When you purchase solar yard lights, the rechargeable batteries are always included in the fixture. It is absolutely normal after a year or two to see their performance decline. Once you notice that the lighting time is significantly diminishing, it’s most probably time to replace the solar garden light batteries. Rechargeable batteries are the main cause of failure in solar garden lights.
Reduced lighting time can also be that the solar light batteries are not charging properly
I always mention on this website that for optimum charging performances the solar panel needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Dust and other accumulated residues can dramatically affect the charging process. They form a layer on the solar panel and block the sunlight.
An easy way to test if the batteries are dead is to briefly replace them with normal ones, just to check if the light is working.
If you are testing the solar light during the day, don’t forget to cover it, or to darken the room where you are. This will allow the photocell to trigger-on the light. If the solar light turns on with normal batteries … Sorry guys, that means that most probably the rechargeable batteries are defective and you need to buy a new set.
Replacing solar light batteries is not a difficult task
So long as you understand the fine art of using a screwdriver, you have all the skills you need: simply locate the solar light battery cover, remove it, take out the faulty batteries and replace them with a new set.
If no battery cover can be found, the solar light needs to be taken apart. On most models you’ll find the screws on the top or bottom of the light. Once the unit is open you’ll have access to the batteries.
If you need to store your garden solar lights for a long period of time, during winter for example, it is better to take out the batteries. By doing so, the solar light batteries will have a longer life span.
Another important thing, don’t forget to pay particular attention to the location of the solar lights. Batteries will not charge properly if the solar panel is in the shade, don’t forget, after all, they are… Solar!
Another test you can do before replacing the solar light rechargeable batteries is to place the solar lights under direct sunshine for a day or two and see what happens. If after this the illumination time is back to normal, it means that the solar panel was not getting enough light from the sun.
Most solar garden lights need between one to four batteries to work. The three types of batteries are generally used are:
- AA size – NiCad(Nickel Cadmium) 1.2 V / 500 to 900mA
- AA size – NiMH (Nickel Metal Halide) 1.2 V /1000 to 2000mA
- AA size – LiPo (Lithium Polymer) 3.2 V also named LiFePO4
When it is time to change the solar light batteries, I strongly suggest replacing them with NiMH or LiPo batteries (if the solar panel performs well enough). They have more autonomy, better life span and are more reliable. Solar light replacement batteries are standard and can be found easily.