Author Topic: Overhead Lighting  (Read 532 times)

Offline JediJman

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Overhead Lighting
« on: January 30, 2013, 07:50 AM »
So, I'm in the midst of building a new Star Wars room in the basement and would love some tips on lighting.  There are no windows in the room and I currently just have one exposed 100w bulb.  The room is about 14x16 lined with black shelving on two walls. The ceiling is unfinished, so recessed lights aren't really an option.

I was initially thinking of putting in suspended flourescent shop lights.  These are bright and relatively inexpensive I think, but they tend to cast a harsh light and I'm concerned that they wouldn't project enough light under the shelves.  I also don't want to hear a hummmmm all the time.  Track lighting seems like a good option, but I have no idea where to start.  LEDs would be nice energy savers, but do they give off enough light?  I also don't have a ton of dough to plunk down right now, so looking for a lower cost solution.

Any ideas?  Help me JDers, you're my only hope!
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. " -Jack Handey

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 08:20 AM »
There are actually lots of options when it comes to lighting.  The fluorescent shop lights are pretty common, but they do cast somewhat harsh light.  You can probably do a number of things that will be relatively easy without having to call an electrician.

If you've got a single suspended light, you can probably use the existing wiring and put in a track light fixture.  It's an easy install, and I've put in a few of these myself.  Check out some of the options that Lowes has in stock.  With track lighting you can tailor your lighting to the room.

As for your shelves?  You might want to look into some LED shelf lighting.  There have been some nice advances here, and it's pretty easy to fix some of these lighting strips to the underside of a shelf.  That direct overhead lighting will give a nice added dimension to displaying your collection.  The LED's aren't going to be so harsh as to cause any kind of light damage to lighter colored figures & vehicles.  And they're definitely very energy efficient.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 06:21 PM »
Justin, snap a pic of what you're working with and I might be able to help you with some ideas I think would work.
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Offline JediJman

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #3 on: February 1, 2013, 12:20 PM »
Okay, here are a few shots of the room thus far.  I'll have a 5 x 5 center display with lighted shelves and other assorted shelving, but was hoping to get the lights up before I get too far with the rest of the room setup.  The silver walls offer some light reflection at this point, but those will likely all be covered up by the time I'm done.  Currently there is just the single overhead bulb, so I have been thinking about track lighting or big flourescent lights, as well as an outlet line coming down the middle of the room for any plug-in lights.  I'm not interested in under-shelf lighting for the black shelves at this point because I'm not sure how I might adjust the shelf height and don't have a lot of money to fund the project right now.

Any ideas welcome.

Thanks!





"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. " -Jack Handey

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #4 on: February 6, 2013, 01:03 AM »
Justin, depending on what kind of wiring experience you have, you could totally put pot lights into that ceiling, however you'd probably want to put a cover up then so you have a ceiling and not just the rafters...  Problem with track lighting is it will hang down, but obvioiusly you can angle it however you want which can be fun.  You'd have to wire either way...  Me I'd prefer a sheetrocked ceiling with pot lights I think, just looking at it.

Is that one wall just all pegboard?  That's pretty slick. :)  What's behind the pegboard?

I figured you'd be covering the silver, I assume panel insulation?  How are you going to cover that?

On the bottom of any of those shelves, you could stick lights on there that run off batteries...  You'd have to turn them on/off manually one at a time, which would be a little bit of a pain. 

Here's something I was thinking for that if you wanted...

Don't know if you can see this image:



It's a small "shop light" of sorts, just 5 LED's, thin, works off AA batteries, has a build-on on/off switch.  i hung mine up on wire shelving just over my head on my customizing/work bench in my extra room.  It lights up well enough when I need extra light and will last a long time.

Nice thing about LED's is you could find probably colored lights, or if you're really wanting a personalized color, look for glass paint and just paint white LED's any color you want.  You could have a sort of dim red lighting over a Sith shelf, or a blue light over a Hoth shelf (Blue coat Han!), etc.

If you can't see the pic lmk as it might be something I have to upload a different way.
« Last Edit: February 6, 2013, 01:17 AM by Jesse James »
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Offline JediJman

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #5 on: February 8, 2013, 12:21 PM »
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions Jesse.  Couple of notes on the room:

 - The wall with pegboard is just framed wood with thicker sized 4x8 pegboard sheets screwed on to the studs.  My unfinished space just happens to be 8' high, so this was an easy solution to cover that wall.  I bought 12" pegs for about $1 each at Home Depot, and plan to have my GG Jumbo vintage figures running across the top for now (You can see Xwing Luke in the pic above for perspective).  Then I'll slot in 3-4 rows of Kenner vintage in acrylic cases and 3 rows of banker boxes along the bottom.  The boxes are less display friendly, but that's how I have decided to store most of my carded stuff, and you can't really see displays reaching all the way to the ground anyway.  I like the versatility of the pegboard though if I want to switch things around. 

