You get what you pay for. Most of the time. Outdoor low voltage lights are
all over the map quality and price wise. The stuff available at the borgs
is typically junk. I have a friend who owns a commercial lighting company.
I got several dozen from him. They are metal cases. No plastic. They have
12v. bulbs like the automotive tail light bulbs. The others are halogen.
They cost from $7 to $14 each at his price to me, which I believe to be just
over cost, as I have seen the same units for $30 per in stores. They are
five years old now, and still working fine. We live in a desert climate, so
there is no rusting.
One CAN run 110v lights, it's just that they are very expensive to buy,
install, maintain, and feed.
The answer is yes, no, definitely, and maybe. They put out minimal light,
enough to find your keys if you drop them right under the light, and get
down on your hands and knees to look for them. They are fragile, breaking
easily. They are spendy, and for less, you can get good 12v. systems. They
are not repairable. One good hail stone or sleet ball and they're toast. I
wouldn't waste my money.
They work, but as everyone said, they give out very dim light. They usually
don't last a whole night. In winter, if it is in snowy regions, it is
advisable to store them away. I think more expensive ones will last a bit
longer and give out more light. I have some over two years old and they're
still working without changing batteries.
I dont' have any problems with the light output of mine, and when new
they did last all night. They're just shit quality - one of them
snapped off at the top of the pole; the rest you can see that the
solar cells are all milky (should have used glass rather than plastic
for the "skin" over the cells) and all of them if you pull them out
of the ground you can see where the stakes just bent when they hit the
clay sub-soil rather than biting in.
If someone made a GOOD solar light I would not be hesitant to try it.
I've never seen one for sale though (online doesn't count, I have no
way of evaluating quality from a web picture)
They glow. That's it. I wouldn't call them lights.
Motion detecting lights would be a better choice. They actually
illuminate to a useful degree and use a negligible amount of
electricity. Assuming you get a white fixture, use white
electrician's tape on the sensor to block nuisance trip sources as
The ones I have came from K-Mart (discount store) and they each use two AA
NiCad batteries. The batteries that came with them were not very good and
only lasted about a year. I replaced them with Sunpak NiMh batteries about
5-6 years ago and they still stay lit all night, even if it was a cloudy
day. On mine the batteries are very easy to replace and they can even be
used as a AA battery charger.
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