Do Solar Lamps Work? Charging, Storage, and Installation


When I was recently buying a new solar lamp, I wondered how good they work. So, I did some research and testing to find the information I needed.

So do solar lamps work? Yes! Of course! A solar lamp is not only a necessity but also a large selection of shapes, colors, and materials. The perfect combination of usability and aesthetics! 350lm is already a very bright light which is enough to light up the entrance or the courtyard.

A lamp with a solar panel is a perfect solution wherever a standard electrical system cannot be installed.

Solar lamps are invariably associated with tiny, decorative lamps that are placed in gardens, terraces or balconies to create a more romantic atmosphere than real space lighting.

The intense, varied colors of the LEDs and the fantastic shapes of the lamps themselves make gardens and terraces turn into real fabulous kingdoms.

They turn on by themselves after dusk and glow gently all night long.

They don’t illuminate, they charm.

They do not require any electrical installation and are easy to operate.

Not everyone knows, however, that solar lamps do not have to be used exclusively for decorative purposes.

They can be the main source of lighting for our homes or backyards.

And here’s a surprise – we won’t talk about creating a mood today! But about the real lighting of the driveway, yard, garage.

But let’s start slowly from the beginning and explain everything.

How Does a Solar Lamp Work?

The principle of operation of solar lamps is very simple.

During the day, the solar panel is exposed to sunlight. The photovoltaic cell is heated by solar radiation.

And in this cell, ladies and gentlemen, there’s a whole mystery behind it. The cell is used for the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity.

In short, it is this small rectangle that converts energy from the sun into electricity. The energy is then stored in the batteries that are installed in the lamp.

After dusk, the lamp will switch on using the energy stored in the batteries instead of the mains electricity. Simple? And economical!

What Kind of Batteries For Solar Lamps?

It’s a frequently asked question. Solar lamps have different types of batteries.

The most often offered are lead-gel or nickel-metal-hydride (more often marked as NiMH) – the latter are our ordinary “fingers.” It is always worth paying attention to their capacity. The bigger, the better.

They will be charged for longer, but -hey – they will be charged for free! Instead, they will store more energy and allow the lamp to shine longer!

For small garden lamps, solar house numbers are enough 1000mAH, for larger lamps -1800mAH is already an excellent capacity!

Solar lamp sellers often say that the lamps shine a certain number of hours – it is always worth asking if this is the time at full battery charge.

It is also worth checking whether the batteries can be removed from the lamp and charged with the charger. After all, not all of us live in the sunniest place in the world, and sometimes it is worth to help nature.

What Kind of Solar Cell – Is It Important?

The answer to this question is ambiguous. And yes and no.

If you are thinking about buying a garden lamp, a façade lamp, or a solar number, and they have a decent battery – it will always be enough.

Even a small cell will be able to catch and convert enough energy to make the LEDs light up or even glow all night long.

After all, such lamps do not have to be lit – only mark their presence. In such cases, it is better to concentrate on battery capacity.

However, if we want to illuminate a larger area, we are thinking about installing an external solar lamp, which will illuminate the whole courtyard or entrance, i. e. LED floodlight with motion sensor – apart from the battery, we should also look at the cell.

Such a lamp has a photovoltaic cell located outside, separately.

Without going into production details and chemical composition, because it is not always verifiable (and is more important for panels of the size of a few meters) – it should be checked whether the panel with the cell is large enough (at least 18×12 cm).

Why do we need a lamp with a good battery when it consumes a lot of energy, and we don’t have anything to catch the sun’s rays with?

Can a solar lamp replace traditional outdoor lighting?

I will surprise you – in many cases, yes! Of course, I mean the floodlight type lamps, not the small decorative garden lamps.

These types of lamps usually look like standard outdoor lamps, floodlights.

From afar, they look like any other motion detector lamp… they just…they don’t need an electrical installation!

Housings are made of durable plastic or aluminum – depending on preferences and design.

Colors? Any black, anthracite, silver, white… which only matches the façade.

As with any solar lamp, the light source in these floodlights is an LED. With today’s technology, 4-8 LEDs will calmly suffice.

