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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Recessed fluorescent ballast strips (not troffer)

I want to install fluorescent lighting in my basement that would be recessed between the 16" joists.

Most encased ballasts (troffers) cost a ton.

I was thinking of buying a bare strip ballast like this:
»www.homedepot.ca/product/48-in-t···t/972612

I'd build a drywall box inside the joist cavity, then covering it up with a nice lens+trim.

I can't seem to find guides on the matter, such as the proper materials, clearing, reflector, styles, etc. Maybe because I don't know the proper terminology.

Anybody can direct me?


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
You can do pretty much whatever is required. Nothing special needed.

Paint the cavity white for best results.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
That's what I was thinking regarding the reflector. Just white paint would do.

So no minimum clearance for heat dissipation? Anyway it won't be insulated inside the box.

Now I'm curious about styles.

At my office we have these very thin slits for the conference room, it looks really sharp. But they use LED, so they are flush against the lens, hence no light lost there from the narrow opening.


shdesigns
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Stone Mountain, GA
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reply to alkizmo
That is exactly what I used.

I added walls to my finished basement. It was one long L-shaped room. In the office, there is a drywall chase running down the ceiling. It is about 12" from one wall. This left a perfect area to put lights in between the wall and the chase.

I installed two, 4', single-bulb lamps. I then installed the L-channel used for suspended ceilings around the area. Then cut some 2x4' plastic diffusers down to 12". I cut some T-rails down to divide the panels.

It worked well, it washes the wall with light so most light is indirect. Just left the area painted white. I guess a gloss white would have worked better.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to alkizmo
Click for full size
I did a bathroom remodel once that came out similar to what you are wanting. Homeowner was in a commercial bathroom and really liked the lighting over the sink so he had me replicate it. I put up a $5.00 shop light and built a small wall to hang down in front of it. The wall was drywalled and paint white all around to match the rest of the room. I found some L-shaped plastic pieces that went around the opening on all 4 sides. I then got a 2x4 foot piece of plastic grid meant for a drop ceiling and cut it to size to sit on top those L-shaped pieces. It came out exactly like the picture he had of the commercial bathroom so he was happy. Obviously you don't have to build any walls to hang down but the concept of using the trim pieces and put in something to diffuse the light is the same.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo
shdesigns, my basement is exactly the same, a 450 sqft L-shaped room. (there's more, but that's storage/utility).

Both you and Ken basically say the same thing, which tells me this is the way to go.

All that's left to decide is the trim and lens/diffuser style. I'll let my wife do that.

Though my lights won't be running along the walls unfortunately. my joists run perpendicular to the lenght of the basement (that's right, the joists change direction in the second section of the L shape). It's okay though, I wanted a more central lighting for the long part of the L. For the short part of the L, I will make a home theather room, so the lighting will probably be pot lights.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to alkizmo
All ballasts are Class P, meaning they have integral thermal protection. As long as the ambient temp is under 104F, you should be good.

Virtually all new ballasts are electronic switchers, so they do get warm, but not too bad. Just give them some room to "breathe".


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by John Galt:

Just give them some room to "breathe".

Cool
They'll have the full joist space minus drywall thickness, so a good 13" width and probably 50" lenght with 6" depth ( gotta put some sound insulation under the floor above )


shdesigns
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reply to John Galt
My lights are the old inductive type ballasts. They do get warm but in an area 12x12" the heat gets dissipated. Newer ballasts would run cooler.

Yours would be 14.5 by 9.5 to 11.5, so I would not expect a problem. If they were in a small area like 6x6 I would worry about heat.

Just paint the joists and subfloor gloss white and you should be fine.

Mine has been there for 15 years. The paint has yellowed due to the UV from the bulbs. It was cheap latex, I think a glossy oil-based white would do better.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by shdesigns:

Just paint the joists and subfloor gloss white and you should be fine.

Mine has been there for 15 years. The paint has yellowed due to the UV from the bulbs. It was cheap latex, I think a glossy oil-based white would do better.

Good idea, if I use a diffuser lens, you wouldn't see the painted joists, just washed white.

Though I'd still put a back board over the subfloor, not just because I want to bring the bulb closer to the bottom of the joist, but because the subfloor has a ton of nails sticking out from it and I'd like some sound insulation

As for your yellowing paint, why not buy a can of spray paint and refresh it a little bit?


John Galt
Forward, March
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join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
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reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

gotta put some sound insulation under the floor above

Use some fender washers (3-4) to move the entire strip off of the sheetrock so it is not acting like a 'sounding board'.

Make sure the ballasts are rated 'sound level 'A'...virtually all electronic ballasts are quieter than this, though.


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to alkizmo
I hate to be a negative Nelly here, but every finished basement in the 70's seemed to have this exact same arrangement (that you are proposing).

Can I just say that it ends up looking like shit? The light doesn't push out properly. They are hard to work on.

Troffers aren't that expensive. About $45 / ea for a 3 lamp T8 with a polycarbonate prismatic lens.

