Workshop Lights So Bright, They Will Give You Sunburn


There are few things more frustrating than trying to tinker at your workbench with suboptimal lighting. [Jeremy] was toiling away in his workshop one afternoon when he decided that he finally had enough, and set out to overhaul his lighting setup.

His workshop is incredibly bright now, sporting a handful of under the shelf CCFL tubes to complement the mixture of cool and warm LEDs that are mounted on the ceiling. One thing we really liked about his setup is that he added a handful of LEDs to the bottom of his workbench, aimed at the floor – perfect for those times when a tiny screw or SMD component goes missing.

Everything is controlled by an ATMega 328 that he shoved into a project box, allowing him to tweak the lighting to suit his needs using a few simple buttons and a small LCD panel.

[Jeremy] says that the entire thing is “overkill” and that it is decidedly the messiest wiring job he has ever done. For something that was put together hastily in an afternoon, we think it’s just fine. The only thing we’re left wanting is some schematics and source code.

As far as the overkill comment goes, say it with me: There. Can. Never. Be. Too. Many. LEDs!

Stick around to watch [Jeremy] give a demonstration of how the system operates.

[via Adafruit blog]


10 thoughts on “Workshop Lights So Bright, They Will Give You Sunburn

  1. Interesting example which shows how dim LEDs are typically compared to CCFLs.
    If I where him, I would group the tubes into groups. Its probably not that healthy to sit in extreme brightness. It will disturb the sleeping rythm etc. and the blue light of the mercury tubes can also slowly damage the eyes (not UV, blue is harmful too)

    1. steve, did you not notice that there are around 8 CCFL’s about 18 inches above the workbench. Of course they are going to be brighter than two strips of cool LED’s and two 1 watt warm LED’s that are 3 times further away from the camera.
      Although, they probably are dimmer, it’s just that this isn’t a good example of how much. Personally, I would have put the LED’s under the shelf where they would have been more useful at a close range, and put the fluorescent lights up on the ceiling. His choice though.
      Too bad he didn’t show us the floor lights. I also want to see how he implements a spot light (whether it is on an adjustable arm or not).

  2. Good lighting is one of the most often overlooked aspects of setting up a work space; yet is one of the most important factors influencing comfort and productivity. Good to see someone making a system that fits their needs.

    1. I thought so too. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent looking around for random bits and pieces on the floor with a flashlight, yet this setup never crossed my mind.

      1. +1 to that – I find the best thing is some directional ones pointing horizontal to the floor – the shadows of small screws seem to show up quite well.
        Patterned carpets are also the devil to find things on. Solid floors under workbenches/desks is the way to go!

  3. The apple fans now come in a sloppy/messy variety eh, surreal ;)

    On the subject of the lighting, I can get the LED for under-the-shelf stuff but why not use a regular lighbulb for the ceiling? I mean to wire up LED strips and 1W LED’s seems such a pointless effort when you could just put up a cheap and simple ceiling light, and those come in controllable varieties too.
    You should visit IKEA or something, they not only have lights but lots of stuff that you can mod and hack.
    But as it’s now up that’s for the future builders of course and the only thing he’d need from IKEA (or similar) now is some material to make a nice enclosure maybe.

  4. Suggestion for the clever floor lighting – how about a strip LED shining parallel the floor rather than down at it – the equivalent of laying a flashlight beam along the floor to find a tiny part. Having this commong trick built in would be splendid.

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