Yard light batteries

Posted by: teacher

Yard light batteries - 05/05/20 07:25 PM

Heard a great tip - your walkway solar lights are a good place to look for and recharge batteries in an emergency.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Yard light batteries - 05/06/20 05:11 AM

It may be wise to look into the details before relying on this.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Yard light batteries - 05/06/20 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
It may be wise to look into the details before relying on this.

Agreed. Most of the lightsIhave seen use lower capacity (lower quality?) batteries which are questionable. In the long run, I feel it makes batter sense to get a good battery charger and good quality brand name batteries. Still, for emergencies.....
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Yard light batteries - 05/07/20 03:14 PM

True enough, the ability to make use of the stuff you have on hand adds another layer of preparation. As long as you know its limits ...

It's not feasible for these solar lights to recharge 2000 mAh AA Eneloops or similar. They don't produce enough current. They may produce enough to charge a AAA NiMH (these run between 600-1000 mAh) using a wad of aluminum foil as a spacer.

The batteries in the first solar lights were NiCd, and they were junk. They use low-capacity NiMHs now, about 600 mAh, in an AA format. The cells are the standard length but are often skinnier. So, if you take them out and plunk them in a low power LED flashlight, expect them to rattle around and have intermittent contact. Paper makes an effective spacer.

Solar light batteries suffer the same problem as other NiMHs -- partial charging and discharging reduces their capacity over time. I played with some old ones last winter and several cycles of full charge (with a smart charger) and full discharge brought them back into a usable condition. Surprising -- but you never know unless you try.
Posted by: CJK

Re: Yard light batteries - 05/08/20 01:53 PM

Agree with Dougwalkabout.... its goo to have 'another' option but my first thought was..... if you are going the route of using those tiny 0.01 cent solar panels to charge 'real' batteries...... you have more to worry about than charging those batteries! LOL.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Yard light batteries - 05/08/20 07:10 PM

While I agree it's not Plan A, B, nor C, it's the kind of thing you might face while travelling, for example (assuming we ever do that again), or advising the less prepared from a distance.

I think it's always a useful exercise to consider creative uses for materials commonly found -- as long as you test those ideas and know the pitfalls. People who can improvise add another layer of resilience to their preparations.