Solar lights--how often do they need new batteries?

ericasjJune 3, 2006

This is our first foray into solar lighting. I just picked up a couple of wall-mountable solar lights for the back of our house. If you go to Home Depot's website and search on item number 79257, you can look at them.

They got a positive review, but the reviewer mentioned it was easy to change the batteries. This is something I never even considered. I'm wondering how often we might have to buy new batteries for them, at $5 a package. Anyone have experience with this?

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot

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I don't know how long the batteries will last in your outdoor solar light units. However, I have been using rechargeable NiCad batteries for bicycle lighting for many years. Based on my experience, you can expect the batteries to last 2 years at a minimum. I would not be surprised if you find it necessary to open the unit and clean the contacts/battery ends now and then, with a pencil eraser or similar light abrasive.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 9:32AM
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Oddly enough, in this particular application; you can probably expect a pretty full life from the batteries . . 2 years sounds reasonable. This *assumes* that they are located where they can readily obtain enough sunlight for a full charge most every day.

NiCd batteries LIKE to be fully discharged; and then fully recharged. If you drain them part way, and then recharge . . . they will have less power left to use. This is called "memory" effect; and is common to ALL NiCd batteries. In this application; they run at night 'til the battery is totally discharged. Assuming it gets a full charge the next day . . . you are using them as intended. Full discharge, then full charge. In fact; some NiCd chargers specfically include a full discharge BEFORE doing the charging . . this helps insure a FULL charge and therefore longest life / no of cycles.

I'll suggest that when it IS time to replace them; to use NiMh batteries . . . they are VERY similar to NiCd; except they DON'T have the cadmium ( an environmental bad guy ); are NOT prone to the "memory" effect, but otherwise are virtually identical. They should work fine in your light. The NiCd's should be properly recycled when they're done . . . many places take them . . . to avoid the cadmium getting places where it shouldn't be.

As far as paying $5 for two batteries; look elsewhere . . you can get NiCd's OR NiMh's for less than that for a pair of them . . . .


    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 10:29AM
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I am interested in this type of lighting but my concern is how bright the light is. We bought a solar light before and it was too dim to be of any benefit.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 11:40PM
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Solar lights are only meant to accent the area in which they are placed. Expecting high power output from 2 AA batteries is not realistic. We have six of these lights on our property and although they are dim, they do help in providing some light along the walkway they are located.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 5:57AM
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I replaced my all my wired deck lights with the solar and they have outlasted the wired lights. I always look for the Super Bright White LEDs and make sure the solar cell is covered with glass rather than plastic which will degrade over time (yellow)and become less efficient. The days of the incandescent lamps are numbered as the new technology emerges.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 11:39PM
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Four years agoI bought the very cheapest 'Malibu' solar lights that existed at the time. They are ornimental in my beds . I have left them out all winter in the snow,rain, etc and have not as yet changed a battery, so I can say some will go 4 years

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 9:42AM
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I get 5 years on mine!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 10:05AM
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The batteries (NiCad) last about 2-3 years (better quality replacements last longer, NiMh are better than NiCad(Lithium ion are better still, but pricey)). It isn't really a problem with the batteries developing a 'memory' but rather one of number of charge/discharge cycles that kills solar lighting batteries.

The light output is fine for walkways and gardens; but not for area lighting for games etc.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:35PM
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