Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Light - No Light Without Bulbs

Light can be a necessary evil, but we're fortunate in this day and age to have light at the other end of simple electrical switches. We just flip the switch and "voila!", light. Of course, that depends on a bit more than flipping a switch. There has to be power to the switch, the circuits to the lamp or fixture have to be intact, and there has to be a working light-bulb of some type in the appropriate socket. Usually this isn't a problem. In my shop, however, it's a major problem. 

Light bulbs. We hardly think about them any more, except to
decide on the type - LED, fluorescent, or incandescent. They
are ubiquitous in our lives, and essential. We take them for
granted, but they are a relatively recent invention - 1879. 

Like many more industrial settings, we have fluorescent lighting in the shop. It provides ample light at a reasonable electrical cost. In office buildings, the fixtures are usually hidden behind dropped ceiling tiles with wafer grids and baffles for the lit sections. My set-up is a bit more industrial than that. The building itself dates from the 1920's or so and has been used over the years for everything from a bakery producing loaves of bread to a branch of the local Half-Price Books bookstore. I got the location after the bookstore moved on to a different location in the early 1990's. 

This is similar to what I have, except my run of lights is continuous,
not with the breaks between fixtures. It gives great light, so when
one fixture burns out, I don't worry too much. I have more than
one fixture out right now. Time for bulbs and ballasts. 

The landlord fixed up the place and redid the lights and wiring before we moved in. We have three rows of fluorescent fixtures running from the front door to the back, and two rows of fixtures in the basement. That's a lot of fixtures, and a lot of bulbs - the eight-foot long variety of bulbs. The length of the bulbs wouldn't be horrible, except for one minor addition - the ceilings are 12-foot high. So I have a VERY tall and rather heavy ladder from when I had my Mall of America shop. We use that to climb up and change the bulbs - but it's heavy, difficult to move, and since we have remodeled several times, some areas of the shop are almost impossible to get the ladder into. 

Each fixture has a ballast which controls the power to the bulbs. These
also burn out over time, and they're a lot more expensive to replace
than the bulbs are. 

The holidays are coming up. I'd like to be fully - or at least somewhat fully lit when they arrive. DH will change ballasts in the fixtures as needed (I hope he remembers how to do that, the old style we used to use has been supplanted by a new style regulated by law as less of an environmental problem and they install quite differently). He'll need to get that handled over the next month or so. I, on the other hand, will pick up the first box of several eight-foot fluorescent bulbs later this morning. Oh, the joy of small business ownership. - NOT! 

I'll drop by the building supply store this morning and purchase the
first box of 16 new bulbs. I'm sure we'll end up needing at least
one more box before we're finished. DH can get more in his truck,
along with some ballasts. 

For all of you, my patient readers, I wish for a light-filled and happy day. It's Tuesday, the pool is calling my name, and it's all good. Happy day to all, and I'll return tomorrow. 

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