Are solar garden lights reliable?

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I heard differing opinions on this from two colleagues at work on this.
Any body with experience on them?
Sam (My addrss is spam-proofed, please post your reply here.)
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They're a nice soft glow, but the batteries need replacing every now and then, and at a fairly high cost. You can't beat the efficiency and power of the incandescents, IMHO. Tom Someday, it'll all be over....
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I've used a number of different brands. They work well. There is a difference in quality, but price seems to set them apart.
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I'd like to know what you consider the best quality. I've bought them in the past and had some problems.\

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I like the Malibu's, but like my cordless phones, I replace the NiCad's with NiMH's.
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Steve Spence
Renewable energy and sustainable living
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wrote:

Since you appear to be rather unfamiliar with usenet, may I suggest some reading?
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1855.html
RFC 1855 - Netiquette Guidelines
"If you feel an article will be of interest to more than one Newsgroup, be sure to CROSSPOST the article rather than individually post it to those groups. In general, probably only five-to-six groups will have similar enough interests to warrant this."
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Tony, it's a troll, has already nym-shifted in a brief attempt to crawl out of killfiles. This one seems to be the "insult all the regulars to try to get them fighting amongst themselves" varient f troll.
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I currently have the non-solar ones and want to sell them at my garage sale and replace them with the solar ones. A friend of mine told me that his parents have them and they last about 4 hours (the ones I was looking at said they last 8-12 hours).
If anyone has had any experience with long lasting ones please post the brand/model
TIA

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We have several solar lights. They are cheapos but they're in their second year and working fine and that includes being outdoors through a long, cold, snowy winter. They stay on from sunset to maybe midnight. But they don't really throw any usable light. They're only decorative. .

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The cheaper lights use one AA battery - the more expensive use two AA's. These are typically cheap AA Ni_Cd rechargables. I suppose you could replace them with Ni-MH to get longer light output.
They are decorative only - they will 'mark' the path but that is about it.
If you have trees in the area that provide shade - you may run into problems with the solar lights not getting enough light and so not recharging.

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My solar garden lights are into their second year and still going strong. They decorate the garden lovely and I'd highly recommend them.

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Reliable as in years ? as AC 120v is !! NO....!
Batteries - NiCads Loose strength for every cycle . They have 300- 2000 cycles . MAXIMUM . 1 to 4 yrs in great conditions....
A Waiste of your future time and money for quick sales and bull shit in 2 - 6 yrs..
Compare price. Wired are best in the long run .... or 3 yrs out [ not a long run is it ]
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Yea Brian, just wait till the 5tyh year, they will not go for more than 15 minutes
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Dick Smyth wrote:

Our neighbors have them (which became obvious during a blackout). While they don't cast much light per se, they DO mark where their path is - like buoys marking a channel. I don't need to see the path, but the lights keep me ON the path. So far they've survived the brutal berkeley winters (we had to put on coats!).
I wonder about using LED clusters wired to 12V and just bury the low voltage wire back to the house.
A solar panel elsewhere with a simple charge circuit can keep a charge in a small battery (on the cheap side, using a mid-life car battery would last a while, but a proper deep-cycle battery, treated well, could last closer to a decade).
LEDs draw very very little power.
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White Leds are as inneficient as condesants 75% less efficient than flourescents.
Didnt know that Eh, Its a Fact..............
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MP wrote:

they usually last about 8 to 10 hours all night in the summer, but not in the winter [in Los Angeles]
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The batteries wear out , electronics fail , they are cheap crap . in a few years you will wish you never sold the good stuff. If you want to get a few to try them ok , but in the long run 5-10 -15 yr they are a disposable waiste
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LTKinch wrote:

Well, WalMart puts the K in Kwality. plus you get to screw your local merchants at the same time.
Okay, that said, if you can run low voltage WIRE, you might to better with a battery and a solar panel or just power it from the house at 12/24/48VDC.
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Agreed. I got my garden lights at Home Depot. :^)

I found solar lights to be insufficient for my use. They're just bright enough to be seen but not enough to see anything else. The light lasted about 6 hours in winter (Florida) and a bit longer in summer, but the solar cell died after about two years.
This year I installed a 600 Watt transformer with built-in timer and ran low voltage cable around the outside of the pool cage and along the fence line behind our home. A few spot lights illuminate several palms from below and a row of mushroom lamps illuminate the gardens. The visual effect is quite pleasant and it has the added benefit of drawing mosquitoes away from the lanai. Florida mosquitoes are roughly the size of small dogs so keeping them out of the pool (where they like to do the back stroke) is a good thing.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (S.V.Proff) wrote:

Might as well ask "Are cars reliable?", you'll get as many answers. My mother has had a couple or three sets of them, and they all last a few years and then get tossed in the trash (after the obvious request that I "fix" them).
It's a wonderful idea, but it would be expensive to make good ones, so to keep costs down reliability goes out the window. If you really wanted a "good" one, I'd look at a separate panel -> charge controller -> battery ->timer or photocell with low-voltage cutout -> low voltagehard-wired garden lights.
--
William Smith
ComputerSmiths Consulting, Inc. www.compusmiths.com
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