This understated gadget turned up for me a few days ago from China (free postage to UK and other places – see link below) – I figured now is as good as time as any to start updating my solar lighting here in Spain.
As happens, the usual cheap solar lights (£1.50 each from PoundStretcher and B&M) are in trouble after the winter. They really are false economy yet we keep buying them by the millions. Battery connections rarely last more than one bad winter and the other usual problem is the circuit board which rusts up badly.
I decided this year to go a bit upmarket. The Homecube shown here is around 20 Euros, i.e. under £20 yet fires off no less than 24 bright LEDs thanks to only switching on when there is movement, aided by a decent sized solar panel. The title on the ad says it all: “1.5w LED PIR Motion Sensor Lawn Light Waterproof etc.”
Despite rubbish weather here in Andalusia right now, the light came on last night as we returned from the pub and produced an astounding amount of output as we walked up to the front of the house. Both the angle of the two light panels and the angle of the solar panel are continuously adjustable. There is a solid-looking on/off button and a mode button to adjust the output.
The lights and solar panel look nicely waterproofed and overall, construction looks solid. Time will tell.
The light produces a constant ambient output when it is dark, brightening up markedly when triggered by someone passing by – and that is despite awful weather recently. Bear in mind my green lights here are bright, powered by a 250w solar panel and 2 deep discharge batteries.
I have similar lights to this in the UK now and they just survived their first winter with no signs of corrosion, providing decent light output all winter (unlike the £1.50 types which only last a short time and give off pathetic levels of light). With this model you have a choice of stake mount and they also provide a handy wall-mount plate which will come in handy for permanent mounting when I’m done with testing.
Long term review – if anyone knows how to get hold of HomeCube directly – please do let me know – I want to ask the direct question “don’t you have sunshine where you live?” – what on EARTH is the point of using a white material on the sensor that degrades to destruction in sunlight? I’ve seen this SO MANY times – it still works but the white round cover has shattered. So they didn’t do long-term testing then. These products could be so much better with just a little THOUGHT.