Lighting – What I Did
There has been lots of discussion on the Yahoo Groups lately about layout lighting. A couple people have emailed me asking about what I did. So, here it is…
I used regular 4′ fluorescent tubes on my old layout (12′x14′) and was satisfied with the light they provided. However, I was going to have to buy several more 4′ fixtures for the BS&T since it would be a little more than twice as big and I wasn’t looking forward to the outlay of cash for 4′ fixtures. So I decided to use regular, inexpensive fixtures intended for incandescent lights and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Using these lights would decrease the amount of heat generated by the lighting. I found Daylight CFL’s at Home Depot at $20 for 6. (Addendum: Here’s a little more information on the CFL’s. They are Phillips Mini Twister 15 watt Daylight. This is the Home Depot page for these bulbs.)
The view behind the valance over Stevenville (above). It’s hard to take a picture of lights without everything else going dark.
A quick check around to the local hardware retailers showed me that Canadian Tire (it’s more than just tires!) had the cheapest price for light fixtures and octagonal boxes (@ $6/light). By code you are not supposed to mount the fixtures without an octagonal box. I decided to mount the lights about every 3′ around the room behind the valance. I probably could have gotten away with every 4′. Total cost for fixtures and lights – less than $10 each.
Anyway, the lights were installed during one of our weekly work sessions. I can’t remember who exactly was there (it’s been almost 2 years) but there was probably 5 or 6 on hand. It didn’t take long to get the bulk of the wiring and fixture installation done. I think I had a half dozen or so to do myself, plus wiring the plug to turn them on and off through the rest of the week.
The photo, above, shows behind the valance over Chappellton.
After the main wiring was done I had to install a new breaker in the main panel. It was the first one I had ever installed and was a little intimidated. There’s a lot of power there to be mucking around with! But the new breaker went in without incident – I was very careful!!! I also tried to do the install as neatly as possible, much like the original electrician did it.
I wasn’t pleased with the amount of light you could see (glare) when you stood at the layout to operate, so I added a strip of 1″x3″ to the inside of the valance under the lighting. This helped to reduce the glare considerably.
You can see the 1×3 (black) near the bottom of the picture. The wire that passes under the fixture in the photo runs to the switch for the lights.
A benefit of the Daylight CFL’s that I hadn’t anticipated is with layout photography. I am able to get quite good results using the available light. I’ve been experimenting lately with depth of field and have found that at F22 I do require a long exposure, so a tripod is required. I am pleased with the color rendition and overall quality of the light without having any supplemental lighting. These pictures are examples.
I hope this post has clearly described what I have done. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me.