Ni-Cd or NiMH for yard solar lights?

roadwarrior

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So I have these Ni-Cd AA powered solar lights in my front yard I purchased from Wal-Mart awhile ago. I have been noticing they dim out within a few hours after dark. Was thinking of replacing the cells with NiMH cells, but I am not sure if that is recommended or not?

They each came with a IDC made in China, 1.2V rechargeable Ni-Cd 400mAh AA battery installed. I think they are crap and that's why I want to replace them. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
 

Str8stroke

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I put a Eneloop in one of mine just playing around. I had damaged the battery in a flashlight. So it was just laying around. The small solar panel, on mine, keeps it topped off. Light runs all night no problem. They also sell some higher capacity batteries for those lights. The price is stupid though. Try a Eneloop out. Assuming you have sun where you put it too. Mine is full sun almost all day. Part shade may not be enough to charge a Eneloop depending on how long your nights are. :) Like in winter.
 

roadwarrior

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I put a Eneloop in one of mine just playing around. I had damaged the battery in a flashlight. So it was just laying around. The small solar panel, on mine, keeps it topped off. Light runs all night no problem. They also sell some higher capacity batteries for those lights. The price is stupid though. Try a Eneloop out. Assuming you have sun where you put it too. Mine is full sun almost all day. Part shade may not be enough to charge a Eneloop depending on how long your nights are. :) Like in winter.

Yeah, mine are part shaded. I don't have a spare Eneloop laying around, currently using/rotating all my quads in my application. Was more thinking about just buying a cheap NiMH quad and throwing them in there if I could.

I am clueless about Ni-Cd cells, I should have done some research before I asked.... :eek:
 

Mr Floppy

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Use an alkaline. I got the idea from another forum starting with budget and it works well
 

Mr Floppy

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That would be cheaper....Do they tend to last awhile?

The light? They are still on by the time I go to bed. Which would be 4 hours from when it turns on. Going into summer now and daylight savings

The battery? Still going in that it hasn't leaked. I don't really know what damage is being done to it but the little garden lights I have were all discarded ones so I don't care if it does leak
 

roadwarrior

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The light? They are still on by the time I go to bed. Which would be 4 hours from when it turns on. Going into summer now and daylight savings

The battery? Still going in that it hasn't leaked. I don't really know what damage is being done to it but the little garden lights I have were all discarded ones so I don't care if it does leak


Sorry, meant the battery. I even tried to charge them in my Maha and one cell had such high IR that the Maha wouldn't mess with it and my dumb charger doesn't charge Ni-Cd or least says not to.

My lights are not top of the line by any means, but I would not want to mess them up. Wifey would not be happy.... :eek:
 

fivemega

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Mine is using prismatic lithium ion and I added an 18650 (3400mAh) parallel to that. Now it runs for over 13 hours (turns on at 5:00 PM and off at 6:00AM). May even run longer but we don't have such a situation here but we do have good and fairly long Sunshine to recharge batteries.
I suggest Eneloops for your light. You will see the difference.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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Yeah, mine are part shaded. I don't have a spare Eneloop laying around, currently using/rotating all my quads in my application. Was more thinking about just buying a cheap NiMH quad and throwing them in there if I could.

That is probably the best option. I use some old NiMH cells in my garden lights, as replacements for the ones that were in them before (and worn out). They work fine. They should give you at least a couple of years life, probably more.

However, you mention your lights are in partial shade. Are you sure they're getting a good charge during the daytime? Perhaps they're not lasting long at night because they are not getting much charge. Only solution to that is to either move them into full sun, wait for the days to get longer, or put up with short run-times at night especially at this time of year.


Use an alkaline. I got the idea from another forum starting with budget and it works well

I definitely would not do that. I've done experimenting with recharging alkalines, and they don't respond well, especially if they ever become fully drained. You'll probably get a few days use out of them, and then they won't work at all. A week or two later, they'll leak corrosive goo all over the inside of your lights.
 

roadwarrior

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That is probably the best option. I use some old NiMH cells in my garden lights, as replacements for the ones that were in them before (and worn out). They work fine. They should give you at least a couple of years life, probably more.

However, you mention your lights are in partial shade. Are you sure they're getting a good charge during the daytime? Perhaps they're not lasting long at night because they are not getting much charge. Only solution to that is to either move them into full sun, wait for the days to get longer, or put up with short run-times at night especially at this time of year.

Sounds good. :thanks:
 

Mr Floppy

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I definitely would not do that. I've done experimenting with recharging alkalines, and they don't respond well, especially if they ever become fully drained. You'll probably get a few days use out of them, and then they won't work at all. A week or two later, they'll leak corrosive goo all over the inside of your lights.

That is the risk of recharging alkalines. I too was skeptical at first but I decided to give it a go after hearing about it on blf. The guy had it going for a few months. I've had it going for a month. The battery never gets a full charge and doesn't get totally bled as the solar light won't work under 0.9.
 

poguy

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Some solar powered lights are made with a bare minimum amount of solar cells and the rest of the face is the same color to disguise the fact. I got a cheap one and it's good for about 4 hours even after swapping in a good NiMh cell. Look closely at it and see if the whole side is really solar cells or just painted to look that way.
 

roadwarrior

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Some solar powered lights are made with a bare minimum amount of solar cells and the rest of the face is the same color to disguise the fact. I got a cheap one and it's good for about 4 hours even after swapping in a good NiMh cell. Look closely at it and see if the whole side is really solar cells or just painted to look that way.

Already tossed some brand new Rayovac 1350mAhs in them I picked up at Wally World. I'll check the solar cells during the day time tomorrow though....thanks for heads-up. :cool:
 
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