New Solar Energy Possibilities for Homes
Guest Contributor post by Matt J @ South Shore Roofing A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies for powering your house while being eco-friendly and saving energy. One of the most popular and efficient systems is solar electric system, which includes solar...
Full mAh capacity range of NiMH (the good chemistry) rechargeable batteries for Solar Lights are now available!
Solar lights for the home and garden come with pre-installed, pre-charged batteries from most (safe to say, all) manufacturers when you buy them online or directly at stores. What many people don't realize is that these rechargeable batteries will eventually run their course and lose all of their effective capacity after about 2 years of nightly use. These solar light batteries are almost always r...
CES 2016: Solar Powered Gadgets of the Future.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a prominent global electronics and technology focused trade show that takes place every year in Las Vegas. Held in January each year, it is known for introducing the latest technology trends and most innovative electronics. This year, solar energy was at the forefront with a huge variety of tech that uti...
Holiday Gift Guide: Solar Tech for your Home, Kids, and the Outdoors.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The gift that keeps on giving has never been greener, and the time to buy one for your friend or loved one is quickly approaching. This year for the holidays, instead of giving some trite piece of clothing or kitchen appliance, try looking for the perfect gifts for those eco-friendly friends who wants to help benefit the environment, or perhaps for a family...
The Benefits of Floatovoltaics.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor Now that most governments, environmental organizations, scientists and even the Catholic Church have agreed on the need to combat climate change, innovative solutions are being sought in many quarters. The old ways of doing things simply won't cut it now that we're aware of the harmful effects of traditional means of power generation, such as the burning of...

Getting the word out about solar security lights, a real and viable option that is easy on the wallet and the environment!

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on November 3, 2014 in Creative Solar, Solar News, Solar Products Customers' Reviews - Comments: No Comments »

We recently had an inquiry about solar security lights and would like to share that information with all you solar enthusiasts and those who simply want to get security lighting up and running quickly. So, here it is…..

Letter to inquirer (abbreviated):

In reference to your question regarding the Newhouse light that you purchased (NHSDM), we don’t carry that design, but are familiar with this particular model. Attached are some images of what we believe you may have. If it is, there are a few things to try and troubleshoot its operation. There are a few options that this manufacturer (for the NHSDM) has as far as battery capacity and chemistry:
1.  Fixed Lithium battery (3.2 Volt) that is not intended to be replaced at the end of its typical 2-year life cycle. Once that model has expired its battery, then it will need to be discarded.
2.  Removable Lithium battery (3.2 Volt) that can be replaced at the end of its life cycle. The procedure requires a bit of care in removing the screws with a small-point Phillips screwdriver (the cross-hatch point screwdriver), but it can be done and doesn’t take too long to do.
3.  Removable NiCd or NiMH AAA batteries (1.2 Volt) that can be replaced at the end of their life cycle (this model usually has 3 batteries to reach to desired Voltage to power the LEDs). Again, the procedure requires care, but can be done.
Competitor's solar light with fixed/one-time-use battery.

Competitor's solar light with fixed battery. Image courtesy of www.amazon.com.

We have heard from customers (and we have one ourselves that we use for an alley gate here in San Diego) that the one we sell has had pretty good operational performance. Meaning, it can charge under a day’s sunlight and emit light on following evenings where the days were cloudy. It has a great system autonomy for a solar light of its size and price. Furthermore, it uses the removable Lithium battery, which itself is a higher performing battery than the NiCd and NiMH chemistries (which is probably why the Lithiums are a little bit more expensive).
So, if you haven’t tried to get to the batteries yet and you have had it for more than a year, you may want to try the procedure of opening the light to see what rechargeable battery you will need.  You will need to stay with the chemistry that is in your light (if you are able to open it and it is either point 2 or 3 above).  Be sure not to put a Lithium battery into a NiCd/NiMH light as the Lithiums will burn out the components almost instantly).
As for the decision of purchasing a different model/design of security/spot light, there are many options on the market to choose from. From our experience and customer reviews, the best light for reliability, output and longevity is the Solar Security Light with 32 LEDs. This particular light uses a lead-acid battery, so the autonomy keeps it running without any hiccups. It is a bit more expensive than others, but it has had a positive effect for customers. It automatically turns on when someone approaches, and stays on so long as there is motion. There are options on the light where you can set it to stay on for anywhere from 30 seconds up to a few minutes. The light output is comparable to a 20 Watt CFL (those curly lights that are sold in most hardware stores), so it has a great effective light range and will activate when motion is detected at about 15 feet from the light.
Solar security light with 32 LEDs.

