A few years ago I bought a half dozen of these 'patio' lights that charge up during the day and then shine for a few hours after sundown. A few weeks ago I noticed one had cracked and in checking the others, all of the 'outside shells' had become brittle from continued exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Looking inside, I found that they each used a rechargeable AA battery. A little experimenting showed the electronics sill worked. I took a piece of thin plywood, cut holes in it to hold the base of the unit (solar cell, battery holder and nothing else) and glued them in place. I now have a 'free' solar battery charger that can charge six AA batteries at once. And here I was about to put them into the recycle bin!
Saved myself the cost of a solar charger! The only drawback is having to remember to remove the batteries when it gets dark or the little LED light comes on and drains the battery again.
By duanedv from Wyoming, MI
Very cool. My dad has 2 solar lights he doesn't want in his garage. I've been trying to think of something to do with them since 2 little lights aren't enough to do any good for our house right now. I'll have to try this.
I agree, way cool! Very green, too. Have you ever thought of marketing the idea?
Thanks for the kind words. Just out of curiosity I borrowed a 'meter' to read the voltage of the batteries. Starting with the batteries almost completely drained and putting them in the unit during the daylight hours of bright sunshine, it took about 18 hours to get the batteries to read a full charge. You can buy a solar powered battery charger pretty inexpensively and they won't drain the battery if connected at night.
Plus the ones I have seen can charge AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt batteries. My free unit only does AA size. But hey, it's keeping some electronics out of the landfill and I'm getting some benefit too so it's worth it to me.
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