A decent home floodlight generates 350 lm of light, a more industrial floodlight generates approx — 480 lm.

Whoa, whoa, whoa… just 350? My lamp bought from a chain of stores says it has 700lm.

Yeah, well, it says…What’s it really like? Believe me – 350lm is already a very bright light, which is enough to illuminate the entrance or courtyard.

Coming back to the topic – each solar illuminator is equipped with a solar panel (photovoltaic), which is never placed on the lamp, but always separately. It is connected to the lamp by a wire.

Why would you do that? And because the lamp must usually be placed under the roof – and this is above the garage, and this is on the terrace (sometimes it is placed in the room), and the panel must be exposed to sunlight.

So we hang the lamp where we want it – only a small, flat-panel should be exposed to the sun – it is good to have at least 4m of cable – then we reach almost everywhere.

It is important that the panel is at least 18×12 cm and the battery at least 1600mAH capacity. Then the lamp will serve for a long time.

And last but not least, every solar lamp is equipped with a motion sensor.

Decent lamps have dusk motion sensors (which means that it can be set so that it starts to work only after dusk) and time sensors (which means it is possible to set the time to work).

The sensor should respond to movement up to min. 7m.

Why the motion sensor? And the fact that switching on the lamp and lighting takes up valuable energy stored by a busy panel and battery all day long.

Every lamp uses electric energy, and remember that our solar lamp is not connected to the power supply so it should not shine with continuous light.

And it won’t be either.

Good lamps solar floodlights can be lit continuously for approx. 1. 5-2 hours when the battery is fully charged.

Activated by a motion detector only after detection, they will light up all night, for many years.

After all, the lamps installed on the facades as floodlights are not meant to shine with continuous light.

They are to be activated when needed (e. g. when entering a garage, when approaching a front door to open it or when entering a room).

They are to be operational at all times when motion is detected. And that’s it.

Solar lamps such as LED floodlights are perfect for this role! They don’t need any electrical installation.

Charged by the panel during the day, they will be activated whenever they detect movement and light up for the set time or until the movement stops.

The light generated by the solar floodlights is very bright – from 350lm upwards.

They are perfect for lighting up driveways, garages, and entrances.

They are a great alternative to traditional floodlights, i. e. lamps with motion sensors.

And they’re ecological! And how economical! Maintenance-free eco-friendly lamps that do not need power from electricity and will illuminate the whole house with bright light.

What more do you want?

The Best Solar LED Lights

Solar Lamps in the Garden – How to Make an Interesting Composition out of Them?

It’s not hard! Ball-shaped lamps can be purchased in different sizes.

It is worth paying attention to those without legs, which we put directly on the ground.

Arranged from the smallest to the largest, they will be a very interesting element of the landscape.

However, the most interesting effect will be given by colorful lamps – both in the form of garlands and lanterns.

They can be used for lighting trees or for hanging them on shrubs.

Outdoor solar lamps can also be art! In online shops, you can buy mosaics that look like amber balls. They look great on a garden table or porch.

Solar Lamp – No power, But it Lights Up?

Solar lamps are equipped with a solar panel, which absorbs the sun’s rays during the day.

To be more precise, the secret of a solar lamp is a photovoltaic cell that converts solar energy into electricity.

The lamp is equipped with batteries that store energy to be able to use it in the form of light after dark.

As you can see, a solar lamp is a very simple and energy-saving mechanism.

Where’s the best place for it, then?

Solar Lamps for Garden, Property, Balcony

Where does a solar lamp come in handy? Of course, on the outside, where we care about lighting, although the installation of electrical outlets is impossible.

Solar lamps for the balcony, the garden, the path leading to the garage, at the gate is an irreplaceable solution.

Garden solar lamps are often equipped with a motion sensor, making them ideal for illuminating the area near the front door or near the garage.

A solar lamp with motion and twilight sensor is not only a necessity but above all, a large selection of shapes, colors, and materials.

All this to make the solar lamp a practical decoration – a perfect combination of usability and aesthetics!

Garden Solar Lamp – What Can We Find on the Market?

