Frequently Asked Questions
Has anyone ever changed the batteries in solar powered lawn lights?
Mine don't light up anymore and I wondered if I could buy new rechargable batteries instead of new lights.
I bought some batteries that specified they were for solar lights. So far. . .and I've only changed batteries in one. . .it doesn't charge in the light. I paid an arm and a leg for these batteries at Home Depot. I no longer buy expensive solar lights so I can just throw them away. But I have some really pretty ones that I'd like to get going again. I also find that the solar panel clouds up. I don't think they are very well made. . .the expensive ones or the cheap ones. I've also bought some of the cheap ones at Walmart and the first two only lasted about six months. The second set of lights has been going for quite a while longer. If you find a cheap place to buy these batteries. . .please let me know. I have a tip about a local place that sell the batteries. I'm going to check it out shortly. I sure like having those lights out in back because we have critters afoot and I sure don't want to step on something that bites back.
Convert my solar charged LED lights to AC?
I have a dozen very nice solar lawn lights that I'd like to convert to
AC power. The conditions, both solar exposure and temperature here in
Wisconsin mean that these things run out of juice before the morning.
Sure seems like it shouldn't be rocket science to convert to AC power.
You burry a cable connecting (in parallel) all lamps to a one spot, preferably
inside the house or in a sheltered spot. At that spot they will be connected to
a 3 V DC power.
This is basicaly inventorbob-ga's solution 1). I discourage
solution 2) since it is not a 'low voltage' solution. There are safety
and code problems with solution 2).
The cable which can be burried is sold in an Home Depo and similar
stores (which carry automatic sprinklers). They can be used for 120V
and of course for any lover voltage. There are however some local
ordonances (if I remember correctly, there is a minimal depth (about
Make and keep drawing of the curcuit (for case of future digging ..)
You can add a central recharchable battery and a simple regulator
circuit which will charge it (from your power supply) only when
You can add such regularor to each local battery in circuit
circuit in From: inventorbob-ga on 11 Oct 2006 08:28 PDT case 1)
With such regulator you can have several branches connected to your power supply
or central batery.
Regulators prevent the local batteries from discharching by any other
path than to their local LED light (eliminating possible local loops).
Regulator can be just a diode (allowing the current to flow only one way) or
a slightly more complex circuit which will enable charging only when the
voltage of local battey drops to certan level.
There are codes which cover outside wiring. Your 120V AC to 12V DC converter
and eventual central battery should be inside or conform.
I would let a local electrician or garden landscape contractor to install
it, since they know the local codes.
how would you feel about this?
i got my father a set of solar powered lawn lights as a fathers day present and he just said i dont want them and asked me to give him the cash i paid instead, i was kind of upset but i just gave him 60 bucks and thought if thats what he wants thats best. but i really feel bad that he didnt like my gift. so i kept them anyway and put them around the garden. he went out lastnight and said how nice it looked and when i woke up i seen he had put the money on my dresser. now im stuck. i want him to have a gift he likes but he gave the money back, should i insist he takes it to buy a gift he likes or just keep it?
dude, he changed his mind most likely. he didnt no how well the garden prob would look with them. seeing them look so good he decided he did really want them yet he didnt want to again change his mind by telling u. basically, he ended up liking them, and instead of going up to u again and saying he changed his mind, he put it on ur dresser. dont pressure the old man, give him a break most fathers do really feel awkward about gettign gifts. next time, seeing a movie or eating at a great place is good idea to.
Does solar power stuff work when it's cloudy?
It was raining most of today with some sun and when we came home our lawn decoration which is solar powered was on and now it's not. It rained a lot and it's very windy outside now. Can it be because it didn't get enough light or can it be blown away? My mom won't let me go out because she's sleeping so yeah.
Lawn/patio lights, can't figure out how they work?
I just bought a house and there are about 20-30 small lights, the little lamp type with hoods on top, lining the driveway and patio. Problem is, I can't figure out how they work. There is no switch apparently, they all seem to be connected by a single wire. Funny thing is, late at night 2 of the lights switch on. It is possible that the rest of the bulbs are dead, but how are they being powered? No battery or solar panel can be found? Any idea how to find this out myself (please don't suggest I bring a lighting person in, I am first trying to figure it out myself)? Thanks.
It's either dead bulbs or a bad connection to the main wire.
Standard landscape lighting is powered by a transformer that steps down the 110 volt AC at an outlet to 12 volts. The transformer also usually includes a rotary timer that allows you to set when the lights come on and go off. The 12-volt wire that supplies the lamps is connected to terminals at the transformer and is run throughout the yard. Each lamp has a clip assembly of some kind (different actual mechanism for different manufacturers) that includes little barbs for piercing the insulator on the 12-volt wire for connecting the lamp to the wire.
Sometimes, these barbs develop a bit of corrosion and the electrical contact is broken. In this case, you can kind of jiggle the connector to try to remake the contact. Sometimes, you have to undo the connector and reconnect it at a different spot on the 12-volt wire.
Depending on how the installer connected additional 12-volt wires together, you might also have a bad splice connection. I always use wire nuts to connect the 12-volt wires together and wrap that up with electrical tape. However, this is not completely waterproof and may eventually corrode, breaking the connection.
To troubleshoot the system, take a known good bulb and, starting at the transformer, trace out the 12-volt wiring. Put the good bulb into each lamp in the system. When you get to a lamp that doesn't work, check the lamp's connection to the 12-volt wire. If this doesn't make the lamp come on, trace back to look for a bad splice. If you find one, cut the wires and redo the splice. A voltmeter is also handy for determining if you have a break in the continuity somewhere along the line.
When you're at the point where putting a good bulb in each lamp causes it to light up, count all the bad ones and go get some new ones. However, they must be the same wattage as the original bulbs.
The transformer only puts out so much power (in watts). Let's say it puts out 110 watts. Assuming a safety factor of about 10%, that means you can hook up about 100 watts of load to it. The standard (incandescent) bulbs come in 4, 7, and 11-watts. So, you can safely run 25 4-watt bulbs, 14 7-watt bulbs, or 9 11-watt bulbs off of that transformer. If you exceed the loading of the transformer, it will overheat and eventually shut off (thermal protection). You might even damage it.
The wattage rating for the transformer should be shown on a sticker on the bottom of the transformer.