Are your solar lights not working as they should? The batteries and the solar panel are okay, but you cannot find the problem.
There are quite a several reasons why your solar lights are not working. We will go through a few of these reasons and their solutions.
Why Do Solar Lights Blink (Solved)
If you notice your solar lights are blinking, there must be a problem with the solar panels and batteries. Dirt on the solar panel is the most common reason your solar lights are flashing. Dirt on the solar panel will block the batteries from charging correctly.
After cleaning the surface of the solar panel, allowing batteries to recharge, next, check if the lights are working well. If the lights are still blinking, change the batteries and allow them to charge.
Why are my solar lights blinking red?
As discussed above, normal blinking results from dirt on the solar panel. What about when my solar lights are blinking red? Have you checked the brand? Some brands make that blink red.
If not the brand, your batteries might have served their time and need replacement. Inside the battery, the component is rechargeable batteries. Open and replace them.
Your solar lights might be blinking red when the batteries have no power. Let the batteries charge for 2-3 days and observe if the red blink stops. If it does not, then your batteries are not charging.
Observe the voltage of the battery both in the morning and evening. If the voltage is the same both times, the batteries are not charging.
In other circumstances, the battery might be protected. For example, the battery is protected if it is over-charged or undercharged. Suppose the overcharged battery blocks the solar panel for a few days to release the protection.
If the battery is undercharged, charge the batteries for 2-4 days to see if the red blinking stops.
How to fix flickering solar lights
Your lights might be flickering due to one of the following reasons.
- The Light Fixtures
The light fixtures might be the reason your solar lights are flickering. First, replace the light bulbs and observe if the flickering stops. There might be another issue if it does not stop even after replacing the lamp.
- The batteries are not charging
Sometimes the weather is not ideal for battery charging. Check the weather in intervals, and if you notice the sun is blocked most of the time, that is why your solar panel is not charging.
Sometimes the battery is not charging because it has aged. Replace the batteries if they are aged.
- Trees are Blocking the solar panels.
Check if trees are blocking your solar panel from charging correctly.
If you live near a dusty road, your solar panel might be blocked by dust. Therefore, clean and proper sanitations of the solar panel should be done at least once per year.
- Faulty solar controller.
Check the controller indicator flashing and use the manufacturer’s manual to find the fault. Then, repair the controller before it causes more problems.
Sometimes the flickering is a result of poor quality lamps. So don’t rush to buy your lights without a quality check.
Why Do My Solar Lights Not Last Long?
All things don’t last forever. However, they should last longer to serve their purpose. So how long should the solar lights last to fulfill their purpose? And what will you do if your solar lights don’t last long?
Typically solar lights can last up to 10 years—a whole decade of enjoying free power from the universe.
In the case of batteries, you are supposed to change them in 4 years, and the replacement batteries are affordable.
With all that in mind, when your solar lights start to misbehave in a few months or years, internal or external reasons might affect your solar lights.
- You bought the wrong lights
Going the cheap way will never work and has never worked for anyone. Instead, invest in the right solar lights to avoid disappointment from getting the wrong lights.
Make sure you understand the type of lights you need. For example, if you have a large garden, you should buy a strong water panel. You should also buy several lamps if you have a solid solar panel.
- Your solar panel is dirty.
A dirty solar panel blocks the light, which affects the charging of the battery. So how long do you take to clean the solar panel? If you live on a dusty road, you might need to clean the panel frequently.
Another reason to keep the solar panels clean is that it affects the quality of light illuminated. When the solar panel is dirty, less or no energy is absorbed. Therefore the lights will be dim.
Your lamps might be blocked from illuminating light by the dust and debris. To avoid this, place the lamps near your perimeter wall.
- You are not using the correct settings
Every technology comes with its user manual. For example, connecting the solar lights the wrong way might cost you more money.
You may connect the lights in a way that drains the battery fast. Constant drainage might damage the battery ultimately. Buying a whole battery is a cost that might have been saved if you connected the lights the right way.
Another incorrect setting is in the light control. Your garden lights might be too bright, which I unnecessary.
- You Do Not Protect Your Panels.
Solar lights are affected by harsh weather conditions.
If you live in cold weather conditions or winters, you should protect your solar panels.
Remove the batteries, cover the solar panel with a cloth, and put it indoors. Cold weather will make the battery weak.
On the other hand, clean the solar panel frequently if you live in a dusty region. Dust affects the quality of the panel.
- Damaged sensor.
The bulbs light due to triggers from the darkness. To test if the sensor is damaged, cover the sensor, and if the lights are not lit, your sensor has an issue.
How to check if there is an issue with the light sensor
Sensors and LED causes similar problems to the solar panel. So when checking for a defect on the solar panel, check the LED also.
There are ways you can check if the light sensor has issues:
- Check for dirt: Dirt can cause your light sensor is not to work.
- Check the condition of the coating on the light sensor. A coating protects the sensor from exposure to the sun. If the sensor is made of cheap materials, it turns opaque. If the layer is damaged, replace it with scotch tape or plastic wrap.
- Replace the sensor or Led: if the above problems are not there, your sensor is dead. Remember, light sensors and LED cause the same problem. So if you replace the sensor and the lights are still off, replace the LED.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do solar lights quit working?
There are several reasons why your lights might not be working correctly. For example, your batteries might be drained or damaged. Your solar panel is covered by dirt. Or, some fixtures are damaged.
How can I make my solar lights last longer?
Cleaning and proper sanitation of the solar panel will influence the durability of your solar lights. For example, if the solar panel is clogged, it does not charge the battery causing it to be too weak.
It would help if you also protect your solar panel during the winters. Cold weakens the battery life. Your solar light sensor might also be damaged. Constantly check if the coating covering the sensor is intact.
How often should I change my batteries?
With a proper supply of sunlight energy, your batteries can last up to four years without a change. Again this depends on the quality of the solar lights. Cheap solar lights are usually of poor quality. You might find yourself changing the batteries regularly.
Do I leave the lights on at night?
Solar energy is free and environmentally friendly. If you want to illuminate your garden at night, solar lights can last a whole night. However, there are occasions when you don’t leave the lights on at night.
In case there is less sunshine. If you use the small saved energy at night, you will drain the batteries.
Another scenario where you should not leave the lights on the whole night is in the case of a weak solar panel. For example, a fragile solar panel cannot illuminate a large garden the entire night. Instead, invest in high-quality solar lights if you want to harvest enough energy to last you the whole night.
Solar lights are both cost and environmentally friendly. However, various issues might affect the solar lights’ functional ability.
Discussed above are some of the issues affecting your solar panel. Remember, you could avoid these issues by investing in a robust solar panel.
Regular checkups of the whole solar panel system will help you identify the problem before it escalates.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.