outdoor solar landscape lighting

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  #1  
Old 05-15-02, 05:16 AM
jjs
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outdoor solar landscape lighting

I recently purchased 12 outdoor solar lights and I noticed they are not very bright, they require batteries, and I would guess bulbs at some time. I'm ok with that as long as I get some use out of them before they start soaking me in all the maint. cost. I need some advice on solar vs. low voltage because its not to late to take them back. battery life? bulb life? etc

thanks, any info would be great!
jjs
 
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  #2  
Old 05-15-02, 06:18 AM
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Hello jjs

Some of the neighbours have the solar lights - they've been up and running for at least a year now - often when I walk my dog at 4:45 in the morning, they are still faintly glowing. I also have friends who take them up to the cottage to light the path from the dock - very convenient!

I've opted for hardwiring low voltage lighting in - I like the variable time you can program (into some units) after dusk and the constant light strength. Can also change the bulb colours when wanted.

Downside to the low voltage would be that they DO have to be hardwired. Also if you want all your lights to come on (and turn off) at the same time, the photosensors often are slightly off in sensitivity, so they could be off a bit (up to 3/4 hr in my case) if you have more than one circuit set up.

Possible down side for solar powered is they could 'walk' if you are on the wrong side of town and as you have already said, the battery life might be questionable.

I'm going to move your post over to the Garden forum - I think you'll get more response over there (here now )

Howie
 
  #3  
Old 05-15-02, 07:31 AM
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I have some of the solar power lights that I've had out going on the third year. Haven't replaced any lights or batteries in them yet. They are not very bright, I use them just to mark where some steps are in the sidewalk, they work fine for that. Don't expect them to be any brighter than what you're seeing now. Some days when it's cloudy, they won't get charged and then they will not light at all that night.
 
  #4  
Old 05-15-02, 02:49 PM
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jjs,
It may depend on where you live. How much sun will you get during a gloomy overcast winter.
My money is on the low voltage system.
fred
 
  #5  
Old 05-15-02, 03:45 PM
Gami
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Hi JJS,

My money is on the electric lights also. BUT then, our front steps are dangerous. They aren't one step, two step like you're used to. One step goes a little ways, the second step is a regular step, the third step is a little longer, etc. They follow the slope. My husband fell down the steps during COLD weather because he couldn't see the steps and passed out. He could have froze to death since he layed there for quite awhile. If you are trying to light a walkway for safety, solar lights are NOT the way to go.

I installed our electric lights. If I can do it, anybody can do it. They're cheaper for a set than as many solar lights...if you have a plugin nearby. In our case we don't. We run an extension cord from the garage to the lights. They're on a timer. You do what you have to do.

Gami
 
  #6  
Old 05-16-02, 05:24 AM
ohgarden1
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Hi Gami,

I've been looking at those electric lights for around the pool simply because they're so much cheaper, but maybe the solor light would be better since it would just be for accent lighting. I assume the electric lights would be safe around the pool even though water will splash on them, but they'll get rained on, so it's the same thing, right? I'm babbling, but I think you get the idea!

BTW, is sierra down? I havent been able to get it at work yesterday and now this morning, but I get get into it last night at home!

Shele
 
  #7  
Old 05-16-02, 07:38 AM
Gami
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Hi Shele,

The electric lights would be fine around your pool. They're very low voltage. One tip, a few years ago, I bought the black plastic kind. Little gnats or something kept getting inside the lights and shorting them out. I got tired of cleaning them out and pulled them up and started using a flashlight to go down the steps. My husband didn't and after his accident, I decided we needed lights again. I bought the most expensive set HD had ($100). They're green metal, so they're decorative also. Little bugs haven't found a way in for two years. The instructions are VERY easy to follow, but HD will take them out of the box and show you how to do it. At least ours does. We probably have the best HD in the world.

I was gone most of the day & night yesterday, so don't know about Sierra. BUT, I wouldn't be surprised.

Gami
 
  #8  
Old 11-13-02, 10:32 AM
incub8
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Brand preference???

Which ones are good and which one would you stay away from? I'm undecided between solar and wired?
 
  #9  
Old 11-14-02, 01:52 PM
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incub8,
If you decide on wired low voltage, get the more expensive metal posts and lights as opposed to the plastic ones. The dogs and kids tore up my first set of plastics. The metal ones have been in 5 years now, and no breakage.
fred
 
  #10  
Old 11-15-02, 01:33 PM
incub8
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metal exterior lamps

Fewalt,
Thanks for the advice.

What brand did you go with? Where did you pick them up from? Roughly how much did they cost. I would like to put about 6-8 lamps in the backyard and maybe 2-4 in the front entrance.

-g
 
  #11  
Old 11-19-02, 12:34 PM
incub8
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solar versus wired

I may get a couple of nice solar powered ones first and see how well they do. If there is one thing I can't complain about here in Southern California, that would be the weather. We get a lot of sunlight so maybe it will be worth it. Does anyone know if Costco sells these lights?

I don't know if the major lighting companies have these types of exterior lamps under their names. Maybe an indirect name brand owned by GE or whoever.

thanks
 
  #12  
Old 11-19-02, 01:09 PM
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incub8,

Just checked, my low voltage wired lights are by Intermatic (Malibu).

Years ago their first sets of plastics were made cheaply. Apparently someone listened to their quality control group(and the consumer) - the metal lights are of good quality.
fred
 
  #13  
Old 11-30-02, 12:06 PM
stanky1
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You have probably already bought your lights by now, but, yes, PriceClub (I will always call them by that name) does sell solar outdoor lights.

I also live in SoCal, but prefer low-voltage lights. I did not buy a package deal, like Malibu. I bought copper lights, a couple transformers, a pile of wire, and connectors. The transformers w/ multiple voltage outputs are the key to getting good lighting, and long bulb life. It was not too hard to figure out how to install. The money I saved by doing it myself offset the expensive copper lights. Also, I now know how to repair the system myself, so the savings continue.

I must admit, however, after last year's energy crunch, my lights aren't on that much.
 
  #14  
Old 12-03-02, 06:25 PM
incub8
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solar experience

I purchased a set of 6 plastic solar outdoor lights from Target. Made by Restore and Restyle. I returned them in 2 days time. They were amber colored and very dim. But the main reason for my return was that they blacked out in only a few hours. Low light is understandable, no light is cause to get a refund. I will try the metal solar Hampton's from Home depot. The box boasts that they are twice as bright as the amber ones. And they seem to be of better quality. If they blackout, I will try the wired ones.
 
  #15  
Old 12-16-02, 06:55 PM
incub8
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solar lights

Purchased a set of 5 solar powered aluminum lamps from Costco. Very nice looking. Has a rustic, worn look. Illuminates white, not amber. About 10 times brighter then the plastic ones from target. And lasts a lot longer. When we get a good sun day they stay lit for most of the night and is very bright. If it's cloudy they will only light up for a few hours. But I think I will keep them since they are of a good quality and actually do a good job without the energy bill.
 
  #16  
Old 12-16-02, 08:16 PM
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Let us know how they are 'holding up' next spring or summer.

fred
 
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