, how often do you actually not turn them all on/off? This is all piped with EMT so I can wire it however I want, I just hadn't thought about splitting them up until yesterday. Is it worth the extra wire and trouble?
 

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I would have more than one switch.

I think I'd put the 4 corners on 1 switch the other 5 on another.

IE give one switch with enough light to let you find what you want or just hang out in the shop. and then have the other switch for when you actually need to see and work on stuff in the shop.
 

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In my "shop" (2 car garage) the ceiling is split into three cavities due to central air vent and a support beam.

I have the rear most and center cavities on one wall switch (8 t-8 4ft'ers).

I have the front section (where the garage doors open and cover) on their own switch (4 t-8 4ft'ers). This way I can shut them off when the doors are open and not waste power, etc. The switch is on the bean that is mid garage so I can easily turn them on/off.
 

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My shop is 24x38 and I have it split up into two zones plus an extra.

The space is basically divided into half - two drive-in bays and then a work space. Each has its own switch for the main lighting - currently 8' T12HO fixtures. Then I have another switch that controls three fixtures each with a 6 watt LED bulb (40W equivalent) - one at the entrance man door and one in each half. These give enough light to get around if I'm not actually working and don't want to light things up like Clark Griswold's Christmas display. Beyond that, I have lighting over the workbenches that is separately controlled.

For me, a certain amount of this had to do with the loads of the T12s - each zone is on a 15A circuit - and the energy they use. With your T8 fixtures, both of these will be less of an issue to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, I hadn't thought about just walk around, not kill yourself lights...

I'm almost done with conduit and the layout allows me to wire it however I want pretty easy.
 

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My garage is a 26 x 36 and has two pain the ass center posts. I put three rows of lights running the 36' direction with two rows on the back half and one row on the front half. They are on three switches. I also went ahead and ran emt down the pain in the ass post that is on the left side of the center bay and wired all three light runs on three way switches. That way when we pull into the garage at night we can get out of the car and hit the switch instead of rushing through the garage to the switch by the door before the door opener light goes out.

In hind sight I probably wouldn't bother with putting them all on three way switches but since they are there, I use the switches on the posts more than the switches by the door. For what it's worth, my garage is detached. I could see if the garage was attached that the switch location needs would be a little different.
 

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Split it. There are times when you'll go out there just to grab something and be in and out in a flash. No need to light the entire shop up at those times.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My garage is a 26 x 36 and has two pain the ass center posts. I put three rows of lights running the 36' direction with two rows on the back half and one row on the front half. They are on three switches. I also went ahead and ran emt down the pain in the ass post that is on the left side of the center bay and wired all three light runs on three way switches. That way when we pull into the garage at night we can get out of the car and hit the switch instead of rushing through the garage to the switch by the door before the door opener light goes out.

In hind sight I probably wouldn't bother with putting them all on three way switches but since they are there, I use the switches on the posts more than the switches by the door. For what it's worth, my garage is detached. I could see if the garage was attached that the switch location needs would be a little different.
Tell us how you really feel about these posts. :laughing:
 

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My garage is a 26 x 36 and has two pain the ass center posts.
Best money I spent was a few hundred on a couple steel beams so I didn't have center posts.
 

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Best money I spent was a few hundred on a couple steel beams so I didn't have center posts.
Wish I had! Though the posts were an easy place to mount my leg vise.


I too, split my service into bays with a center zone separate that provides enough light to get around or get to the stairs to the second floor. That way when I am working in one area I'm not burning twice the electricity just keeping enough light on not to kill myself walking around.
 

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My 30x30 is all on one switch. The overhead lights were already installed when I bought the building, but if I were to do it from scratch I doubt I'd do it differently. I really like the amount (and color temperature) of the lighting I have, and if you're planning to 'save' money by not having the whole set turn on if you're just running in to grab something, see how long that 20 or 30 seconds of electrical savings takes to pay back the time, copper, and hardware of running separate circuits...

Although, I do have a few translucent panels in the roof, that really help out during the day. To the point of not needing lights hardly at all. But, that will disappear when I do a ceiling & insulation this fall...
 

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Tell us how you really feel about these posts. :laughing:
Best money I spent was a few hundred on a couple steel beams so I didn't have center posts.

:laughing: I would have spent whatever it took to not have posts if I had built the garage. We bought the house, garage, and property in 2004 and started unscrewing things up immediately.

Now I rent shop space in a 10400 sq. ft. clear span building so the posts in my garage are not nearly the pain in my ass that they used to be.
 

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My 30'x30'x10' has 8' T8 lights on one switch by the entrance door that light up the whole shop floor. There's another switch by the garage door that turns on two additional 8' T8's that are located in the center line of the shop.

I always use the switch that lights up the whole shop since I do a few laps looking for stuff anyways. I kick on the other two lights only when I need a little more light.

I've been wanting to add a few additional lights on the second switch at a 45* angle higher up on the walls to shoot some light from the sides. There's plenty of light from above, but usually find myself setting up extra lights when working in or under a vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My 30'x30'x10' has 8' T8 lights on one switch by the entrance door that light up the whole shop floor. There's another switch by the garage door that turns on two additional 8' T8's that are located in the center line of the shop.

I always use the switch that lights up the whole shop since I do a few laps looking for stuff anyways. I kick on the other two lights only when I need a little more light.

I've been wanting to add a few additional lights on the second switch at a 45* angle higher up on the walls to shoot some light from the sides. There's plenty of light from above, but usually find myself setting up extra lights when working in or under a vehicle.
So are you talking about the 8' T8 fixtures that have 4 4' T8 bulbs? 32 watt bulbs? How many fixtures do you have?

I'm putting in 9 3 bulb @ 32 watt each fixtures in my 30' x 30' 14' off the floor, just wondering how bright I'm going to be. :D
 

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I've only got 6 lights and two switches set up:

All on

0......0
0......0
0......0

One set
0
.......0
0
Or the other
.......0
0
.......0

You might consider staggering the switches somehow. I often have enough light with one set, especially when the roll up is open.
 

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Mine is all on one switch. If I need to walk through real quick (like letting the dog out) I just turn on the light for the door opener.
 

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So are you talking about the 8' T8 fixtures that have 4 4' T8 bulbs? 32 watt bulbs? How many fixtures do you have?

I'm putting in 9 3 bulb @ 32 watt each fixtures in my 30' x 30' 14' off the floor, just wondering how bright I'm going to be. :D
I have six fixtures mounted haphazardly at 2x 59W bulbs. Each bulb is 8' long. I did a T-12 to T-8 conversion about seven years ago. The 8' T8's are a rarity, but I got a great deal on the bulbs and ballasts at the time. The shop was built in the late 80's, but the fixtures were old. That's the way I bought the place.

It lights the floor up very well, but like I said in the earlier post, I'd think about putting some lights up on the walls at an angle if you can.
 

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we got two switches, one for each side of the shop, I just automagically hit both every time. Maybe different in something bigger than 30 by 30
 

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My 40x50 is kinda divided down the center by the mezzanine. 4 lighting zones: north wall (thus north bay), south wall (ditto), under the mezzanine (lights the mill and workbench), above the mezzanine (mostly just lights the mezzanine so rarely have these on).
 
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