Solar lights for walkway opinions needed!

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dave Mack, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Hey all, me and the fiancee just got our new pad in the back 1/2 of a house and wanna get some solar lights to light the walkway. Any advice. Overstock.com has many,

    http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2...._ssub_cat=2041
    what we are looking for is decent quality, wireless and bright. Any opinions?

    Thanx! d
     
  2. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Hey Dave,
    I have never liked the solar lights, they don't REALLY put out much light. Now if all you want to do is show where a walkway or drive is then fine. But they are not much brighter than a plastic reflector. Course if you don't have a plug in close for regular lights that would be a factor too.
     
  3. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Dave, like RickER said, solar powered lights are not very bright, but that’s exactly why I like them. We like our neighborhood to have warm dim lights for the great atmosphere they provide rather than irritating mercury vapor lights every 50 yards.

    I believe the first thing that you should decide is whether you want the warm amber solar lights or the cool white ones that have a bluish tint. If you drive through your neighborhood at night you’ll easily recognize the amber LED and white LED lights.

    Our entire neighborhood went with the warm amber lights along the lakefront. To me they make for a warm relaxing atmosphere.

    The white LED solar lights I believe are brighter but they have that cool bluish tint that I personally find irritating. I must be in the minority because most of the lights I’ve seen at Home Depot had white LEDs. If brightness is your main concern then you may want the white ones.
     
  4. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanks, guys! Interestingly around here, (Berkeley near the campus) I've seen very few if any of these. We definitely need bright enough to see our walkway. Wireless is preferred as there are no outlets outdoors and electricity costs too. I read reviews on overstock that say although the amber ones are pretty, they're not as bright. Its really just to see where we're walking as there is NO light from the street reaching the path. Any advice of plastic vs. metal??

    [​IMG] d
     
  5. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I really think you'll be disapointed with the solar lights. Some houses near me have them and even when they are on, they are so dim you can barely tell they're there.
     
  6. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Another reason the solar powered night-lights are dim is that during the day they use a solar cell to charge between 1-3 AA NiCad batteries. They then completely discharge overnight.

    After a couple of years the NiCads don’t hold as much of a charge as when they were new, so they go dim soon after sunset. The fix is to replace the NiCads. But as others have mentioned, they still aren’t very bright.

    I don’t have a recommendation on plastic vs. metal. In Oklahoma, between the hail storms wiping out the solar cells, and damage from weed-eaters, lawn mowers, neighborhood kids, etc. they usually need to be replaced every few years.
     
  7. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    Like the others have stated, solar lights at this time are not great. Neighbors have them (white kind) and except for outlining a path, they do nothing to actaully light the path.

    go with low voltage wired lights and put them on a timer, for a few hours each day, they wont cost that much.
     
  8. Dave Gorman

    Dave Gorman Supporting Actor

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    We got some from Home Depot that we have been quite pleased with. I don't seem to be able to link directly to the product page on HD's site. Just go to homedepot.com and search for item number 162173.

    They are quite a bit brighter than the sickly amber colored things most people in our neighborhood have. We've only had them for a couple months, but so far they are lit the entire night, although toward morning the light is quite a bit dimmer than when they first come on. I would imagine as the nights grow longer, they will not hold out through the entire night.

    The only drawback we've found with these is the plastic part that jabs into the ground has plastic threads for the aluminum rod to screw onto and these threads seem to strip easily.
     
  9. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    My wife and I bought a package of 12 solar lamps and we were very disappointed that they weren't as bright as we hoped. They give off a very dim amber glow.

    - Colton
     
  10. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanks for ALL the input guys! I really don't want powered ones with a cord as there are kids, pets in the yard, with TEETH and I don't want a potential incident.
    Dave, the hampton Bay ones look pretty good.

    [​IMG] d
     
  11. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    The cords are buried underground. There's no chance of a problem there. Also, the transformer you plug into the outlet drops the voltage down from the standard 120v to only 12v. Very safe.

    Anyway, if you go with the solar, let us know how it works out for you.
     
  12. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    I installed solar lights around my back yard when moved into my house 1 1/2 years ago. At the time I didn't want to go through the hassle of burying wire around my yard. They aren't as bright as the DC wired lights I have in the front, but they do a nice job of accenting the yard. I noticed lately the light aren't staying on all night like they used. It's probably time to replace the batteries. Depending on how much that costs, I may just install some wired DC lights.
     
  13. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanks again, all. I have ordered some hampton bay solar lights, the super bright kind and got a swell deal. I really don't want to have to deal with wires as I'm renting, it's not our property and there are kids and animals in the picture. I'll let y'all know how it goes!

    [​IMG] d
     
  14. Dave Gorman

    Dave Gorman Supporting Actor

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    Cool! Keep us posted! I hope they work out well for you.
     

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