Solar Motion Sensor Light

Why am I using a stock photo here? Because the weather in our garden right now is pretty naff, that’s why. This is the latest sensor light I’ve picked up from Banggood as we settle back down into Willow Cottage after gutting the place (if you saw the state the long-term tenants left it in you’d know why I say gutting). But I digress – not only is this sensor light solid looking but right now (Early November 2018) Banggood are having yet another sale and this is CHEAP.

Solar Sensor Light

And here is the link -

Solar Power 20 LED PIR Motion Sensor Wall Light -- https://goo.gl/XguUgH

It is always easy to make these things look bright when in fact they are usually far dimmer than the demo suggests, but here it is in my well-lit office with my sparkly new 32” bright 4K display – and it STILL is bright as hell. I LIKE IT. Now, whether or not it will handle British weather over an extended period is another matter. As soon as I finish this entry it is going up on the wall but to be fair it will be months before I can say for sure that it’s a winner. Regardless, I want more!

Solar Motion Light

Looks pretty bright to me! 20 LEDs, motion sensing and light level sensing.

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11 thoughts on “Solar Motion Sensor Light

  1. Hi, I bought some of these from Amazon back in the summer, they are great. As they have a LIPO battery I decided to put a ESP-01 inside one of them so when the light was triggered, it would turn on the ESP and send me a push bullet announcement that it had been triggered. Perfect for notification when someone is coming up my drive.

    Beauty is that the ESP only turns on after a trigger for just enough time to send a message....hence no battery drain.

  2. na, just kept it simple....connected the LED in parallel with the Vin on the ESP (via a reg). so when motion detected at night the ESP fires up and sends me a pushbullet message that its turned on, then when LED goes off the power is removed from ESP.... hence no battery drain. Works a treat

  3. Adding the ESP is a really great idea. I have had one of these installed at my holiday chalet most of this year and it works great despite not being in direct sunlight most of the day.

    I have an extensive ESP based Home Automation there and I was looking to add an outside temperature sensor on deep sleep so that I can disable my plant watering system at near zero temperatures and this would enable that. I have a spare 2nd unit which I may open up to take a look now. What a great resource this site is for ideas!

  4. Love the idea of shoving an ESP inside. Good call.

    Not so sure about these though, here in the North of England. I note that some similar units have people complaining about them not getting enough charge and this will be significantly compounded in the winter when you have bad weather, short days and the cold to deal with.

    These cheap units all seem to have some form of LiON battery and these not only don't charge well below 0 deg. they also have greatly reduced max. charge when operating below zero.

    1. My one of these is in use on the Norfolk coast, 5 mins walk from the beach, facing north rather than south so doesn't get the best of sunlight or weather in general really and has endured sub zero temperatures already. It's been there, outside in the elements most of this year and is still working great and that's more than I can say for some cheap Chinese tech that I have bought that's never left my centrally heated man cave!

      1. Just an update on this. My solar light (as above) is still working great at our holiday chalet - it survived the winter and sub-zero temperatures.

        I bought several more of them on the strength of that and am currently testing my adapted version with added WeMos D1 Mini (ESP8266) and Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensor and deep sleep / MQTT to give me an outside temperature reading - hopefully without the need for powering it.

        The DS18B20 is on a short cable so that I can mount it away from direct sunlight.

        Testing this week at home, and if all goes well, it'll be deployed in place of the standard 'dumb' unit to be a motion sensing light with integrated MQTT outside temperature sensor 🙂

        1. Another update on this.

          The internal 18650 battery isn't very high capacity - even by its own chinese (often optimistic) markings - so it might be worth swapping the supplied 18650 with a decent one if anyone else intends running an ESP8266 inside their solar light.

          Mine is set to deep sleep for 10 minutes and then wake for 12 seconds and send temperature via MQTT. I'm finding that there are a few hours where there are no readings - presumably low battery, hence my suggestions regarding the battery capacity, above.

          However, it always recovers and then starts working again, but this will be a concern come winter time with fewer hours of sunlight. Where my device is situated, there's only direct sunlight for a few hours each day - great for my temperature sensor accuracy - not so great for the recharging performance.

          I might increase the deep sleep duration slightly although I think I will end up upgrading the internal battery longer term.

          1. Another update - hopefully to save anyone else similar frustration...

            The internal 18650 batteries in these solar lamps, are not big on capacity. Now that the mini-heatwave has ended here in East Anglia, i've found there's not enough juice in the batteries to run the WeMos D1 Mini even in deep sleep for 10 minute intervals with a Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensor - especially with the unit not in direct sunlight.

            My plan now is to replace the hard-wired 18650 cell inside the device with a branded 18650 cell of decent capacity. The current no-name battery claims 1200mAh so is probably even less than that so a decent 18650 cell might achieve double that capacity so I will cut the wires to the supplied battery and replace it with a 18650 battery holder which I can install one of my well tried and tested higher capacity cells in.

            I also plan on relocating the unit very slightly so that it benefits from a bit more direct sunlight.

            It's a shame the original setup didn't work as it always had enough capacity to power the LED array in 'movement detect' mode but I guess the WeMos D1 Mini and the DS18B20 sensor added to the mix are too demanding for a small solar cell that often has to live without direct sunlight in not-always-sunny Norfolk!

            I'll let you know how I get on with my better quality 18650 cell transplant. I'm reluctant to increase the deep sleep time of the ESP beyond its current 10 minute sensor/sleep interval so if this doesn't work then I'll have to look at even larger capacity batteries.

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