Solar security light with 32 LEDs in action. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

A less-expensive option would be the 36 LED Solar Security Light. This model uses NiCd batteries and also has a long system autonomy. It is as reliable as the 32 LED light and has a longer lead wire (the wire from the solar panel to the light unit), making it more concealable where there are long overhangs and eaves on homes. Attached are some images of this light (with the house that has the curved archway) to give you an idea of what the output and coverage looks like. An added feature to this light is that there is a setting that keeps 4 of the LEDs on all night. When motion is detected, all of the LEDs are activated (for a duration that you can set of 5 to 30 seconds). We have one installed and use it as a porch light that is in the motion-only mode and have only had to replace the batteries once in 2 years. Even on cloudy days, it retains its charge, so it is very reliable.
36 LED motion sensor solar light.

36 LED motion sensor solar light in day, night and action. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

There are other options available, but from what we can gather, these two may be the best for your particular use. All of the solar security lights have a lead wire (with the exception of the one like yours, which is an all-in-one design), so you can place the solar panel some distance away from the light unit itself on an overhang, roof, eave, etc. The benefits of solar security lights are that they are relatively easy to install, are safe (no high voltage wires to deal with), can be located at remote locations where electricity supply is not available, produce effective lighting for their purpose and are reasonably priced. Hopefully the information above helps with your project and that you are able to get a lighting system that works for your home to keep it safe and illuminated at night.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at any time at our contact information below.
Thank you for your inquiry with us at Your Solar Link. We are here to help.
Regards,
Solar on!
Solar water pump in a courtyard fountain.

Solar water pumps can be used creatively in a courtyard fountain. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Steps to take with rechargeable batteries and your solar garden lights.

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on April 23, 2014 in Solar Gardening, Solar News, Solar Products Customers' Reviews - Comments: No Comments »

Rechargeable batteries for solar garden lights.

Rechargeable batteries for solar garden lights. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

We have been getting numerous inquiries regarding rechargeable batteries and solar garden lights, so we are here today to help you determine some possible solutions to get your lights working properly and effectively.  Rechargeable batteries are one of the most important components of solar garden lights and are a simple issue to address.  Here are some likely scenarios:

1. Solar lights aren’t staying on after sunset. This may be due to a few issues in and of itself.

A) The rechargeable battery isn’t making a proper connection.  Somewhere along the circuitry line in your light there is a break or bad connection.  If the feed of electricity that is supplied by the solar panel during the day isn’t getting through, then the battery won’t charge to its full capacity, if at all.

B) The rechargeable batteries are getting a charge, but they aren’t storing it as they should.  This could be due to a faulty photoresistor that “thinks” it is dark out, thus running the LEDs during the day and using up charge from the rechargeable batteries, leaving only a residual light of a few hours after sunset.  This appears to be the most common culprit when it comes to a solar garden light “eating” its way through your rechargeable batteries.

C) The batteries are at the end of their life cycle.  Rechargeable batteries typically last for about 2 years of daily use before they need to be changed out and recycled.  One thing to remember about rechargeable batteries, the ones listed as Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) will acquire a “memory”, wherein the battery remembers its last capacity charge and only charges to that limited capacity on following charges.  In other words, if you have NiCd rechargeable batteries and they only charge to half their capacity during a cloudy period, then the following full sun days will only charge to the lower cloudy day capacity.  They still charge, but not to the level you may have seen when you first installed the batteries and it was sunny out during their initial charges/uses.  On the other end are the Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries which cost a little bit more but don’t acquire the “memory” effect as compared to their NiCd cousins.  And do make sure you have the proper type of battery in your solar lights.  There are Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries on the market, but they are specified for their particular device.  They generally produce a brighter light (as the LED is able to handle the power) and can fry out the circuitry on a device that is specified for NiCd or NiMH batteries. Just be sure you use the right ones!

2.  Solar lights aren’t going on at all at night. This may be a result of the above points, or it could be that the photoresistor isn’t working properly (if at all).  The photoresistor will “tell” the LEDs to activate at night (this is what is referred to as an Auto On/Off feature, so that you don’t have to manually turn them on and off every night).  If the photoresistor isn’t doing its job, then neither will any other component of your solar garden lights.

