Thursday, April 11, 2019

updated bench lighting

Showing off my updated NASA level bench lighting installed this week along with a general cleanup.

[click any pic to enlarge]

A four foot single tube 18watt LED costing C$15 runs the whole of the shelf above the bench at about eye level. It shines down and back. The lamp is attached to the shelf at each end with two bendable strips. The beam of light has a smooth broad focus. I can change where it points without getting the main light in my eyes.

My primitive light meter shows 106-108 foot-candles in the center of the desk. Quite bright. Good enough for NASA soldering. I don't do soldering for NASA but if it is good enough for them, I'm happy.

Most of my projects are shoe box size so there is plenty of space on the bench. The "device under test", parts, tools, wires, paper and other stuff tend to litter the bench once underway but nothing on the bench has to be there so it cleans up nicely between projects.

The lighting is unobtrusive yet right at eye level. Light floods the entire volume of the bench top. There are no shadows.

AC sockets on both sides make it easy to plug in additional stuff as needed. A variable AC supply (Variac) and meter tucked in the back corner make it easy to control test AC power.

A very bright space for only 18 watts and $15. I haven't seen it done quite this way. Lights under shelves on the other hand go back to at least the 60s?

The shelf above the bench holds test equipment that is actually more visible with slightly subdued light so having the task light under the shelf is a benefit to the arrangement.

I used plastic cable clamps to hold the wire and switch. Light control is via WiFi or RF remote but the product's hard wired switch is my backup control.

My office got the same treatment. The shelves are conveniently 4 feet long. The lamps were mounted in the same manner, hung from the shelves with flexible straps cut from pipe strapping.

Previously, I could see each of the monitors well but I could not easily read paper on the desk in front of me. My head and shoulders would cast a shadow of the overhead room light onto the desk ahead of me to make reading difficult. Now the desk surface is all uniformly and comfortably lit.

Experimenting with the position of the monitors relative to the lamps by sliding forward or back on the desk. Seems to work best when the monitors are more or less under the lamps. Fine adjustment is easy.

I have the lamps in the office plugged into one Sonoff Basic RF switch which I can control in the usual way with eWeLink or a Sonoff key fob switch.

Thanks for your interest.

George Plhak
Lions Head, Ontario, Canada

The LED maker claims 1850 Lumens but I can't measure Lumens.

Lumens (light) can be complicated...(a flashlight testing example)

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