How to light a two car garage for under $30

These look very promising. I just ordered 5 each of the warm white and white 50W version. $1.59 each, free shipping. We’ll see.
If you watch Big Clives videos you may see that it might be possible to reduce the 50W version that I ordered to the less powerful 20W and 30W versions. All 3 cost the same.

It is really good and works fine too. You can mix warm whites with cool whites and you’ll get a neutral whitish tint if you like.

Awesome! So Vegas, did you choose the “warm white” bar lights? How’s the tint? I’d be looking to replace cool white florescent T8 strips in my garage. Seems I’d prefer to be between the cool white & warm white.

In any case, I need to get some of these bar lights to experiment with!


Do you have to replace? I’d be inclined to add warm white to your existing cool white to get your somewhere in between, with bonus lumens since you’d have both.

I don’t have to replace, just thought that was the natural place to start to try them out. I figured they’d be way more efficient. Right now one garage bay has 6 florescent light units (2 32wt TO bulbs per unit) total around perimeter of 3 sides and the other bay I never finished (that side is mostly storage while the first side is my “working” side). I could wire up the unfinished side to directly compare the two.

How well would the tints mix? If I bought 1 of each tint of these bar lights, should I figure on mounting them side by side for best tint mix? Would you choose the model with the diffuser lens or just use the bare strip? (I’m leaning toward the diffused, but not if it blocks a lot of the light.) Guess I could order the diffused and easily remove the diffuser to compare. Sounds like I need to order a few & a driver to play with (hey, they’re cheap enough!). It’s just such a long wait when I need to place the 2nd order of what I decide on.


It turns out that three of the seven bar lights are natural white and four are cool white. It wasn’t intentional to do it this way but I purchased quite a few bar lights from different suppliers and they are not always the same. I like warm white in my bathrooms but used cool white throughout my house otherwise. The 7W bathroom fixtures did not produce enough light for my needs so I added a 7W cool white COB strip to the top of the fixture. The result is more light that is a combination of white and warm white. Mixing them does work. Some people find cool white or natural white harsh but I wanted the maximum lighting with minimal wattage and cool white produces more light per watt. It is just so nice to have even illumination all over the garage compared to one 25W COB bulb in the center of the garage or the old 4 foot fluorescent fixture. Most sellers offer warm white and cool white. A few offer natural white which is supposed to be closer to sunlight.

I bought a dozen 20 and 30 watt COB IC chips recently. They work quite well in enclosed lamps with milky covers. They were not available when I installed my garage lights but I would not have used them in the garage. The first reason is that they are not low-voltage so require wiring to 120V AC. Wiring them is a lot more complicated and expensive in order to meet electrical codes. The other reason is they are a concentrated light source. I wanted even light well spread out. The bar lights do that. Four of them take the same watts as one 30W COB but spread the light much more evenly if you position them correctly.

A couple of people who responded here and in a different thread complained the COB IC chips weren’t bright, produced off-color light, or flickered. I had none of those problems with the ones I bought and they were right around $1.50 each. I didn’t purchase any 50W COBs. I couldn’t see all that much difference between the 20W and 30W chips so would use the 20W chips in the future for lamp conversions.

Hmm as far as wattage consumed & possibly even light output, wouldn’t it be more efficient to just install standard E27 light bases (i.e porcelain or plastic lamp holders over a plastic junction box) and use standard cheap E27 LED light bulbs (probably 40 watt equivalent)? This was my original thought for my garage (after I had already hung the new florescent lights). Sure there might be more install hassle & cost, but it’s easy maintenance! In my case, much of the electric is already in place. There’s no drywall to deal with so it’s easy to access to rewire. Thoughts on just going that way?

Just looked at my 40wt equiv bulbs and they are rated 5.5wt for 450 lumens. The 60 wt equiv bulbs are rated 9wt for 750 lumens. I don’t know if the lumen ratings are accurate on the strips, but I think I saw them rated just over 1000 lumens (and going by your statement that they are 7wt.) So I guess the strips are more efficient (unless more strips are needed to get the coverage that less E27 bulbs would provide). Still not a huge difference.

The only “natural white” I came across also listed 6000k same as the cool whites (but I didn’t look around thoroughly).


I’ve just received 5 of each also.

They appear awfully small - do you think they really are 50w?

Any idea what sort of heat sinking they will require? Don’t really want to be mounting fans, so will be looking at passive cooling.

Today I received a couple of those modules. I had ordered 5 warm white and 5 cool white from a vendor, but I also ordered 1 and 1 from another vendor, just in case his arrived earlier. They did.

These are not the same exact modules that Big Clive reviewed so hopefully the 5 and 5 batch will be better.

First off, they are a big disappointment. They are not very bright and they consume a LOT of power.
My estimation is that they are about as bright as a 7W LED bulb (about 800 lumen) but consume probably in excess of 30W.
The ones I ordered should have been rated at 50W with 4 driver chips on the right. I got modules with only 2 chips

Here is one held up against a 15W, 1600 lumen “dedomed” LED light bulb.

This photo was taken during the middle of the day, hard to tell how much light is output. For this shot I placed identical domes over each light, and also took a shot of the ceiling over both lights running at the same time.

It’s dark outside now so I did a further test to show just how bad these modules are. It’s too bad, I had high hopes for them and as bad as they are, they are much better than the ones I ordered previously about a year ago.
On the left is a 1600 lumen, 15W LED light bulb. To the right is a module with an identical dome covering it I cut off another bulb.
It’s pretty apparent from this picture that the bulb on the left is much brighter than the module on the right

Next I held a box up halfway between the 2 lights. I adjusted the height so that the shadows are directly over each light.

