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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...
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Full mAh capacity range of NiMH (the good chemistry) rechargeable batteries for Solar Lights are now available!

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on July 27, 2016 in Creative Solar, Solar Gardening, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

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 replaceable. And it is important to get the correct rechargeable batteries when the time comes.

Solar Light Rechargeable Batteries ranging in capacities from 300 mAh to a whopping 1600 mAh per battery! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Solar Light Rechargeable Batteries ranging in capacities from 300 mAh to a whopping 1600 mAh per battery! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Here are what you need to consider:

  1. Chemistry. If your lights have either NiMH or NiCd rechargeable batteries, then you can replace them with either of the two. However, we recommend using the NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) chemistry as the Cadmium in NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) batteries is classified as a toxic material and must me recycled/disposed of properly. NiMH batteries can be thrown in the trash, but we do recommend recycling them wherever the services are available (some big box stores have bins at the front of their stores where you can leave your old rechargeable batteries).
  2. Capacity. This is the specification listed on your batteries as mAh (or, milliAmp hours). This is effectively the amount of energy the battery is capable of storing/supplying on a full charge. Some solar lights will have a higher energy demand, so would thus require the higher capacities starting at 1000 mAh and going up to 1300 mAh and topping out at a very high 1600 mAh capacity per battery. If your light uses 2 or more rechargeable batteries, you want to be sure that the capacity is the same with both batteries in each light. For example, if you use a 300 mAh and a 1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable battery in a solar light that had an original mAh rating of 1000 mAh, then the charging current may be too high for the 300 mAh rechargeable battery and will damage it. Conversely, using these two battery examples in a light that originally had 300 mAh batteries will mean that the 300 mAh will charge to its optimum capacity, but the 1000 mAh battery will never reach its full potential and will only supply 300 mAh worth of energy. You can use higher rated mAh rechargeable batteries as replacements, but we recommend staying as close as possible (above) the original rating because higher capacities cost more and will not stay on any longer at night compared the original ratings. Using 2 or more rechargeable batteries of the same capacity will not additively increase the specification (so, 2 of the 1000 mAh series will not equal 2000 mAh). But it will increase the Voltage, which is our next point.
  3. Voltage. This is very important when replacing the NiMH or NiCd chemistries. Both of these chemistries are typically rated at 1.2 Volts per battery. Using 2 or more of this series will additively increase the Voltage. So, using 2 NiMH AA 1000 mAh 1.2 Volts will result in a system that is 2.4 Volts at 1000 mAh capacity. If your light uses 1 NiMH rechargeable battery, then replace it with 1 of the same chemistry. DO NOT use a Lithium battery (even if it has the same mAh rating as the original NiMH battery) as Lithiums have a higher Voltage rating (typically 3.2 for solar lights). This higher Voltage will wipe out the components of your solar lights in a matter of seconds (we tested it, and the LEDs of our NiMH light was a goner in about 5 seconds).
  4. Size. This is the easiest specification to keep constant. If your lights came with AA size rechargeable batteries, then you will want to stay with that size. Same goes for AAA rechargeables. And watch for the fractional sizes on the market such as 4/5AA and 2/3AA. These are not very common, but they are out there and will need that exact specification in order for the light to work properly.

Sound confusing? It can be. But if you just stick with the same specifications as your original rechargeable batteries, then you are in good shape. In a nutshell, you can:

  • Use NiMH in place of NiCd (we recommend that)
  • Use higher mAh capacities (not too high, though) when the original capacity is not available
  • Stay with the exact same Voltage as your original batteries
  • Stay with the exact same Size as your original batteries
Our highest mAh capacity battery at a staggering 1600 mAh per battery! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Our highest mAh capacity battery at a staggering 1600 mAh per battery! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Remember to check the connections in the battery box and clean them when they get dirty or corroded. A light steel wool will usually knock off the larger particles and a little WD40 sprayed on a clean soft cloth will help to wipe way any leftover material. The less chemical action you can perform on the battery terminals, the better.

 

The 1300 mAh series is among our newest in the NiMH series of AA rechargeable batteries. Can be used to replace 1200 capacities (and at the same low price!) Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

The 1300 mAh series is among our newest in the NiMH series of AA rechargeable batteries. Can be used to replace 1200 capacities (and at the same low price!) Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Remember to change out those older solar light batteries and stay illuminated this summer! Great thing about solar lights for your home is that they are 100% renewable energy lights, 100% of the time!

Solar on!

Our motion sensor security light is in dim mode until activated. And really bright when activated! Looks like a street light, too! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Our motion sensor security light is in dim mode until activated. And really bright when activated! Looks like a street light, too! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Thinking of putting Alkaline vs. Rechargeable Batteries in Solar Lights? Read this first!

