Help Needed, Interior Lighting

We are doing a major remodel and improvement on our house. It started as a fixer-upper. After living in the house for 9 years, we finally have the funds to do the job and a real good idea what improvements are needed.
We are stuck on the living room/tv room/family room lighting however and need help!!!!!!!!!
We spent $600 on recessed lighting. When we finally put bulbs in it, it became painfully clear that it would not work. The lighting we bought was recessed lighting cans for 2 by 6 construction. Since the downstairs is all open, we can look from the living room to the dining room (about 36' by 14') without interveening any walls. We placed recessed cans per the manufacturers recommendations and put in some additional cans on a separate electrical circuit for an extra boost for times when we needed higher intensity lighting for reading.
The problem is with the glare, which is due to the light bulbs protruding downward so that the tip of the bulb is actually directly line of sight from the living room couch looking towards the far end of the house. We have tried all types of compact florescent lights. They are great for producing high light levels for the amount of power they consume (very economical). .Even with 'low profile' lamps, it is impossible to avoid looking directly at the very intense light from the tip of the light bulb. Yes, we tried different trim rings and diffusers. The trim rings help as they stick down and minimize how much of the bulb is directly visible. The diffusers are a disaster however, they all suck up alot of light, we find that we have to double the amount of energy used in order to get the same light level, which makes them very energy hungry.
In all cases, our problem is with direct viewing of the light bulb itself. The units that are directly overhead don't produce a problem because we don't look straight up. The lights that are 25 to 30 feet away are not a problem because the trim rings stick down far enough to prevent direct viewing of the bulbs. But, the lights in the 5 to 20 feet distance are a big+ problem because there is no way to prevent a direct line of sight between the tip of the bulb and the human eye.
We lived for the last 5 years with 4 foot florescent tube basement lights (commonly called 'worklights'). They were temporary, so we hung them from the ceiling as one would do in a basement. They were ugly as sin, but they put out good light and because the tube was long and had alot of surface area, you could stare at the tube without seeing spots. These compact florescent lights in the recessed lighting cans are horrible because they are very high power with a relatively small surface area, so any portion of the bulb that is directly viewable is unbearably intense.
Our construction is on hold (can't put sheetrock/drywall up on the ceilings) due to this problem, is there an answer?
Thanks,
Art in Maine
ky1k att pivot dott net
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Albert <> wrote:

<snip>
<snip>
Random thoughts. Recess the cans more than designed, make up little metal cylinders, and paint dark. I assume you've tried stuff like spiral tubes, which are lower profile.
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Thanks Ian,
Yes, we tried the spiral compact florescents, they are lower profile which helps. But, not nearly enough.
A deeper enclosure would help, but we are limited by the size of the floor joists, which are 2 by 6 inch. Can't go any 'deeper'.
Painting the enclosure a dark color helps, but only at the expense of the light output. Dark trim rings nad black trim rings are available, but the light output is MUCH lower.
The color of the housing makes little difference in our case, the problem is that we can look up and see the light bulbs directly. Since the lights are small and relatively high powered (as opposed to a larger 4 foot florescent tube with lots of surface area), the problem is a small (but intense) light source. We see spots after viewing the bright lights.
If the same amount of light could appear to come from a 1 square foot opening, it would not cause the problem, But, when looking at just the tip of the lamp, you have just a few square inches and it's unbearably bright.
A small horizontal tube mounted real close to the ceiling with a mirrored enclosure to reflect the light downwards would be a big step in the right direction too.
All comments apprecaited.
Art in Maine
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Further exhaustive testing with small aluminium pie tins, and a couple of bits of paper-clip indicate that there might be a fairly simple solution. Put the pie-tin so that it's 1-2cm below the bulb end, and extends 1-2cm out from the tip, held there by hooks onto the bulb glass.
Now, work out some way to finish the bottom, and you're done.
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Hi Ian,
I did the exact same experiment last night and we got similar results I think. There are some problems however:>:
The biggest problem is that the inside of the enclosure is not mirrored, so the pie tin would shine a good portion of the light upwards....never to exit at the bottom...in effect, creating a black hole.
The losses are quite severe even though the paint inside is shiny white.
In my particular cans, the top is open and some light exits through the top-so any light reflected back 'up' would be wasted.
The system you are referring to is called a Cassagrain Feed and it's used to feed microwave dishes and for telescopes. It only works when the surface of the reflecting surfaces are nearly perfect, or else the losses from the additional reflector take a big chunk of the output and waste it.
This issue of the quality of the reflectors is even more critical in an ap such as this-some of that light will take 4 or 5 bounces before it exits, depending on the design of the radiator and the reflectors.
A new design with a no compromise reflector system would work well, but I'm not seeing anything along those lines when I look in lighting catalogs.
Art in Maine

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Your lights were designed for halogen or incandesant spots not flourescent, get one that is with deep recess or use power hungry halogen, At least those you can dim easily
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Albert,
I've seen some commercial offices and lobbies where they have pot lights that were converted to CF lamps on their side. The aluminum reflector does it's job of directing the light downward, but the bulb itself is quite recessed. A commercial item not to be found at Home Depot. And the 2x6 construction may be a problem.
Try a lighting store that sells nothing else.
Dave

