Testing Solar Landscape Chargers

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-24-16, 10:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Question Testing Solar Landscape Chargers

How do I test solar landscape fixtures to see if the charger is working properly (or at all)?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-24-16, 11:08 AM
Shadeladie's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,831
My unscientific way is to leave them out in the sun for at least an hour or so and either wait till night, or cup my hands over them to create darkness after a couple of hours.
 
  #3  
Old 03-24-16, 11:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Yeah, but that is no fun. Part of what I am asking is, how are they supposed to work?
 
  #4  
Old 03-24-16, 11:33 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,477
You can connect a DC voltmeter to the battery pack. As the battery charges the voltage will rise.
The more light... the faster it will charge.

The solar cell only generates a few volts.
 
  #5  
Old 03-24-16, 06:15 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 686
Most landscape light chargers are directly wired to the battery (usually Ni-Cad or Ni-MH) with a diode to keep solar panel from discharge battery when it is not producing electricity.

You can simply connect a multimeter and measure output voltage (at battery terminals) of the solar panel with battery connected under the sun to see if produced voltage is sufficient to charge the battery.
If there is only 1 battery and it is Ni-Cad or Ni-MH, the battery voltage is 1.2V. The solar panel should produce more than 1.2V to charge the battery (About 1.4V is ideal). More light, higher the voltage.
Because there are no charge/discharge controllers, battery life in those lights tends to be short.

If battery voltage drops fast after charging for a while, the battery is bad. If you get reversed voltage or just few mV, the battery is dead.
 
  #6  
Old 03-25-16, 05:13 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 83
Thanks. That is what I wanted to know. How about just a bit more data?
Can I expect a voltage at the battery connections from the solar panel if the battery is removed?
What light wave length does the panel most react to? Or, what light source most mimics sunlight?
 
  #7  
Old 03-25-16, 05:31 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,477
If the battery is removed and the cell is in the "sun" you can expect to measure a voltage just higher than the normal battery voltage. The battery loads that voltage down while charging.

Halogen lights mimic the suns energy and wavelength.
 
  #8  
Old 03-25-16, 07:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 686
You will get voltage without battery and it will be higher. However, since you will be measuring voltage without any load, you cannot test how much current your solar panel is able to produce. Bad solar panel will not produce enough current and won't be able to charge the battery.

Exactly what wave length will depend on the panel and what technology they used. I don't have enough knowledge about solar panels to answer this question, but I found this.
Solar Efficiency Limits

Halogen is close to the sun light as PJmax said, but the best test probably is under the sun.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'