Fluorescent Light info needed.. Also, a question about a dimmer switch

I have a fluorescent light in my kitchen with 2 - 40 watt bulbs. The light is very dim. Always has been. I'd like to change this to a brighter fluorescent light. What should I look for? I was thinking of something with 4 bulbs in it because I'd ratehr err on the side of too much vs too little light.
Maybe 4 - 4 foot bulbs - 80 watts each.
Or should I change it to an incandescent light?
Or one of those round fluorescent lights.
Hell, I have no clue. Can someone provide me one? I'd like a well lit kitchen so I can see as I prepare the meals. I would like to spend less then $100.
And, What is a T-8 bulb? Do I need to make sure I get this??
Also, a different light.......I have 4 incandescent recessed lights in my bed room. I wouod like to put a dimmer switch on circuit. BUT, I want one that looks just like a "normal" switch. All the way up is full on, all the way down is off and a dimmer in between. I can seem to find one in the stores around here. Is there such a thing?
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It's entirely possible that your current fixture has a problem, which is why it's dim. My recommendation would be to get a four light T8 fixture. These are more efficient and use an electronic ballast that is way more dependable then the magnetic ballast your current T12 fixture uses. Also, don't be confused by the wattage of the lamps. Wattage is the current the thing uses, not the amount of light it emits, which is measured in lumens. hth

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RBM wrote:

I guess that eliminates my need to write the same thing. I agree.

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Joseph Meehan

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You want to do it on the cheap?
Walmart has some T8 fixtures wiith electronic starters for less than $17 dollars. The two bulbs are super bright and will please you.
That's cheap enough that you can remove the parts and stick them in your old fixture and toss what you don't want.
wrote:

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I'd like to say money is of no concern, but unfortunately I live in the real world. I was looking at one light for around $50 at Home Depot. Fluorescne, 4 bulb, ( I think T8) and oak trim. I really would like it to be asteticly pleasing.
How does the Wal Mart brand look? Well, I'm sure it'd go with the rest of my house done in "Early White Trash and Late Wal Mart."
(Save your flames, I am not equating white trash and Wally's. I'm just telling you the style of decor I have.)

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wrote:

For most kitchens, you want a warm white or deluxe warm white lamp (with a higher emmission of red light vs. blue light) and a high CRI (color rendition index). Otherwise, your red meat will look gray and sickly.
Some F lamps are now marked "For Kitchens and Bathrooms" to make it easier for you.
Not sure what the Walmart lamps put out... Walmart can sometimes have a limited selection in their quest for cheapness.
Beachcomber
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<SNIP>

Please consider that regular warm white, which I call "old tech warm white", has a color rendering index of only 53. It has a "warm" color, but it makes plenty of things look sickly. People look a little "dead" under this one - on the pale side as well as greenish-yellowish.
Deluxe Warm White is a major improvement, but with compromised light output. Although color distortions are greatly reduced, they still exist and remain in the same direction as before.
On the other hand, Philips "Ultralume 3000" and Sylvania "Designer 3000" and "Interior Design" of 300K color temp. as well as T8 Philips Advantage 3000 and TL830, Sylvania D830, and GE SPX30 have similar overall color and no compromise in light output. Color rendering index of these is 82-86 which "deluxe warm white" may be similar to or same as, but these better other ones have their color distortions more in the direction of making colors brighter and "more vivid" than proper as opposed to the opposite.
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On a bit of a more oddball note for slightly more advanced discussion of fluorescent lamp color and color rendering properties: One that has been around at least since the 1970's is the "Natural". This is a purplish-pinkish white one, not to be confused with a different daylight-like one offered in recent years by one manufacturer under the name "Natural". This pinkish "Natural" has a color rendering index of 90 and has as one of its more major color distortions making meats appear redder and more attractive than under most-similar-color-possible sunlight or halogen light, let alone in comparison to any other fluorescent light available back when "Natural" became available.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Please note that "color rendering index" is a measure of grading for lack of color distortion. Color distortions that are favorable as well as ones that are unfavorable "lower the grade". This means that higher CRI means less color distortion and lower CRI means more color distortion, regardless of whether the color distortions are mostly good or mostly bad.
Just be aware that fluorescent lamps with color rendering index anywhere from 82 to 86 (excluding "deluxe warm white" should that be in this range) tend to have whatever color distortions they have mostly in a pleasing direction, with my main complaint being bright pure reds such as poinsettias being rendered a bit orangish compared to "proper". Most fluorescent lamps with CRI outside this range, *especially if around 90 or below 75 or if of a technology widely on the market before the early 1970's or both of color temperature near/over 5000 K and with CRI low 90's or less*, tend to have their color distortions mostly in the direction of making colors "less vivid", mostly darker/duller although making skin tones "more dead".
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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I would be wary of WalMart for:
1. Being good at getting low bid stuff.
I would be wary if the bulbs are made for WalMart by someone other than (good) GE, Philips, Sylvania or Osram - and then suspect a low bid contract manufacturer if the bulbs were made anywhere other than in North America or in Europe and having no manufacturer indication other than a brand. Then again, I am wary of anything made to WalMart's order, no matter by whom is willing to cut corners enough to get the job.
Better "traditional" ballast manufacturers are Universal, Magnetek and the better brands for lamps ("bulbs") and also Motorola. Another brand that I thought of as good, just did not notice known "commercial grade" product from recently, is Valmont. I would be more wary if the ballast was none of the above.
I would be more wary if anything was custom manufactured to WalMart specifications, since I have experienced widespread mention of opinions that WalMart demands lower cost at the expense of anything else good to the extent they can get away with it.
I would be wary of anything made to WalMart's order in China for the reason above.
2. Forcing their managers to get away with labor law violations to whatever extent is possible, given Reagan cutbacks in enforcement budgets for agencies responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations that Reagan disagreed with but could not get repealed. Namely, forcing workers to work significantly "off the clock".
I remember one thread (which I contributed to) where there were more posts defending WalMart on this by "blaming the victims" than even posts defending WalMart by claiming that this was not true!
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Wed, 4 May 2005 02:45:48 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Gosh, you have a negative view on all things not american..... Are you at racist, too?
Maybe your attitude is why Walmart is so small and suffering so and about to go out of business...
.
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Where did you come up with racist? Sounds to me like Mr Klipstein objects to doing business with countries where workers are paid next to nothing and the profits go to the local communist boss. Try and remember that China is still a dictatorship.

