Light Solar lights for inside/outside house when/if there is a blackout as mentioned?

LittleYellowFlower

Flower Whisperer
I am in the process of looking to buy various solar lights for different reasons.
Some ideas I have for lighting when TSHTF:

-Small solar lights (pathlights?) that can be charged during the day and brought inside at night for lighting instead of candles.

-Small solar motion pathlights to leave outside at night to alert us to trespassers on the outer perimeter of the property. Would these even make sense because they can easily be picked up and broken or stolen by trespassers?

-Large solar motion lights near doors, accessible windows, etc. to alert us to trespassers.

What are your ideas? What have you had luck with? What do you like best? Do you use have unconditional ways for using them? Which would be most important to have? How many?

Any advice you have will be appreciated!!!

They will be stored and not used until there is a loss of electricity as has been mentioned in other threads.
(With our luck, the lights outside at night will be stolen at some point...)
 

Tundra Gypsy

Veteran Member
You are right on the money. I've been buying those cheap little solar lights from Walmart the last couple of years. I've used them when I go 'glamping.' I put them in a used soup can filled with quick-set concrete. I can move them any where around my trailer. It is part of 'glamping.' I paint the cans, and add artificial flowers to decorate them. :) I intend to bring them in the house when the power goes down. Since they are in the little cans; I can move them anyplace around the house. Right now, they are around my patio and are quit decorative. I love them, and have added more to my supply for future use or for barter. :)
 

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Get plenty of replacement batteries. Yep, those little solar lights have batteries in them. I keep a lot of them around the house because ... well because they make my son's roses look pretty at night and just because I can. LOL

But plan on alternative light sources as needed. Those things don't charge very well in cloudy weather.
 

LittleYellowFlower

Flower Whisperer
You are right on the money. I've been buying those cheap little solar lights from Walmart the last couple of years. I've used them when I go 'glamping.' I put them in a used soup can filled with quick-set concrete. I can move them any where around my trailer. It is part of 'glamping.' I paint the cans, and add artificial flowers to decorate them. :) I intend to bring them in the house when the power goes down. Since they are in the little cans; I can move them anyplace around the house. Right now, they are around my patio and are quit decorative. I love them, and have added more to my supply for future use or for barter. :)
I love your ideas, TG!!! I have bought the cheap ones from Dollar General but they do not last but about 3 months. I stick them in the dirt in pots with flowers and in the grass around our dock.

Your idea about putting them in the cans with concrete is brilliant! I will be making some of these asap! LOVE THIS!!! :D

I've just got to find some that put out more light and last longer than the ones I've been buying so I can buy them in bulk for preps.
 

LittleYellowFlower

Flower Whisperer
Get plenty of replacement batteries. Yep, those little solar lights have batteries in them. I keep a lot of them around the house because ... well because they make my son's roses look pretty at night and just because I can. LOL

But plan on alternative light sources as needed. Those things don't charge very well in cloudy weather.
Embarrassingly, I have never looked to see that there was a compartment for replacement batteries. Over the years, I've actually thrown them away because the ones I have gotten were so cheap I didn't realize I could replace the batteries. SMH!
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
I have one of the harbor freight motion detector lights, $35ish IIRC.

It has been in service for at least 4years and still going.

I keep the run time at a minimum, like 10 seconds.

Pretty surprised it has lasted so long.
 

LittleYellowFlower

Flower Whisperer
I have one of the harbor freight motion detector lights, $35ish IIRC.

It has been in service for at least 4years and still going.

I keep the run time at a minimum, like 10 seconds.

Pretty surprised it has lasted so long.
Thank you, Millwright. I will check into these tomorrow!
 

TerriHaute

Hoosier Gardener
I have been doing this for years. We live where there are no street lights, so we have marked our driveways and mailbox with reflectors and have several kinds of solar lights around the house, including motion detector spot lights aimed at the front door. I sprang for some better patio lights to light up the patio and entryway to the back door. They have lasted several years and I have had to replace their batteries once. A couple of the decorative solar lights on the patio table look like hand-held lanterns, which make them easy to use inside the house during power outages. I have also tucked away a few strings of solar powered LED lights, easy to find at Christmas time and inexpensive. If we have an extended power outage, those will be used to give constant light to the living room and kitchen where we spend most of our time.

My favorite solar lights are the d.light brand. They are not outdoor lights but are meant for personal use and come in several styles. These are the ones we pull out first when the power goes out, they seem to hold a charge in storage for a long time. Available on Amazon.

