Steps to take with rechargeable batteries and your solar garden lights.

Rechargeable batteries for solar garden lights.
Rechargeable batteries for solar garden lights. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

We have been getting numerous inquiries regarding rechargeable batteries and solar garden lights, so we are here today to help you determine some possible solutions to get your lights working properly and effectively.  Rechargeable batteries are one of the most important components of solar garden lights and are a simple issue to address.  Here are some likely scenarios:

1. Solar lights aren’t staying on after sunset. This may be due to a few issues in and of itself.

A) The rechargeable battery isn’t making a proper connection.  Somewhere along the circuitry line in your light there is a break or bad connection.  If the feed of electricity that is supplied by the solar panel during the day isn’t getting through, then the battery won’t charge to its full capacity, if at all.

B) The rechargeable batteries are getting a charge, but they aren’t storing it as they should.  This could be due to a faulty photoresistor that “thinks” it is dark out, thus running the LEDs during the day and using up charge from the rechargeable batteries, leaving only a residual light of a few hours after sunset.  This appears to be the most common culprit when it comes to a solar garden light “eating” its way through your rechargeable batteries.

C) The batteries are at the end of their life cycle.  Rechargeable batteries typically last for about 2 years of daily use before they need to be changed out and recycled.  One thing to remember about rechargeable batteries, the ones listed as Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) will acquire a “memory”, wherein the battery remembers its last capacity charge and only charges to that limited capacity on following charges.  In other words, if you have NiCd rechargeable batteries and they only charge to half their capacity during a cloudy period, then the following full sun days will only charge to the lower cloudy day capacity.  They still charge, but not to the level you may have seen when you first installed the batteries and it was sunny out during their initial charges/uses.  On the other end are the Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries which cost a little bit more but don’t acquire the “memory” effect as compared to their NiCd cousins.  And do make sure you have the proper type of battery in your solar lights.  There are Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries on the market, but they are specified for their particular device.  They generally produce a brighter light (as the LED is able to handle the power) and can fry out the circuitry on a device that is specified for NiCd or NiMH batteries. Just be sure you use the right ones!

2.  Solar lights aren’t going on at all at night. This may be a result of the above points, or it could be that the photoresistor isn’t working properly (if at all).  The photoresistor will “tell” the LEDs to activate at night (this is what is referred to as an Auto On/Off feature, so that you don’t have to manually turn them on and off every night).  If the photoresistor isn’t doing its job, then neither will any other component of your solar garden lights.

3.  Solar lights go on/off intermittently without me doing anything to them. This could be the result of a faulty switch and/or photoresistor.  If it is the switch, then you may want to wiggle the switch to see if you can get it to where the connection is made and the light stays on.  This issue happens, but not as frequently as battery issues.

4.  Solar lights won’t go on at all, even after I put in new rechargeable batteries. If this is the case and wiggling the switch doesn’t work, it could be that something in the circuitry has failed.  It could be the photoresistor, it could be that the solar panel is fogged over to the point of no return, or that rust has overtaken the internal circuitry.  If this happens, it may be best to recycle the old solar lights and replace the entire unit.  If you are electrically/mechanically inclined and have the resources for replacement parts, this may be along your lines of troubleshooting.  More than likely the solar light will need to be discarded properly and replaced with a newer model.  Most solar lights on the market are made to be affordable, so things will go wrong with them (the old adage, “you get what you pay for”).

Remember not to be discouraged by solar garden lights. They have their issues, but this is not commonplace when compared to their advantages.  They require no electricity, are quite simple to put almost anywhere around your home and garden, are safe for kids and pets (no 120 Volts of electricity by which to be shocked), are relatively affordable and most importantly, they get you that much more off the conventional electricity grid.  We want customers to have the added satisfaction that they are not contributing to the continuing cycle of oil and nuclear extraction/waste when customers simply want to add lighting elements to their homes and gardens.  Solar garden lights are the solution and we are here to help you achieve that goal.

Cheers from those of us at Your Solar Link.

Tiffany-style mosaic glass solar light.
Tiffany-style mosaic glass solar light. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

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