converting solar lights to wired

chillzatlOctober 3, 2011

Hi all,

I came across a great deal on some solar landscaping lights. The lights seem pretty great, the only problem is that a big part of my yard just doesn't get enough sun to keep them charged. So I'm considering getting a DC transformer and wiring them up. They're single LED lights powered by a 3.2v batter. I assume that if I get a 3-ishv DC transformer I should be good to go, but that's where my question lies. Does it have to be 3v transformer or does it matter? will a 12v dc transformer be ok? Any advice would be appreciated.

Oh and I've considered returning them, which I can do, and just getting some wired lights, but I really like the lights. The light looks great and the fixtures are much higher quality than you usually get in the bulk sets. I'd easily pay 3-5x what I paid to get comparable lights, so I'm willing to invest a little time.

Thanks again!

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Transformers only produce AC power.

At least siome diodes are required to produce DC from the AC.

LEDs have a resistor in series to limit the current flowing, and its value is determined by the supply voltage and the allowable LED current.
Using a higher voltage than the design value will result in the LEDs failing almost instantly.

You would need a 3.2 V DC power supply.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 1:43PM
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>Does it have to be 3v transformer or does it matter?

It matters a lot. if you give them much less the 3 volts they will not light.

>will a 12v dc transformer be ok?

12 volts will fry them instantly. If you scrounge around you may be able to find a three volt wall wort type power supply in the back of a drawer or at a garage sale.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 8:22PM
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This question of mine might be relevant to the original post. Suppose that the correct DC voltage is applied to LEDs but that the initial hookup has the polarity reversed. Will that work? And if not, are the LEDs damaged by the reversed polarity?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 7:30AM
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They won't light. They won't be damaged unless the voltage is way high.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 2:18PM
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"They won't be damaged unless the voltage is way high."

LED reverse voltages are not all that high (they are lousy diodes).

VR is often 5 volts or less.

The current limiting resistor does not provide any protection.
If the LED starts to conduct in reverse breakdown it is already damaged.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 11:12AM
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You would need a 3.2 V DC power supply.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 7:02AM
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If the batteries are AA's usually even nice solar lights use really crummy batteries many are under 1,000mah and will run the lights maybe one night. I had the same problem with 900mah batteries and replaced the batteries with energizers which are around 2500mah and have enough capacity to run more than one night on sunny days which allow them to still hang in there after a dreary day.

I would replace the batteries with better ones for one light or two and compare. I have since purchased more AA's off Ebay in the 2500mah capacity for other items as they are much cheaper than energizers. If you have a charger I would charge them before putting them in.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:50AM
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