7 Expert Tips To Make Solar Lights Brighter

By Kami Turky

Last Updated:

Does this sound familiar?

You were looking for a way to light up your yard at night without running up your power bill or worrying about forgetting to turn the lights on and off.

Then you stumbled across solar lights and decided to purchase some bright solar lights, which performed well for a couple of nights but are no longer as bright as they used to be.

If you answered yes, then you are not alone. In fact, many people have experienced this exact problem.

But the good news is that with just some steps you can make your garden solar lights bright again.

And in this article, we will provide you with 7 easy tips on how to make solar lights brighter.

So without further ado let’s go through these amazing tips.

1. Place Your Solar Garden Lights In The Best Location

When it comes to installing outdoor solar lights in your yard, the most crucial factor to consider is placement.

Naturally, solar lighting needs sunlight to generate electricity. Thus, you want to ensure that yours get as much direct sunlight as possible every day. 

And one of the best ways to make your solar lights brighter is to track the sun in your region.

Due to the fact that the Earth rotates around the sun, we need to point our solar panel to the direction that faces the sun for the longest period of time.

And surely it’s south for people who live in the Northern hemisphere and north if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.

Also, some solar lights include rotating heads, which means you can adjust the angle of the solar panel to give it more light exposure than it previously had.

Related article: How To Charge Solar Lights Without Sun?

Pro Tip: To make sure you are getting the most sunlight, monitor how much sunlight you get in various areas of your yard and choose which location results in a brighter light output and higher running time, as this will be the best place for you to install your solar lights. 

Another thing to keep in mind is shading, so bear in mind that in the afternoon, a tree, a shrub, or even a house wall may block a location that receives plenty of sunlight in the morning.

Even a small shadow on any part of your panel can substantially decrease the output of your solar light.

So one of the most crucial things to remember is that you must track the shading for a better installation.

Related article: Can Solar Lights Charge In Shade?

Finally, in the case of solar lights with separate solar panels, you can add another layer of safety by digging a hole to bury the solar panel wires at least 6 inches deep.

You may choose to insert the cables in a plastic tube as well, as by doing this you will be less inclined to cut them accidentally throughout the digging process and you will better insulate the wires for better conductivity.

Related article: How To Install Solar Lights?

2. Clean The Solar Panel

To maintain your home clean and functional, everything in it needs a little love and care. This also applies to the solar panels on your yard lighting.

Dirt and stains in your solar panel will affect the light-receiving area and therefore the output, causing your garden solar light to be less bright than it used to be.

So you have to ensure that your solar light captures the maximum energy from the sun by keeping the cover meticulously clean and free of foreign objects like dirt and stains.

Related article: How To Increase Your Solar Panel Output?

And to keep it clean use a brush to remove any excess debris or whatever is stuck on top of the solar panel, so if your lights are mounted up high, remove them so you’ll have easier access to the solar panel.

Further, you need to scrub the surface of the solar panel carefully with a damp piece of cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth.

After cleaning the solar panel, use a clean towel to remove any leftover water, leaving the solar panel beautiful and glossy.

When you wash the surface, make sure you use a soft sponge and a simple detergent. DO NOT use a strong cleaning chemical that can damage the surface.

Another reason why your cheap solar lights aren’t as bright as they used to be, is cloudy plastic over the solar cell. 

Here is how to clean cloudy solar cell plastic:

Clean the plastic with a wet towel to check if it’s hazy or just filthy. The hazy plastic may be made transparent again with a layer of lacquer or nail paint.

Whether the plastic covering the solar cell appears white or cloudy rather than clear, frequent cleaning will reveal if the cloudiness is merely dirt and pollution accumulation that can be wiped away, or if the plastic continues to look the same after cleaning.

Related article: How To Clean Solar Lights

3. Clean The Light Casing

Another important step in the cleaning process is to clean your light casing.

While cleaning light fixtures may not be at the top of your to-do list, it’s one of those simple tasks that can really brighten up your garden.

