Each spring, we tidy up our garden or patio to ensure everything is ready for summer. You may also take this opportunity to check your garden solar lights; more often than not you will find that one of more of them have stopped working as well as they should. If you’re not sure how to fix them then hopefully these few tips should help you!
Why aren’t my solar lights working?
It’s important that you check all the components of your solar lights to find out which part of it has stopped working. Firstly, the solar panel on each light will probably need cleaning, as a layer of dirt can build up and stop the sunlight getting through. Remember to position your lights in the best position to get sunlight, and if your solar lights tilt, make sure they are tilted towards the sun.
It’s also a good idea to check the battery compartment and check for any signs of damage such as water damage, rust or broken wires. Also check the batteries are firmly connected, and for signs of corrosion. Inside all solar lights is a circuit board or charge controller that also acts like a switch. When the sun in shining on to the solar panel the circuit board sends the charge from the panel to the battery. As soon as it’s dark, the circuit board recognises there is no light shining on the panel and stops charging the battery, instead sending the power from the battery to light the LED bulb. Quite often once the garden solar light is cleaned, dried out and left to recharge, they do start to work again.
If your light still isn’t working, the next step is to check the LED or bulb. An easy way to check a solar light LED with AA or AAA batteries fitted is to put an ordinary non-rechargeable battery in the light. Completely cover the panel or take it to a dark room, and if the LED or bulb is ok it will light up. Unfortunately, if the LED still doesn’t work then it’s probably time to throw the light away.
Why do I need to replace my solar light batteries?
The most common reason garden solar lights stop working is because the rechargeable batteries inside them have simply worn out. You need batteries in your solar lights as the sunlight powers the batteries, which in turn powers the light. Not everyone realises there are rechargeable batteries inside garden solar lights.
It’s a good idea to replace the batteries in your solar lights regularly; perhaps every year or two. Almost all garden solar lights use low capacity rechargeable batteries. More recently, solar lights will contain 1.2V NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries. These newer NiMH batteries replace the old style NiCd version.
What batteries should I use in my solar lights?
There are different sizes and capacities of 1.2V NiCd and 1.2V NiMH rechargeable batteries that are used in solar lights. The most popular size is AA; these are 50.5mm in height and 14.5mm in diameter. AAA is also a popular size at 44.5mm in height and 10.5mm in diameter, making them slimmer than the AA.
There are a few other, less popular and harder to find sizes including 2/3AA rechargeable batteries which are two thirds the size of a full AA; measuring 31mm x 14.5mm. 2/3AAA rechargeable batteries are two thirds the size of AAA batteries, measuring 30mm long and 10.5mm in diameter.
It’s important that you replace the batteries you take out of the solar lights with the same voltage and a similar capacity. For example, if your solar lights had NiCd or NiMH 1.2V 600mAh AA batteries, then we would recommend you replace them with our 1.2V NIMH AA 600mAh solar light batteries. The capacity of your old batteries is usually printed on the batteries in a mAh rating.
You can replace your battery with a different mAh capacity as long as it is the same voltage; we would recommend choosing your replacement batteries with the nearest possible mAh rating. It is not recommended to replace your batteries with a much higher mAh capacity.
We have a guide chart below to help you choose the right replacement solar light batteries.
Old Batteries Replace with
AA NiCd 1.2v 200mAh, 300mAh, 400mAh, 600mAh AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
AA NiMH 1.2v 200mAh, 300mAh, 400mAh, 600mAh AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
AA NiMH 1.2V 800mAh, 850mAh, 1000mAh AA NiMH 1.2V 1000mAh
AA NiMH 1.2V 1200mAh, 1300mAh AA NiMH 1.2V 1300mAh
AAA NiCd 1.2V 200mAh, 300mAh, 400mAh, 600mAh AAA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
AAA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh, 300mAh, 400mAh, 600mAh AAA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
2/3AA NiCd 1.2V 100mAh, 150mAh, 200mAh, 250mAh 2/3AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
2/3AA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh, 300mAh, 400mAh, 600mAh 2/3AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh
2/3AAA NiCd 1.2V 100mAh, 200mAh 2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh
2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 100mAh, 150mAh, 200mAh 2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh
If your battery is not listed above and you need help, please give us a call.
Once you have chosen and replaced the rechargeable batteries in your solar lights, give them a couple of days to get going and you should find your solar lights return to life. If they still don’t work after checking all components, it is probably time to recycle both your light and battery separately.
Why do my solar lights stay on permanently?
New batteries cannot cause this particular issue; the batteries simply power the LED. In fact, if your lights are lighting up this shows the batteries are working ok. We would recommend cleaning the mini solar panel as they often get covered in layer of dirt. If the panel is dirty the solar light circuit board will act as though it is dark or night time all the time, therefore sending the power from the battery to the LED during the day and night!
We hope this information has helped. If you have any other questions, please contact a member of the team who will be happy to help.