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A couple of days ago, I went to Menards and picked up a new type of "Florescent" Light Fixture.  Instead of having the usual tubular bulb and starter, it had LEDs.  I took it home and was astonished how bright the light was and then I decided to read the specks on the carton.  Specks--LED Hanging Shop Light with 5,000 Lumens, 30,000 LED Life Hours, 47" Long with an On/Off Pull Chain Switch and Light Weight Design, 1.75 pounds.  The saying on the carton read "LED" -- Never Change A Bulb.  At my home, I  hung up the fixture in the train room and I was sold.  It lite up the basement very well.  I will line up about 6 of the lamps and use 3 for low lighting or use all 6 for bright lighting.   A few days later, I bought 7 more of these new fixtures.  I paid $19.99 each plus tax and I got 11% rebate on the lamps plus 2% more by using my Menards Charge Card.  Total cost of the lamp was about $17.40 plus tax.   

If you know about these lamps, I apologize for repeating what you know....but I was amazed at how much light these lamps put out at a very low price.   Menards includes a strip of 6 small LEDs in one of there plug &  play accessory kits.  I hope he makes more of these minature lighting strips.   LEDs are the way to go!  Sincerely yours            railbear601    

Last edited by railbear601
Original Post

Yes, we've employed these in our home in a couple key locations.

There is a down-side, though, to some of these LED fixtures (not necessarily the ones the OP employed)..........replacement will be the entire fixture.  That's the case for a couple of simple hallway lights.  The old version used a couple 60w bulbs. The new version...same size/globe style...has an LED ring built in and is MUCH brighter than the older.  But the LED ring is not replaceable by itself.

Now, that may not be so bad......I have no idea how long these will last....and they may even outlast me!  So, it's all a new life in a pandemic.  OTOH, we can rejoice and be thankful for the FAR lower energy consumption, reduced electricity bills!!!

At least we're finally done and over with those bodacious, ridiculous corkscrew CFL's, disposable only by a hazmat team () and briefly 'mandated' by .......oh, never mind.

The under-cabinet kitchen lights are a front-burner project on the Honey-do list.  As fast as they seem to die nowadays, those ol' skinny-mini florescent tubes have got to go!!!


These sound like the same one BJs sells around here. I put them in my unheated barn and as they say it was like night and day. The added bonus in the cold winter they don't buzz and they light instantly. The downside is you want to put them where they are low enough to avoid direct eye contact like sitting in a high ceiling room. The light is not diffused. 


@kmacleod posted:

There are some really nice LED 2x2 and 2x4 foot panels for suspended ceilings. The units have adjustable color  temperatures too (ie: 2700, 3000, 4000, 5000k). I’m sold. I currently  have two fluorescent fixtures that use a total of 320 watts.

The new panels will throw far more light at 1/4 of the watts.


Yes, I used the 2x4 foot fixtures in my train room to replace the older fluorescent fixtures.  Some of the newer fixtures are c. 1 inch thick, except for the control box.  The can also be installed so that they can be dimmed, but I did not do that with my lights.

Rather than going with cheap Menards fixtures, I went with fixtures from  They were a bit more expensive, but one gets what one pays for.  Here is a picture of the actual lights in the room.



Here ya go...


When lighting your layouts, you should look for "Warm White" LEDs in the 2,700 to 3,200 K range. The "bluish" light of the 4,000K and higher LEDs are perceived to be a bit brighter, but they give a "cold" look to your colors on the layout. Here are four examples of different color temperatures, from the images in Jim Barrett's "Backshop" column in Run 311.

311 Backshop 2700K FORUM

311 Backshop 3000K FORUM

311 Backshop 4000K FORUM

311 Backshop 6000K FORUM


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  • mceclip0
  • 311 Backshop 2700K FORUM
  • 311 Backshop 3000K FORUM
  • 311 Backshop 4000K FORUM
  • 311 Backshop 6000K FORUM
Last edited by Rich Melvin

Those pictures show why I went with incandescent lighting in my all purpose/train room.  This was ten years ago and LED were not adjustable and fluorescent was too blue.

I do not plan on changing them.  These lights are on mostly when running trains which is not that many hours per year.  A floor lamp is on mostly for other functions.

The hours the light are used on cost of operation can be way more important than the watt rating of bulbs.  I have hundreds of watts of attic and outside flood (with motion and day/nite control) incandescent lights which are not on for an hour or two per year.


If you use the lights a lot, the electrical savings can be startling.

Last year I replaced every lamp in our "Land Yacht" (including fluorescent tubes) with LED lights. These are all 12-volt DC lighting fixtures.

The drop in power consumption was amazing! The coach has a digital current monitor that shows me how many amps are being drawn from the 12 volt house batteries at any given moment. After the conversion, I could turn on every light in the coach, and the power consumption was less than the power drawn by just the four fluorescent fixtures in the living room prior to the conversion.


Images (1)
  • mceclip0
Last edited by Rich Melvin

We changed every light in out house to LED most in the 2600K area and our electric bill went from over $500 a month to about $300. I changed the fluorescent tubes in the train room (garage) a couple of years ago. Yes Hawaii has the highest power charges in the country because we generate most of electricity form diesel generators. The pool pumps are our biggest expense now and I will change those to variable speed pumps as ours die. Don

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