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Discussion Starter #1
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 :thumbsup:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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
 

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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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Discussion Starter #6
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
 

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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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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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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. :thumbsup:
 

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Or you could cheap out and put reflector posts along the edges of your driveway. :lol:
I was going to add that too. Those reflector sticks work really good. :D
 

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Ok Kitty... Here is my Opinion.. Solar lights suck for the most part... Then you have to start all over again... 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... You get what you pay for..
Good Luck. :thumbsup:
:agree:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
ok you guys posted up some really good advice thank you very much. we will have to make a couple more trips to the hardware stores around here and see what we can come up with as far as maybe doing some hard wiring. i honestly never knew solar lights were that bad. i figured they were great because of the lack of power that was needed for them
 

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Solar & battery tech will get there, it is just that anything you find to be a "great deal" right now is probably junk. If you really want to know, buy just one, check it out for a month, then make up your own mind. Maybe because of the winter and you planning on taking them down anyway the solar will work for you, just not the way I would go.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ya we tossed around the idea of buying one of each and seeing what they were like. and ya at most they will get used about 6 months out of the year. the same amount of drive time i will see with my car :(
 

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I think you will be very unhappy with solar and with LED. I've never been to Canada, but I believe it gets cold and snows there. I'm originally from the Chicago area, so I do know cold. Batteries loose capacity in the cold. LED lights do not get hot and will not melt snow. Example, in recent years traffic signals have been switching to LED. They are great, but when a cold wind packs snow against them the snow sticks and they are not visible.

Too me, it sounds like your best lighting option is flood lights mounted to the house\shop or even to a pole. It may be a lot of wireing but you will get the results you want and be able to use them all year.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Could still use reflector sticks..as long as you're driving with your lights on you'd be able to see them..and it won't cost any electricity..or wiring. ;)
that would work if we could drive in frontwards, but the main issue is due to the curve at the top of the driveway the only way to get the big trailer into the yard is by backing it in. again the reasons for lighting the tops of the trees as when you have 8ft tall trucks on top of a trailer out your back window you can't see jack crap lol

and X the lights will not be used in the winter as the trucks don't come out in the winter
 

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Have a reputable landscape company do some low-voltage lighting for you. Cost is very, very little per month and the bulbs will last for years. The solar powered lighting systems are junk, your wasting your money.
 

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Have a reputable landscape company do some low-voltage lighting for you. Cost is very, very little per month and the bulbs will last for years. The solar powered lighting systems are junk, your wasting your money.
Another possibility is adding/modding a running lamp system on the fenders of the trailer to light the sides of the vehicle. We do this on many of our large mowers at work because of the same issue, you can't see jack crap at 4AM when you're trying to stripe fairways and greens.

See if AAC can hook you up with something streamlined and custom to help.
 
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