Accumulated dust, and other grime cloud light bulbs, coverings, and fixtures diminishing light flow.

All you have to do now is clean the cover with a sponge and a light detergent.

4. Check The Batteries

Another essential component of solar garden lighting is batteries.

This is where the sun’s energy is kept, and it is this energy that powers the lights inside the solar fixture. 

While these batteries are usually built to last, this does not guarantee that they will last a lifetime.

Check the batteries in your solar lights regularly to see whether they are broken or rusted. 

If they are rusted, you will see a white powder surrounding the connecting terminals. You can attempt to clear it away and see if it enhances the battery’s performance.

Additionally, to remove this powder you have to use a brush and remove the powder from both the battery and the housing.

Now you have the choice of reinstalling the battery or replacing it with a new one (we prefer the latter, especially if your batteries haven’t been replaced in a while).

In general, the batteries in outdoor solar lights are intended to last 3-4 years before needing to be changed.

Another solution to boost your battery performance is to recalibrate it. 

Calibration occurs by applying a full charge, discharge, and charge. This is done in the equipment or with a battery analyzer as part of battery maintenance.

To apply it to your battery, here is what you need to do:

  1. Keep your solar light in a dark room until the battery is completely discharged.
  2. Turn off the light switch.
  3. Keep the solar light for 2-3 days in direct sunlight without using it.
  4. Now, boom you have recalibrated batteries, easy steps huh!

Related article: Can I Use Higher mAh Battery In Solar Lights?

5. Fix The Connection Between The Panel And The Battery Charger.

The solar panel cable will not be able to efficiently transmit all of the power to the battery if it is not correctly insulated.

As a result, a significant amount of the energy produced will be wasted, and the solar panel will be unable to fully charge your battery.

So, if the running duration of your solar light has suddenly decreased, you should double-check the wiring.

Related article: Why Solar Lights Not Working And How To Fix Them

6. Check The LED Light

While LEDs are the preferred light source for solar garden lights due to their extended lifespan and low energy usage compared to incandescent lamps, they ultimately wear out and lose power

This is because these LEDs are connected together in series, so if one of your LEDs goes out, this can affect the total output of your solar light.

And if this is the case, and the light has a replaceable bulb, just replace it with a new LED light. 

Related article: Are Solar Lights Bright Enough?

7. Hack the lights

These are only a few hacks to attempt if you’re already engaged in the worlds of construction and technology.

If you don’t, these may be too much for you to handle and aren’t worth attempting. So just skip this step if you aren’t interested.

The good news is that many solar lights are quite cheap and can be bought at a dollar shop. 

As a result, you may try a few and not risk losing all of your money due to a poor attempt.

Most low-cost solar lights will have a voltage of 2-5 volts, which is quite low. 

The procedures for rigging your gadget and making your solar light beam brighter from the sun.

So, let me show you how to hack your light step by step:

  1. Disassemble the solar light and unplug all of the wires. Yes, each and every wire.
  2. Take note of the battery size and replace it with one that is twice as powerful in mah/volts. (Some hackers use a 500mah battery for these tiny sizes, which may seem unnecessary but is the right quantity for this project.) It will depend on your particular model and the voltage it can handle, so figure out what you’re dealing with first then scale it to this approach.
  3. An inductor, which is the component that makes your solar light brighter or dimmer, is found in almost all circuits. If you’re more visual, look up an image to see which portion you’ll be changing here, but it’s very straightforward.
  4. Make some changes to the circuit and play around with adding more bulbs. To connect two lights, just use wire tighteners and match up the positive and negative ends.
  5. Changing the inductor value might be part of the circuit modification (making it shine brighter)
  6. Reconnect the battery pack and replace the cover to create a dual-light source!

Related article: How Do Solar Lights Work?

Last Words

As promised, in this article, we provided you with 7 amazing tips to make cheap solar lights brighter.

We hope this clarified things for you, and if you have any other questions, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products. He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations. When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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