First Solar Lamp of 2020

Having been through hundreds of PoundStretcher cheap solar lights over the years, most of which manage one UK winter if you are LUCKY, I’ve taken to moving just a little upmarket recently and with some success. This 100-LED Solar Motion Sensor light just turned up for me today (Jan 2, 2020) from Banggood – no way to tell how long it will last yet but I have other not-unsimilar models which are on their second or 3rd winter already. Actually I have two of these units – identical except that one is black, the other is white.

Currently this auto-sensing solar lamp is £8.52 to the UK, no doubt the website will detail other countries including the EU and America. The price may vary by the time you read this.

This self-contained solar light is fairly small but powerful, took 4 weeks to get here in the UK (free postage) and up to now looks good – it is BRIGHT – movement triggered, stays on for 15 seconds after movement stops – unlike the Poundland specials which barely light anything other than themselves and insist on staying lit (even when there is no-one there to see them) so much so that for me, one every 3 metres or so would do nicely. The unit has a couple of modes – in one mode it lights dimly until triggered by movement, in the other it is off until triggered at which point all 100 LEDs go to maximum brightness.

Solar lamp from Banggood

My one tip for every light of this type is to WD40 or similar WHEN NEW and every few months (everything else Ive tried fails to keep damp out – and peels anyway after a while either through sunlight or cold). Usually the first thing to go on the cheapest units is caused by PCB corrosion or poor battery contact. On lamps I have similar in style to this, the seal behind the lights fails and the odd LED corrodes and fails. My hope is that WD40 from day one will minimise this.

Solar lamp from Banggood

Over time once this is up on my office wall, I’ll update the blog to let you know how it does. I’m hopeful.

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13 thoughts on “First Solar Lamp of 2020

  1. I’ve had very good luck with lights from MPOW (via Amazon) but the exact ones I purchased don’t seem to be available there any longer. What appears to be the same thing is listed as ‘Mr Beams Solar Wedge 8 LED Security Outdoor Motion Sensor Wall Light’ (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W3QLRH4). I do seem them on eBay as item 182903478542 along with the 20 LED version (item 292202349004) which has worked just as well for me. I ordered these back in January 2017 and they’ve been hanging on the fence in my back yard since. I live in New England so they’ve seen their share of different weather conditions, and they just continue to work like they are supposed to. So there are some decent ones out there, the trick is to find them (like most of these made in China widgets). Cheers!

    1. In my experience, most of the ones that don’t seem to be made in China actually are. So I just go straight to the source. Mind you where I live in the Northeast of England we get more than our share of damp so that doesn’t help. I’m off to Chicago soon, I KNOW it is cold there right now but I’m prepared to bet, based on past experience that it will be a LOT drier there, so I’d expect solar lamps to last longer there than here.

  2. Hi Peter. Thanks for the article. Would you be able to explain a bit more about you go about using the WD40, please? Are there other exterior electrical devices you would recommend using it on as well? Thanks.

    1. I would say I use it on everything but that’s a dangerous statement. Obviously not on anything that has to look totally pretty… It obviously looks a little oily but that goes away quite quickly, my hope is that it hangs around in the joints and displaces water. I can’t imagine it being any worse for just about any electrical circuit than water as that is what it is formulated to do – displace water. Generally, it will not corrode plastics. Perhaps others may comment. In the past I’ve tried the likes of nail varnish and similar, that just peels.

  3. Has anyone successfully opened one of these up and popped an ESP8266 inside? Knowing when it was triggered or remote trigger it would be handy.

    1. I did it on a cheap solar light (https://sulion.es/8423-large_default/neko.jpg which can sometimes be found at 5 Euros on sale in shop) and after adding a second 18650, can confirm the esp8266 is working 24/7 with no issues, updating thingspeak every 2 minutes with the current battery voltage. Next step is adding a mosfet to a GPIO so I can remote control the LED lights.

      1. The big difference between various models is often whether or no they can stand up to the environment. I sometimes wonder if it ever rains in China as I’d say well over half of the solar lighs I’ve bought over the last couple of years have failed due to to the weather – mostly rain in the UK and Spain, the odd one through intense sun in Spain.

        1. Well, since I’m in Portugal in the Algarve, I think I can relate to the intense sun issue

          The main issue with these specific solar lights is that the 18650 inside is a recycled one (left over bits of the connection strip still connected) and so will most likely only last a few months at most unless you do what I did and change it for a good one.

          Anyway, a box with a 18650 and support, room for an additional 18650 with support and a esp8266, a solar cell, a lithium solar charger, a movement sensor and a LED plate that gives a decent light for 5 euros? I would say you get a very good return on your money

  4. I’m sure Big Clive did some excellent youtubes on how to prolong the life of the poundland solar lights. Think it involved some 3M clear tape and a bit of poundland silicon.

    They say you can see his house from space due to all the LED lights.

    1. I’ve tried various tapes and compounds – I’m always ready to listen to good ideas – keep em coming – but nothing I’ve tried to date both remains clear and LASTS. I’m trying WD-40 now.

  5. With regard to waterproofing the PCB / connections I think either an acrylic conformal spray or ‘liquid electrical tape’ would help. Both can be either sprayed or brushed on. Neither are cheap!
    In the case of sealing the enclosure it depends on the plastic it is made from. If the plastic is polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) then there are very few products that will stick to it although ‘Loctite’ have a ‘Super glue’ that is claimed to be suitable for all plastics.
    If the plastic is PVC or ABS then ordinary solvent weld cement will work very well. These solutions are permanent and once sealed one would not get the casing open without breaking it. However, if it isn’t corroding inside you would not need to open it.
    Another possibility would be clear ‘Stixall’ adhesive / sealer that seems to stick to most things especially my fingers!

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