We have this type: https://smile.amazon.com/d-light-S30-Solar-Rechargeable-Lantern/dp/B00BJELHS0/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=d.light&qid=1597491259&sr=8-3

And also a few of these: https://smile.amazon.com/d-light-Solar-Rechargeable-Portable-Lantern/dp/B00BJF86A6/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=d.light&qid=1597491665&sr=8-4
 

hiwall

Veteran Member
The solar lights are great - for now. After SHTF then not so much. The motion sensor solar lights could be useful after SHTF but the others would just draw attention to your place and show everyone that you are prepared and have "stuff".
So use the solar lights now because they are both handy and cheap.
But if there is SHTF then think very carefully before using them.
 

Digger

Senior Member
I bought a solar light that is just a lightbulb with a wire attached to a solar panel. There is a bale with a hook on the bulb so it can be hung from a nail or something. I use them in my chicken house which has no power. I just run the wire out the door and lay the panel on the roof. They work well for my use. I use them when gathering eggs after dark and in winter to extend the daylight time. I have 2 in the coop. I turn one on at night . Then when I feed the next day I turn it off and use the other one that night. That way i have one fully charged at all times. I have a third one I keep in the south window in the house for outages. I ordered them on Amazon. They were $10 each when I got them a couple years ago.
 

Hfcomms

EN66iq
I really wouldn't do the solar lights. Most are made in China, they are cheap and don't work too long. Instead consider LED lighting strips that you can put up in the house. You can hook them up to a dimmer, they draw very little current and you can power them off a small gel cell battery and small solar panel. And you can also charge up your cell phones and other devices that need power from a USB port.

Lots of examples but;



 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
We used them for awhile inside our house. For what we paid for them, they just weren't worth it. Plus, we had to keep replacing the batteries every 2-3 months, and the replacement batteries we were always having to order were already half dead when we received them. We got tired of the hassle. Bought oil lamps and plenty of oil instead.
 

Hfcomms

EN66iq
We used them for awhile inside our house. For what we paid for them, they just weren't worth it. Plus, we had to keep replacing the batteries every 2-3 months, and the replacement batteries we were always having to order were already half dead when we received them. We got tired of the hassle. Bought oil lamps and plenty of oil instead.
And you have to keep on dragging them in and out of the house. I purchased a few sets for my R.V. and they didn't last even one season so I went with the low voltage metal ground lamps. One of them didn't last a single day. Anything from China is cheaply made. The light strips are how I light my cabin during outages. Can turn them up or dim them as much as you want and with an adhesive backing you can put them anywhere....even in the shower. And your solar panel can top the battery back off during the day and they draw practically no current.
 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
And you have to keep on dragging them in and out of the house. I purchased a few sets for my R.V. and they didn't last even one season so I went with the low voltage metal ground lamps. One of them didn't last a single day. Anything from China is cheaply made. The light strips are how I light my cabin during outages. Can turn them up or dim them as much as you want and with an adhesive backing you can put them anywhere....even in the shower. And your solar panel can top the battery back off during the day and they draw practically no current.
Yeah, I didn't like having to drag all of them back and forth, either. Plus, on cloudy days they didn't work, not to mention several cloudy days in a row. We had to have backup lighting for those days, so we decided to go with something more dependable. We lost money on our deal, cause the solar lights we bought weren't cheap, and were the brightest you could buy at the time. This was a few years ago, so they may be better quality now. I don't know.

We do have a small solar array, but we don't use it for any type of lighting.
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
There is another route you might look at.

The LED tape lights are pretty handy. Here is a set I picked up, just to try out.

It came with two 18" sections and the option to add more. I used their self stick-um and put them on a yard stick for portability.

The reason I grabbed them is that they actually run off of 12v DC.

This 3' section uses less than 1watt. They would run a long time on a fully charged car battery.

My intention was to set up a small solar panel and dedicated battery just to see how well it lasted, etc.

These came from Lowe's, several years ago, but are no longer available. There are several comparable products out there, however.




I have them over the man-door into the shop and they have 2-3years of actual run time, with none of the LEDs going out.

This is with the supplied transformer, no on battery power.

The kit was about $20, at the time. It doesn't take many dead yard lights to pay for one.

I guess I need to find a small solar panel and battery to actually test that set up.
 
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Keric4

Contributing Member

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
There are many variations of these solar, pop-up lanterns out there.

Look for the ones with a plug-in charger, optional AA battery power and a usb charger.

There was some discussion about them here..somewhere. A few peeps had failures, but not sure which brand/model etc.

I've had one sitting in a north window for about 3 years. It's charge light stays on and it works when I need it.

They range from about 8-20bux.

This one is at Lowes for about $20. I'd guess that it may be a little bit better quality...maybe?





 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
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Now that you have me back on this project...(SQUIRREL>>>>>) :lol:

I gave a quick look for components that would make a small, relatively cheep system for a little lighting and maybe charging a phone. You would have to provide your own battery, preferably some kind of deep cycle type.