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We went to the largest lighting Store in the State of Maine, which is House of Lights in near Portland. It is a 100 plus mile drive from here. They have tons of incandescent decorative lighting and alot of high intensity halogen baaed track lighting.
We have low ceilings (7 foot 5 inch as opposed to the more standard 8 foot). So, anything that hangs from the ceilings is not ok as it just accents our already low ceilings.
I must confess I haven't looked at halogen lights and don't know if they are more efficient. They are certainly smaller and easier to conceal. Additionally, they are dimmable, which might let us use a low setting for sitting around watching tv and just crank up the dimmers when we want to read or need higher light levels.
Maybe halogen lights are the answer?
Art in Maine
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Albert <> wrote: <snip>

... They arn't much better than ordinary ones. The tightness of the spots are the only good thing about them, and that can rapidly become a problem if you try to light a room with them. Are the fixtures you have returnable? Anything that tries to use bulbs on their ends is going to be a problem. You can flush mount some designs of 4' fixtures.
I'd be looking at nice dimmable ballasts and tubes, with well-chosen phosphors, and go this way.
Have you thought of adding uplighters round the edge of the room, and only using the cans for the middle, to fill in the dim spots?
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Yes, I can return them....and I plan on doing so. But, my house is torn apart and what do I use in the meantime?

4 foot fixtures is what I just got done ripping out, although they weren't flush mounted. The 4 foot tubes run 34 to 40 watts per tube, and they have alot more surface area than a compact florescent. I can stare at them without problems because they aren't as intense. But, they don't fit well in the room. If I could get smaller tubes (say 15 to 18 inch long) and mount 4 in each room, I'd probably be happy.
We are using flush mount 4 foot tubes in the kitchen and dining rooms, but had hoped for something a bit smaller and lower power in the open area of the house.
Based on this experience, I can safely say the lighting industry has a long way to go with their designs. Unfortunately, I need something that's usable NOW, not 5 or 10 years from now.
Thanks,
Art
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Albert <> wrote:

<snip>
Pretty, efficient, cheap.
Pick any two.
:( Good luck.
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Use a 2 foot by 4 foot panel for built-in fluorescents. Cut it up in 1 foot square segments. Mount each segment underneath your recessed fixture, suspending it about 1". You will have a 1 squarefoot light fixture. The key is in diffusing the bright light. Probably will look like super-modern lighting fixtures that nobody else can boast about.
--

Walter
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What about the remaining 36" of fixture? How would one change a bulb?

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Hey Walter, you might be on to something. I see your reasoning! If I can distribute the light so that it APPEARS to radiate from a 1 foot square surface, then that might solve the problem.
Along these lines, I took one of the large prism plastic diffusers from the new kitchen lighting (which is twin 4 foot tubes in a flush mount box) and held it over the opening of the existing recessed fixture. The area under the light got much darker however, indicating that the prism diffuser absorbs alot of light. I used the light meter in the camera and determined that the light loss is about 3 db or 50 percent. That sure blows the 'economical' aspect compact florescent operation all to HELL.
The company makes 2 diffusers that accomplish the same thing. I just got done testing them, one reduces the light output by 60 percent and the other by 55 percent.
I was hoping for a lower loss solution.
Does anyone make a low loss prism type bezel????? Strictly speaking, a prism type bezel should be nearly loss less. I wonder if a fresnel lens placed close to the lamp would provide less loss and achieve the same objective???
Regards,
Art in Maine
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You didn't mention what type of bulbs you are using or the brand of fixture and trim. I'm suggesting the use of silver ball bulbs: http://www.nam.lighting.philips.com/us/ecatalog/incan/pdf/P-2543-B.pdf
You would be able to use them in the recessed lights that are already installed. To to get the most light out of them you should use a trim with a reflector. These bulbs have a built-in reflector that bounces the light towards the base without seeing the direct brightness of the bulb. The lighting is virtually glare free, but you will not get the lumens of direct lighting .
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv
<Albert> wrote in message

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On Sun, 26 Sep 2004 11:17:49 -0400, Albert <> wrote:

If you want to use flourescnet bulbs they make can fixtures specifically for them. The bulb installs sideways in the fixture and are not in sight. Also consider that right now you are looking at the bulbs but as you get used to them you quit doing that so the "seeing stars" thing becomes a non issue.
When I put mine in I did the same thing and thought I had really messed up for a while but now that we are used to them I like them alot. You can also use dimmers with them which is another big help.
Steve B.
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<Albert> wrote in message

I assume you have checked inside the fixture and checked to see if the lamp holder can be moved. Some can and some can not. Me thinks it is time look for an different lamp. Try some of the smaller "par" lamps that are used for architectural lighting. There are also some shorter shanked "A" lamps.
http://www.electriciansupplies.com/index_e.cfm/S/46/Capsylite_PAR_Light_Bulbs.htm
Costco sells packs of spiral CF's that are BPCE13T/8 They are at least an inch shorter than the standard sized ones. I use them in my ceiling lights for the same reason. Granted they put out less light but they work.
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I suppose you know that the "bulb holding" mechanism can be adjusted inside the can. Ensure it is recessed upward as far as possible. <Albert> wrote in message

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