Why do solar lights have an on and off switch?

why do solar lights have an on and off switch? Solar lights come with an on and off switch- so that you can turn them off completely when you are not using them. On the contrary, you can turn the switch on when you want your light to work. Generally, they come with an internal sensor that tells your light when to charge and when to turn bulbs- on. 

why do solar lights have an on and off switch

There are several reasons why your solar light has an on and off switch. Solar lights have an internal sensor that tells them when to charge their batteries and turn bulbs on and off. They are pretty much self-sufficient. 

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Solar lightsOpens in a new tab. are inexpensive and easy to use. Many people buy them because of their convenience and relatively low cost. You can use them as your garden light, landscape lights, and even inside your home. They do not require electricity, and you don’t need much control. 

They charge themselves automatically and turn off their bulbs when sunlight comes out and start charging their batteries. When daylight goes off, they switch their bulbs- on. Solar lights can do that automatically because they have sensors inside- that tell when to switch on and off. 

But, most solar lights nowadays have a manual on and off switch. It comes with some good benefits. In some cases, you will have to turn off your solar lights or, they might get damaged. Here, I will show you a few reasons why you should turn off your solar lights from time to time. 

  • Suppose you have a rainy day and your solar lights did not get enough exposure to sunlight. In that case, you might have to turn solar lights off; otherwise, the battery can be – damaged. It is also true for places with storms and snow.   
  • You might want to save batteries for later use. You will have to turn off the switch. It will save you some electricity that you can use later. It is especially- important when there is a lack of sunlight. 
  • You should turn off the switch if you plan to transport your solar lights somewhere else. They will turn on automatically if they sense darkness while transporting. So, you must turn off the switch beforehand. 
  • Sometimes, you might want to turn off your lights and enjoy the darkness. If you wish to enjoy the night sky with all those dazzling stars, you most definitely should turn off your solar lights. 

Switching solar lights off helps you preserve batteries and use them when needed. It is pretty great for storing, shipping, and moving.  

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How do solar lights turn on and off?

A solar lightOpens in a new tab. mechanism is pretty simple. It is- powered by sunlight. It takes energy from the sun and turns it into electricity that powers up its built-in LED light. Let us dive into a little more detail. 

Solar light has a simple circuit, somewhat similar to a flashlight. Its battery terminals are- connected to the LED with a simple loop circuit. There is another circuit that connects the solar panel to the battery terminals. 

Inside a solar light, there is a sensor that can detect night. It turns the LED light ON. Similarly, it can understand when the sun is out and time to charge the battery. We will go into a little more detail on how solar light circuitsOpens in a new tab. works. 

This is how your solar light turns on: 

  • Firstly, solar LED light requires a minimum voltage to turn on. Generally, the threshold is 3.5 volts. There are two circuits in solar light. One of the two is constantly providing electricity to the bulb. Let’s assume circuit A passes 1.2-volts current and circuit B passes 3.7 volts; meaning, circuit B passes enough voltage to turn your light ON.  
  • When the sun is out, solar panel transmits current through circuit A which is in operation now and provides 1.2 volts. This voltage is enough to charge the solar battery but not enough to lighten the led. 
  • Finally, when the sun goes off, solar panel no longer transmits current to circuit A, and it shuts down because of the drop of voltage. Now, circuit B is triggered. It draws current from the battery and provides 3.7 volts. As it exceeds the minimum threshold, the LED light turns on. 

This is how your solar light automatically turns on and off. It can be little intimidating, but it is a simple process. 

Do solar lights have to be turned on?

After buying solar lights, you should unpack them and turn the ON switch. Now do not use your solar lights right away. Let them fully charge for the whole day. When the sun goes down, turn the switch off.

Do not use the lights on the first night. Then charge them again the next day. Now your lights are ready for the following night. By doing this, you will maximize your solar battery, and you will get light the whole night. 

You will have to turn the switch ON when you set them up for the first time. Check whether your lights have a turn on/off button. If so, turn it on. 

However, you do not have to manually- turn on your solar lights regularly. They have sensors inside, and they know when to turn on and off. Manufacturer have designed solar light to turn on/off automatically.  

Solar lights are devices that have higher specifications and features. They come with a large-size battery and solar panel. They also have intelligent sensors. There is no need to invest your time to turn them on daily. Your solar light is smart enough to do it on its own. 

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Decorative solar lights or landscape lights come in a large bundle. It can have multiple lights in a combo. You will not want to manually- turn them on every day. It is just a waste of time. So, let them turn on automatically.  

Your decorative solar lights might have different modes, such as soft, low, bright, etc. You can set them on the first day, and you do not have to worry about them anymore. Let the sensor do its work. 

Should solar lights be switched on to charge?

Many solar lights come with an on and off switch even though they have sensors for doing it automatically. You have to turn it on for the first time after purchasing. Your solar light sensor will take charge from then. 

It is not necessary to switch on to charge your solar lights. They can charge themselves even when the switch is- turned off. But, keep it ON unless you want to switch it off for specific reasons. You should read the instruction manual that comes with your lights.

What problems can arise from the on off switch?

Many new users do not realize that their solar lights have an on/off switch that needs to turn on. The light is- turned off while they are in the package- you have to turn it on after unpacking. 

If you plan to set them in a higher place- it can be a problem to turn them on/off regularly. You should turn them on before installing. Press the switch with care so that they do not get physically damaged. 

Final Word

I hope- I could answer your questions, and now you have a clear understanding of the solar light switch.   


I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.

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