Saturday, June 7, 2014

How-to Restore Solar Path Lights

If your garden solar lights have stopped lighting your path, don't despair.  They can be rejuvenated.  Some are easier than others.  I've chosen my globe lights (the most difficult to access) to demonstrate the process.  (Wondering if the savings is really worth the labor.)
 Sometimes just a good cleaning of the solar panel on the top will restore light.  Sometimes, they have to be taken apart and cleaned from stem to stern.  The things you will need are: clean soapy water, a wet cloth and a dry cloth, an old toothbrush, a small cross-head screwdriver, and an emery board or fine sandpaper, a bit of time and patience.
Remove the post cover and post to find access to the battery.  Mine had to be unscrewed.

Oh yuk!  Look at all the sand that has filtered into the supposedly closed chamber.
 Three incredibly small screws held the decorative piece in place.
And three slightly larger but still tiny screws connected the base.
It's hard to believe the amount of intrusion, even beyond the sealing gasket.
There was even a BUG inside - eeeee!
Certainly time for a good washing...and the glass was as dusty inside as it was outside.  Go figure.
 Not wanting to wet the wiring, I used a dry toothbrush to clean hard-to-access nooks and crannies.
Since the battery that came with the light is 'rechargable', I gave it a good cleaning, too...
using the fine side of an emery board to remove rust and debris, ensuring a good connection when it all gets put back together again.  I suppose this would have been a good time to just change batteries but I didn't have any of the rechargable ones.
Putting it all back together again, the light looks brand new and the glass itself is obviously cleaner and more transparent.
So, now I have this ONE light recharging itself by sitting in the umbrella hole of a sunny table and it's back to the process but I will be doing them 'assembly line' fashion so it won't take too long...and I might not start until tomorrow....or the day after.