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post #1 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Solar Lights

wondering if anyone here has any experience with solar lights

we're looking at illuminating our driveway with solar lights and not sure what kind are going to give off the most light

have looked at a couple different brands of projection style lights and one style has three "super bright LED's" and the other style refers to it being a floodlight

our main goal in illuminating the driveway is to have the spot lights show the edges of the driveway but also light up the tops of the trees because when we come home late with the trucks on the trailer we can't see where the branches of the trees are

our store selection out here may be different then what the states has available, but the primary store choices are rona, home depot and home hardware

thanks in advance for anyone that is able to offer some advice on what to go with or what gives off the most light

welcome to alberta we eat cow, drill oil and rope calves

wants to push you down a flight of stairs to see if you are like a slinky or if you bounce like a ball... either way, I am quite sure I will be amused
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 02:56 PM
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Well...don't go cheap on them. We've had 2 different sets here. The first set was plastic and while they weren't very bright they stay lit almost all night. Now this newest set is metal and are brighter..but don't charge worth a ****. It doesn't help that a corner of the area is shaded most of the day.



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post #3 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 03:04 PM
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Went with the $69.00 Plastic version from HD. Has three bright white LED's and lights up the whole side of the house. Not great for distance viewing but works well for the immediate area. Comes with a motion detector and has never failed me yet. Been up for about a year. I am in Southern ca though so no harsh winter weather to worry about for me. Good Luck.

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post #4 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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these are the two that we're comparing right now

set one

Overview
Solar Spot Light $12.99


- Stainless steel and plastic construction
- Solar panel: crystalline silicon solar cell
- Battery: Ni-Cd AAA 1.2V / 600mAh
rechargeable battery, 1 piece
- LED: super bright white LED, 3 pcs
- Working time at night: 6~8 hours after fully
charged in daytime
- Manual ON/OFF switch included
- Photocell included
- Waterproof

set two

Overview
Solar Powered Motion Security Light Set $89.99


- Solar motion sensor signals the floodlight up to
100 Ft, detecting motion up to 70 feet away

just sucks cuz the second set doesn't give alot of description as to the actual light power. and what i'm wondering is will we need to get like 10 of set one vs 4 of set two

we would probably have to take them down before winter no matter which set we go with as we'll lose them in the snow. and i like the fact that set two is motion sensor and won't have the driveway lit up like a run away lane every night, but i also like that set one says it's made of stainless steel and water proof

welcome to alberta we eat cow, drill oil and rope calves

wants to push you down a flight of stairs to see if you are like a slinky or if you bounce like a ball... either way, I am quite sure I will be amused
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 03:13 PM
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kitty if you are going for just looks and not something that you need to give off much light then go solar but dont go cheap as one said up above the cheap ones give off light as a match lol

if you want these for looks and for light go with the ones you wire up.
( imo those look a lot better anyways )
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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hard wiring lights isn't going to be a good option. our driveway is at least 100ft long if not more, and that just gets us to the house, never mind all the way back to the big shop. that's going to be way too much electrical cord strung out. that's why we're looking at the option of solar lights. i don't care how they look i just need them to work and give off light. both on the driveway and up into the tree tops

welcome to alberta we eat cow, drill oil and rope calves

wants to push you down a flight of stairs to see if you are like a slinky or if you bounce like a ball... either way, I am quite sure I will be amused
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 06:53 PM
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Solar light are col for about one summer. Then you must replace the rechargeable batteries every other month and the light start flickering when the batteries are dead. plaus they are not really that bright after the first week!
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 10:30 PM
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Kitty, low voltage lighting will last you a heck of a lot longer than solar, 100 FT is not really that long of a distance, and you don't really have to bury the wire that deep. You will get a way better result, but if you are dead set on solar/battery powered try the Hampton Bay bay line of lighting, they may not have the best product in the world but they cary a decent warranty. HD carries that line, and do not be afraid to look out on the net and see lines of lighting that are not on HD's site, because they can special order almost any manufacturer, it just takes time. If you know any loal electricians thier company may have access to a few more avenues at wholesale prices. I know I can get a better deal here, but by the time they shipped up to Canada you will get a better deal at your HD. Although I do not see any photometric data sheets on HD's solar led lighting, that is how you tell how bright of a light the fixture is putting out, using the photometric data sheet (you can ask a manufacturer for this) that measures light output in Lumens accrost a specified square footage (square meters in your case?), and compare this to other fixtures. That will give you a comparison for light output, then the next thing you want to pay attention to is estimated duration after a full charge, I.E. 6 hours V.S. 8 hours, how long after dark do youneed the lighting to last? Most of your run of the mill solar lights will last until morning for the first few weeks, but after the batteries "burn in" they will typically lose some of the duration.

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post #9 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 11:38 PM
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Ok Kitty... Here is my Opinion.. And Since Im a certified and Licensed Electrician in NYC and been doing it for over 20 years this is what I think to save you a ton of time and learning from alot of other peoples mistakes.. Solar lights suck for the most part. Yes, they are easy to put in but, most put out very little light and the batteries need replacement every season if not sooner and the main kicker is that the photovotaic panels frost over very fast then are useless.. Like one or two full seasons.. Then you have to start all over again. Its just how there made cant do nothing about it. Hampton bays seem to last the longest but thats not saying much. You can take the cost of the solar lights and for a little more then double it and buy a complete system that will last you 10 plus years and are easy to upgrade and the 100+ft is no problem at all.. Plus, you can put motion and light sensors to make them go on whenever you like and with timers to stay on as long as you like. Its like anything else. You get what you pay for.. I have done maybe 50 systems for people and done 2 very large systems on my house. Most like the idea of the solar lights but, after time realize the limits and continued cost and go with a hard wired setup. As long as you dont run them over. ( Which happens alot. ) The only added cost will be bulbs depending how much you use the system. But, Now with L E D technology they last alot longer, put out a ton of light and use very little power.
Good Luck.

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post #10 of 22 Old 06-07-2010, 11:49 PM
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Or you could cheap out and put reflector posts along the edges of your driveway.



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