Solar lights are portable light fixtures that include photo-voltaic solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and LED lamps. The solar panels take up the sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. This electrical energy is either stored in a battery or used immediately. The main goal of such lights is to provide light at night. A solar light sensor is yet another important part of these lights and if these sensors have an issue solar light will malfunction that is why if you have solar lights you must learn how to fix solar light sensors. In this article, you will also learn about solar light repair kits and some DIY quick fixes for solar lights.
What Makes a Solar Light?
To understand how to fix solar light sensors, it is first important to know what makes a solar light. The solar light has an outside casing that protects the inside equipment. It has glass on top which is designed to let all the sunlight for the photovoltaic cell soak in. It effectively lets the LED glow in the dark. Depending on the model you choose, the photovoltaic cells can be present inside the glass or on the top of the case. Also, see Why Transparent Solar Panels Are The Future?
What are Solar light Uses?
Solar lights are sustainable alternatives to normal light. They can be used for outdoor as well as indoor purposes. These lights can be installed in different private and public sectors. They are even being used in signs and traffic lights. Their most common applications are-
- Solar Street Lights: They have a lightweight and compact design. They are used in various outdoor lighting applications to illuminate streets, gated communities, highways, resorts, backyards, patios, lawns, pathways, parking lots, construction sites, play areas, lawns, pergolas, gazebos, parks, school and college buildings, factory compounds and any remote areas with no access to grid electricity.
- Solar Garden Light: They are available in multiple modern designs and styles. Usually, they are used as decorative lights to enhance the aesthetic value of outdoor areas like gardens, lawns, fences, terraces, courtyards, balconies, decks, stairs, ponds, stairs, scenic spots, parks, open-air restaurants, driveways, and patios. They also provide sustainability and security.
- Solar Emergency Lights: These dependable accessories fit versatile applications such as home security, flood lights, rescue operations, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. These devices are extremely useful during power outages as they have an in-built power bank to charge electronic devices.
- Solar flood lights: These lights provide focused lighting and are used to illuminate in a broad light angle. They can be used in huge parking lots, concert halls, sports fields, boulevards, facade lighting, airports, manufacturing plants, architectural buildings, monuments, and military and civilian security installations.
What are the Benefits of Solar Lighting Systems?
The benefits of using solar light systems are as follows-
1. Green Alternative
Solar lighting is a great green alternative to traditional lighting as it uses no power at all from the grid. Solar lights don’t rely on the grid to ensure power operation. They provide plenty of power during blackouts and brownouts. Moreover, this lighting technology also holds a commendable place in the world’s leading renewable energy technologies. Today, solar energy is one of the cheapest renewable energy resources in the market.
2. Low-Cost Installation
The installation per pole between a grid system installation and off-grid solar is the same. The main difference is the fact that there is no reason to trench in traditional grid power as well as there are no meters to install.
3. Maintenance Fee
The solar lighting systems are practically maintenance-free. LED lights have a 20+ year lifespan. These lights use photocells and thus the second biggest need for maintenance is removed. Solar batteries have a five to seven-year lifespan if properly sized. You just need to clean solar panels so that dust and dirt don’t accumulate on them. Typically, no other maintenance is needed for such lighting systems as all other components have a life span of 15-30+ years.
4. No Energy Bills
The best part about solar lighting systems is that they make you free from electric power bills. Also, see How Long Do Solar Generators Last?
What is a Solar Light Sensor?
The solar light sensor is just a simple photoresistor that cuts a circuit as long as sunlight falls on it. The sensor stops working when it gets dark. When the sensor stops, the circuit between the LED and battery is complete and thus the LED lights up.
How to Diagnose Problems with Solar Lights?
Let’s first learn about how to diagnose problem with solar lights and then you can move for learning how to fix solar light sensors. There are some visual things you can analyze to know what is exactly wrong with your solar lights, things like:
- After only a few hours of sunlight, the light is turning ON during the day. This happens when the sensor isn’t working properly. Basically, in such a case the light runs out of battery after like an hour into the evening. This means that the sensor needs to be fixed or replaced.
