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Thread: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

  1. #1

    Default better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    I purchased three solar spot lights from Walmart this past summer. As of this time, two of them have nearly died and only one is still shining brightly. I can assume it's the battery. Inside, the two larger spotlights have a Westinghouse 3.2V 400 mA LiFePO4 cell. I'd like to replace this battery with something better. What are my alternatives? Weather here varies from about 80-90 F during Summertime down to freezing during the Winter. Thanks for your help. Josephine

  2. #2

    Question Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josephine View Post
    I purchased three solar spot lights from Walmart this past summer. As of this time, two of them have nearly died and only one is still shining brightly. I can assume it's the battery. Inside, the two larger spotlights have a Westinghouse 3.2V 400 mA LiFePO4 cell. I'd like to replace this battery with something better. What are my alternatives? Weather here varies from about 80-90 F during Summertime down to freezing during the Winter. Thanks for your help. Josephine
    Could it possibly be the shorter and perhaps less bright days now cause the solar panels not to have enough strong sunlight to quite fully charge up the batteries?

    If all three lights are the same, and one seems to be working well -
    perhaps a simple test of just changing/swapping the positions/places of that one good one with another,
    and seeing after a few days whether the good one continues to be better?

  3. #3

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownVT View Post
    Could it possibly be the shorter and perhaps less bright days now cause the solar panels not to have enough strong sunlight to quite fully charge up the batteries?

    If all three lights are the same, and one seems to be working well -
    perhaps a simple test of just changing/swapping the positions/places of that one good one with another,
    and seeing after a few days whether the good one continues to be better?
    I don't think so. I have all three lights right next to one another because I use their combined output to shine on the door. All are positioned the same way toward the sun.

  4. #4

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Can anyone help??? I tried to find the same batteries at walmart today, but of course they didn't have them. Do I have to use this same type... is there something better.... or, alternatively, how about running two NiMH types in series.... same voltage as the single Li and a lot more readily available? Another alternative someone in another group pointed out to me was to incorporate a "supercap" into the circuit. Any thoughts on this or too expensive for little gain, etc? Thanks, Josephine

  5. #5

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Hi Josephine,

    Basically, I think you're stuck with LiFePO4 chemistry for your solar spot lights. The guy at Wal-Mart told me that with seasonal (Christmas) stuff on the floor, that the batteries probably won't make an appearance until the spring when the garden department comes back to life.

    If you want to replace the possibly dying batteries before then, you should look for 14500 or 14505 LiFePO4 batteries online somewhere. I just picked some up myself from BatterySpace.

    Sorry this isn't great news. I would not try different batteries because the charger circuit probably won't charge them correctly. Heck, it's probably abusing the stock batteries as it is.

    Good luck and don't hesitate to ask more questions!

  6. #6

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Thanks. The price for shipping a single battery from BatterySpace would be more than if I just bought a new spotlight, and I did run into the same issue at Walmart yesterday with all the non-seasonal stuff not available at this time.

    I think I may just have to install an outdoor electric circuit there and power the lights from the mains. If I can't use those lights with voltage reducing transformers, I'll get some low voltage spots which will serve the same purpose. Of course, the ground is now frozen so would have to wait until warmer weather.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Josephine

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* VegasF6's Avatar
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    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Have you checked at Home Depot in the same dept where they sell the landscape lights? They used to carry the Hampton Bay brand in store.

  8. #8

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josephine View Post
    Thanks. The price for shipping a single battery from BatterySpace would be more than if I just bought a new spotlight, and I did run into the same issue at Walmart yesterday with all the non-seasonal stuff not available at this time.
    How many do you need? I might be placing an order from there and might be able to add yours to my order and ship it out to you after I get it. Either that you I can ship you one from my private stash and replenish with my next order from them.

    Does anyone know the rules for shipping these batteries? Can I just stuff one in a padded envelope or do I need special protective packaging? I know I can't ship more than 3 via USPS, right?

    Josephine, shoot me a PM.

    BTW, how did you find a flashaholic forum? I take it you aren't one.

  9. #9

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Thanks, guys. VegasF6, the Hampton Bay brand seemed to almost be the ticket. In my store, they had the 14330 instead of the 14500. When held up to a AA, these were a little shorter, but I bought them anyway. Upon installation, I just stretched the (-) battery terminal spring so that contact would be made with the battery. The light lit right up then. So it looks like it will be a good substitue. The reviews on this Hampton brand seemed to be better than the ones Walmart carried, so I'm hoping that's the case and they last better. The remaining light using this type of battery is also weak, so I'll replace that one tomorrow and then see how the lighting works from all lights tomorrow evening.

    Lensman, thanks for the offer but this one seemed to work out this time, almost by luck and taking a guess really. Sorry, I'm not totally sure what a "flashaholic" is. I initially Googled these types of spotters with this lithium battery trying to find out if anyone had manged to increase the spotters longevity with different batteries, but the search was close enough that CPF came up.

  10. #10

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josephine View Post
    Sorry, I'm not totally sure what a "flashaholic" is. I initially Googled these types of spotters with this lithium battery trying to find out if anyone had manged to increase the spotters longevity with different batteries, but the search was close enough that CPF came up.
    Ah, that explains it! I was wondering if you just wandered in from a search or if you were a flashlight collector/fanatic/hobbyist as many others readers of this forum are. If you were a flashlight person, you might have bought some flashlight batteries to fill your order out and made shipping worthwhile.

    I'm glad things worked out for you with the alternate battery from Home Depot. As an FYI, a 14500 size battery is 14mm in diameter and 50mm long.

  11. #11

    Default Re: better battery for Walmart solar spot light?

    So I was throwing away the instruction sheets that came with my battery order last month and noticed the following instructions:

    "Rechargeable battery for solar light:
    Perform the above steps with an AC battery charger before inserting it into your solar light. If no AC charger is available, then make sure you insert the battery in the morning so it [gets] plenty of sunlight to charge up these batteries. Otherwise you might run the risk of over-discharging the battery and the low current generated by the solar panel won't be able to charge these batteries."

    It makes me think that your other batteries may not be bad, they're just overdischarged and have to be charged in a charger before use in a light. I also think it might be possible they might be revived by only putting them in the lights during the day. Sounds like a lot of trouble and a reason for not getting solar lights with these kinds of batteries despite their higher energy density.
    Last edited by lensman; 11-30-2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: typo

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