Simple Garage LED Lighting Upgrade July 13 2021
More light in the garage is a great thing to have. Everyone knows you can add an array of LED lights to the ceiling, but one often overlooked light source is the light that turns on with most garage door openers. Most garage door openers usually come with just a single bulb in the motor unit. See how we upgraded ours with some cost-effective LED lights to dramatically increase the amount of light in our garage.
We first tried swapping in a high output LED lightbulb in to the garage door opener. We've had good luck with these CREE LED lights in terms of performance and durability. If you want an easy, but modest upgrade, these are a good choice. They are rated at 1600 lumens. This was easy, and effective, but it still wasn't as bright as we wanted it.
We had some leftover lights from the LED arrays we had put on the ceiling. We decided to put these to work. 4 of them put out a combined output of 8800 lumens. A simple wooden frame and some wiring was all that was needed to put it into action. A coat of white paint on the wooden frame is optional, but gives it a more finished look. This isn't a step-by-step how-to, because there are so many different garage door openers out there, but rather something to draw inspiration from. If you're going to do this, make sure you know how to work with electrical circuits safely.
The main wooden beam is a 2x4 that simply bolts to the holes in the garage door motor support. We recommend lock washers on the nut side, as this is a high-vibration environment.
After cutting power to the garage door opener via the circuit breaker panel, we removed the light bulb base. Note the max power rating of 100W. Your garage door opener may vary. Do not exceed the max rated wattage. With the light bulb base gone, we could then hijack the wiring that was previously going to the light bulb base. The harness from the garage door opener had some spade connectors. We cut the wall outlet plug off our LED light and used matching spade connectors to connect everything up electrically. Make sure you don't mix up the hot and the neutral wires. The lights can be wired together in a chain. The LED light kit comes with a few connectors to wire the lights together.
We mounted up all our LED lights, and wired them together. Some zip ties can tidy up some of the extra slack in the wires. The finished result is dramatically brighter than before. It also gives us more brightness options by adding an additional LED light array that can be turned on or off independently from the other arrays, allowing us to turn on just right amount of lights desired.
We also have these same LED lights installed on the ceiling and underneath our storage rack, but the advantages of using the garage door opener to mount and power the lights is ease of wiring and ease of mounting. You don't have to run wires through the attic. You don't have to look for support beams with a stud finder while bending backwards on a ladder. You don't have to awkwardly hold up a 2x4 on the ceiling with one hand while trying to drive a screw through it with the other. I've performed all the lighting installations in the garage, and the garage door opener array was definitely the easiest one to install.
There is an additional bonus for those with garage circuits close to being overloaded. Usually the garage door opener is on its own circuit breaker, so the lights won't be drawing from whatever other garage circuit breaker that might be close to overloading.
So if you're looking for more light in your garage, this installation may be a relatively inexpensive and relatively easy way to accomplish this. Or maybe you can use this as inspiration for your own unique garage lighting setup. We are very happy with the addition of these light, and it was a great addition to our garage.
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