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Thread: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

  1. #1

    Default new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    I have bought a few of the new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting sets. I actually have two differnet kinds. They are both of the top teir category of brightness that westinghouse sells which is "bright" "brighter" and "brightest".

    1. This set has a big solar panel on the top and 4 solar panels that are angled on the sides of the top that are about 1/2 the size as the big one for a total of 6 solar panels. The angled ones will help catch light in different positions of the sun during the day. It uses one LED that I believe is some kind of cree with a reflecting system. It has one battery which is a 18500 3.2V 600mah Lithium Ion battery.

    2. This has one biger solar panel which looks to be equal to the one big solar panel above and 2 of the smaller solar panels. So it is lacking in the equivalant of 2 of the smaller solar panels. Also since the big panel is only on top it wont catch sun as well in different positions during the day. This light uses one AA battery. It came with a 1500 mah rechargable battery which I promptly replaced with a 2450mah energizer rechargable battery.

    They both look to be about the same brightness which is much better than old generation solar lights which pretty much dont light up the ground at all just show you the light to be seen. These actually light up a medium patch of ground.

    My question is which battery will last longer? The 18500 3.2V 600mah Lithium Ion battery that also has 2 more small solar panels or the 2450mah AA battery? My assumption is the 18500 because the battery itself is bigger in size and it has more solar panels.

    Thanks!

    Light #1 with the 18500 battery:




    Light #2 with the AA battery:

    I couldnt get the guts of the 2nd light with the AA battery opened without the possibly breaking something so I didnt try. Also to note the box for #2 says it has 6 LEDs per light, but it really only looks like 1. Light #1 I believe it said it had 1 CREE LED, I'll have to look for the box.
    Last edited by pteam; 07-27-2011 at 05:17 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    If you go by wattage.... 3.2 x 0.6A is about 1.92 watts and 2450 x 1.25 is about 3.2 watts so fully charged the AA has more power but needs a boost circuit to drive the LED which eats up some power captured. The lithium battery should hold charge better but it is possible neither battery gets fully charged which means it comes down to which one has better solar power and circuitry efficiency and LEDs.
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    The LiFePo battery should last 5 years or more. Don't expect 1/2 that with nimh/nicd batteries. All my lawn lights that used AA batteries already have Duracell/Energizer replacements(so far doing better than the factory pathetic batteries). I believe that they're trying to prevent the 'battery headache' that so many have with AA/AAA cells when used with daily complete discharges and poor charging capabilities. Bad AA and AAA batteries seems to be the culprit of many problems and the cause of negative feedback on so many website stores.

    http://www.batteryspace.com/lifepo41...hullisted.aspx
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-LiFePO4-cells

    Its seems that 'more solar panel area' and LiFePo4 is the way to go. The "brightest" lights seem to work ok. I'd avoid "bright" and "brighter" and avoid any single AA or AAA cell solar lawn light. The double AA solar lawn lights are bearable. The triple AA(3aa in series) seem to be pretty good(1/2-1w of LED). The LiFePO4 are perfect for the 'mass of consumers'.

    Post links or the PN/Sku/UPC/store.

  4. #4

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    I purchased them at my local walmart. I bought all of the "brightest" that they had which was only a few boxes. Several weeks later I found one box of "brightest" which was the model with 1 larger solar panel and AA batteries. The first box was $50 on clearance for 50% off or $25, I believe there was 2 lights in each box but I cant remember. The 2nd box which had 3 sets of lights in it was $30. Also I edited my 1st post to show pics of the solar panels.
    Last edited by pteam; 07-26-2011 at 02:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Those lights look substantial, very nice. You could speculate that the lamp with the 6 solar panels and Lifpo4 battery has some "smarts" installed, like a small microcontroller, or comparator circuit. Wonder how the individual pv panels are hooked up, and what kind of voltage/current output? Inquiring minds would like to see the pcb board closeup if you ever get back inside.

    Anecdotal evidence (i.e. no discharge curves) says that with a 5.5V 90ma panel and AA 600mah lifepo4, average draw 20-25ma:
    case 1: voltage unregulated < 1 year and done.
    case 2: voltage regulated (over/under) still clicking along after 1 year.

