Solar landscape lighting is convenient and beautiful when it works. When the lights don’t work, it can be maddening.
Fortunately these systems are fairly simple and generally easy to fix. With a little know-how and some quick tests, you can have the solar lights up and running again in no time.
Common Problems and Their Solutions
Solar lights won’t consistently turn on – This might be a placement issue. If your lights are not installed where they can receive direct exposure to the sun’s rays, they won’t get enough juice to stay on.
Also, if the photocell on your light is not registering the need to turn on (because of a street light or the light from a nearby window) performance can be sketchy. You can test this by covering the photocell manually and checking if the light comes on.
In both cases, move the light to a location where it gets full sun in the daytime and isn’t being exposed to lots of light in the evening.
Solar lights worked great and then suddenly stopped – If your lights were working well for a few years before you began to see problems, you’ve likely worn the battery out. These units take power from the solar rays and store it in batteries, which then power the lights at night.
Just like all batteries, the ones in solar lights are only made to last about two to three years. Check with an ohmmeter to see if the batteries have juice or simply replace with a new AA and watch for the magic to happen again that night.
Solar lights didn’t work right out of the package – Before you go stomping back to the store, check to see whether the battery has been shaken out of place. This commonly happens with these products and is a simple fix. Open up the light fixture, push the battery in tight and try again.
Sometimes you will get a dud or a batch of solar lights that are substandard. Be sure to buy from a store that will take returns and follow all of the manufacturer’s directions.
Once you have the lights working again, pat yourself and the back. Repair job well done.
Do you have solar lights installed throughout your landscaping, or elsewhere in your house?
Photo courtesy of flickr/Suncatcher Craft Eyes