Solar power dock lighting

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  #1  
Old 09-15-14, 08:08 AM
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Solar power dock lighting

I have a 300 foot dock/pier that i've been thinking about adding LED lighting to. I want to put a handrail up and space the lights on it every 8 feet (roughly the spacing of each piling). Basically was thinking about using LED mini christmas lights and housing them in small mason jars attached to each post... christmas string lights are too closely spaced so would have to do some cutting and splicing to add the additional length needed b/n each. on the end of the dock, would be powered by 12v battery/solar panel combo. would also have a light sensor so they only come on at night.

i guess my questions are,

# 1,would that length of wire (at least 300 feet, possibly more depending on conduit) create too much voltage drop for the 12v battery to handle? should i splice in larger gauge wire to account for that?

#2, is cutting/splicing christmas lighting the most economical way to do this, or are there cheaper LED light options for these kind of projects?

#3, any safety or code issues running low voltage lighting near saltwater/marine environments? the further away from mean high water the better, would be the common sense answer. i know for high voltage applications there are very strict codes, not sure about solar with a 12v battery.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 08:25 AM
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Have you considered using a cheap solar path light on each piling? No wiring, no safety issues, come on at dark, weatherproof, lasts for years.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 10:59 AM
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i have considered using individual solar lights (still a consideration) just have heard that they only last a year or 2 at most, then need replacing. then if they discontinue a brand or product line, i'll have to replace a few here and there and they'll end up being all mis-matched over time (kind of like my sock drawer is now)... not a huge problem i guess, just a minor aesthetic thing.

unless (perhaps you know) if they sell solar lights that aren't totally disposable (i.e you can replace individual parts once they go bad).
 
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Old 09-15-14, 02:06 PM
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I have 2 at the end of my dock that have gone through 2 seasons without attention. The rechargeable battery is the main thing that can die and they're cheap. Corrosion is something to watch for on any outside light -- esp. near water.
I bought extras since I like them.

I have a 98 cent Wal-Mart light where my kids buried a cat 5 years ago that still works and hasn't been touched.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 05:40 PM
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thanks for the info! might be the way i end up going.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 05:54 PM
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unless (perhaps you know) if they sell solar lights that aren't totally disposable (i.e you can replace individual parts once they go bad).
When you look at the lights..... look for screws as an indication of serviceability. . As someone previously mentioned.... it's usually the batteries that fail.

I've changed them on many units with excellent results.

With low voltage.... especially solar..... there really aren't any applicable codes. The biggest problem is that all your splices would need to be soldered as the salt water raises heck with copper.
 
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