Converting fixtures for LED and lighting up the workshop

Simply adding a window to the workshop was not enough to up the brightness factor. We knew we needed a serious lighting upgrade. We’ve been hoarding some moisture-proof industrial fluorescent fixtures that we picked up just for this space with the intention of converting them to LEDs.


And now we’re going to breakdown the process for taking a fluorescent fixture to an LED-enabled one. (If you’re just here for the pictures, don’t leave until you see the dramatic before and after shots at the bottom of the post.)


Tools/supplies needed:

  • Wiring diagram for LED bulbs (this should come with the bulbs)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire snips
  • Vice grips
  • Replacement plug
  • Wire caps
  • Shunted keystones
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Wire strippers


First remove the outer case and the bulbs.


A clip in the middle of the interior panel holds it in place. Twist that to remove the panel.


Inside you’ll find the wiring and ballast for the fluorescent lights. You can reuse the wires, but you’ll want to remove the ballast.


Just snip the wires


Then undo the screws and it should slide out.


Remove the existing keystones (the white pieces at each end of the fixture that hold the bulbs in place and provide power).


Snip the wires from the keystones to free them.


Slide two of the new keystones into one side. LEDs only need wired on one side, so these un-wired keystones are just here to hold the bulbs in place.

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For the other two keystones, consult the wiring diagram to determine which side of the keystone is the hot/load and which is neutral.


Strip 1/2″ from the end and slide the hot wire into the appropriate opening.


On the neutral side, use one keystone as the neutral in and out. It makes more sense in the pictures below.

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Slide the wired keystones into place.


Next you need to connect the wires in the fixture to the wires leading to the power cord. Hot goes with hot. Neutral with neutral. Ground to the fixture case.

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Now you can reinsert the interior panel to cover the wires.


When these fixtures were removed from their original home, the wire that provided power was snipped. We want to add a plug and power these through a receptacle, so this was not a big issue.



Loosen the screws to divide the plug into two pieces.


Run the wire through the base.


Strip the wire.


Connect it to the plug (follow your plug’s instructions)

  • Black (hot) to the gold screw
  • White (neutral) to the silver screw
  • Green (ground) to the stick part


Slide the two pieces together and tighten the screws.




When you add the bulbs, make sure you put the powered end (denoted here with an AC) with the wired keystone.




It seems like a lot of steps, but it goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it. As always, we like to point out that we are not professionals. If you have any hesitation about doing electrical work it’s better to be safe than sorry. (Consult a pro.)

The change is dramatic! We took the workshop space from two single bulb incandescent fixtures that looked like this


to 8 double-LED fixtures. Now the space looks like this!!


There’s no photo trickery here. The space is THAT much brighter! The shadows are gone and this actually feels like a space where work can get done!

Obviously Aaron has also been busy assembling some of the tools we purchased for this space. We’ll give you a full run down whenever the space is done. Next up: dust collection & filtration.