Solar energy is a brilliant direction for the world’s energy sources and power companies to move in. With fossil fuels being damaging to the planet and nonrenewable, it’s the obvious choice with the hang-up of being expensive and inconsistent. If you’re relying on the sun to make your solar lights shine brighter and something isn’t working in the equation, what can you do to fix it?
How do you make your Solar Lights Brighter in 7 steps will commence with you crossing off the main possibilities/reasons your solar lights may be dim or show restricted light flow. After crossing off the probable likelihoods that could be at the root of the problem, you can try opening the panel up and alter it from the inside. The last step if the light still seems defective will be to seek support. The 7 steps are as follows:
- Check it’s Activated
- Check You Have Proper Batteries & no corrosion
- Clean the Lenses and Panels
- Monitor During the Day
- Follow-Up at Night
- If All Else Fails – Gut it!
- Contact Support
It can be frustrating when things you purchase don’t work as they ought to, especially when you were hoping to do something eco-friendly to make a small change and it’s not going as planned. This guide will be your comprehensive how-to for hacking your solar panel for the better, helping them retain more battery-life, shine brighter, and last longer! Stick with me in this quick read because your solar lights are about to get a lot brighter.
How to Make Solar Lights Brighter in 7 Steps
It’s very common for solar lights in landscape use or otherwise to lose their vibrancy and brightness over time. But never fret! There’s many solutions and simple tricks to try first before getting your hands dirty.
Solar power is not only the wave of the future, but also makes the planet happy and removes part of your carbon footprint. If you’ve made the switch to solar, I’d like to first commend you now for doing your part to help our one and only home.
It can be an expensive investment up front with the savings coming down the long-term path. If your light isn’t shining as it should be. There are really quite a few things you can do about it before waiting on long holds with customer service representatives.
If you’ve already tried the main remedies such as cleaning it, go ahead and skip to the section on gutting it. This will be the longest section with a few variations and adjustments you can make to the inside of your solar panel. If you’re tech-savvy or know what you’re doing, feel free to jump to the juicy meat below!
For the newbies like me that claim to know nothing and live to learn, let’s explore some probable causes that could be super quick fixes to your problem! Then you don’t need to go all Robo-doctor and risk breaking the device from your lack of knowledge or experience. First thing to try will be –
Step #1 – Check it’s Activated
This may sound simple but no shame, we’ve all purchased something and not pulled a ribbon out of the battery or what have you. It’s a very human mistake but rule this out this first if your solar light doesn’t seem to be functioning at all.
What you’ll need to do here goes as follows:
- Check the lights are turned on. There may be a switch on the bottom of side of your light panel that says on and off. Start here. You’d be surprised how often this is the issue.
- If it’s on, check for the pull tab that’s under/around the battery. This is for new lights which may need this tab removed to function at all. If a new one isn’t working, certainly confirm this isn’t the problem.
I won’t bore you with more on this section cause it’s really just that simple darlings! Next –
Step #2 – Check You Have Proper Batteries & No Corrosion
The way that your outdoor solar light works is by collecting solar energy through a panel and solar battery pack. These are petite batteries with LED bulbs (light-emitting diodes). It is common for solar lights to dull overtime and lose their brightness potency due to age and environment.
One starter tip is to bring your solar lights in for the winter. The low temperatures can be hard on your device and cause them to break much sooner than warranty states. They should last you a long time but only if properly cared for. Protect your battery and solar panels by preserving through the cold in the season where the sunshine shines less anyways.
Whether your lights are old as solar energy itself or new as can be – this issue may be the battery. Often the battery is corroded or tarnished. Since the battery is truly the most important part of the device, it’s imperative to have a proper functioning battery for the solar panel.
It could be a corroded battery that is killing your energy quicker than it ought to and, in this case, you need to remove the battery.
The steps to remove the corrosion from your battery will be as follows:
- Check for debris and search for signs of aging/rusting/corrosion inside of or around the battery.
- If found, remove the battery.
- Take a piece of sandpaper and a toothpick. These will be your tools to scrape the corrosion from the tiny hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the battery pack. Do the scraping gently and carefully.
- Check the inside of the panel as well (not just the battery but where it gets plugged in) the corrosion could be here from rain or wind elements that effect the longevity of your outdoor solar lights.
- Once thoroughly scraped of corrosion, replace the battery and put the light fixture back together and in its original place.
Checking the batteries may sound simple but as you can see, there’s more to ruling out this possibility than meets the eye. Same goes for cleaning the lenses and panels.
When you purchase the light, you may want to go ahead and purchase a few backup replacements from the hardware store. They will need replacing around every 2-3 years so keep them on hand.
Step #3 – Check the Lenses and Panels
Examine each section of your solar light. You will be able to see if it’s dirty or there’s a buildup of debris.
This buildup of debris may look harmless enough and like standard wear and tear for any of your outdoor belongings.
But the factors you need to consider and how this impacts your solar lights vibrancy/brightness is as follows:
- Your light is covered in dirt which means the sun’s rays cannot reach the panel
- The panel is not absorbing that light, so nothing is stored in the battery
- It will not run at night because light is being hindered during the day
- Just like those little glow-in-the-dark stars we used to hang on our bedroom ceilings, if they don’t get enough light, they won’t shine bright.
- The dirt is preventing your light from shining brightly so it needs a good cleaning.
- If you clean it often and still don’t notice a change, the next sections will cover what to try next.
When you think of it as the energy you’re actually blocking and inhibiting from being absorbed, it makes perfect sense why your lights need a good scrubbing every so often!
Step #4 – Monitor During the Day
Let’s say steps one through three were a bust. Don’t give up yet, we’re just making our way down the checklist! Now it’s time to get out your inspector gadget hat and keep an eye on this thing.