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on September 13, 2015 in Solar Gardening, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

As summer comes to a close and your solar garden lights have had a good run for weekend barbecues and late nights on the porch, it may be time to replace the old batteries. Winter months are in fact the ones where lights are on the longest (think, coming home after work and it’s already dark out) and will have the greatest effect for use, illumination and enjoyment. One thing to remember when changing your the batteries in solar lights is to keep the chemistry consistent.

We now know that you can interchange a NiMH rechargeable battery (or more, if your solar light uses 2 or more batteries) with a NiCd rechargeable battery. Conversely, NiCd rechargeables can be used in place of NiMH, but we recommend using our NiMH rechargeable batteries whenever possible because:

  1. NiMH batteries don’t suffer from the “memory effect” common with NiCd batteries.
  2. NiMH are more environmentally friendly than their NiCd counterparts.
  3. NiMH from Your Solar Link cost the same (and sometimes less) than NiCd.
  4. NiMH will discharge for a little bit longer each night compared to NiCd batteries.
Corrosion in a solar light battery compartment caused by non-rechargeable Alkaline battery. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

Corrosion in a solar light battery compartment caused by non-rechargeable Alkaline battery. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

This brings us to our point in question: Can you use Alkaline batteries as replacements in solar lights?  Yes and no.  But mostly…. no. As Alkaline batteries are not rechargeable, they will not drain completely each night, allowing for charge during the day to be stored from sunlight via the solar panel.

Think of it as a train moving down the tracks during daylight hours. The train is moving along fine with all of its momentum from the load it is carrying. Suddenly, a Mack truck is driving down the tracks for a head-on collision with the train. Assuming the truck isn’t annihilated by the train at impact, the energy from the train is still moving, but now with less force as the Mack truck is pushing with its own momentum against the train. As the sun sets and night falls, the truck has veered off the track and the train continues with its payload. The train has slowed down and will not go as far as it had initially planned for the entire trip. Dawn comes and that same Mack truck is back on the track heading straight for the train (you think the truck would have learned by now to stay off the track, but it is a persistent thing). The process is repeated until the train eventually stops well short of its final destination. Yet, the truck continues on the track waiting for the next choochoo.

This analogy is what happens when you put an Alkaline battery in a solar light. In the story above, the train is an Alkaline battery and the Mack truck is sunlight providing electron exchange via the solar panel into the non-rechargeable battery. With a rechargeable battery, the truck (sunlight) is filling the train (rechargeable battery) with energy during the day and is essentially on board the train during the night as it heads to its final destination. There is no competing or opposing energy between the two vehicles. And so, as a solar light generates energy during the day, it is collected and stored in the rechargeable battery. As the sun sets, this energy is released from the rechargeable battery and powers the LEDs of your light, giving you illumination. Each night, this energy is completely (or as near as possible) used up, leaving the rechargeable battery “empty” and ready for refueling the next day.

All of this daily stoppage caused by the truck takes its toll on the train tracks by leaving behind a residue that comes from the train’s engine compartment. Every day a little bit of fuel spills from the train and the leaks onto the tracks in front of the engine car, making it dangerous for the train to travel while creating a barrier which will make it near-impossible for the train to keep its traction on the iron tracks. Eventually, so much residue will be left on the track that the train is no longer in direct contact which will cause the train to stop moving altogether. This is equatable to the corrosion you will find on the battery and battery terminal of solar lights with prolonged use of Alkaline batteries. Corrosion can be cleaned off of the battery terminals, but often it is past the point of repair that will ultimately lead to the disposal of the solar light. Severe corrosion caused by Alkaline batteries can be cleaned off with a combination of brushes and baking soda diluted in water, but it must be done in a way that no water (or the chemical solution created by mixing the water with the corrosion) gets into the solar light which may damage the inner workings (ie: circuit board, wiring, LEDs, etc.) and thus render the light damaged even more than was caused by the corrosion alone. Excessive corrosion will break the contact between the alkaline battery and battery terminal, thus no energy will be delivered to the LEDs and you will not get any illumination at night.

NiMH rechargeable batteries from Your Solar Link. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

NiMH rechargeable batteries from Your Solar Link. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

So, you can use an Alkaline battery in a solar light to illuminate the LEDs; just be sure to do so for a short time (no more than a week or so is recommended) if you are waiting for your replacement rechargeable batteries to come in the mail. If you leave an Alkaline battery in your solar light for an extended period of time, the above scenario will take place and the battery will eventually leak and develop corrosion at the terminals. This corrosion can become excessive and possibly (most likely) damage the terminals of the light’s battery compartment to the point of disrepair. Corrosion may consist of Potassium Hydroxide, which is a caustic agent that can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation.

