Solar lights are a simple solution for night-time outdoor lighting. You simply stick them in the ground and they store up their own power during the day and release it at night. See how much you know about solar yard lights by taking this quiz.
The greatest advantage of using solar yard lights is that no messy wiring is necessary to power them.
Solar yard lights depend on sunlight exposure to run. When placing them in your yard, ensure they are positioned where they will receive direct sunlight.
Solar yard lights function in a similar manner to satellites. They both store power during the day and release it at night. A satellite stores solar energy while on the sunny side of the Earth and then uses it while on the dark side.
Solar lights usually use AA NiCad batteries.
LED lights are the light source for solar yard lights.
Solar yard lights contain a photo resistor, which is a type of light sensor.
A single solar cell can produce a maximum of 0.45 volts. The amount of current a solar cell can produce will depend on the size of the cell and how much light strikes its surface.
You would usually find four solar cells wired in series.
A diode is wired directly to the battery in order to prevent the current from the battery flowing back through the solar cell at night.
An AA NiCad battery can store a maximum of about 700 milliamp-hours. The battery charges during the day and will reach its maximum charge, unless it is winter and the day is very short or the weather is very overcast.
When fully charged, the NiCad battery can operate the LED for about 15 hours.
An LED emits about half the amount of light as a candle would. They are mainly used to mark a trail, not to illuminate an area.
Solar cells are expensive, because they are made from silicon crystals in clean-room conditions.
A small halogen flashlight bulb is added to some more expensive solar yard lights to boost their output.
The halogen light is triggered when a motion sensor detects movement. The LED light is on all the time.