At first this may be counter intuitive, but the lighter shadow on the left is over the brighter of the 2 lights, the 1600W LED bulb. It is important to realize that that shadow is cast by the module. The shadow on the right is cast by the bulb.
The darkness of the 2 shadows show the relative brightness of each light And from this picture it is obvious the bulb beats the module by a large margin!
Next I measured the wattage of each light. Believe it or not, the brighter of the 2 used half the watts! Further proof these modules SUCK.
LED bulb on left, module on right.

64sq cm per watt is what I would recommend for passive cooling. But since these COBs are packing all their beads into a tight space I really recommend you go for active cooling with a fan on a CPU heatsink or similar. For active cooling I would say you need only about 14sq cm per watt. If you were using 3*20W COBs you could get away with passive cooling.

That’s odd since each one of them BP chips can only handle about 10W of power. They could be using some other chips? can you confirm what chip the COBs you got are using?
Where did you buy it from, and which seller?

Could you please show the PF reading for that COB ?

Yeah, the one Big Clive tested out had 2 chips. 1 on the left and 1 of 4 possible on the right.

The ones I have received so far do not have that chip on the left and only 2 of 4 possible on the right.

I ordered 50W versions, I expected to see all 5 chips mounted.
The ones I received came from here. they are now saying the 50W ones are out of stock. I received the 20W ones and they should have been 99 cents each.\_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Here is a shot of the power factor.

my previous shot of the Wattage was wrong, that showed the VA, the Watts were really 28

hmm… what about thermal regulation? does that work properly for you?
My 20W COB starts at around 26 watts and comes down to 11 watts after 2 minutes of improper heatsink. With correct application of thermal paste and appropriate heatsink my COB maintains it’s wattage at around 18 watts when sink temperature is about ~68°C.

Exactly. Standard light bulb fixtures using new LED bulbs are going to be way more efficient, they may have better tint and are upgradeable. When something fails, just screw out a bulb and replace with another $2 unit. As an added benefit, this setup would be legal and preferred by insurance companies all over the world.

If you did this in 2010 and want to upgrade now, it’s $ € 1-5 per bulb and 2 minutes per garage, and wow: you get way better tint and/or efficiency. Too little power? Just switch from 5 watts per bulb to 10 per bulb.

Want IoT automatic lights? Variable color porn lights? Guess you had the bulbs wired in several groups if you were not really dumb. Yeah, easy to do in that case.

Having a bunch of screw-in bulb fixtures professionally installed is still cheaper than the traditional solution with a couple of big fluorescent tubes. Even doing it DIY using plugged in fixtures is not that expensive. Why not?

I don’t understand why someone would even consider those bad COB assemblies for an illegal DIY garage lighting job. Even if you don’t care about electrical safety, what about a house fire? Just don’t. Active cooling? Give me a break. Can’t be serious.

Light strips driven by a good certified driver are another story. If that is what is needed, great. It works, and it’s not a bomb like those DX/BG/AE/eB traps wired by Bubba. May not be even close to the efficiency of cheap IKEA bulbs in Edison fixtures, but why worry? Power is cheap, and indirect lighting is harder to implement than direct light with regular bulbs anyway.

You are right, no sense in using these modules. I have been doing just as you suggest for quite some time now. I have posted several of my efforts. Just over the weekend I did another.
I was in Lowes the other day and they had 2 - 8 foot HO florescent fixtures for sale for just $3 each! They were slightly damaged, but I didn’t care. I only wanted the “U” channel, so I gutted one and installed 2 bathroom fixtures with 8 sockets each inside of it. They fit perfectly.

16 bulbs at 1600 lumens each is 25,600 lumen!
This picture does NOT show how bright this setup really is, believe me!

Nice light fixture dchomak! I’ve wanted to do that, but haven’t been able to find a good deal here.

Recently I changed my wireless switch for my supplemental ceiling lights to a wifi switch. It’s not as convenient to turn on, but I love that I can set a timer to turn them off. Lots of other options too like fixed schedules, or triggers based on weather, sunset/sunrise and lots of other things.

Vegas, do you have a picture of how you mounted the power supply on the wall? I’m very interested in tackling a project like this since my garage is standard like yours. Currently, I have a motion activated light on my garage door opener and then two crappy T5 lights that look horrible. I do a lot of projects and work cars at night in the garage and end up using a head lamp.

Depends on how you define efficiency. If giving more lumens per watt is efficiency then a standard LED light bulb is not any more efficient than a COB. :stuck_out_tongue:

Tell me again how are these legal and preferred by insurance companies??

Which is why we buy them based on trusted reviews.

Remember you’re saying this on a flashlight enthusiasts forum. :wink:

Actually this 13W Ikea LED light bulb is doing a terrible job in heat dissipation with it’s measly sized heat sink. :TIRED:
To add insult to injury this light bulb has no Thermal regulation like the one used in that COB.

Where did you quote me ever saying this? Looks like you used my username to post spam! Not cool! Users - do not click the link in that quote!


I finally had the chance to see the 30W IC COBs in service in the bunk rooms at a lodge at my local scout camp. I gave the ranger ten of them, all mounted on heat sinks. I think there are about 10 bunk beds in each bunk room and there were two overhead lights using two incandescent bulbs each. Not sure if they were 100W each or 60W but the two COBs give as much light as the previous bulbs did. The ranger is happy because he will not have to climb a 20 foot ladder to reach the higher of the two lights for a long time.

When I posted this originally, the intent was to provide a way to light a two car garage with adequate, even lighting. Some of you have special uses such as inspecting car finishes, or working under the vehicle. For most people this setup will give decent lighting at a cheap price and still be far better than what the builder would supply without expensive upgrades.

Umm… welcome to BLF. Gotta say I’m curious - you just joined and your first post is to a 4+ year old thread? At least go introduce yourself! :smiley: