I just modded the biggest 17800 lumen light!

Hey everybody, I just modded the biggest, brightest 17800 lumen light I’ve ever worked on! It’s totally awesome! No fancy pics, no extreme details. Sorry.

My dad was a builder when I was growing up, owned and operated a lumber yard. Our house was built by him in 1972. The fluorescent light fixtures in the Utility room, kitchen and game room came from an old building in Virginia that was renovating….41 years ago! So these fixtures are in excess of 41 years old, 8’ dual bulb fixtures. And they’re starting to fail.

I just modifed one with a new 4 bulb T5 HO Alto fixture that truly produces a start-up lumen value of 5000 lumens per bulb! This new (or relatively new) technology allows for longer life, more efficient output with less mercury. They’re rated at 90% lumen retention at 20,000 hours! I took the connectors out of the old fixture and fitted the slimline new fixture into it, so when it’s all said and done the light appears to be the same as it’s been for 41 years, but puts out much more light and uses less power to do so. Each bulb uses less than a half amp of power to reach it’s rated 92 lumens per watt. So this is the biggest light I’ve modified yet. Lol!

Total cost including fixtures and bulbs was around $103 each for an 8’ fixture with 4 bulbs. We’ll have 2 of these in a 20x20 game room.

I think I’d rather mod flashlights…

The king off photography has no pictures? Sounds like a nice update.

I honestly don’t know how you guys can create things and take pictures at the same time! I get all into what I’m working on, dust flying, metal shavings scattered….don’t want my camera’s anywhere near all that! I get so caught up in how to manage it and then how to implement the idea I don’t usually even think of taking pictures. It wasn’t all that easy though, due to several different issues.

Like, the light I got from Home Depot was bent in the middle, both vertically and horizontally right in the middle of it’s 92” length. Made it tough to try to straighten it, then try to stuff the result of that into an old fixture.

When I got started, I got a bit of a surprise. My dad told me that he “fixed” one of the sockets maybe 30 years ago. Said one bulb wouldn’t burn so he took the light apart and fixed it. Seems the contacts wouldn’t stay put for the single pole end of the bulb tube to make contact. He fixed it by Scotch taping a piece of wood over the contacts in order to keep them forced into position. The hard plastic socket was literally scorched black from it’s previous encounter and has been used for hours on end in our game room over the last 30 years. We used to have a ping-pong table in there and Dad would play mini tournaments with his friends for hours at a time, with that light directly over the table. It was actually only held in place with 2 nails. When I pulled on it, relatively lightly, not only the end I pulled on but the entire light fixture fell on top of me! 60-70 years ago they used heavier guage sheet metal when they made things, take my word for it! :wink:

I got to hear the story of where the fixtures came from when he put em in 41 years ago, his brother-in-law was supervising a big warehouse remodel job and offered dad some lights for $5 ea, bulbs and all. Dad put those in our house after they’d been in heavy industrial use for many years. Anything to save a buck, right? He even put some of them in garage’s of houses he built for clients, as an option, for the same $5 he paid for em.

Great work. And yes they surely made stuff more tough in years gone by.

I can totally see the scene where the light fell on you! "What the ¤%&#!!!" LOL

The ships I'm working on has some 440V 5000W metal halide bulb flood lights, each having 4 of these bulbs.

It gives awesome amounts of light. In a horrible tint but thats just the way they work I guess.

EDIT: Removed (some of?) the weird phrases for clarity... I hope!

I still find it a big pain to take pictures of what I do, but I also learned from this forum: pictures or it didn't happen. And since I know that I also try to do a good job in making those pictures. So at least give us a picture of the finished lights. Please? :-)

Ok, not creative today and certainly not used to taking pictures of lights that are 8’ long! But here goes…

The newly modified light that is in the neighborhood of 60 years old.

As compared to the old fixture with daylight balanced bulbs.

And the most visible sign of the modification, the new quite narrow 4 bulb High Output T5 fixture encased in the body of the old light. Had to make some cuts on the ends and a couple of other modifications to allow the body of the new fixture to fit inside the old one but overall the worst part of this mod was locating ceiling joists to secure the whole mess to the ceiling! I ended up with 3 deck screws 3” long fully seated into a 2x6 from the edge so this one’s up there for the duration! :slight_smile:

The old fixture is on the right in the picture of the 2 of em, using T12 bulbs it just can’t compete with the new HO T5 skinny little tubes that are burning more wattage and outproducing the old fixture nearly 2:1. The camera settings of a couple of shots of my dad were literally halved under the new light…same aperture and shutter speed but half the ISO.

Those lights would be very cool retro if you'd sell them now, I like them a lot. I think they are totally worth the update. Thanks for the pictures.

Very Nice. With the way things are built today, it is almost always worth it to restore the older stuff. Especially if you like the styling ( I do)
There is a very interesting show on the History Channel called “American Restoration”