Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Simple fix for a defective solar light

 Last June (2016) I wrote about these great solar yard lights with built in motion sensors.
I have them deployed all around my home and it is delightful to walk around and see them turn on from up to 20 feet away to light my way.  Each successive generation of these lights seems to have more LEDs and are brighter.

I recently ordered a 4 more from a different manufacturer and 1 of them did not work.  I had read in Amazon reviews that this had been an occasional problem.  Some manufacturers are friendly about replacing defective products, and some are not.  I decided to take matters into my own hands ad see what the issue was.  It was easy enough to remove the 4 screws from the back and here's what I found:

The battery clip had come out of its housing.  It was simple to slide it back in place and all was well!

I share this experience in the context of sustainability because many people would consider disposing the defective item in the trash since the expense of returning it would be more than the cost of the unit.  But these contain Lithium Polymer batteries that don't belong in the landfill.  So even if the electronics were defective, the battery should be recycled.  Lithium is a toxin that must be recycled safely and most hardware stores have a collection box for rechargeable batteries.  

It is important to note that these particular batteries are removable and replaceable, potentially extending the life of this product for many years!  The LEDs are typically rated for 50000 hours continuous use (about 5.7 YEARS!).  Since these are used only a minute or 2 a day, they should last indefinitely.  Same goes for solar panels that should last over 20 years.  These particular solar cells are embedded in plastic resin that eventually clouds over, but this does not seem to affect performance.