3.  Solar lights go on/off intermittently without me doing anything to them. This could be the result of a faulty switch and/or photoresistor.  If it is the switch, then you may want to wiggle the switch to see if you can get it to where the connection is made and the light stays on.  This issue happens, but not as frequently as battery issues.

4.  Solar lights won’t go on at all, even after I put in new rechargeable batteries. If this is the case and wiggling the switch doesn’t work, it could be that something in the circuitry has failed.  It could be the photoresistor, it could be that the solar panel is fogged over to the point of no return, or that rust has overtaken the internal circuitry.  If this happens, it may be best to recycle the old solar lights and replace the entire unit.  If you are electrically/mechanically inclined and have the resources for replacement parts, this may be along your lines of troubleshooting.  More than likely the solar light will need to be discarded properly and replaced with a newer model.  Most solar lights on the market are made to be affordable, so things will go wrong with them (the old adage, “you get what you pay for”).

Remember not to be discouraged by solar garden lights. They have their issues, but this is not commonplace when compared to their advantages.  They require no electricity, are quite simple to put almost anywhere around your home and garden, are safe for kids and pets (no 120 Volts of electricity by which to be shocked), are relatively affordable and most importantly, they get you that much more off the conventional electricity grid.  We want customers to have the added satisfaction that they are not contributing to the continuing cycle of oil and nuclear extraction/waste when customers simply want to add lighting elements to their homes and gardens.  Solar garden lights are the solution and we are here to help you achieve that goal.

Cheers from those of us at Your Solar Link.

Tiffany-style mosaic glass solar light.

Tiffany-style mosaic glass solar light. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Photoresistors and photocells. What’s the deal?

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on March 12, 2014 in Solar News, Solar Products Customers' Reviews - Comments: No Comments »

Photoresistor.

Photoresistor and diagram. Image courtesy of www.adafruit.com/blog.

We recently received an inquiry regarding photoresistors and solar lights.  We thought it was an interesting topic, so we decided to share it with you today.

Inquiry: Please help. I have solar garden lights. One clearly has a photoresistor while others do not have a photoresistor. They all turn on at dark, off when there is sun. The model with photoresistor has 2 wires coming from solar cell and two wires coming from photoresistor. Model without visible photoresistor has only two wires coming from solar panel. How does this work without a visible photoresistor. Thank you.

Response: Hello.  We checked with one of our test lights and found that the photoresistor was integrated into the solar panel.  It was not easily seen on the face of the panel, but once we disassembled the light we were able to determine that this was the case.  There was also only one set of wires (black and red) that fed into the solar panel from the circuitry board.

This may or may not be an advantageous placement for the photoresistor.  From what we have experienced, it is leaning toward “not”.  These lights gave out sooner (after about a year and a half) than other lights, so we no longer carry them on our website.  It may just be an engineering matter that is not yet perfected.

Hopefully this information helps with your inquiry.  If the light is working, then that is a good thing.  If it is not and you are looking to replace/substitute the photoresistor, then it may be best to recycle/discard the light and replace it with a whole new light.  Replacing a photoresistor will take some engineering/electrical know-how and may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Thank you and we appreciate your inquiry.

Regards,  Your Solar Link

Now, why is all of this important, you may ask.  Well, in a nutshell, the photoresistor tells your light when to turn on and off.  Turning on and off is also important for your batteries.  An improperly-working photoresistor (also known as a photocell) may bypass the “off” mode and have your lights “on” constantly.  This means that the battery is being used during the day and will not retain enough charge in the night to cast light through the darkness as intended.  In the worst-case scenario, a photoresistor that doesn’t work at all may not “tell” your lights to go on at night, leaving you frustrated and disenchanted with the whole thing.

So, when your solar lights aren’t working properly (or at all), a little troubleshooting may reveal that the photoresistor is bad.  In this case, it is best to replace the light (if under warranty) or to buy a new one altogether.  In most cases, the photoresistor will work properly and the culprit may be a bad battery or that the solar panel isn’t getting enough sunlight during the day.