Or, why not do can lights? You can still do fluorescent. Nice finished look that directs the light properly. When all is said and done, it'll probably cost less than kludging something together.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


tschmidt
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join:2000-11-12
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reply to alkizmo
I did something similar in our basement but got workshop lights that include a reflector. That would probably yield better light distribution then DIY reflectors.

Ours are old magnetic ballasts - converting them to electronic and T8 tubes is on my to-do list.

/tom

garys_2k
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Farmington, MI
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reply to nunya
said by nunya:

I hate to be a negative Nelly here, but every finished basement in the 70's seemed to have this exact same arrangement (that you are proposing).

Can I just say that it ends up looking like shit? The light doesn't push out properly. They are hard to work on.

+1, it will look like a basement set for "That 70s Show." Can lights are the way to go. We did have the fluorescent lights setup like you describe IN the 70s and it was crappy. We also had fake wood paneling, too. Oh, yeah, the 70s...


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to nunya
I can imagine it will look like shit compared to can lights.
I'm not saying this will be the final choice. I'm actually considering can lights as well, but with your bashing of CFL quality, I thought that real fluesrecent lighting would be more adequate. Then again I havent seen a CFL explode in a ball of fire yet

I also work in a bank, so you can imagine that I'm being brain washed in accepting fluorescent lighting and I've seen really nice designs.

PS: Here, Troffers are overpriced. You guys have it sweet in the states. 10$ LEDs, 5$ 2" PVC, 45$ 3 lamp T8.

Here: 25$ LED, 20$ 2" PVC, 60$ TWO lamp troffers

But Nunya, your negativism only makes us go in a better direction


nunya
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About 6 years ago, I put some CFL can fixtures in my own house. They use 4-pin CFL lights (26 watt). The ballast is in the fixture. I haven't had to replace a lamp or ballast yet. The fixtures were about $25. The trims were about $10, and the lamps were about $2.50.
I realize the prices won't apply to you at home, but it gives you some idea. Have you found a decent electrical supply house yet? If not, you should.

Not all CFL's are evil. Just most of the "self ballasted" type.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by nunya:

About 6 years ago, I put some CFL can fixtures in my own house. They use 4-pin CFL lights (26 watt). The ballast is in the fixture. I haven't had to replace a lamp or ballast yet. The fixtures were about $25. The trims were about $10, and the lamps were about $2.50.
I realize the prices won't apply to you at home, but it gives you some idea. Have you found a decent electrical supply house yet? If not, you should.

Not all CFL's are evil. Just most of the "self ballasted" type.

Ah see that's something I didn't know, that there were non-self-ballasted CFLs. Yeah I see them online now that I knew to look for them. Cool beans.

My wife, kids and in-laws will go to China for 5 weeks at the end of January. This will give me the freedom to take a whole weekend to visit several electrical supply stores that are electrician oriented and see which ones make it easy for home owners to shop.

edit - What's the difference between 2 and 4 pin?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
said by alkizmo:

My wife, kids and in-laws will go to China for 5 weeks at the end of January. This will give me the freedom to take a whole weekend to visit several electrical supply stores that are electrician oriented and see which ones make it easy for home owners to shop.

It is rare to find a supply house for any trade open on weekends around here. 7:30 - 4:30, maybe a little later or earlier, Monday - Friday only. They are open the hours a person would expect a professional (electrician, plumber, HVAC, etc) to be working.

telco_mtl

join:2012-01-06
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

I want to install fluorescent lighting in my basement that would be recessed between the 16" joists.

Most encased ballasts (troffers) cost a ton.

I was thinking of buying a bare strip ballast like this:
»www.homedepot.ca/product/48-in-t···t/972612

I'd build a drywall box inside the joist cavity, then covering it up with a nice lens+trim.

I can't seem to find guides on the matter, such as the proper materials, clearing, reflector, styles, etc. Maybe because I don't know the proper terminology.

Anybody can direct me?

ive often seen those built into recessed fixtures in 1960s homes, basically a drywall box between the joists and with the opening trimming it out with quarter round to hold a diffuser in. if you want i can take a picture at my moms house,


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

It is rare to find a supply house for any trade open on weekends around here. 7:30 - 4:30, maybe a little later or earlier, Monday - Friday only. They are open the hours a person would expect a professional (electrician, plumber, HVAC, etc) to be working.

True, if some of them are like that, I can day a few days off from work. I'm actually considering taking my paternity leave rights (5 weeks) in the middle of my family's absence so I can really get some work done in the basement. Right now it's back to a crawl because the moment I step in the door, I'm handed our baby girl to hold until dinner, then dinner, then gotta do homework with our son, then it's too late to work.

prairiesky

join:2008-12-08
canada
kudos:2
reply to alkizmo
tbar or drywall ceiling?

If t-bar, hang one of these in the joist space
»www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog···arch+All

then use a t bar lense below, easy peasy, dirt cheap

sk1939
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join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
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said by prairiesky:

tbar or drywall ceiling?

If t-bar, hang one of these in the joist space
»www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog···arch+All

then use a t bar lense below, easy peasy, dirt cheap

That's how my basement is done, but unless you hang the light closer to the diffuser you end up lighting up the joist space more than you basement. Also need quite a few to light up a decent sized basement.