Solar Garden Lights

Discussion in 'Building DIY, Machinery & Tools' started by ClissAT, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Does anyone have any type of better solar light that they would like to give credit too here in this thread?

    I have been on a desperate search for better types of solar garden lights.

    I have these very old original type yellow lights that I purchased around 1998.
    They are Aussie made (or maybe USA made) & the reason they are yellow is that all the white ones were sold out by the time I got to the hardware store when they were first advertised as being revolutionary.
    But they just never stop working. Well that's not quite true- one did fail after being run over! :p
    They were $20 each which was a lot of money in those days!

    solar lights.jpg

    However, these new ones from China are just rubbish.
    It used to be the batteries that failed. Now its the switch wiring that gets dicky very quickly.
    These that I recently got that are supposed to hang off the guttering (except I refabricated them to hang off the balustrade over the stair well), only work for 4hrs then go out. And only work for 4mths then fail.
    I have many types of solar lights in the garden but all fail within a few months. The batteries might still charge up well enough but the switch wiring means they don't shine brightly unless the switch is twiddled & the light will only shine while the switch is being moved.

    The interesting thing is that when you compare them, they both have similar sized panels.
    So the panel on the old ones will charge the battery inside which will go all night & be turned off in the morning by the coming daylight.
    Whereas the new ones will only charge a battery to work for 4hrs then go out. I thought panel & battery science & capacity had improved exponentially over the last 20yrs. But apparently not.
     
  2. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wow you have done well with the old solar lights. Like you we have had some solar ones in the past that work well to start with but then only last 6mths.

    We are starting to look into 12v ones for our front garden. I'll be interested if anyone does have good solar light too.
     
  3. Lois

    Lois Active Member Premium Member

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    I am interested in what works.
     
  4. Auron Leonhart

    Auron Leonhart Active Member Premium Member

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    Not sure if this helps but I have been using these for nearly 6 months and they are all working great: https://www.samsclub.com/sams/6pc-led-solr-path-lt-club/prod21441685.ip?navAction=push

    They are currently out of stock as of posting this but they will probably have more. Not sure if you can get these where you are but I highly recommend these as they durable (so far) and put off a good amount of light as well. We have 3 packs lighting up our backyard path way and it looks great. They come in packs of 6 and here at Sams Club they only cost 30 dollars usd. Hope this helps, you might be able to find some in your area under a different retailer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    I don't know about all the products out there but every small individual solar garden light that i've seen seems pretty crappy, i guess they're made that way because people don't want to spend money on a quality product and would rather buy cheap, even if it fails after months. I have the 12v garden lights, with the long wire and transformer. You can buy all different kinds of individual lights to add to the system, but i have it connected to my offgrid system. So it only cost me thousands of dollars :whistles: :blush:
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    LOL Stevo 'thousands of dollars'!!

    For me to have a 12v system would either require me to dig up the driveway to run a lead from the house or have a solar panel in the garden that I want to light up.
    The solar panel is doable but it would mean some sort of small 'building' (ie a little pump house or dog kennel style) to house the battery, then a wire running everywhere through the garden beds.
    Its the wire that for me is the problem child.
    I would for sure dig it up or otherwise break it everytime I dug or worked in the garden.
    It's hard enough already because I dig up dormant bulbs all the time because I forget where I planted them.
     
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  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    yeah agree there, running wires everywhere over long distances is not great, as you say, maintenance would be an issue, and 12v over long distance on a rural property isn't good as you get voltage drop.

    You might be able t find small standalone/offgrid garden light systems? Little panel, little battery and lights, and have a few of them scattered around the property hidden under plastic buckets for weather protection :hysterical:... but yeah... i tend to think garden lights are just an ongoing maintenance issue.
     
  8. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    oh... and...

    From my days being interested in being offgrid and trying different things, i found everything 12v tends to be expensive and low quality, where as if you use 240v stuff it's mass produced for normal houses, is cheaper and better quality.

    So i found it better and more reliable to use 240v lights and appliances and just run them from an inverter from the batteries.

    (disclaimer: this may not apply to everything!)

    PS. AND... sometimes, with the money you/we/i spend on all this offgrid set up, it can be cheaper just to connect it all to the grid and pay the electricity bill .

    So, i think we've done a full circle now. :hysterical:
     
  9. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yep. Buy it cheap, buy it twice (or thrice). And solar technology is okay but the lights and batteries used for these kinds of items are just quickly disposable. I’ve gone away from just about all of the solar powered things other than a laser light and the grid panels. Quality is just too poor.
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Last night I went around my roundabout garden to move some lights that are shaded now in winter & to check all the lights that are actually still working.
    I saw some come on that were so dull I couldn't see them from the house.
    When I fiddled with the switch, they brightened remarkably while I had my finger on the switch but went back to very dull soon as I stopped 'twiddling' the switch.
    So the connection plate under the switch is now so cheap it can only tolerate a certain number of times being turned on.
    I usually leave the lights on auto mode & so they come on when the darkness falls.
    But I often turn the weak ones off if there have been several dull days such as recently, then after a few bright days to charge the batteries again I turn them back on.

    But yes it is very frustrating paying for lights over & over. The other thing that happens now is it's generally impossible to replace broken lights with the same design. These designs change so frequently, I now have 3 different styles around the driveway.
     
  11. Wayland.

    Wayland. Active Member Premium Member

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    There seems to be a worldwide problem with these solar powered lights. I have a number of dead ones in me shed awaiting repair. I expect I should just bin them all. My grandfather's favourite expression was " If you want something good for nothing, you'll get something good for nothing". How true. I still want lights around the plot, a twelve volt system has its appeal. Being low voltage it is less bothered by dampness and the whole installation is not rocket science but, how good would the charger panel be? When buying from Ebay etc now I look closely at the reviews after ignoring the best and worst. Still no guarantee I know but unless we buy from the corner shop which does have some sort of return policy and pay the price, what else?.
     
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