One of our new lights has what we can determine is one of the most efficient when it comes to circuitry, solar collection and as related to this post, photoresistors.  The tiffany-style mosaic glass solar light is top of the charts.  We charged it for one day and it was able to light up indoors for two nights (skipping the second day of charging) with no problem.  And, it is quite attractive and versatile (not many lights can be put indoors on table tops.)  It’s worth checking out.

Tiffany-style glass mosaic solar light.

Tiffany-style glass mosaic solar light. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

Enjoy your day (and night) fellow solar lighters.

Ciao,

Mario at Your Solar Link

Why aren’t those solar lights working?

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on February 10, 2014 in Solar News, Solar Products Customers' Reviews - Comments: No Comments »

Solar is safe for pets, too.

Solar is safe for pets, too.

It is so frustrating.  What can we do when something breaks down?  We spend hard-earned money on things and they just go kaput after a couple of months, sometimes even less.  Aren’t they supposed to last longer?  All the time and energy spent to make the thing, and it just calls it quits for no apparent reason whatsoever.  Well, there may be underlying reasons.  It could be a quick fix and inexpensive solution that will get your things back up and running.  We received a question recently regarding a fellow solar light user and would like to share it with you, in case you are experiencing the same problem:

Question

Hi solar light expert,

I just bought my set of solar lights and been using them for about three months now. Its the type with 8 lights and one solar panel. I’ve been noticing that they are really dull recently. They still light up but is very dull compared to how used to light up when new. Its only been a few months since i bought them. Could it be the battery?

Thank you in advance!

Answer

Hello,

It could be that (as you mentioned) the batteries are no longer working at their full capacity. Sometimes when a light is purchased, a span of time has passed since the battery was initially charged, what with time on the shelf at the store, shipping, etc. Typically batteries are pre-charged in store/on-line bought solar lights. The type of battery used also will have an effect on this lag time between charge and use.

If your light uses Ni-Cd (Nickel Cadmium) batteries, they will acquire a “memory” for their storage capacity and overall life. These are the least expensive rechargeable batteries on the market for solar lights. By memory, we mean that if the battery is charged to half its capacity by a short charging cycle (cloud cover, half-day’s charge, etc.), then the battery will “think” that this is the peak capacity it can carry and will use that as an optimum the next time it charges, even if the solar light is in a full-day’s sun in following days.

If your light uses Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries, they will not be affected by the “memory” problem as with their Ni-Cd cousins. These will charge to their full capacity when the sun is in their favor. On cloudy days, they will charge to partial capacity. But once Helios rolls through the sky again, they peak at their expected charge capacity. These batteries are a bit more expensive (albeit, not a lot compared to others out there), but are a better alternative that can be used in Ni-Cd accepting solar lights. Note: Do not mix the batteries together (if the solar light uses 2 or more), use either all Ni-Cd or all Ni-MH in your solar lights.

A third alternative are the Lithium Ion batteries. These are the batteries in the brick house (think of the Three Little Pigs) for small-scale solar lights used around homes and gardens. These put out a higher voltage and typically produce a brighter light. But, and this an important point, they are not to be used in solar lights that require Ni-Cd/Ni-MH batteries. Lithium batteries will fry your Ni-Cd/Ni-MH solar light LEDs in a matter of seconds! We’ve tested this and there is no turning back once the damage is done. Well, there is a fix, but you will need some knowhow to change the circuitry/LEDs as well as the parts. It’s not worth the risk, so be sure you replace your batteries with proper specifications.

A fourth battery on the market is the Lead Acid battery. These are not your typical garden solar light battery and are another ball of wax, but generally produce the brightest light with regard to garden and landscape solar lights. They have the highest Voltage output and store more energy, therefore are the most expensive in the family to replace.

That all being said (there actually could be more, but we’ll suffice with the above), another problem with the low/quick output of light from your solar lights could be that the solar panel is either obstructed with dirt/dust or that it is partially covered in shade during the day when it should be getting full sun (they will typically need at least 6 hours of full sun to give a good return at night). The final problem could be the quality of the components (circuitry) of the solar lights. A better engineered product will usually last longer (years) than an inexpensive product. Some solar lights on the market are very inexpensive, but with that comes low light output, low battery life and eventual breakdown of the system.

We hope this helps with your question. Best of luck with your solar lights. Let us know if you have any more questions with your set. We are here to help and inform.

