Outdoor solar lights are the perfect way to add a little color and brightness to your garden or pathway. Solar lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small hanging lanterns to large balls. Some solar lights come with accents like photo frames, battery-powered candles, or wind chimes.
At times, the solar lights stop functioning and have to be replaced no matter what design you’ve chosen. Fortunately, replacements are inexpensive, and you may be able to fix your solar light with a simple repair.
What Are Solar Lights?
Most solar lights use a photocell to detect light and a timer to start and stop lighting. When the photocell is exposed to sunlight, it sends a signal to the timer which turns on the lights. The timer will work for at least 12 hours of broad daylight. When the sun goes down, the solar lights will stop working until they are exposed to sunlight again.
Why Do Solar Lights Stop Working?
You may have noticed that your solar light is not as bright as it used to be. The moisture content often causes this. It is present on the solar panel or on the surface on which it is mounted.
Other causes include dirt inside or on your light, UV exposure, or the wiring getting jammed. You can fix any of these problems with a few simple repairs. The most difficult repair to do is removing and installing a new lamp cover.
Possible Solutions to Fix
1. Check By Switching Them On
Before you begin your repair project, check whether the light is on. Remove the light cover and press the button on your lamp to switch it on. This is a primary and important step that could make your whole repair process void if the lights work independently.
However, the problem heightens if the light is functional but doesn’t work when it is supposed to.
2. Check Whether a Pull Tab Is Not Present on the Battery
Some solar lights have a pull tab on the bottom of the battery marked with a + and – sign. If you see this tab, it could be preventing your light from turning on. Remove the tab from beneath the battery and replace it to see if this works. If it does, remove the tab each time you store the light for long periods.
3. Cover The Panel To Test The Light Shade
When lights don’t turn on, it’s often caused by the moisture content. If you have more than one solar light around your home, try covering your solar panel with a plastic bag to see if this can fix the problem. Place the light in sunlight and wait for several hours to check whether it is still non-functioning.
If the light continues to be non-functioning even after several hours of exposure to sunlight, you may have a problem with the timer or battery.
4. Remove and Clean the Panel
If none of these work, remove any dirt or debris that may be present inside the panel. This is not a very easy repair and should only be attempted by an experienced electrician.
5. Ensure the solar panel is positioned correctly
If your solar light still doesn’t work, ensure that it is seated correctly and on the accurate side. Move it back and forth to see if it is getting enough sunlight. Ensure that there are no walls or foliage in your backyard, which can also hamper the lights’ working.
6. Remove the Battery or Solar Panel
If none of these solutions work, remove your light’s battery and solar panel and inspect them to see if it has been damaged due to exposure or extreme weather conditions. Replace both as necessary.
7. Test With Regular Batteries
When you don’t have replacements for your C7 solar light batteries, it may be worth trying regular AA or AAA batteries. If they work, your solar light has been damaged by an extreme weather situation.
8. Switch off and Leave to Charge for 72 Hours
If you don’t have replacements for the batteries and solar panel, charge the solar light. This can take up to 72 hours.
9. Replace and Test Again
After replacing the batteries and charging them for several hours, feel free to test them again. If it still doesn’t work, then it’s probably time to call an electrician to get your light’s solar panel or battery fixed.
10. Check Damaged Wires
Sometimes any animal or bird tries to rip wires with its teeth or beak. This results in the malfunctioning of solar lights. One can fix the broken wire with the help of tape. Sometimes the whole wire needs to be replaced. On other occasions, winds blow fiercely and destroy the solar panel cable. Always ensure that there is no tension in the wire while installation because a bit of force can rip apart the connections. Always leave a stack of wire behind so the used wire has plenty of movement.
