Replacing rechargeable battery in a solar light

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Old 10-23-16, 07:51 PM
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Replacing rechargeable battery in a solar light

I have had batteries die on two solar lights now, where the batteries were not designed to be popped out and a new one popped back in. This is so annoying...I paid $26 for a solar rope light, 7 months ago, and now I find out the battery is not designed to be replaced.

I've done a bit of research, and it seems like I could purchase some "tab batteries" and maybe solder the tabs to the wire...but not sure. I took pics to clarify how the battery is connected. Anyone had to deal with this? Thoughts? advice?
 
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Old 10-23-16, 11:03 PM
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Yes... you can buy batteries with tabs. 1000mah ni-mh with tabs

Are you sure the nicads are defective ? Could be a defective solar cell too.
Do you have a test meter to check the solar cell for output ?
 
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Old 10-24-16, 12:15 PM
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What is a solar cell???

Not saying the batteries are "defective". I'm ticked that they don't appear to be replaceable without a lot of effort, and special tools. Battery is not removable from the unit unless I cut the cable and rip that covering off. And then how does a new one get attached? I don't know what the red stuff on the end is. Anyone know?
 

Last edited by yardnut; 10-24-16 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 10-24-16, 03:42 PM
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The units are not designed to be serviced. Under normal conditions the battery is supposed to last a year or two. It may have been a defective cell because I think the date code shows it a little over a year old.

The wires get cut off the old battery and soldered on to the new one. You could put a little silicon glue over the terminals if you wanted to.

The solar cell is the part that faces the sun and charges the battery. If it's weak... the battery wont charge correctly.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 05:36 PM
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It's absurd to design a light that can't be serviced, to sell for $25. I mean really, that's nuts. I'm going to purchase a couple of the tabbed batteries, and see if we can fix it. I don't have a meter to measure the solar light cell, so this will have to do. If it doesn't work, well, then it will be the last solar light I buy, without ensuring that the batteries are replaceable.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 05:55 PM
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If you do any electrical work around the house you need an analog multimeter any way. A cheap $8-$15 one is all you need. Examples:
https://www.amazon.com/Tekpower-TP18.../dp/B00064CH6A
Power Gear 500-Volt Analog Multimeter-50952 - The Home Depot
 
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Old 10-24-16, 06:56 PM
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I don't do electrical work around the house. My BF has done minor stuff, and I am sure he does have one (he does not live here) so I could borrow his. I didn't realize just a plain old multimeter could be used to measure a solar light output. Thanks.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 07:09 PM
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Your not measuring solar output your measuring voltage.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 07:35 PM
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"ray2047
Your not measuring solar output your measuring voltage."

Ah ok. I guess I misunderstood the earlier post...
"Do you have a test meter to check the solar cell for output ?"
 
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Old 10-24-16, 08:50 PM
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Do you have a test meter to check the solar cell for output ?
The output of a solar cell is voltage.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 03:44 PM
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Yup I got that. I will pick up a mutimeter tonight, and a soldering iron too. NEver soldered before, but boy I remember my dad soldering in the garage, all the time when I was a kid. I don't know what the heck he was working on so much.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 10:28 AM
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Wanted to update this thread. So I got this multimeter...

https://www.amazon.com/GHB-Multimete...keywords=UT33D

but seriously no idea how to use it - so many different settings. And 3 places to plug in the lines. I would have thought my BF knew how to use one, but nope. So we just tried a few different ones. First connected it to the battery (while still attached) and got a reading, so I was thinking it *was* working, but that didn't make sense. So we disconnected the battery, and tested those leads, and got a reading (did not write it down) but it looked like there was some voltage there, so it seemed that the solar panel was working. (I am guessing that is how you would test the panel, it makes sense now.)

So, heated up the soldering iron, and soldered the new battery to the leads, wrapped battery and leads with electrical tape and placed battery back in unit, and put the unit back together.

Then I covered up the panel from the sunlight (we were doing this out in the yard as this is a rope light that is wound around a tree, and I did not want to have to take down that whole long strand!) and voila! Blue lights.

So, yeah it cost me a multimeter and a soldering iron, and a $3 battery, but the next one I will be able to easily fix now. Very happy!

Thanks for the help!
 
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Old 11-08-16, 11:36 AM
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You're very talented. Nice job!

For future use..... I highlighted your meter.

The blue area is ohms for checking resistance.

The red area is DC voltage. For most of your applications like checking batteries and your solar cell.... you'd use the 20v scale. The 2000m scale is actually 2v. Good for measuring AA, AAA, D, C batteries.

The green area is AC voltage. For most of your home electric work you'd use the 200v scale..... unless you were checking something that ran on 240v then you'd use the 500v scale.

The pink area is good for checking for dead shorts in things like wiring. This scale is used with circuits that are NOT powered. It's basically continuity and when it measures close to a dead short the internal buzzer sounds. You can check it by touching the two probes together. Also good for testing incandescent light bulbs.

I marked the red and black probe locations. The one I X'ed out is for current draw and is rarely needed in a home test setting.

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Old 11-08-16, 07:06 PM
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Oh man, that is SO helpful. Thank you!!!
 
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