Solar Landscaping Lights - Any Good?

I would like to install some outdoor lights in landscaped areas and in a path in the backyard and am considering solar to prevent the wiring hassle. I am concerned about the lack of on / off control and the ability to charge in areas of partial sunlight. Have you tried the lights and will they work through the night with a charge of indirect / partial sunlight, or would you recommend that I wire some lights switched to the outside house light? Thanks for any input.
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we bought some cheap ones from wal-mart - they seem ok, but have crummy AA rechargables in them... 900mAh - thinking about replacing with GOOD batteries - no complaints as such, tho

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Thanks for the replies - as I expected but it saves me the cost of a test lamp. Thanks
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Buy one and try it, if you are not happy return it partial sun doesn`t realy tell us anything, if grass grows , but poorly it is probably getting minimum sun , maybe 4 hrs. Solar lights may need 8-10 hrs to work good. Also the white leds consume much more power than other colors, look at orange.
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I've been very unhappy with my solar lights. Originally placed them in partial shade-they got about 6 hours of sunlight per day. The light was very dim. Moved them to full sun, and the lighting does not seem nearly as bright as normal low-voltage lights.
I'll be switching to low-voltage lights shortly.
Mr Fixit eh
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We got a 4 pack of hampton bay ambers from Home Dep for $17.
If you don't have full exposure, don't expect them to light the path much, they work more as path markers.
When we went camping, they had much more sunlight, and were *bright* at night. Easilly lighting up the ground and shining enough light on the pavillion (from the outside) to be able to see inside.
Even after several cloudy days, they lasted till morning. (though they were not as bright.)
Look for a unit that has two replaceable standard sized batteries. Ours are AA nicads... will change when needed. Some units have a single cell, or are soldered in place.
I like the amber lights, and they tend to be more efficient from what i hear, and they look more natural to me.
We've only had our for a season, and so far i'm very pleased.
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Solar lights don't really work that well. Go with low voltage or regular 120v
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hassle.
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work
Partial sunlight means incomplete charge, and very dim lighting at night. Walk around the neighborhood a night and you will see they cast a very faint light, unless charged during the daytime by direct sunlight, for most of the day, e.g. southern exposure, with few trees.. I went with 12 volt system. Easy to install, reliable, bright enough to properly light garden and approach paths.
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hassle.
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My area of homes must have 20-30 installations of them. None seem to work very well after the first couple of years. I have talked to the near by neighbors about it and they are disappointed in the long term performance. None of them have done anything with them. Like keeping the cells clean or changing the batteries.
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They work good for marker or accent lights. If you need them to light an area, they are no good - too dim. They will run out before midnight if they don't get enough sun. The wired 12 volt 4 watt lamps a bit dim as well go for 6 watt or better if you want more light. John

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If you want the lights primarily for effect, solar lights will work well, just don't buy the cheapest. We have 10 and I am surprised at how well the ones in partial sun work. Everytime I look out at night, there they are working, even at 6 a.m. However, they don't produce much more light than a full moon. That will light a path so you can follow it, but low voltage lights are much brighter.
nate moran wrote:

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I have a couple $5.95 cheapies at the end of the driveway, to mark where it is when I get home at midnight on my bicycle; they work okay until almost morning, if there was a sunny day before, here at 40 degrees latitude.
I don't know what constitutes quality. The limiting thing would be the solar array, it seems to me. The batteries don't matter much because they'll hold the charge you put in them about the same no matter what, for the duration of a day. Going to a ``better'' battery won't help. It's lacking charging, not holding.
So look for a big solar array, I guess.
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