How to Fix Solar Lights
What are the Steps to Repair Damaged or Malfunctioning Solar Lights?
Solar lights generally are reliable products that provide nighttime illumination for various outdoor spaces. They can be used to illuminate the edges of a garden, provide lighting to walkways and help to illuminate walls to avoid accidents.
However, they sometimes have problems.
Like most electronics, it is important to follow the setup instructions to ensure that your solar lights are installed in both the optimal locations, and that the internal parts are installed the proper way.
But how do you diagnose problems?
One of the easiest ways to determine whether there is a problem with your solar lights is the amount of lighting that the solar lights are providing.
- Dim illumination: Solar lights with older batteries will have a lower illumination output, or an output that is not as bright as when the solar light was new.
- No illumination: This could be a result of multiple things. If the lights had been working before and suddenly are no longer providing light, it could either be as a result of a dead battery, a broken lamp or a blown fuse.
Simple procedures can be followed if you encounter any problems with your solar lights. This can improve the light output from your solar lights, and can help to avoid replacing solar lights by carrying out these simple fixes.
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Troubleshooting Solar Light Issues
Sometimes, there are reasons for solar lights not working properly that are not related to broken parts or malfunctioning components. These are the easy fixes.
Check these first in order to determine whether or not the solar lights require to be disassembled in order to work properly.
If you have curious children, it may be possible that the lights have been switched into the “off” position. Make sure that all the lights are switched into the “on” position, and this should make the solar lights work properly.
Pull Tabs on Battery
New solar lights sometimes come equipped with a pull tab on the batteries in order to prevent them from discharging while being shipped. Make sure that this tab is removed before trying to charge the solar lights.
Solar lights that are exposed to artificial light at nighttime will not turn on because they rely on low-levels of light to determine whether it is nighttime or not. Moving solar lights to darker areas is usually better.
Move solar lights to an area of darkness to ensure that they produce nighttime illumination.
Shadowed Solar Panels
Shadows are notorious for creeping over solar lights and preventing them from charging. In addition, over the course of the summer plants may grow larger and begin to cover solar lights that had been uncovered at the start of the summer season.
A quick repositioning of the solar lights away from shadows can help to alleviate this problem.
Dirty Solar Panels
The solar panels on the top of solar lights will collect dirt and grime over time, making them less capable of receiving sunlight. This is a quick and easy fix.
Remove any debris that has collected with a smooth wet cloth, and use a small amount of dish soap to help remove any cloudiness. Use a clean cloth to remove any remaining soap.
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Fully Charge Solar Light Batteries
Sometimes, solar lights are unable to get a full charge. This could be because of multiple cloudy days, shorter days at the earlier parts of spring, or on colder days where the batteries are less efficient at storing energy. These can easily be fixed.
Turn the solar lights off, while still leaving the solar lights outside in the sunlight. Leave them unused for 48 to 72 hours, and then turn them on. This is another way to test the solar lights to make sure they still operate properly. Doing this with all of your solar lights is a good way to ensure that they will provide the longest illumination.
Problems that Require Disassembly
If your solar lights are still not holding a charge or producing enough nighttime lighting, there are a few other problems that might exist. These problems require the lights to be disassembled.
Doing these all at once can save you time.
Only proceed with these steps if you have tried all the previous steps and the solar lights still do not work after having left your solar lights out in direct sunlight for 3 days.
Procedure for Fixing Your Solar Lights
Step 1: Take Apart the Light Fitting
Using the instructions guide that came with your solar lights, unscrew the light fitting so that you can see inside the solar light.
Step 2: Check for any Water in the Solar Light Fitting
Some solar lights are weatherproof, but not waterproof. Make sure to remove any water that is found within the solar lights.
Step 3: Remove Solar Light Batteries
Corrosion js a major problem for solar lights. Corrosion can be identified as a white powder that coats the outside surface or the batteries, and can be removed using a soft brush, or sandpaper for corrosion that is harder to remove.
Once cleaned, re-install the batteries securely. It is also important to make sure that the batteries are placed correctly, and that they contact the metal receptors within the battery housing.
Step 4: Check for Exposed Wiring
Wildlife can sometimes chew away at any wires that are exposed, which can cause the lights to malfunction.
Contact the manufacturer of the solar lights to discuss any possible solutions. Some manufacturers have a warranty on the wires, and may offer to replace the product. If this is not an option, electrical tape could help to repair frayed wires, and soldering wires together would also work.
Step 5: Dry the Solar Lights
Store the lights inside and away from moisture for 3 days or so in order to allow the lights to dry out. A dry solar light is a working solar light.
Step 6: Re-assemble the Solar Lights
After making sure that the solar lights are dry and the parts are working again, follow the instructions guide to re-assemble the solar lights. They should be working perfectly again!
Other Reasons for Solar Light Problems
Some more advanced solar lights have additional features that can cause solar lights to operate more frequently than desired, and drain the battery much more quickly than desired. These lights might have other fixes.
Motion Detector Sensitivity
Solar lights with motion sensors detect movement and turn on the solar lights. This is useful if you use solar lights to help see obstacles at night on your way into your house, but other wildlife such as dogs, cats and birds can cause these lights to come on unnecessarily, draining the battery.
To fix this, at night, adjust the sensitivity of the light so that it triggers when you are walking near the obstacles you are trying to avoid. Reduce the sensitivity to a level that only activates when you need it to, or just above the minimum that is required for the solar light’s purpose. This should help to reduce the amount of time the light comes on unnecessarily.
Many solar light retailers are able to provide assistance to those who bought their solar lights. Their helpline answers questions about how they work, and what needs to be done to fix any issues.
Generally, simple fixes to solar lights take minimal time and do not require complex tools. This makes them an affordable option for homeowners, and also makes it easy for anyone to carry out simple fixes for these solar lights.
Many people choose to fix their solar lights on rainy days, as the solar lights would not be getting any use. This also keep the solar lights out of the rain, and reduces the amount of time needed to dry out the solar lights.
Other articles on this site provide more specific resources to help you understand how to extend the lifetime of solar lights, a more in-depth focus on cleaning solar lights, and what elements to consider when purchasing solar lights for different applications. Check out the full list of helpful articles on solar lights in the toolbar at the top of the page.
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