Are your solar garden lights bothering you because they do not emit as much light as you want? Knowing how to make solar garden lights brighter not only helps you address this concern. It can also direct you to other problems in your solar lighting system you did not know existed.
No single solution exists to make your solar garden lights shine brighter. You can only troubleshoot one issue at a time. If it does not solve your problem, you can proceed to the next step. I will explain how you can perform this troubleshooting in this simplified how-to guide.
Things You Need For This Tutorial
The only thing you need for this tutorial is a clear understanding of how your solar garden lights work. Although they come in different designs and sizes, outdoor solar lights work in the same way.
These gadgets collect light energy and convert it into DC electricity, which charges the battery. A control unit allows energy generation and storage while automatically powering the lights as soon as the solar panels stop collecting sunlight.
Solar lights not bright enough can be due to a design flaw or an issue in one of the solar light’s components. That is why I also recommend learning more about your specific solar outdoor lighting, including its disassembly, reassembly, and components.
Depending on your troubleshooting activities, you might also need the following tools.
- Multimeter for testing the voltage of your battery
- Warm soapy water or an appropriate product for cleaning the lenses and panels
- Screwdriver for removing the screws in the light housing in case you need to disassemble the solar light
- Sandpaper and toothpick for removing corrosion from battery terminals
- Replacement battery and solar light bulb, if needed
Steps on How to Make Solar Garden Lights Brighter
Step 1. Reposition your solar garden lights.
The simplest way to ensure bright outdoor solar lights is by repositioning them to maximize light energy absorption. I recommend monitoring your solar lights for several days, placing them in different locations, and noting which position provides the brightest illumination.
Take note of trees or any structure that casts a shadow on your solar lights during the day. It may be one of the reasons why your solar system is not packing enough juice in the battery. Shade is not your only concern. There are leaves and other debris that can also block the panels.
Step 2. Clean the solar panels and the lenses.
Check your solar panels and lighting fixtures for signs of dirt accumulation, especially if you live in a dusty place. Dust and other particles can build up on the panel’s surface, blocking out sunlight from reaching your system’s electricity-generating module.
A warm soapy solution and a small brush are enough to clean your lenses and panels. However, be extra careful when cleaning because water might enter the system and cause you more problems.
If the dirt is not as stubborn as you think, wiping it off with a damp cloth is sufficient. Otherwise, an acrylic-safe cleaning solution will be ideal.
Step 3. Check the battery terminals.
If cleaning and repositioning do not make your solar landscape lights brighter, you might want to check the battery terminals for signs of corrosion.
Corrosion can impact your system’s ability to store electricity in your rechargeable battery, making the light look dimmer than it should.
All you need to remove rust from the battery terminals are a toothpick and sandpaper. Sand the corroded surface and remove the bits using the toothpick. You can also wound a small piece of sandpaper around the toothpick and use it to scrape rust in tight spaces.
Step 4. Check your battery’s charge.
Clearing the terminals of rust should help you improve solar light brightness. If not, check your battery.
When was the last time you replaced your rechargeable battery? Depending on the battery type you used, your dry cell can last anywhere between one and two years. If you want to be sure, you can use a multimeter to check your dry cell’s charge.
Power on your multimeter and set it to DC Volt. Set the device’s sensitivity to a higher voltage setting than your battery. For example, if you have a 3.2-volt lithium iron phosphate rechargeable battery, you can set the multimeter’s sensitivity to 10 volts.
Plug the electrodes in their respective ports and touch the red probe to your battery’s positive post and the black electrode on the dry cell’s negative terminal. Read the voltage reading on your multimeter. If the value is lower than your battery’s rated voltage, it is time for a replacement.
If you are not sure how to use a multimeter, here is a fascinating video from geoffmobile.
Step 5. Replace your solar garden light bulbs.
You already repositioned the solar lights to draw as much sunlight as possible. You cleaned the panels, lenses, and battery terminals. The battery is new, too. However, your solar garden light remains dimmer than you like.
Check your solar lamp’s wattage. If it is only 2 to 5 watts, it explains why your garden solar light is not as bright as you want. You can look for a suitable lamp replacement with a higher wattage. However, ensure your system can handle it.
Step 6. Give your solar lights a 72-hour break.
There are instances when all your solar garden lights need is a deep charge. If you live in a place where the sun does not shine at its brightest every day, you might be undercharging your battery.
Switch off your solar lights for at least 72 hours to give it sufficient time to recharge. If you have cloudy skies, you might want to extend the break for five days.
Step 7. Remove the plastic covering during charging.
If Step 6 still does not produce the results you want, you might have to perform some drastic measures. I advise you to do Steps 1 to 5 first before you attempt this troubleshooting step.
In this step, you must remove the plastic housing that protects your solar garden light from the elements. Expose the solar panels directly to sunlight without the covering. Ensure to switch off the lights and reassemble your system as soon as night sets in.
Alternatively, you can combine this step with your solar lights’ 72-hour break.
Step 8. Think about modifying your solar garden light.
If you reached Step 7 and you are nowhere near getting your solar garden lights to shine brighter, you might want to disassemble your system. Sometimes, you only need to remove any unnecessary stuff in the system to make solar lights brighter.
Check your manual on how to disassemble your system. Look for any unnecessary plastic component preventing light energy from reaching the solar panels and battery. You might want to make a separate battery holder to improve charging efficiency.
Reassemble your system and charge for at least three days before turning it on.
Step 9. Consider modifying the circuit.
So, step 8 – modify solar garden lights – did not make your solar lights brighter. You are running out of options. If Step 9 still fails, you have no choice but to call technical support.
Disassemble your solar light again and check the PCB and other electronic components. It would also be best to check where the inductor is. This small electronic device amplifies the light bulb’s luminance. Sometimes, replacing the inductor with a more powerful unit can brighten your solar lights.
However, you must check if your replacement inductor is compatible with your PCB. Otherwise, it will not work. In most cases, you might have to change the PCB as well. Sadly, if it costs about half that of a brand new solar light, you might want to get a brand new and brighter fixture instead.
Kevin Darrah has a fascinating video about solar light circuits, allowing you to make the modifications easier.
Step 10. Call the Manufacturer.
If none of our troubleshooting steps solved the issue of dim solar garden lights, you might want to contact the manufacturer’s tech support. They might have a few tricks up their sleeves that ordinary consumers do not know.
I recommend going through your warranty agreement to check if any of the modifications I suggested above will void the warranty. If they do, you might want to move this step further ahead in this list.
There is no one clear solution to how to make solar garden lights brighter. Everything is a matter of trial-and-error, troubleshooting every possible scenario until you can get to the correct solution. Your perseverance is vital.
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Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!