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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.

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.

A safe way to keep those toothy rodents from wreaking havoc in your Spring garden.

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on February 7, 2015 in Creative Solar, Funny News, Solar Gardening, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

For some (and soon to be many), Spring is approaching, regardless of whether or not Punxsutawney Phil bites your ears in protest. With Spring comes beautiful gardens of fresh flowers and tasty foods. And we are not the only ones who find those foods tasty. Caterpillars, aphids, birds… the list goes on. But there’s that one fellow that seems to not only eat our food, but make a geological mess in the process. Yes, we’re talking about gophers.

Pocket gopher coming out of hole.

Up-close and personal with a pocket gopher. Image courtesy of LeonardoWeiss.

There are many ways to rid our gardens of our subterranean pals. Poisons, smoke, catastrophic floods and ensnaring traps are some of the active methods. But why not use passive pest management methods; therefore eliminating hazards to other critters in the garden that you don’t mind that much being there (you know, pets and kids)? Netting and underground wire fencing is a method. But at Your Solar Link, you can find the solar pest controller that emits sounds/vibrations in the ground, thus aiding in keeping gophers from coming close to the controller.

Solar pest controller at sunset.

Solar pest controller at sunset continues the process of gopher deterrence even after sunset. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

With pulses of vibrations lasting a few seconds, the solar pest controller is easy to install in gardens and lawns, helping to keep your flora from being attacked by the fauna below. And, it doesn’t harm them (plants or animals) in the process. The integrated solar panel at the top of each solar pest controller maintains the needed electricity generation to charge the rechargeable batteries. Therefore, not only do they work during the day, but will continue to operate during the evening. So, mr. gopher and his pals won’t have a break from the controller.

Solar pest controller in raised beds.

Solar pest controllers can be used anywhere the sun shines and soil permits. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Get ready now for Spring and put the solar pest controller in your gardens before those ground dwellers set up shop. Maintain a healthy garden and flower beds with a simple and effective passive pest management method that doesn’t hurt anyone and is safe to use. Each solar pest controller covers an area of about 2800 square feet (30 foot effective radius for each controller), so they can be placed throughout your green spaces as needed.

Healthy and pest-free garden.

A healthy and pest-free garden, courtesy of the solar pest controller. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Happy Gardening! Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Gonzo approved.

Solar pest controllers are the way to go! Gonzo approved! Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Back to the solar street light series, today’s episode – the solar panel.

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on January 12, 2015 in Community Action, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

We have been posting the components of the solar street lights at www.soltekrenewables.com. So far we have covered the 12-Volt rechargeable batteries, galvanized steel poles and CREE LED fixtures. Next up are the first point of contact for energy collection and generation: the solar panel. Solar panels are the point where photons from the sun (light) are collected, converted to electricity and transmitted via wires to the rechargeable batteries for storage and distribution at night to the LED luminaires. Sizes of solar panels have been steadily decreasing since their early years of widespread use. While the panels have been decreasing in size, they have also been increasing in efficiency. Efficiency is the amount of energy that is converted to usable electricity. Typical efficiencies run between 11% to 15%, with some companies offering panels at 18% efficiency.

Size comparisons between Lumina solar street light, 6 foot person and the solar panel on top.

Size comparisons between Lumina solar street light, 6 foot person and the solar panel on top. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Factors that can affect efficiency are reflective coatings on the panel to increase light infiltration, orientation of the solar panel relative to the sun, obstructions (shade from trees, buildings, etc.) and ambient temperature, to name a few. For the purposes of solar street lights, the optimum fixed panel position is tilted toward the south (for those of us in the USA). An angle of at least 20 degrees optimizes efficiency; however for those at higher latitudes, this angle will increase depending on your particular geographical location. For those on the equator, the optimum angle would be zero (as the sun crosses perpendicular twice a year), etc.

Lumina series solar street lights with solar panel position.

Lumina series solar street lights with solar panel position. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar panels for SolTek Renewables‘ line of solar street lights are higher on the efficiency rating, are minimally affected by temperature (as they do not rest on a surface such as a roof or ground that radiates stored heat from below) and can be coated with nano-coating applications to further increase prolonged clean panel surfaces in dusty locations. As for the aesthetics of a solar panel on top of the pole, the high efficiency and relatively small size of each panel do not detract from the design of the pole and fixture. Furthermore, it is nice to see that the energy used to light up your lights is collected with that solar panel on the top. A small reminder that you are now self-sufficient, off-grid and using a 100% renewable energy light where you own the energy that you use. An honest solution that is better for the environment and even better for your wallet.

Turning sunlight into nighttime illumination with the Lumina solar street light.

Turning sunlight into nighttime illumination with the Lumina solar street light. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar on!

Mario @ 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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