 - The remaining walls are not framed and I'm not going to cover them.  They are insulated with an aluminum wrap.  I had grand visions of framing the walls and putting up paneling or drywall, but it's somewhat pointless when I'm just going to put massive shelves in front of each.  The framing option takes up time and money that I don't have, and though it's just a 3-4 inches, would cut further into the room space.  I will likely have boxes up against almost all of it, and I actually think the aluminum shining through looks kind of cool against the black for any sections I keep open. 

 - Still undecided on the ceiling, but I am going to leave it open for now.  Similar issue with time and cost to cover it, and I obviously kind of like the "warehouse" look of it with black venting and such.  I also plan to hang a lot of stuff this time, so easy enough to just run lines from the rafters versus drywall or some kind of suspended ceiling.  I think a set of matching track lights in black or gray will look slick with this format.

 - Per the lights, I have some of the battery operated lights that can you just stick to the underside of a shelf.  They give off great light, but I've had problems with them falling down after a few years and smashing into my stuff.   I'm also not a huge fan of turning on individual lights all around the room.  I want one switch that cranks on all the power when I'm in there and one switch that fades to black when I'm ready to leave.  I'm going to connect all my overhead lights to the line feeding that lone ceiling bulb now, so everything will connect to the switchplate.  My only struggle here is that I do need some outlet power for some of my corded display lighting.  I'll probably end up running an extra line down from the ceiling to feed that, but I'm worried a dangling power cord is going to look ridiculous if I don't hide it somehow.  The center room display will have a massivel Death Star Display on top, so maybe there is some kind of tubing that I can hide the cord in to make it not stand out so much. 

« Last Edit: February 8, 2013, 12:25 PM by JediJman »
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. " -Jack Handey

Offline JediJman

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #6 on: February 8, 2013, 12:46 PM »
So, I made a decision on the lights.  I caught an ad on Craig's List for a salon that was closing down.  They had prices for all the obvious stuff (barber chairs, sinks, etc.), but also had a photo of six slick nickel track lights with no price.  I called up and offered the lady $40 and she let them go for $50.  Wasn't sure what kind of shape they were in, but I picked them up this morning and they look gorgeous.  They come with low voltage halogens, so hopefully I just need a few screws and some wiring and I'm in business.  Here's the shot from the ad of the six bars and a close-up of a similar model light fixture.



Assuming everything works, I think I got a real steal.  I tried pricing these out from a few sources and the cheapest I could find was about $75 per set of 3 including the bulbs, which means something similar would have cost at least $450 new.   :o  I was really only planing to get 2-3 sets of lights, but I think spacing out a set of six will look great.  Now the question is how should I lay them out?

Do I set in two of these for each display wall (4th wall is non-existent)...
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Do place them in a 2 x 3 formation...
 
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Or do I place them in a line of six through the middle of the room?

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The room is about 14 x 16, so I think I'm going to have to go with one of the first two options.  Also, does anyone know if these are strong enough to light up a room on their own?  Wondering if I will still need some kind of center lighting.
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. " -Jack Handey

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Overhead Lighting
« Reply #7 on: February 8, 2013, 06:28 PM »
Nice score!  I think that if you're going to have shelving on three walls, the U shaped configuration is probably the best way to go.  And a dimmer circuit is probably going to be your best bet in terms of a wall switch.  And if you go with that U config and you're ambitious, three seperate dimmer circuits might be a nice way to tailor the lighting. 

I've heard some people express concerns about how lighting might lead to yellowing on lighter colored figures (Stormtroopers, Clones, etc) as well as cardbacks, posters, etc.  A dimmer might seem like a luxury, but if you can minimize the intensity of the light to prevent that possible yellowing or fading, why not do it?

As for any additional lighting?  It sounds like your room is medium sized.  But those halogen track lights will definitely throw a lot of light.  I've got a track light with only 4 mini halogens (similar to the ones on your track) in my kitchen, and it's slightly smaller than your space.  And those 4 track lights plus a hi-hat light provide plenty of light for that room.
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