For a small charge controller, Battery Tender is makes a decent product for the price, IMO.

For $30, I'd look at this, if I had a small panel laying around.



FEATURES:
  • Convert any existing solar panel into a solar charger.
  • Battery Tender Solar Controller has a usable input range between 5-45 watts.
  • Fully automatic: Prevents your battery from either overcharging or undercharging.
  • Keeps the excess voltage from damaging the battery.
  • For use with 12V lead acid batteries only




If I were looking for a complete kit, maybe something like this?

$100 at Lowe's.



Kit includes 50 watts of polycrystalline panel power, easy to install and maintenance-free.
  • Off-Grid power without noise and fumes of a generator
  • Perfect for cabins, RV's, boats or other off grid uses
  • 150 watt hours or 12.5 amp hours of power per day
  • The kit includes: 1pc Grape Solar 50-watt polycrystalline solar panel, a Grape Solar 165-watt input charge controller, cables and manual





I recognize Renogy as a more common name. For another $20, I'd probably go with this.

Renogy's 50W Starter Kit is specifically designed for customers who love solar. This easy to install Starter Kit features a Renogy 50W Monocrystalline panel and is great for off-grid applications such as RVs, trailers, boats, sheds, cabins, and more! Enjoy grid independence with reliable quiet power production.
  • One Renogy 50W Monocrystalline solar panel and one 10A PWM charge controller
  • Panel has optimum operating voltage (VMP) of 18.3V and Optimum Operating Current (IMP) of 2.9A. Kit also includes one set of 20ft MC4 connector adaptor kit with MC4 male and female connector
  • One pair of 8ft tray cables for charge controller to battery
  • Suitable for commercial and power station property
  • Fully self-powered off-grid systems





This was just a quick search for items available through regular retailers.

As with anything, do your own homework.

Maybe @LoupGarou will wander down here and suggest some better/cheaper components.
 
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Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
I've had good experience with Battery Minder (not Battery Tender) Products.

Their desulfinating function does seem to liven up weak batteries.

I might get one of these, because I always have batteries charging around here. It may not be the best option for a small solar system tho.





BatteryMINDer® SCC-180 is a 12 Volt, 16 Amp model that actively monitors your battery's voltage and temperature any time the sun is up. The internal program adjusts its output several times a second based on these readings to quickly and correctly charge your battery. When used as a maintainer, the BatteryMINDer® is guaranteed to maximize your battery's life and storage capacity. The Temperature compensated long-term float (maintenance) stage can add years of service. Patented high-frequency pulse desulfation is designed to reverse and eliminate battery sulfation, the #1 cause of early battery failure.


Features & Benefits:
BatteryMINDer® Model SCC-180: 12V 180 Watt (12V 180W) Solar Charger-Maintainer-Desulfator

  • Guaranteed to never overcharge, regardless of how long connected.
  • Temperature compensation ensures proper charge in hot or cold environments.
  • High frequency pulse desulfation.
  • Maximizes battery life and capacity, reconditions weak batteries.
  • For Solar Panels up to 200 Watts & Voltages not to exceed 25 Volts.
  • Designed for 12 volt systems.
  • Maintains up to 25 batteries at a time.
  • Short circuit, spark and polarity protection.
  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON USING PRODUCT OUTDOORS: Weather-tight enclosure. Always mount units in vertical position with cord sets exiting downward to ensure weather tight integrity. Unit must be mounted this way to ensure long term trouble-free life including weatherproof integrity. Mounting in any other manner or using unmounted (parallel to ground) except indoors may cause unit to fail due to water intrusion that is unable to drain correctly to avoid damage.
  • For Solar Panels up to 200 Watts & Voltages NOT TO EXCEED 25 VOLTS

What's In the BoxOptional Accessories
  • Solar Controller that works with all sizes, types and brands of 12V lead-acid batteries (Including but not limited to: flooded (filler cap / maintenance-free / VRLA / SLA), gel, AGM (Optima / Odyssey / etc.), starter, deep cycle and hybrid).
  • Battery Condition Indicator
  • Ambient Temperature Sensor (installed)
  • 2 ft. insulated battery clip cord set with fused Quick-connect Plug
 
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hiwall

Veteran Member
After using others, I now would only consider MPPT solar charge controllers. They certainly extend the life of batteries while giving you total control of the charging.
Small units are $20 to $30 from places like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, etc.
 

Illini Warrior

Veteran Member
you can rig up a simple & cheap DIY 12V indoor system - string either Xmas tree twinkle lights or use rope lighting for around a room & travel paths thru the house - a car battery feed and a lightweight transformer >>> you can add switches to off/on and divide up the lighting ....
 
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