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:
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.
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!
Mario @ Your Solar Link
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.
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.!
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.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
Everyone is talking about it and few have the answer to “where can I get some?” Well, they have now been added them to the online store at www.yoursolarlink.com. What are they? Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries for garden solar lights! And these are THE best deal anywhere. Only $20 for 10 rechargeable batteries (that’s 2 bucks a battery) delivered!
1. No memory effect. That means that they will charge to their rated capacity for the duration of their life cycle (about 2 years) in full sunlight. NiCd batteries will develop a memory of charging to lower capacities during cloudy days (say, it’s sunny for the first couple of hours then a storm moves in, thus only getting enough charge for part of the evening). Then, on the next sunny day, the battery will have a lower capacity (ceiling) to which it will charge. Thus, a memory of only being able to charge to 80% (for example) of its intended capacity.
2. No Cadmium! Cadmium is considered a toxic element and needs to be disposed of properly via recycling services. Many stores (Target, Staples, Best Buy, etc.) often offer receptacles at their stores where they accept batteries for disposal/recycling. This is the sure way to divert the Cadmium batteries from landfills. NiMH rechargeable batteries can discarded in the trash, but it is of course best to recycle them as with their Cadmium counterparts. Why use Cadmium batteries? They are cheaper than Metal Hydrides and are more readily available at many online stores…. until now!
4. Metal Hydrides are typically more expensive than Cadmium batteries, but not at Your Solar Link. They are the same price! So, you will be getting a superior battery at the same exact price, no strings attached.
These batteries go fast, but Your Solar Link is constantly replenishing their stock with NiMH rechargeable batteries and will be adding various mAh ratings soon. If they are sold out, just send them a quick message that you would like to get on the list to expedite processing for the next shipment.
Cheers from Your Solar Link!
Have you ever wanted to get some solar garden lights for your home, but were unable to find some that were chic and fashionable? The ones they sell at the big box stores just aren’t fitting the aesthetic you are looking for? Well, look no further. At Your Solar Link, there are options that may fit that style you need and want for your garden and landscaping. You can get solar lighting that casts a white light onto your landscaping to showcase the beautiful flowering plants you have, or you can get an ambiance feature such at the Tiffany-style glass mosaic solar light with shepherd’s hook that is simple to install and lights up every night with free energy from the sun.
There are also table-top items such as the solar glass mosaic pot light (blue) that can be charged in the sun and placed anywhere in your patio or indoors at night to add a pleasant light feature to your evening dining settings. Solar lighting works all year long when they are placed in direct sunlight during the day. Don’t forget to change out the rechargeable batteries for your solar garden lights when the time comes (solar light rechargeable batteries last about 2 years under daily operation). If you are not sure if it is the battery, be sure to go through the checklist to troubleshoot possible problems in order to get your lights back up and running.
Affordable with a number of design styles and purposes, solar lighting for your home and garden is a great way to illuminate your garden with exterior lighting and save on installation costs, avoid dangerous high voltage wiring and help out our environment with using a renewable resource (solar panels) in 2014.
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 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.
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!
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.
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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