Can I Use a Higher mAh Battery in Solar Lights?

Can I Use a Higher Capacity Battery in Solar Lights?

Having a high capacity solar light battery is a must, especially in winter when the days are shorter and sunlight is scarce.

But can you actually replace your solar lights batteries?

If you are looking for a detailed answer, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will answer the most asked solar lights battery questions including:

  1. Can I Use a Higher mAh Battery in Solar Lights?
  2. How to Know Your Solar Lights Battery Voltage, Current, and Capacity?
  3. Types Of Solar Lights Batteries
  4. Do I Need Special Batteries For Solar Lights?
  5. Can you Charge Solar Lights Batteries Using a Charger?
  6. How Do you Charge Solar Lights for the First Time?
  7. Will Solar Lights Charge When they Turn Off?
  8. What Will Happen When the Battery Charge Gets too Low?

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the first question.

Can You Replace Your Solar Light Battery With a Higher mAh One?

Yes, you can replace your 400 mAh solar light battery with a higher 1000 mAh or even 2500 mAh.

However, you need to make sure your new battery matches your solar lights specifications including:

  1. Size: Make sure your new battery is the same size as the solar light’s battery house. This is pretty obvious, but you will be shocked by how many people actually miss this small detail
  2. Voltage: Different solar panels have different voltage outputs. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your new battery matches this voltage.
  3. Current: Similar to Voltage, your new battery must match the solar panel current specifications.

It’s important to mention that you shouldn’t opt for very high mAh batteries, as the solar panel won’t be able to fully recharge them in one day, which negatively affects the lifetime of your battery.

Related Article: How to Choose the Best Solar Lights Guide

How to Know Your Solar Lights Battery Voltage, Current, and Capacity?

Each battery has a specification table that includes:

  • Battery Type (Li-ion, Ni-Cd, or Ni-MH)
  • Size (AAA or AA)
  • Capacity (mAh)
  • Voltage (V)
  • Current (I)

Now, all you need to do is to buy a higher mAh solar light battery that matches both the Current (I) and the Voltage (V) of your old one.

Types Of Solar Lights Batteries

There are many types of batteries, however, the most commonly used types in solar lights are lithium-ion batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and nickel-metal hydride batteries.

1. Lithium-Ion Batteries (Li-ion)

They are lightweight and have a 10% self-discharge rate, which is pretty low compared to other battery types.

Further, they don’t suffer from the memory effect and have an expected lifespan of up to 1000 cycles making them the best rechargeable battery type out there.

The only disadvantage of this type is that they are on the expensive side, so if you are looking for a more budget-friendly solar light battery, this type might not be for you.

2. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries (Ni-MH)

AmazonBasics AAA Rechargeable Batteries (800 mAh), Pre-charged - Pack of 4

Because of their amazing price, long lifespan, and relatively low self-discharge, Ni-MH batteries are the most common solar light battery type.

Ni-MH batteries are available in different sizes, capacities, voltages, and currents that will fit any solar light.

3. Nickel-Cadmium Batteries (Ni-Cd)

EBL AAA Rechargeable Batteries 1.2V 500mAh High Capacity Ni-CD Triple A Battery (Pack of 8)

Unlike the Li-ion batteries, this type suffers from the memory effect and has around 20% self-discharge making them less efficient.

However, although Ni-Cd batteries don’t last as long as the Li-ion ones, they are in fact 3 times cheaper, which makes them an amazing choice.

Related Article: How Long Do Solar Lights Last?

Do I Need Special Batteries For Solar Lights?

No, any rechargeable batteries in the market will suffice as long as they match the voltage and current specifications for the solar lights.

Can you Charge Solar Lights Batteries Using a Charger?

Energizer Rechargeable AA and AAA Battery Charger (Recharge Pro) with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries, Auto-Safety Feature, Over-charge Protection

Absolutely yes, just make sure the charger matches the voltage and current specification of the battery.

Also, some solar lights come with a dual-charging option, which allows you to charge the light using both a USB cable and a solar panel.

Related Article: Best Indoor Solar Lights Review

Can I Use Regular AA Batteries in Solar Lights?

Yes, solar lights can work using a regular AA battery, but they won’t be able to recharge them. In other words, they will work similarly to flashlights.

