How To Make Solar Garden Lights Work

Among the most efficient practices to beautify and maintain the brightness of your garden is to incorporate some solar-powered lights. Whether they are minor ornament lights to simply add a bit of colour to your yard during the night or they are grander lights to illuminate the pavement of your garden, solar lights are the path to take.

How Do Solar Lights Work?

Solar light works by utilizing power from solar panels and one or more rechargeable batteries. Through the photovoltaic effect, the solar panels take the light from the sun and convert it into electrical energy, thus charging the batteries throughout the day. When night comes, the energy stored in the rechargeable batteries powers an LED light.

Common Reasons Why Solar Lights Stop Working

Even though solar lights are insusceptible to unpredictable weather conditions, they can be feeble and encounter some issues, which is natural to most users. However, that doesn’t imply their functionality is completely dead.
A solar garden light attached to a house.

1. Lights Aren’t Receiving Enough Sunlight

When your solar lights aren’t getting enough sun, then they are unable to charge the batteries efficiently and for that reason, your device will stop lighting. Yes, a solar light will still charge in the shade and can even charge using artificial lights, but the less direct sunlight they receive, the less cost-effective they will be and the lights will not last throughout the night.

2. Check The Pull Tab For Batteries

When you buy new solar lights, you might overlook pulling the tab which is found near the batteries and is usually used to preserve the battery life and power until the product is purchased.

3. Faulty Sensors

The majority of outdoor solar lights have a small sensor to check darkness. However, this will not occur with a faulty light sensor except when you bypass the light sensors and you likely don’t have time for that. If there is a defective solar light sensor, the sensor cannot distinguish light from darkness; thus, it does not produce light in the evening.

4. Dead Batteries

Generally, when a battery is dead, you might need to give a once-over and check if it’s too old or worn out. Batteries that are worn out may begin to oxidize, leading to acid leakage. This could induce lifelong damage to the solar-powered lights’ electrical parts. These batteries are unable to carry a sufficient charge to powered solar light, and if they can, it won’t last.

5. Dirty Solar Panel

A solar garden light hanging from a tree branch.

The solar panel has to accumulate as much sunlight as it can so it can fully charge its batteries. If they are covered in dirt and dust, just a small amount of sun lands in the solar panel.

Other sorts of debris might have fallen onto the solar panels and have shrouded them entirely. This will usually happen when you put your solar lights in a place that is near a bush or tree. The leaves of the tree might have dropped and they covered the panel, obstructing them from the beams of the sun.

6. Water Buildup

While most solar lighting products are designed with Ingress Protection (IP) to safeguard against water and weather-related deterioration, a few may still face water intrusion. When this occurs, water may flow within the accompanying solar panels, impairing the inner wiring and circuitry.

How To Fix Solar Lights

Now that you’ve learned the probable reason for your solar lights not functioning, let’s learn the ways to fix them so they can start working again.

Check If They’re Turned On

You have to place them somewhere they can get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. If there is an overgrowth of shrubs or grass nearby the solar light, you may need to cut them. Additionally, adjusting your solar light panel to 30-degrees will guarantee your panels are getting more sunlight.

Relocate Them Away From Other Light Sources

You must also refrain from positioning the lights where they can be affected by artificial light, like when they are set too close to a patio light. Place them in a spot where no bright lights can reach them.

Inspect The Wiring

In case your solar lamps are on a strand, similar to fairy lights, inspect the wire to see it’s still in decent condition. Oftentimes, animals chew through the cable. You can repair the string light cord in case of necessity by taping bare areas of every part of the wire with electrical tape.

Check If They’re Turned On

You would be shocked how frequently people haven’t discovered that their lights have an on/off button! If it’s on and still doesn’t light up, check for the battery pull tab. This is simply forgotten, making numerous individuals think that they got a defective light. Try to find a small plastic tab near the battery case and ensure it’s completely removed before proceeding to other probable solutions. This is for recently purchased lights, requiring this tab to be removed to work at all.

Test The Light By Covering The Panels

In most cases, solar lights only work during the night and they charge in the daytime. You have to fabricate a dark environment to see whether the light is functioning. If the lights do not operate when you cover the sensor or put them in the dark, then there may be a problem with the sensor. You can either replace the sensor or even a damaged wire in such a case or you can declare it under warranty for a replacement.
A solar garden light hanging from a tree branch.

Clean The Panels

Dust, dirt, and other accumulated debris can very much affect the charging process as they might cover the solar panel and block the sunlight. As a result, it’s a great idea to clean your panel from time to time and store it in a secure place when not in use, for example, during the winter.

Change The Battery

Once their average life span is consumed, they tend to stop working or start functioning poorly. If you see reduced brightness in the light, then it’s time to replace its battery.

Turn It Off When the Weather Is Bad

Suppose the solar panels will be unable to charge to their full capacity before the night and the lights must be turned on, this will place stress on the batteries. Not charging the batteries for a long time will shorten their lifespan, inducing them to die quicker than anticipated.

To prevent overstressing your batteries, you have to switch the solar lights off whenever the weather forecast informs you that the next few days will be cloudy. A cloudy day or shade that goes over the light can alter the lighting time in the evening. Likewise, if you reside in a region where the temperature drops to below freezing during winter, you need to remove your solar lights from their spots and store them where they can acquire some artificial light every day. Do not store solar lights in a box or a dark room. The cold climate outside and the snow will lead to damage, not just to the solar panels but to the whole light itself.

Dry Your Solar Lights

Rainstorms and unintentionally submerging them can damage them. In this case of water intrusion, try the following:

Wrap Up

Solar lights will cut down the cost of your electrical bill, making you save a lot of money in the long run compared to lights powered by electricity.

If your solar lights are not working well at night, you can now bring your solar lights back to life by yourself.

Curb Wise