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Thread: solar light review

  1. #1

    Default solar light review

    Some products are confusing but the facts are true.
    I would have all buy new with a retrospect view.

    The lead solder, copper wires and board traces are turning to dust.
    And it appears that parts of the circuit boards are also disintegrating.

    Although the plastic solar panels are crazing and turning yellow, they still output between 4v and 6v.
    The battery from one appears ok but the other ones battery appears to be dead.

    The plastic light lenses are also starting to turn yellow.

    Do you think this white stuff is poisonous?
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by watlers_world View Post
    Some products are confusing but the facts are true.
    I would have all buy new with a retrospect view.
    I have no insight to offer on the actual topic, but this couplet has a pleasing little rap cadence to it.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  3. #3
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    Probably not toxic, but could be caustic.

    You tend to get what you pay for. My own driveway has a "solar street lamp" that uses a large LiFePO₄ battery. Hermetically sealed, PCB has a conformal coating, been running for about 3 years, metal body (clamps onto a 2" pipe) no issues whatsoever.

    Standard Li-ion have a limit to the number of charge/discharge cycles.

  4. #4

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    Although solar lights designed in china may work in southern California, they might not be appropriate for Ohio.

    Varying temperatures can change the working capacity and chemical properties of a battery.
    Charging certain types of lithium batteries at cold temperatures can cause permanent damage.

    Both the solar lights that failed used lithium batteries.
    They were left outside during winter.

    Chuck(G), does your solar street light perform well at twenty below zero?

  5. #5
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    Barely gets to freezing here--and given the general trend, that may not even occur much more.

    But LiFePO₄ batteries apparently do better than SLA in low temp conditions. Several manufacturers (e.g. Dakota) claim operation down to -40C.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post
    I have no insight to offer on the actual topic, but this couplet has a pleasing little rap cadence to it.
    Yeah, I thought I was reading a limerick.
    Looking for a cache card for the "ICL ErgoPRO C4/66d V"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by watlers_world View Post
    Do you think this white stuff is poisonous?
    It could be lead carbonate, which is toxic if inhaled or ingested.

    Despite lead being banned in many countries around the world, products made in China for export still contain significant amounts of lead and other heavy metals like cadmium. I've seen lead based solder and Nickel Cadmium batteries still being used in all sorts of solar lights being sold in the US, so what you see may very well be lead. If they used silver solder and better non-toxic batteries, they couldn't be sold for 99 cents at Walmart.

    The reason that light failed is because it filled up with water, you can clearly see the water line probably a half inch up the PCB, and all around the plastic housing. These solar lights make a poor attempt at sealing out the water, usually in the wrong places and end up filling up with water because it can't escape. I always drill a small hole in the lowest point of the body of any solar light I use so when water does get in (and it will), it has a place to drain out. Even if the light never sees rain, thermal cycling can pull in moisture and cause it to condense and collect. It can fill up with water in a humid environment with no rain at all.

  8. #8

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    I agree. No circuit board will last long with power and being underwater. Conformal coat will help but even that shouldn't be underwater when powered.
    There is not much that can be done about yellowing plastic in the sunlight. Glass holds up well but even glass that is flat and has water sitting on it will slowly etch.
    It is hard to say what the white stuff is. It might be from leaded solder or it might be from something else.
    Dwight

  9. #9
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    Unless something meant to be outside for the life of the product is rated IP68, it is going to have a short life.

  10. #10
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    If the housing of the lamp is cast ('pot metal"), the white powder is likely zinc oxide, leached from the zinc in the metal. Non-toxic--people put the stuff on the face as a UV protectant.

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