  6. #6

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Quote Originally Posted by nickelflipper View Post
    Those lights look substantial, very nice. You could speculate that the lamp with the 6 solar panels and Lifpo4 battery has some "smarts" installed, like a small microcontroller, or comparator circuit.
    Yes. The Lifpo4 battery is great. Its price is cheap, weight light, free to put some little electric. So your solar LED landscape battery life also rely on the controller.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Quote Originally Posted by nickelflipper View Post
    Those lights look substantial, very nice. You could speculate that the lamp with the 6 solar panels and Lifpo4 battery has some "smarts" installed, like a small microcontroller, or comparator circuit. Wonder how the individual pv panels are hooked up, and what kind of voltage/current output? Inquiring minds would like to see the pcb board closeup if you ever get back inside.

    Anecdotal evidence (i.e. no discharge curves) says that with a 5.5V 90ma panel and AA 600mah lifepo4, average draw 20-25ma:
    case 1: voltage unregulated < 1 year and done.
    case 2: voltage regulated (over/under) still clicking along after 1 year.
    Ok your wish is my command! I've updated the first post to include pictures of the guts inside and the LED lit up with battery.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Quote Originally Posted by pteam View Post
    Ok your wish is my command! I've updated the first post to include pictures of the guts inside and the LED lit up with battery.
    Thank you very much for sharing. Always interested in how stuff is put together. First time I've seen what appears to be a liquid rubber? holding the solar panels in place. Typical Blob on Chip going on with the circuit board, so not a lot to learned there.

  9. #9

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    You gotta admit, these new gen solar lights are leaps and bounds above what previous gen solar lights were just a few years ago! Good to see progress!

  10. #10

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Just wanted to update this thread. Light #2 (above in the description) with the smaller solar panel areas and the AA batteries last longer through the night. I had noticed the two lights I have that use the AA batteries had been staying on much longer and would be the only two lights left on at night and all the other ones had stopped. But those two lights had the best placement for sun the whole day. So I did a test and put one of each different kind of light right next to each other and sure enough the light #2 lasts several hours longer than the light #1 with the 18500 3.2V 600mah Lithium Ion battery. I could probably replace all the 18500 batteries with higher mah rated batteries like the ultrafire 18500 1600mah protected batteries to get longer life.
    Last edited by pteam; 08-31-2011 at 02:16 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    The hard part is really calculating just how much power the solar panels will put in during the day. You can have the biggest battery but eventually keep taking out and not putting in, and it'll go empty. I've actually built a system like this but converting them to a wired system. I took cheap 12v outdoor lights, replaced the 12v bulb with warm white led replacements and then instead of a power brick I put in an enclosed area a small sealed lead acid battery and did some wattage calculations and installed an appropriately sized solar panel to charge it. It'll go all through the night and charge fully back up during the day. The lighting is much brighter to the point where you can actually light up the walkway, each light is around 15 lumens. The benefit is a much sturdier light housing with no ugly solar panels on top, those panels end up leaking water into the electronics anyways, and the solar panel and box is hidden from view. Plus the lights are a pleasing warm white.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Hi guys,
    I bought westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting (brightest) like on the second picture. I have some problems with them. Basically, they all work good but only few hours, and then most of them flashing till the morning. Did you have the problem like this? Do you know what the problem might be?

  13. #13
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    Not enough sunshine is the problem. What is the location?
    You should tilt the light at angle angle toward the sun. Turn them all into leaning towers of Pisa. Use a compass to aim the light toward the sun. Yes, unless you live on the equator, you can't run them level! You can adjust them at solar noon.
    By November, I tell most of my neighbors to put the solar lights in storage for the winter, batteries disconnected/recharged, and bring them back out in late March. Only southerners can get away with using them year round.

    I would definitely get at least one of the upgraded 18500(AW trustfire ultrafire...) batteries for a test run since they are ~1500mah.
    The pictures show a reasonable amount of solar panel area and ONLY 3.2v 600mah...I'd wager that there is enough sun and not enough battery. Even my couple year old Target lights, similarly sized, run 3AA in series(3.6v 2200+mah).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    deadrx7conv, replacing LiFePO4 with Lithium-Ion is very bad idea - charged to 3.6V (charging voltage of a LiFePO4), a Li-Ion would be only 10% full (so just 150 usable mAh)!

  15. #15
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    The solar panels should have plenty of voltage. Charge rate is minuscule so overcharging isn't rarely problem regardless of battery type. I doubt that these cheap fixtures have exotic charge controllers monitoring voltage.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: new westinghouse solar LED landscape lighting battery life

    They do, otherwise cells would live few weeks at most
    Have you seen what voltage curve of LiFePO4 looks like when it gets overcharged? It just skyrockets as soon as it hits overcharge of 4V.

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