Garden Lights




About: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started writing poetry in high school over thirty years ago where I ...

Garden Lights are easy to care for and last for years, put them out in the spring, bring them in in the fall, this is a good time to wash them, store them over the winter with the batteries out, and replace the batteries every two years, beyond that you can forget about them. However my neighbors just buy them put them out and forget about them until they don’t work and then throw them out, this is where I come in.

I love my neighbors garbage this box of garden lights was about to end up in the landfill until I came along, 25 solar garden lights, and new replacement batteries. Now to begin with batteries are not supposed to go to the land fill we have a special collection for them where I live, let alone plastics are recyclable and so are the electronics.

It didn’t take me long to find out why they were thrown out most of them were beyond repair.

Step 1: Sorting the Good From the Bad

I started by separating and tested the batteries from the box the ones that did not have a charge I will put in a charger later and see if they will hold a charge.

Normally when I get a box like this I sort them visually into two groups smashed beyond repair and not smashed, then I go through the not smashed and sort them by working, repairable, and not repairable. To do this I take them apart, inspect them, and test them.

These lights are easy to dissemble they just clip together there is only 1 screw to hold the circuit board in place and a little calking to hold the solar panel in place, most of the solar panels were loose because the calking degraded from exposure.

Step 2: Testing the Lights

To test the lights I removed the lenses from the top, then I removed the battery and replaced it with a good one. When the light came on I exposed the solar cell to the sun to see if the light went out. If the light did not come on I opened the head and examined the insides.

Oxide on the solar cell is easy to repair and most of the time won’t interfere with testing. To repair this see my Instructable “Making a 1 Watt Solar Array”.

On the ones that did not work I found that the wires circuit boards and switches were oxidized beyond repair.

Step 3: Washing the Lights

Now that I have sorted the good from the bad I give the lights a good wash and dry, any good detergent will do, then I fix any repairs, and assemble the lights.

Step 4: The Last Test

I take the assembled lights outside and find a place where the lights will receive the best daylight and wait for nightfall. And that night I go out and see if they are working.



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    35 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi i would like to know where do I can get replace garden recharge batteries aa. those normal recharge batteries not suitable out door sun light .

    Thank you for inform

    1 reply
    ninja baby

    5 years ago on Introduction

    sir tnx 4 allowng me to ask some i dnt knw,i built a 3 garden lights to convert usb charger.wired in series gvng me 8volts i put a diode and capacitor16v 1000uf. and 6 battries frm mobile rated each 3,7volts in parallel 750mah each one.i dvide ths 6 batt to 2 bank.each rated 3.7v 3x750mah.the banks charged well but i cant charged my android phone rated 3.7v, 1200mah. is it safe sir to use in parallel the banks 3.7volts at max of 4500 system works in radio,led lights and speaker box only.but not on my android device.pls help sir. i posted in my fb gavrel de fiesta.

    1 reply

    3 garden lights in series giving 8 volts with a diode and a capacitor OK.

    The capacitor is fine.

    Is the diode a 1N5817 or equivalent?

    It may only be putting out 100 ma, did you check the charging current?

    Batteries not in use charge more easily than devices, because the device sucks part of the charging current.

    Depending on your charging current you may need two or more sets of three solar cells in parallel like this pic to charge a device.

    And last did you check the voltage with the circuit loaded?

    See my Instructable Circuit Testing.


    3 P Cells.bmp

    5 years ago on Step 2

    step 2, 'replace with new battery and expose to sun and see if light went out'... what to do if the light does not go out??... thanks...

    2 replies
    Josehf Murchisoncccrover

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 2

    I get so many of them I just strip it for parts however if that isn’t your case.

    Open it up and clean the dirt off the circuit board and make sure all the wires are connected.

    If it is just a photo cell make sure it is connected to the circuit and generating electricity.

    If it is a photo cell and a photoresistor make sure the photo resistor is connected to the circuit and the resistance changes with light.

    If you do all of these things and the light doesn’t go out replace the circuit board.