The choice is really big, so when designing outdoor lighting, you should consider the shape and even color of the light that the lamp will throw.

Solar ball lamp – very popular shape. Elegant, practical, it gives an extraordinary effect in the garden or on the lawn.

Solar Jar Lamp

Summer is approaching by big steps, and with it thinking about night parties in the garden, barbecue, or just evening time spent on the balcony.

This is where a solar lamp in the shape of a jar (lantern) will not only give a pleasant light but will also become a fantastic decoration.

Hanging Solar Lamps

In the form of lamps or bulbs. An irreplaceable decoration in the garden, which creates an atmosphere of relaxation and holiday meetings under the open sky.

Colorful Solar Lamps

Balls, lanterns, garlands, butterfly-shaped lamps – you will get them easily!

Solar lamps for color-changing gardens are a real hit, which impresses the guests and creates a magical scenery in the night garden.

Solar Lamps Lanterns

One of the most popular solar lamps. They look lovely and are relatively inexpensive.

LED Solar Lamp

Simple, small solar lamp with the twilight sensor, usually installed above the entrance door. Gives an intense light that allows you to illuminate a large area, e. g — a whole porch.

Outdoor Solar Lamps

How long do they last? Most often they shine from 8 to 12 hours – then the whole night the garden will be very atmospheric and delicately illuminated.

When buying, it is worth asking for the length of light and the number of lumens (the unit used to measure the light output of a light bulb).

A solar lamp with a motion detector will be the best solution near the entrance door or gate, which will extend the time of its operation.

The sensors are now so advanced that they won’t turn on if there’s a dog or cat on the property.

Installation and Use of Solar Lamps

Rules to be Followed When Installing and Using Solar Lamps:

The place where the lamps are placed is important:

It should be directly in the sun to ensure that the battery or photovoltaic is fully charged – so that the lighting is more efficient and sufficient for the whole night

You cannot install solar lamps close to another light source as the presence of the lamps will prevent the device from starting up after dark

The lamps should be placed on a fairly soft surface – the hard surface will prevent stable fixing

Too hard soil can be softened by pouring water over it sometime before inserting the lamp spike

Solar lighting should be kept clean. There should be no deposits or dirt on it because it prevents the lamp from fully charging

Solar collectors should be wiped with a damp cloth – this should be done regularly

More lamps should be set up properly – the average distance between them is 15 cm

A closer setting will cause them to blink because they will be affected by other light

Solar lighting can be used all year round, even in winter, but should be stored in frosty conditions

Remember to clean the collectors regularly from snow; when the lamp is under the snow cover for a longer period of time, the battery should be fully charged, the charge should last at least 12 hours

Lights that we want to store at home for more than three days should be placed at room temperature, in a dry place and have a source of light, not necessarily sunlight – thanks to this the battery will be partially charged for the entire period of storage at home

If you do not use lamps once a month for a longer period of time, you need to completely discharge the battery and recharge it again

However, it is best not to store solar lighting at home for longer than necessary (e. g. during frost), it reduces its efficiency

The battery in lamps should be replaced at least every 12 months.

Solar Lamps: How to Activate

The solar garden lamp does not light up during the day when it is charging its batteries.

It is adapted to work at night when we most need additional lighting.

Solar lighting in the house will also not fulfill its function unless we decide on photovoltaic panels, which will be mounted on the roof of our home or company.

LED solar lights are fully automatic products that will only activate the light under the conditions required.

Most often they are equipped with a motion and twilight sensor. This means that when there is an optimal twilight outside and when a motion detector detects movement, it will automatically turn on our lighting.

In other situations, it will not react; that is, when we do not need light, it will simply not turn on.

On the housing of such a sensor, we will, of course, find potentiometers, thanks to which we will set the solar garden lanterns in such a way that they work as we require them to do.

They have a built-in adjustment function: the brightness at which the lamp will start to operate the sensitivity of the motion sensor the time for which the lamp will light up after the last detection of movement.

This is an extraordinary convenience that will allow you to automate our lighting fully, and also provide the lamp the ability to work all night long on even the more cloudy days.

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