If you have recently purchased solar lights and/or if your solar lights are not performing up to par, getting to know how solar light batteries work can be an asset. There are oftentimes many questions as they relate to solar powered lights, one of which is how do the batteries actually work. Well, that’s what we’re here to explore.
Solar Lights can be Broken up into Four unique Components
The first thing to keep in mind is that there are essentially four parts to solar lights. There are the LEDs which provide the light, a photovoltaic cell or solar array tasked with converting sunlight during the day into electrical energy, a rechargeable solar light battery to store that energy, and a charge controller to ensure the batteries are not overcharged.
Solar Light Batteries are the Primary Cause of Failure in Solar Lights
Usually when solar lights do not work, the first thing you should look at are the rechargeable solar light batteries. It is unquestionably the number one cause which makes knowing about them very important.
To begin with, rechargeable solar batteries self-discharge. This means that over time, the batteries will discharge to the point where they no longer work. This is why it is an absolute must that solar lights are charged every three months. This will keep your solar light batteries in good shape.
That said, keep in mind that depending on the brand, the life span does range from 1-2 years. There will come a time when they need to be switched out. If you are coming up on this time frame, be ready to replace your old batteries as they naturally end their life cycle. Sometimes, it can be a few months less than a year. It’s normal to see performance decline towards the end. If lighting is diminishing and/or the lights are not as bright as before, it may be time to consider a full-on replacement.
Another reason that your solar lights might not be working correctly is if the rechargeable solar light batteries are not charging. When they do not charge correctly, yes lighting time and brightness does diminish. To ensure that your batteries are charging up to their maximum efficiency, the solar panel needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Dust and other residues accumulate rather quickly here. They coat the panel and block the sunlight out. No one wants this to happen so it’s important to have it wiped and cleaned regularly.
Are my Solar Light Batteries Dead – here’s how you Find out
Knowing when the solar light batteries are officially dead can be tricky. After all, it could be any number of other things. An easy way to check if a battery still has life is by replacing them with regular batteries. If the light is working, the problem you have is with the battery and the battery is likely dead. If you are testing the solar light during the day, remember to cover it. This will ensure the photocell triggers the light to its “on” position. If the solar light functions with normal batteries, you need to buy a new set of solar light batteries.
Solar Light Batteries require the Panel to be Exposed
It sounds basic and silly but if the solar panel is in the shade, it’s not going to be able to rely on the sunshine to charge its solar light batteries. Before replacing the batteries, place your solar lights under direct sunshine for 1-2 days. Then, see what happens. After this time, if the light is back to functioning as normal, this indicates that your solar panel was not getting enough light in its previous location. It’s a pretty good indication to ensure that solar lights are kept in direct sunlight at a minimum of 4 hours per day to ensure that your rechargeable batteries are being appropriately charged.
Are you Storing away your Solar Lights? Take the Batteries out!
If you are putting away your solar lights for an extended period of time, as some people do in the wintertime, it is important to remove the solar light batteries. If you do, your solar light batteries are near guaranteed to have a longer life span.
Do you need a Solar Light Battery Replacement? This is How you Do it.
If your solar light batteries are in requirement of a replacement, locate the battery over. Remove the cover, take out the batteries, and input new ones.
Getting to Know the Different Kinds of Solar Light Batteries
There are many different kinds of solar light batteries. Most solar lights require anywhere from 1-4 batteries to work. When replacing them, it is important to know the type of battery required to ensure the most enhanced performance of your solar lights.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH) have up to three times more capacity than the same size Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery. They last longer, are more reliable, cost a little extra, and are the more environmentally friendly option of the two. They are definitely the more recommended of the two types.
Keep in Mind these top Tips for your Solar Light Batteries
Whether you are new to the world of solar lights or whether you’re just looking for a quick refresher, these are all things to keep in mind to maximize the efficiency and life span of your solar light batteries.
Every spring, when you pull out those solar lights to get ready for summer, review this list and make sure you’re treating your solar light batteries fairly. Take the opportunity before the warm season sets in to make sure you have replacements on hand and test your current batteries. More often than not, you will run into some issue along the way. No one wants to be surprised in the middle of July with an issue so be ready to handle anything that comes as it pertains to your solar light and solar light batteries. If you weren’t sure of how to fix or replace your solar light batteries, you know now. Enjoy the months ahead!