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Outdoor solar lighting

Post in 'The Green Room' started by muncybob, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    We will be doing some landscaping/hardscaping this autumn. Part of the project is to install a new walkway down a short bank to the house. Looking to install stairway lighting, something that can be put into/onto brick pavers or some sort of stone sidewall that will run the length of the walkway. The few people I have spoken to refer me to low voltage options. I really would like to install a solar panel on an exisiting telephone pole and run the lights from that. I know next to nothing about solar but something tells me this is feasable?

    A reservation I have on this is we are not in the most sunny part of the country so if indeed I can run the low voltage lights from a panel are there panels out there that will work even if the weather is cloudy?

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  2. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    How about the individual solar powered lights on stakes that you can get from Tractor supply for about 3-4 bucks apiece?

    Gary
  3. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    My cousin has some of those along the walk from his garage to his front door. Even when they're working their best, they don't really light up the path...and after a couple of days without sunshine, they're useless.
  4. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Just put some out with the brighter rating (comes in bright ,brighter ,brightest) Might try the brightest ones these(brighter) are like a night lite but nothing to light a walkway by. If the brightest ones are too dim i guess we have to wait for the tech to improve.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    They don't work so hot in the shade or in less than a few hours of sun. The quality of these Chinese singles varies dramatically. We have several of them and from the same batch of say 6, a year later maybe 3 keep going. Our hardware store just got in a new batch (different style) that they had on sale for $1.99 so I picked up 4 more. So far they are brighter and have a better diffused light pattern on the pathway. We'll see how long they last. Usually in winter, when the batteries get colder they start to peter out. And they are often poorly sealed against moisture. I drill weep holes in the bottom to correct this.
  6. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Solar panel is going to need a battery. How many lights are we talking about?
  7. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    All I see mentioned is Solar, not LED. Of course that is what would be used with a battery/solar panel arrangement. I agree, the light output is poor, but then we're talking about mill-watts what can we expect? I have some A/C powered 1 watt LED landscape lights and even that isn't much light. I have a couple of spot lights too, look bright when you look into the bulbs, but not much light output.

    If you're serious about making for safe passage after dark, go with the low voltage. If not that then with A/C powered LED lights. The ones I mention have been working for a couple of years, so they have been reliable.
  8. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Looking at needing 8 lights. Plan to install them within the stone sidewalls of the stairway. Couldn't a solar set up using batteries work?
  9. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I have a 1 Watt LED flashlight and i have to say that thing is BRIGHT. If my landscape solar light s were even 1/4 as bright as that 1 Watt flashlight,id be thrilled.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If these lights are going to be permanently installed in the stone sidewalls, I would want something designed to last with a stainless steel housing and replaceable bulbs. That said, there are surface mount solar wall lights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Moonrays-9502...?s=lamps-light&ie=UTF8&qid=1334814471&sr=1-56
  11. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I had considered the built in panel lights but the area that the lights will be installed will get a fair amount of shade in the summertime. This is the reason I am considering/asking if a solar panel can be mounted in a close but different(sunny) location and wired to provide the electricity to run low voltage type lights.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, there are some stock remote systems, but I don't recall seeing any for built-in stairway lights. Still, I don't see why you couldn't improvise. Get a good quality 12V LED step light and then instead of wiring it up to a transformer supply, connect it to a remote solar panel charged battery system. Just check the power supply for the lights first. Make sure that it outputs 12VDC. Or get a regular step light and then replace the bulb with a 12VDC LED bulb. You can get the replacements from eBay or www.superbrightleds.com.

    http://www.outdoorlighting.com/shop/deck-step-lights.html
  13. Tatnic Corners

    Tatnic Corners Member

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    I have seen solar powered flood lights that have a battery and extended length cord so that the pv panel can be in light and the flood doesn't have to be.... Why can't a similar set up be rigged that could power the 8 ultrabright leds?

    There's a "prepper" on you tube obx solar, who has great info on inverters and solar panels and wind power. And a lot of info on vacusealing food that has n=me more than a little nervous :) His solar info is great and easy to understand. Google him if interested. A couple of small panels and a battery would run your leds.
  14. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Good info, thanx!

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