How to Troubleshoot Solar Garden Lights

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Solar garden lights make the yard glow at night, increasing safety and highlighting plants and other garden features. These economical lights run on solar energy, storing power from the sun during the day and providing landscape illumination from dusk until dawn. Yard lights that don't run up the electric bill and don't have to be turned on or off work well for home and commercial use, and for vacation homes and properties for sale. Solar lights provide trouble-free operation. If any lose power or fail, you can get them working again in minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth: microfiber, T-shirt or clean shop rag
  • AA rechargeable ni-cad batteries
  • Diagnose the solar garden lights. If they are new, and some work fine and others flicker or won't light, the problem may be location. Try moving the malfunctioning lights to a sunnier location so their batteries charge properly to light up at night. Use a damp soft cloth to clean the solar panel (the shiny area on the top of the light that collects solar energy).

  • Take off the cover and reattach firmly. At twilight, when the solar lights come on, tap the tops of any lights that are flickering or not coming on.

  • Take the cover off. On most models, twist the top, above the light. Remove the battery. According to Solar Illuminations, most solar garden lights operate on one of more AA ni-cad rechargeable batteries, usually 1.2 volts. The batteries ought to be replaced every one to two years.

  • Obtain new AA ni-cad rechargeable batteries. Bring a battery from your solar lights with you to shop to identify the correct replacement.

  • Install the new batteries in the lights. Replace the covers firmly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rechargeable ni-cad batteries come in different capacities: 800mA, 700mA, 600mA. Ni-mh batteries come in higher capacities. Check the battery from the light or documentation that came with your solar garden lights to find a match. Solar Illuminations warns that a higher capacity battery won't improve light performance if the model of solar garden light doesn't have the ability to fully charge it.
  • Keep some spare batteries on hand for the solar lights.
  • Clean the solar panels regularly.
  • Recycle used batteries. Recycling centers, some dumps and some health food stores accept batteries for recycling.
  • Keep batteries out of reach of children.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleansers or rough materials on solar panels, as scratches on the surface can reduce performance.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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