The Weekly Fix: Solar Powered Lighting

by Greg Kono

I bought this solar light at Home Depot to light up my stairs at night. It quit working after a couple of months. After checking the battery, wiring and bulb, I found the problem to be the photoresistor. Once the part was replaced, I decided to mount the solar panel on a 14’ bamboo pole instead of on the ground in order to get more sunlight.

 

It’s been up a few days now and is working fine, but the bamboo is starting to bend from the extra weight and probably won’t hold up during a big winter storm. I’ll be tinkering with it more in the future and give it a more sculptural look.  Stay tuned!

If you have anything broken that you’d like to learn how to fix, give it a shot during our Fixers’ Collective meetings on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month at The Tool Library: http://wstoollibrary.org/2011/07/the-fixers-collective-the-west-seattle-tool-library/

4 thoughts on “The Weekly Fix: Solar Powered Lighting

  1. I have six solar landscape lights that a neighbor gave me. They don’t work. I think the photoresister might be the problem. I know very little about electrical and soldering. Could one of these sessions help me?

    Rachel

  2. Rachel,
    When you say they don’t work do you mean that when it turns dark they don’t turn on? Most of those lights have batteries that the lights run off of. The mini solar-panel just charges the batteries. Our winters can be hard on rechargeable batteries and they might just not be charging any more. Look at the unit and usually the top screws off to reveal the batteries (sometimes they are just plain old AA rechargeables). Just replace the batteries in that case. If you have a battery charger, charge them fully before re-installing them in the lights, because it can take days to charge them via solar when there’s less light. Also, Solar lights don’t work so well during the Winter days do the the lack of prolonged sunlight exposure.

  3. Very interested in inexpensive testing equipment and how to find/troubleshoot electrical problems in order to determine repair, modular replacement or scrap.

    Next meeting of the West “Seattle Fixers Collective” is January ??, 2013

    There seems to be a great web of related sites such as the Phoenix Pilot group to look into.

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