What you’ll do is:
- Examine each freshly cleaned light during each time of the day. You’re watching the light reach.
- Notice where the solar light is getting direct sunlight throughout the day.
- If you notice it’s mostly in the shade, you need to pick a spot where it can truly absorb the energy it needs to work in the evening.
- Also monitor that no debris of bushes/flowers are blocking the efficiency of your solar panels.
- Once you understand your shade, put your lights in direct sunlight for the highest exposure possible.
If you’re very attached to the spot you’ve picked for your light, don’t think this means moving it across the yard. Sometimes it just takes a subtle shift of a couple feet for your solar panels to get the sun they need to function at their best.
Step #5 – Follow-up at Night
This is the easy step; simply check they’re working by nightfall. They ought to appear brighter.
If some lights are brighter than others, it could be the lids that cover them at the angles they do. In this case, grab the dim lights and turn it 180-degrees.
This step should be the fun one as well because your light should be shining brighter for you to be enjoyed. Consider that your solar lights can still actively charge even if they’re not turned on. This may sound crazy but might be the root of the issue.
For this problem, you may need to leave the solar lights out of the sun for a few days and put them back outside but turned off this time. Sometimes they just need a break from being turned on, as wild as that sounds. They will still charge while turned off and this can actually help them retain a full and complete charge.
After all of this, if the lights are still not shining as bright as they used to, it’s time to get your hands dirty. I hope you’re ready because now it’s time to open this bad boy up and see if we can work some magic!
If All Else Fails – Gut it!
This can be very fun but only if you know what you’re doing to some degree. The good thing is that many solar lights are incredibly cheap and can be found at the dollar store. Because of this, you can experiment with a few and not risk losing all your money to a failed attempt.
Most of the cheaper solar lights will be around 2-5 volts which is very low. The steps to rig your device and make your solar light shine brighter from the inside out goes as follows:
- Take the device apart and disconnect everything. Yes, everything.
- Notice the battery size and replace it with a battery that is higher-double it’s mah/volt power. (For these petite sizes, some hackers use a 500mah battery which may sound high but is the perfect amount for this project) It will depend on your exact model and the voltage it is equipped to handle, so know what you’re working with first and scale it to this method.
- Most all circuits will have an inductor, which is the part which makes your solar light brighter or dimmer. Look up a picture if you’re more visual to know which part you’ll be adjusting here but it is quite simple.
- Make some modifications to the circuit and experiment with adding extra bulbs. Simply use wire tighteners to fasten two lights and match up the corresponding positive and negative ends.
- Modifying the circuit may involve changing the inductor value (making it shine brighter)
- Reconnect the pack and pop the lid back on for a doubled light source!
Next how to amplify your charger:
- Gut the circuit and remove any unnecessary plastic so more light is reaching your battery and panel.
- If you need to create your own batter holder for the solar light, take two springs and glue them into place as a normal battery configuration would be laid out.
- Cut a square in the top of your panel or decide where the light will be reached. Usually it is on the top of your light for direct sun exposure.
- Reconnect all and leave out to charge!
Another method to try which may be simpler is:
- Disassemble by simply removing the top lid. Sometimes the lid is what’s blocking the sunlight from making your lights as bright as they should be.
- Take the lid off and twist the housing counterclockwise (either by hand or with a Phillips-head screwdriver).
- Place a new battery in at this time if you feel that is part of the problem (it’s already opened so good time to consider it).
- Seal it back up and if you’ve constructed the light yourself (which many of you genius techys are doing out there these days!) feel free to use whatever material is available to seal it. This includes hot glue guns and super glue, just be careful not to get it on the battery or panel that absorbs light.
- Now that it’s reassembled, test it in the sunlight to be sure it’s shining brightly again.
- Place back in its original home in the landscape.
These are just a few hacks to try if you’re already deep in the world of construction and technology. If not, these may be overwhelming to you and not even worth attempting.
To be sure you don’t damage it more, it may be time to call support.
Last Resort – Contact Support
That headline is an unintentional poem of spontaneity that I’m quite proud of. But it doesn’t lie!
I find calling the helpline to be the absolute last resort because wait times are long, there’s a lot of turnover in customer service so everyone seems new at their job and uncertain of what to do next (bless their hearts, be patient with them!), and it usually ends in you getting a replacement anyway.
In this case, perhaps going directly to the store you purchased it from is an easier trip. It can be faster face-to-face rather than waiting on long hold times and being passed around to different agents.
I’m sorry if it’s come to this, but sometimes you just have a defective model and need to go directly to the source. If it’s something that can be fixed, they are the ones to do it best. Bring it to the ones who created it and worst case, get your money back and try with another brand.
Often you are under warranty for the first year, so it shouldn’t come to that. The company that sold to you should make the process relatively simple to switch out.
Your lights growing dim in your solar panel is annoying problem but not a very severe or consequential one. Take it for what it is and do your best to work through the steps calmly and not give up on the device at the first sign of dullness.
Keep in mind that some solar lights are actually intended to be rather dim. Research models before purchasing and confirm that you haven’t purchased some kind of ‘Ambient’ lighting that is intended to be romantic.
Solar panels are a wonderful option to utilize and not make your electricity bill overly pricey. Solar power is right at our fingertips and there are panels to charge your cell phones, solar powered calculators, and more.
This renewable energy source is the direction Europe and Australia are moving in with their hopes to have a huge source of their continent’s power in Solar energy by 2050. I hope America can keep pace and do their part to aid this worthwhile cause that benefits us all.
Congratulations to you for doing your part to purchase eco-conscious lights and opt for energy sources that don’t harm the planet. If everyone did their part like you, the world would inarguably be a better place.
Think about it. When destructive Fossil fuel and oils spill, the world perishes, and ecosystems suffer. When there’s a solar energy spill, it’s just called a nice day.