Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Solar light maintenance

14th January, 2018

Many - or even most - people these days have solar lights in their gardens. The little metal / plastic ones you stick in the ground or hang on a convenient fence which charge their batteries during the day, then in the evening provide a nice bit of light in the garden.

We have a fair few of these as well and unfortunately we tend to leave them out over the 360 days of the year where we don’t have glorious sunshine here in the UK. This inevitably results in some casualties.

Now I have the garage all set up with a great tool bench (more on that to come I’m sure), I thought I’d take a look at one of the expired ones.

Predictably, it was mostly beyond resurrection. It appears that water had got in between the solar panel and the rest of the metal upper section, which then managed to get through the hole where the cables from the solar panels go through into the main section. It appears this was meant to have been filled with glue from a glue gun, however nowhere near enough was applied and thus in went the water.

Unfortunately the solar panel could nto be rescued - the solder points were unusable, which was a pity. I saved the main structure of the light and the inner structure too, but the circuit board had rust everywhere and most of the components were dead. The rechargeable battery seems serviceable so I have kept that as well, so maybe it will go to some other expired light in a little while.

There are quite a few components available online to buy so I might have a go at building a circuit for one myself - but hopefully with better waterproofing!