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Solar Lights Trouble Shooting

Solar lights makes a great addition to your landscape for illuminating walkways, pathways or around your borders of you garden or practically anywhere. They require no wiring our electricity, making them easy to install and maintain. Overtime the outdoor elements can cause the solar lights to malfunction and not work properly, below is a few basic trouble shooting tips to get your lights back up and running properly.
Trouble Shooting Tips:
1.) Over time rain, dust or other debris can leave a dirty film over the solar panel making the solar panel less effective and unable to soak up the suns ray during the day. Using a damp cloth wipe away any debris. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or rough material on the solar panel, this could scratch the surface and can reduce performance.
2.) Make sure the solar panel is in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Over time the area you placed your lights in might have some overgrown bushes or other items casting a shadow on the solar panel, this will cause the lights to not fully charge. Try moving the light to another area; this might only need to be just a few feet. A good way to test your solar light, is to place it in a good sunny location for 2 days, if the light comes on then this would indicate that the previous spot was not getting full sunlight.
3.) Make sure the area is dark enough at night. Strange as it might sound, it is the level of darkness that determines whether a solar light works or not. The solar light relies on the sensor that determines the level of darkness; if it is not dark enough the light will not automatically come on. This could be due to a new streetlight in the area or maybe a porch light. A good way to test this would be to place something over the solar panel (generally this is where the sensor is located), if the light comes on then this is a good indication that there is some type of light near by affecting the sensor. Move the light to a different area away from any other type of light source.
4.) Could it be the battery? Solar lights run off rechargeable batteries at night, if there is a problem with the battery your lights will not come on at night.
a) Inspect the battery compartment to make sure the battery is in securely and correctly installed. Typically the battery compartment will have (+) and (-) markings to verify the correct direction. If there is no markings found in the compartment, the general rule is; the smooth/flat end of the battery should be placed in contact with the spring. The end of the battery with the "knob" should be placed in contact with the smooth/flat clip in the battery compartment.
b) Make sure the battery compartment is not corroded. If you find white or green powered substance on the connectors clean with a small brush. You can also use a tip of an eraser to remove stubborn particles, make sure to remove any eraser debris prior to reinstalling the battery. Also clean the battery ends or replace the battery. NOTE: When cleaning the battery compartment be extra careful around the circuit board and any of the wiring.
c) Are the batteries bad? A good way to test the battery is by placing the battery in a battery charger and see if it will charge. If you do not have a charger you can replace the battery with a standard battery (for testing purpose only). Then cover the solar panel, if the light comes on then the batteries need to be replaced. Most solar lights on the market today uses a rechargeable NiCad battery. NiCad batteries can be found at most any hardware store. NEVER replace the batteries with a typical alkaline battery because they can ruin the photovoltaic cells of the light. 
5.) Winter months or rainy months can also affect the way solar lights work. If you have several days of cloudy weather, the batteries will not charge fully causing your lights to not work or not illuminate long at night. After this accrues make sure to give your lights at least 2 full sunny days to recharge the battery.
As you can see maintenancing your solar lights is not all that difficult and can be done by anyone. We encourage everyone to get out there and make your solar lights shine like new again.
Posted by Donna Clinton
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