Thank you,

Your Solar Link Team

Solar Path Lights

Solar Path Lights from www.yoursolarlink.com

So, don’t worry.  There is a reason that your solar lights may not be working properly (or at all).  We are here to help walk you through the fix and find a solution.  It may be a silly expression, but it all works out in the end.

Solar Stone Light

Solar Stone Light from www.yoursolarlink.com

The Bollards are Back!

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on January 22, 2014 in Solar News, Solar Products Customers' Reviews - Comments: No Comments »

Solar Bollard Light Poolside

Solar Bollard Light sunrise, poolside (Image courtesy Your Solar Link).

The Solar Bollard Lights have found their way poolside, again showing their diversity in locale.  Not only do they make great lights for intimate patio settings, they also illuminate larger areas in open spaces by a pool in rural San Diego County.

Mounted to a 2 x 10 board, they are sturdy enough to withstand windy conditions while being doused with water during swimming exercises.  With an aluminum body that is powder-coated in black, they quietly gather energy during the day in order to illuminate with elegance at night.

Solar Bollard Light Outdoors

Solar Bollard Light outdoors, poolside (Image courtesy Your Solar Link).

Sure, they are one of the more expensive solar lights on the market, but the payback is returned in no time at all.  One, they are off the grid (you know, no electricity to fuss with or pay for).  Two, they are totally safe around kids, pets and by pools (again, no electricity to shock your family or friends.  Nobody wants that.) Third, you are not letting the utility companies bill you to illuminate your landscape, ever!  Fourth, no black outs.  And if there is, you can just bring your Solar Bollard Light indoors and play that crucial hand of Texas Hold-Em!  And finally, they are just plain cool and make perfect sense (see above).

The power is yours (literally).  Going solar today is a reality we live in and can all enjoy.

Solar Bollard Light at night (Image courtesy Your Solar Link).


 
 


Juicebar Pocket Solar Charger.
This stylish, sleek and reliable pocket size Universal Battery Charger (Juicebar Solar Charger) is proven to be your best friend in a situation when conventional electric supply is not available or if you are trying to use eco-friendly renewable power supplies.
Great as a solar phone charger for any type of Mobile Phones, IPhones, PSA, PDA, Mp3 Players, Satellite Navigation, and much more.
Get it HERE.

Solar Lights Savings

Solar Garden Lights


SOLAR PATH LIGHTS.
Stainless Steel Conical Solar Path Light (Set of 2).
Path solar lights are an excellent choice for lighting your garden paths, walkways, driveway perimeters and other regions in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk.
Featured Stainless Steel Solar Light set uses 2 ultra-bright LEDs for maximum light output and minimum battery usage.
The lights are safe around kids and pets and water and corrosion resistant.
Read more HERE

STONE SOLAR SPOT LIGHTS.

Stone Solar Spot Lights (also known as Solar Rock Lights) completely camouflage with existing landscapes and look like any other rock in your garden.

Green Gardener Corner


Solar Fountain Pump System

SOLAR GARDEN FOUNTAINS.
How to start using ecologically friendly energy to power up your garden fountains and other garden water features?
Why not go with a solar powered water pump?
To accommodate your needs the Solar Fountain Pump Systems we carry range from 2 to 8 Watt. Browse our collection of solar water pumps for your fish ponds and solar fountains.
Enjoy your garden water features and your energy savings at the same time. Make a note of the various power levels and the flow rate of the solar water pumps before your purchase.
Please write us your review after your purchase. Your opinion is important to us!

HOW TO INSTALL A SOLAR PATH LIGHT.

Stone Cylinder Solar Path Lights (Set of 2).
See how easy it is to install a solar light. No wiring required!
In this particular case a ground fastener and a stake are included for quick and easy installation. Read more HERE

Archives


DECORATIVE SOLAR ACCENT LIGHTS.

Solar accent lights (Set of 2) create an enjoyable and inviting glow for your landscape.
They are designed to mark a place.


Super High Output Spot Light

Solar Spot Light - $26.99
Super High Output Spot Light (4 Super Bright LEDs). Free Shipping!



Solar spot lights like this one rely on energy from the sun to charge their batteries and provide light throughout the night.
This means that there is no need to tap into the electrical grid for these lights to operate.
The solar spot lights will work consistently, even if the whole neighborhood is dealing with a power outage.
Learn more about Solar Spot Lights at http://www.yoursolarlink.com/solar-spot-lights, where we have a great selection of solar spot lights to choose from.

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