If you are ever unsure about what batteries to use as replacements in your solar lights, be sure to do research beforehand just to err on the side of caution. If you are still not sure, contact the folks at Your Solar Link to get further information and a potential solution to replace your solar light rechargeable batteries. Stay safe and have a happy Fall Equinox!

Cheers.

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Onion Flower Solar Lights in day and night settings. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

Onion Flower Solar Lights in day and night settings. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link.

Replacing NiCd rechargeables with NiMH rechargeable batteries in solar lights, the better choice!

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on March 29, 2015 in Solar Gardening, Solar News - Comments: 8 Comments »

Many people have asked “can I use NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries in my solar lights that have NiCd (Nickel Cadmium)?”  And the answer is, yes!  Not only can you replace with NiMH, but they are the better choice of battery as they have benefits that their NiCd counterparts don’t.

AA NiMH rechargeable batteries for solar lights.

The powerful AA NiMH rechargeable batteries from Your Solar Link. 10-packs and 5-packs available. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

NiMH battery benefits:

1. Long shelf-life. They can remain unused for anywhere between 3 and 5 years. However, we recommend using your new NiMH rechargeable batteries sooner than that, gotta keep those solar lights shining. :)

2. No memory effect (compared to NiCd). NiCd batteries have issues with attaining a “memory” that will reduce the life of that kind of battery. NiMH can be partially charged (say, on cloudy days) and be fully recharged to their maximum capacity on the next full-sun day. There is a little discharge (trickle discharge) during storage, so it is best to put your NiMH batteries into your garden solar lights in the pre-dawn hours before a sunny day. Then they will be ready to go for your nighttime enjoyment.

3. NiMH rechargeables are considered more environmentally friendly than NiCd batteries. Cadmium is classified as a toxic element, so it needs to be disposed of properly. There are many recycling locations (from what we’ve seen, Target and Best Buy have drop-off bins at the front of their stores for battery recycling), but if for some reason they end up in the trash, NiCd are not good for landfills. NiMH batteries can be recycled (it is recommended), but it won’t be “bad” to toss them into the trash, should there be no options of recycling.

4. NiMH rechargeable batteries for solar lights are almost always more expensive than NiCd. But not at Your Solar Link! They offer NiMH batteries at the same price (and sometimes lower) than the NiCd counterpart. But never more! You won’t find a better deal than at Your Solar Link for NiMH rechargeable batteries, anywhere! They are priced to get your solar garden lights up and running with the best option available. The price you see is the price you pay: no hidden fees, shipping charges, sales tax (for our California customers), etc.!

Solar reading light from Your Solar Link.

Solar reading light batteries can be replaced with NiMH rechargeable batteries. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Just remember, don’t mix the chemistries in your solar lights (if they take 2 or more batteries). Use only NiMH or NiCd, not one of each in your 2-or-more-battery lights. Also, typical lifespans of both batteries is about 2 years (of nightly operation/use). So, if you have had your solar lights for about 2 years and are noticing that the output is diminishing at night, it may be time for a replacement. Just be sure to go with NiMH rechargeable batteries. They are indeed the best option.

Solar on!

Cheers,

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Solar accent lighting.

Solar accent lights awaiting their NiMH rechargeable batteries for Spring! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Spring cleaning includes Spring upgrades …. time to replace those batteries in your solar garden lights!

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on February 18, 2015 in Creative Solar, Solar Gardening, Solar News - Comments: 2 Comments »

As we approach the Spring months of longer sunny days, fresh strawberries and cleaning up around the house, we also are upgrading our landscaping. This includes changing out those old batteries in the solar lights around the house and in the garden.

1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries for solar lights.

1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries for solar lights are in! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

For many solar owners out there, the first culprit in a lower-output (or non-functioning) solar light is an outdated and expired battery (or batteries). Typically, rechargeable batteries in solar lights last about 2 years under continuous/daily use. The two dominant rechargeable battery chemistries on the market are NiCd and NiMH (Lithium is slowly gaining momentum). NiCd and NiMH can be used in place of each other (where there are 2 or more batteries in a light, use the same chemistry and specifications), but NiMH are tops for performance and reliability. Your Solar Link now carries both 600 mAh NiMH and 1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries, both in a 5-pack and 10-pack option. And the prices are unbeatable!  Seriously!

1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries in a powerful 10-pack!

1000 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries in a powerful 10-pack! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Remember to recycle your old rechargeable batteries at your local facilities. Some big box stores accept them (check with their customer service representatives) as well as waste management services (electronics recycling days, etc.) Be sure to check with them before you take the batteries for recycling/drop off.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

NiMH rechargeable batteries for Spring! Gonzo approved!

NiMH rechargeable batteries for Spring! Gonzo approved! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

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.


 
 


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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