Much of what Wal Mart sells is identical to what you could buy at supermarkets, sporting goods stores, auto supply stores, etc. But, quite a bit of what they sell is NOT the same, and not always for healthy reasons. If you would make a habit of reading grownup news sources, you would know this.
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As recently as 6 years ago, Leviton made dimmer switches that looked like traditional light switches. However, I'm not sure what their power handling capacity was. The ones I installed only needed to control small fixtures. Get out your yellow pages and find a real lighting store or electrical supply place. I'd suggest looking at www.leviton.com, too.
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Steve Huckaby wrote:

They are definitely still around as I just seen them yesterday in Menards.....Lowes and HD also probably have them. I think the ones that I seen would handle up to 600 watts.
Don
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If this fixture has one of those el-cheapo junky garbage trash piece-of-$#!+ "residentail grade" ballasts, there is a good fix that is easy enough if you are up to replacing the ballast - which is a fairly simple fixture rewiring job. Those pieces of dumpster food sometimes known as "residential grade" ballasts can result in as little as about half the light you should get.
So what to do is go to an electrical/lighting shop of the kind that contractors go to and buy a decent, or "commerical grade" ballast.
Better still, if you are going to replace the ballast, then you may as well convert to T8 (1 inch diameter bulbs, and they will be 32 watt) as opposed to T12 (1.5 inch diameter bulbs, generally 40 watt sometimes 34 or 35 watt). Both bulbs and ballasts are usually more efficient with T8 versions. In addition, you can get good color rendering for a fair price with uncompromised light output.
Electronic ballasts for two F32 T8 "lamps" (bulbs) are available at home centers as well as at electrical/lighting supply shops, although the latter may be a little more helpful at making sure you get something good.
As for bulbs: F32T8 4-footers come in a few different colors and two color rendering grades and color codes vary from one manufacturer to another.
My favorite color is "3500K", and in color codes is abbreviated to 35. This is a "semi warm white" (my words), somewhat halogenlike. It is basically a "warm white" but not as orangish as usual "warm white".
The usual "regular white" or "cool white" is "4100K" or 41.
The lower color rendering grade of these, available at home centers, is an improvement over the "old tech" fluorescents. GE has "SP" in its color code for this, and others have a "7" for this, referring to color rendering index in the upper 70's.
The higher color rendering grade is the good one. GE has "SPX" in its color code and others have "8" in their color codes for this, referring to color rendering index in the low to maybe mid 80's. More good news - most color distortions of this one are in the direction of making colors brighter and more vivid than "proper", as opposed to most non-triphosphor fluorescents (of color rendering index anywhere from 53 to low 90's) having their color distortions in the direction of making colors darker and duller or otherwise "less vivid" than "proper". My biggest complaint about this grade is that bright pure reds such as poinsettias are rendered orangish compared to the way they are rendered by incandescent, halogen, or sunlight.
Other colors available: 3000/30, "warm white" 5000/50, an icy cold pure white of color like that of noontime tropical sunlight, sometimes appears slightly bluish.
So I recommend looking for GE SPX35, Philips TL835 or ADV35, or Sylvania D835 for my favored "semi warm white". For "regular cool white" I advise looking for GE SPX41, Philips TL841 or ADV41 or Sylvania D841.
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Once you get your new bulbs and ballast and are ready to replace the old ballast with the new one, pay attention to the wiring diagrams on the ballasts! Good chance they are different! Have wire cutters and a few wirenuts on hand!
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- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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