11. Water Moisture
Solar lamps may sometimes be influenced by water interruption or entrance. If your lamp has a durable construction, then this shouldn’t be so much of a problem. Nevertheless, if moisture seems to be the cause, then these steps will come in handy for you.
a) Take off any cover that might be putting away dampness and put the light in an airing cabinet for a couple of days to dry it out. Put it back together after the drying process, guaranteeing the batteries are correctly positioned. Let the light charge over a few days. If it works well, you can use it regularly. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for additional details.
b) An accurately introduced sun-powered light will not collect too much moisture. Try to keep the actual panel exposed to daylight. It is a good idea to ensure that the lamp shade is always in place. The majority of solar lights are waterproof but they would still need proper care.
c) If moisture has entered your light, then there could be irreparable damage happening inside. You’ll need professional help to repair or replace it.
Once you have fixed your outdoor solar lights, you should know the maintenance steps that can be taken to ensure their continued performance. Ensure to check them regularly for any issues and if you spot any problem, take action promptly.
Maintenance Guidelines for Solar Lights
The batteries should be replaced every year or two when there is a noticeable drop in the light’s brightness. The replacement process can be complex and may take some time, but it will help the light work efficiently.
You should clean the light heads regularly. You can do this by removing the rubber bulb cap and using a wet cloth to rub the surface of the bulb head. This will clean off dirt and oils that may have built up during the night. Some companies even offer headlight cleaning kits to perform this task.
If your headlights are still dirty after cleaning, then wipe them down with a wet cloth to remove any oil or dirt left on the lenses. You can also use an anti-static spray on the headlights to eliminate any static electricity from building up.
Finally, check whether the solar panels are facing the right way. They should face directly towards the sun so that the lights can absorb energy and work at total capacity.
Step by Step Installation Procedure of Outdoor Solar Lights
The following process entails a concise guideline on installing solar lights for your home or other appliances.
1) Learn How to Check the Solar Panel Orientation
The first thing is to check the panel orientation. Ensure that the panel is installed properly. If it’s not, then switch it to the side that faces towards the sun when you install them.
2) Find a Suitable Position for Your Solar Lights
The next step is finding a good spot for your solar lights. It is recommended to place them in direct sunlight. Solar lights that are placed on a pole or wall should be installed vertically, never horizontally. This will ensure maximum sunlight absorption.
3) Prepare the Wire, Mounting Pole, and Stakes
Before you start installing solar lights outdoors, make sure to get the required tools such as wire, mounting pole, and stakes to make your work easier. You can use the stakes to mount your lights at a certain height. The poles and wires will allow you to hang the lights on the wall or roof.
4) Connect the solar panel to the mounting pole and stake
Once you have prepared the tools, you can connect the wires to the mounting pole and stake. Use a drill with a wire cutter for this purpose. You can use some double-sided tape as well to fasten your wires together.
Solar lights are energy-efficient and eco-friendly. They help us in reducing the carbon footprint as well as the dependability on power lines. Using solar lights reduces our electricity bill, so it is better to go for solar lights that can be used in the long run. So, choose your ideal outdoor solar lamp and make your home environment beautiful.
Q. What are the different types of solar lights?
A. There are three different types of solar lights: light-emitting diode (LED) solar lights, solar pathway/pathway lights, and hanging string lights.
Q. Will a solar cell or battery work for all my needs?
A. You need to check which one is more suitable for your needs. Solar cells are the most preferred choice because they store power even during cloudy days. The battery, on the other hand, will lose its charge if stored for a long time.
Q. How do I replace the batteries in my solar lights?
A. The best way is to search for tips online or on YouTube, as many videos will show the methodology. You can also consult with professionals if you are unsure.
Q. How much will I save in switching to solar lighting?
A. A homeowner can save up to 80% of their energy costs if they use solar lighting only. The annual savings could reach up to $300, and it may last for decades.
Q. How long will it take for solar lights to charge?
A. A full charge may take 24 hours or more depending on the strength of the sunlight. Once the sun goes down, you can expect an average of 8 hours of lighting during a cloudy day and 5 hours during a sunny day.
Q. What is a solar garden?
A. A solar garden is an area where people can grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other plants. It uses artificial light to help the plants grow properly.