Some Solar Lights Can Not Be Fixed and Overall Are a Waste of Money

Crappy solar light with bad light sensor that makes it work during daylight only.

Some Solar Lights Can’t be Saved and You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money on Them in the First Place

We just did a post about a solar lantern that wasn’t working as it should be. And, there was a quick fix to that problem and the lantern works as great as ever.

Unfortunately, not all solar lights can be saved. Even more unfortunately, there are a lot of lights that frankly are a waste of money.  We can’t say it often enough: with solar lighting, you usually get what you pay for.

It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but even though it’s daytime, this solar light is on. In fact, the only time it works is in the daytime.

Even though we bought six of these for around $15 buck, it really was a waste of money.  This light (and 4 of the other ones we bought with it) can’t be fixed.

lousy solar light

Light is So New That the Paper Is Still Clean and Fresh. The tag at the top was just ripped off.

To be completely honest with you, when we bought these lights, we didn’t expect much of them. For a week or two, they did provide nice light for a couple of hours each night.

However, after a very short time, we noticed that the lights weren’t working at night. When we looked at them closely during the day, we figured out why.

The light sensor (found on all solar lights, it’s what makes them turn on in the dark) was shot.  As you can see in the photo below, the lights were in use long enough to get dirty but so short of a time that the tag is still visible and the paper hadn’t aged at all.

However, even though the light had a reflector (necessary for any solar light to cast any meaningful illumination), and some refraction (the ridges in the dome), it was poorly made.

Note, for example, the visible seam on the side.  More important, however, was that the sensor failed in such a short time.

Most accent lights do not have on/off switches. They turn on automatically at dusk when the sensor sees darkness.

Photo sensors are used in most all solar lights and are critical to proper operation. Often, they are built into the solar panel.

Almost all solar lights use photo sensors. Often, they’re built into the solar panel.

Since the sensor isn’t working, the light turns on during the daytime.

We don’t know whether the light doesn’t work at night because the sensor is fried, or if the solar energy is expended by  nightfall.

Whichever one it is, this accent light is good for nothing except the recycle bin.

Moral: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: With solar lighting, you usually get what you pay for. We paid very little for this light and got very little in return.

While our store offers discount accent lights, we clearly mark these as discounts. Some actually work very well, and when we find out that others don’t work well at all, we remove them from our inventory.

We also offer accent lights that cost a lot more, but people don’t buy them very often.

We are in the process of updating our store and unfortunately, we’re moving away from most accent lights.  When people call, we tell them why certain lights cost more than others.  Unfortunately, too many people hype up the cheap lights they find.

If you want to roll the dice with cheap lights, more power to you. We do hope though, that you’ll spend the extra money for quality solar lights that will last several years, not a few days or weeks.

Copyright 2013,,, AM McElroy.
All rights reserved. No part of this post, including images, may be used without the express written consent from one of the above named entities.


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