- The solar light is placed at a location where it doesn’t receive proper sunlight. This mostly happens after the season changes.
- There can be a problem with the LED, sensor, or battery if the solar light is not ON during the day and still doesn’t work during the night.
- There can be a problem with the wires or the LED if the solar lights are flickering.
What is Quick Fix for Solar Lights?
The DIY quick fix for solar lights is to dismantle and clean them because mostly they have issues when dust and dirt settle on top of the LED. Due to the dust, the LED is dimmed and this results in the malfunctioning of the sensor. One additional problem with the solar light sensor is that if it’s not top-grade, it will gradually turn opaque due to exposure to direct sunlight. After this, let’s learn about the tools that any solar light repair kit should have. Also, see How to Choose Solar Panels for Food Truck
What are Tools that Solar Light Repair Kit Should Have?
These are a few tools that any solar light repair kit should have-
- Rosin paste flux
- Silicone paste
- Soldering gun
- Heat shrink tubing
- Lighter/Heating gun
- Safety glasses
- Wire Stripper/Cutter
- Lead-free electrical solder
How to Clean Solar Lights?
These are the steps you should follow to clean your solar lights-
- Based on the solar light model, there will screw on the bottom or the top of the case. You need to unscrew all such screws. Keep in mind where which screw goes.
- The entire electronic arrangement is inside the case and most probably the batteries also have a casing for themselves. You need to unscrew this casing.
- After removing the glass casing on top, use a damp cloth or cleaning liquid to clean it. You can also rinse it under a sink if there is a lot of dirt inside.
- Now take out the battery from its case and then clean the case as well as the battery. Take out any dirt or bugs that are settled on the contacts as they might disconnect the battery. If your light is old, you can sandpaper the contacts a little to remove the stubborn chemical deposit and rust.
How to Fix Solar Light Battery?
The easiest way of fixing your solar light battery is to replace the battery from its casing and clean battery contacts. These are some DIY quick fix for solar lights battery-
- After cleaning the solar battery, it should be working fine if the issue was the dirt.
- If the battery is still not working, check if the wires are connecting the things. If the wires are loose, get them fixed on by someone who can solder the wire back on. In case this device has small screws connecting the wires to the electronic, the wires may come out of the screw. If that is the issue, fit the wire back and put the battery back in.
- If your solar light is old and it stops working, there are chances that the battery is dead. If that happens, use a spare battery and see if the light comes on in the dark. You can get new batteries or use the battery of another solar light.
- If none of these methods work then most probably that problem lies in either LED or sensor. Don’t worry if that is the case. In the next question, you will efficiently learn how to fix solar light sensors.
How to Fix Solar Light Sensor and LED?
After learning how to fix solar light batteries, let’s learn how to fix solar light sensors. If the problem in your solar light is not associated with solar battery then most probably it is linked to the solar light sensor or the LED. However, the bigger problem here is you don’t know for sure which is really to blame. These are some DIY quick fix for solar lights LED and sensors you can try-
- One of the major reasons for a sensor not working is when dirt accumulates on it. Clean the sensor and see if it works. If there is no dirt, then check the sensor’s coating. Mostly, solar lights are made up of cheap stuff and because of constant exposure to sunlight the thin coating of plastic meant for protecting the sensor shuts it down. You can solve this issue by chipping off the coating and replacing it with clear plastic wrap or scotch tape.
- If the light still doesn’t work then the sensor is probably dead. However, again you don’t know if the issue is with the sensor or the LED. You can either replace the LED or the Sensor. Go for the sensor first and if replacing the sensor doesn’t work then the LED is dead and you will have to replace it.
In this article, you have learned everything about Solar light from how to diagnose problems with a solar light to how to fix solar light sensors. Solar lights are great to clean energy devices and their purpose is to reduce carbon emissions on this planet. If any minor issue occurs with the solar lights instead of discarding them and buying another solar light, it’s advisable to use simple tricks to solve the issue. If you change solar lights because of minor issues then the whole purpose of attaining sustainability by using solar lights will be wasted.
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