However, it’s not recommended to use regular batteries in solar lights as charging AA batteries may generate hydrogen gas, which can lead to an explosion.

But if you must so, make sure to turn off the light switch first.

How Do you Charge Solar Lights for the First Time?

Charge the lights for at least 12 hours before you install them, as it helps the battery to reach 100% charge, which prolongs its lifespan and increase its efficiency. (the same you do when you buy a new phone).

Will Solar Lights Charge When they Turn Off?

Yes, most solar powered lights will still charge even if they are turned off.

In fact, it’s recommended to turn the lights off for a few days every while, as it will allow the battery to get a full charge, which prolongs its lifespan.

Related Article: How Do Solar Lights Turn on Automatically at night and off in the morning

What Will Happen When the Battery Charge Gets too Low?

To save energy and help the light to last longer, the solar light will emit dim light instead, yep, that’s it, they will gradually lose brightness until they start charging or till the batteries are empty.

Note: Some solar lights don’t have this option and they will emit full brightness light until they drain the battery.

Related Article: How to Fix Solar Lights

Last Words

We really hope you enjoyed this article as much as we did.

Do you have any other solar lights battery questions? Do you you have any ideas that can make the site better?

If so, please, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

8 thoughts on “Can I Use a Higher mAh Battery in Solar Lights?”

  1. Your “Can I use Regular AA batteries in Solar Lights” section made
    me laugh…specifically the part about hydrogen gas and “an explosion”.

    If you’re referring to the solar cell current causing the battery to explode…
    I think that is very, very unlikely! An inexpensive solar cell doesn’t have the output amperage to heat a battery that much.

    Putting a non-rechargeable AA battery into a charger powered by house
    current might possibly cause a small explosion…but the inconvenience of
    doing that instead of just buying a rechargeable battery would be such that
    I can’t imagine any normal person attempting it. The whole idea of a solar-
    powered light is that it charges itself!

    1. Hey David, you are absolutely right.
      It’s very unlikely to happen (that’s why we used “may cause an explosion” instead of “can cause”).
      However, there is still a chance and no matter how small it’s, if enough people used normal batteries in solar lights, it can eventually cause an incident or two. Also, there are a few solar street lights that have big solar panels that can produce enough amperage to heat the battery (still very unlikely though, but shit happens right?)
      For the “using a charger to charge the battery part”, there are a few scenarios in which using a charger makes perfect sense. For instance, if there is a storm coming and you want to fully charge the batteries, so you can use the solar lights as emergency lights.
      Finally, from my experience, you shouldn’t ever count on people’s intelligence or you will be very disappointed hahaha.

  2. Stupid question from someone who knows nothing about solar rechargeable batteries. I had a light go out and ordered another battery. It was the same, except the old one was a 900 mah and the one I ordered was a 900. I put the new one in the light and let it (charge) for nearly one and a half days. No light. I took a battery from another light right next to it and the light went on, so as far as I can tell the battery was faulty. HELP PLEASE!

    1. Here is what you need to do:
      Check if the new battery specifications (volt and amperage) are identical to the old one or to the battery that made the light work at least. If they don’t match, then this could be the reason why your solar light isn’t working and you need to get another battery. However, if they do, then most likely your solar light itself is faulty. I assume you bought a pack of 2 or 4 and one isn’t working right? If this is the case, contact your seller and ask for a replacement, if not or you are out of warranty, then you could check this article on how to fix solar lights
      If you need any extra help please let me know 😀

      1. Thank you! Batteries are the same except mah is 1000 not 900 as original battery. Shipped them back and will get another one. Thanks again. Jim

  3. I purchase a set of 6 solar lights for my yard. One of the lights has stopped working after only 3 months. I took a battery from one of the other 6 lights and the light worked, so I am assuming that I need to purchase a new battery. The problem is that I am unable to find a battery with the exact same specs. The battery is an AA 500mAh NI-MH that is 2v. Can I use a 600mAh 1.2v ???

    1. I know this sounds silly, but are you sure your lights’ batteries are 2 volts not that the “1.” is scrapped off?
      That’s the first time I see it, could you please share a link to your solar lights?
      To answer your question, if your battery is actually 2 volts, then a 1.2V battery won’t be able to run your lights – efficiently at least, as the voltage diff is quite big.

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