Solar Powered Lights Buying Guide

LE-Solar-Rope-Lights-23ftSolar powered lights may be used for security or gardening purposes. The first thing to consider when buying outdoor lights is quality. Aside from aesthetics and materials used, you need to take into account three factors when it comes to solar lights

1. Solar Cell Quality

All solar cells used on these lights offer a similar power output for the same area. But, they feature different coatings. Inexpensive lights have plastic or similar coatings that can turn yellow or become cloudy after some time. While more expensive cells use glass coating, the quality of the glass is different. The best solar cells are the ones using glass coatings. But, you need to keep them clean.

The amount of power sent to the battery is determined by cell area. Shaded areas or areas where daylight is short need a large cell size to get a full charge. But, many lights have batteries that can get a full charge in eight hours or more under the sun. When the battery is fully-charged, it offers around six to eight hours of light using a LED. Some people can combine different components of lights to make charging faster or make run time longer at night.

2. Batteries.

Nickel Cadmium batteries (NiCd)

Many solar powered lights feature Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries. These batteries are inexpensive and dependable. They also have a longer life span than other types of batteries. But, these batteries may have to be replaced after two years or less. These batteries can take a limited number of cycles or the number of times they can be charged and discharged depending on the environment.

Temperature range

Nickel Cadmium batteries have the best temperature range. They are also suitable for use outdoors. While many batteries are replaceable, you should check for odd sizes used in small-size lights. The price of replacement batteries are also higher compared to the ones included in the solar powered light.

Avoid different battery combinations

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries cannot replace Nickel Cadmium batteries. The charging requirements of these two batteries are not the same. Many inexpensive lights feature basic charging circuits. These circuits work with specific types of batteries.

Ensure the battery contacts are clean.

The battery sealing of inexpensive lights is deficient. Their contacts easily get rusty and stained. When the contacts are dirty, the run time decreases. It may also damage the battery until it finally wears out and become unusable.

3. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)

These lights feature LEDS, which are cost-efficient and offer bright light. It is important to make sure there is a good balance on the size of the LED, solar cell, and battery. The cell should generate energy suitable for the battery. The battery should store enough energy used by the LED. The LED should also be efficient enough so it can stay bright throughout the night.

Better-quality LEDs are used on good lights. These LEDs are power-efficient and offer good light quality or color rendering index (CRI). They also have better focus. Inexpensive lights emit bluish, glaring lights. The light also comes from one area. Good lights have a warm glow and the light has a diffused pattern.

Additional Tips

This tip came from a friend and you may find it useful.

I have been using string solar powered fairy LED lights for a number of years already. These worked well even though they were inexpensive. Nevertheless, a whole set was damaged by frost after I left it outside since the cold weather seems to affect electronics. Foxes also chewed on the wires. They work the whole year round in London since the weather is not quite sunny. But, two weeks during Christmas or the winter solstice, something appears to go wrong with my solar powered lights. Due to this, I try to spend Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere if possible since the weather is warm and sunny.

But, you really need to do your research and maintain your solar-powered lights. When you buy a set, make sure to check their tolerance. Brighter lights require more energy. But, it may not be necessary to fill up everything outside the house with lights at night.

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