You can fix solar lights by replacing their batteries, cleaning their solar panels, replacing or reconnecting their cables, or replacing their sensors. But before you try fixing your solar lights, you have to figure out why it isn’t working.
Solar lights stop working for various reasons, including dirty solar panels, faulty light sensors, water ingress, and faulty connections. Whatever the case may be, you must detect the cause before trying to make your solar lights work.
10 Common Reasons Why Solar Lights Stop Working and How to Fix Them
#1. – The Solar Light Is Not Turned On
Before stressing too much about trying to fix your solar lights, you should confirm that it is turned on. Besides their light sensors, some solar lights come with switches. Naturally, if the switch is not on, the solar light will not work.
If the solar light is not turned on, switch it on.
#2. – Check for a Pull Tab
Many solar lights come with a pull tab, which is put in place to preserve the batteries during shipping.
The pull tab works by insulating the connection between the batteries and the battery compartment terminals. In other words, it serves as a barrier between the batteries and the terminals. So, for power to get to the lights, you have to remove this barrier.
This is unlikely to be a reason for existing solar lights not working.
If there’s a pull tab, remove it to power the lights.
#3. – Dead Batteries
Solar lights run on rechargeable batteries charged with the power from their solar panels. But as with any type of battery, a solar light’s rechargeable batteries will eventually stop working. So, in many cases of solar lights not working, the batteries’ lifespan has come to an end.
It is pretty easy to detect when your solar lights’ batteries are done. Long before the batteries fully stop working, you’ll notice that the solar lights do not stay on as long as before. So, when the deed is finally done, you wouldn’t be too surprised.
You may also notice some leakage from the batteries when they are faulty. But if there are no obvious signs, you can try testing the lights with normal batteries. If those work, then you know the batteries are the problem.
To fix this problem, you must get replacements.
In some cases, the batteries may still be functional but insufficiently charged. To fix that, you’d have to detect the reason why the battery does not have enough charge and fix. Sometimes, using the deep charge technique (letting the battery charge for an extended period) before use could do the trick.
#4. – Dirty Solar Panel
A dirty solar panel will get little or no sunlight. Of course, without sunlight, solar-powered lights will stop working since they will not get enough charge.
A thin layer of dirt may not affect the panel’s sunlight reception. But as dirt accumulates and the layers get thicker, charging becomes almost impossible for the panel, resulting in the solar lights not working.
If your outdoor solar lights stop working because of a dirty solar panel, you can fix the issue by cleaning the panel.
#5. – Faulty Sensor and External Light Sources
Most solar lights come with light sensors that make them come on when it’s dark. Then since solar lights charge in the daytime, the sensors make them go off for effective charging.
If the sensor in your solar light is faulty, it may stop perceiving any difference between night and day. In other words, it may keep your solar lights off even when it’s dark because it still thinks it’s daytime.
Besides a faulty sensor, if your solar light is too close to very bright light sources, its sensor may perceive those sources as daylight. Of course, if this happens, your solar lights will not come on.
To confirm that your solar light is not affected by a bad sensor, you may try covering it during the day. If you cover the solar panel and the lights come on, the sensor is most likely not the problem.
Replacing a faulty light sensor should fix your solar lights. But if the sensor’s function is hampered by external light sources, moving the solar lights away from the external lights should fix the issue.
#6. – The Solar Panels Are Not Receiving Enough Sunlight
As we mentioned when we talked about dirty panels, if your solar light’s solar panel is not receiving enough direct sunlight, it may not get enough charge. Therefore, the light may not come on when it should.
Your solar lights might not be getting enough sunlight if you place them beneath trees or in similarly covered or shaded areas. So, when installing solar lights, pay attention to how much sunlight the installation spot receives on most days.
Place the solar lights in a spot where they can receive sufficient light from the sun. You may also adjust the solar panel’s angle for maximum reception of direct sunlight.
#7. – Water Accumulation
When built properly, solar lights typically resist water ingress to a high degree. But cheap solar lights may not have such resistance. As such, water may accumulate inside them.
In some cases, water may accumulate in your solar light not because it is low-quality but because it is old. As solar lights get older, their sealants may get weaker, opening spaces for water to come in. Also, heavy rains may pour more water than some solar lights can handle.
In any case, having water build up in your solar lights may cause different levels of damage, depending on the volume. Minimal ingress might be salvageable. But if a high volume of water collects in your solar light, it may get damaged beyond fixing.
To confirm if water has accumulated in your solar light, you may have to detach it and assess it physically.
If there’s a lot of water in your solar light, getting new solar lights might be the best option. But if the ingress is minimal, let the solar light air-dry vertically in a well-ventilated area. You may use a fan to speed up the drying.
#8. – Cable Issues
On the outside, solar lights look like they have no cables. But inside them, there are cables connecting the solar panel to the sensors, switch, and LED lights.
While unlikely, solar panel cables can develop issues over time. They could get damaged or disconnected. In either case, this will leave you with solar lights not working.
If you can, disassemble your solar light and assess its wires. If the wires are disconnected, reconnect them. If the wires are bad, replace them.
You may want to leave cable fixes as one of your last resorts for repairing your solar lights. Ensure every other non-intrusive cause is ruled out first.
#9. – Faulty LED Lights
Even when everything else is fine with your solar lights, if the LED bulbs are burnt, the solar lights will be functionless.
So, when everything else (battery, sensor, solar panel, and cables) seems fine, your solar light’s LED might just be faulty.
If the bulbs are faulty, you may try replacing them. But if they are not replaceable, buy a new solar light.
#10. – Faulty Motion Detectors
Some solar lights come with motion detectors, which turn the lights on when they detect movement around them.
However, when these motion detectors become faulty, they may become less sensitive or stop sensing movements. As a result, the lights will stop coming on.
If the motion detector comes with a dial for adjusting its sensitivity, try tuning the dial. If adjusting the dial doesn’t fix it, you could try replacing the motion detector. Alternatively, you can replace the solar light.
Does Rain Affect Solar Lights?
In many cases, the rain will not affect a well-constructed solar light. While no solar light is absolutely watertight, most high-quality solar lights can resist rainwater ingress to a very high degree. It would take something drastic for water to buildup inside such solar lights.
What Is the Problem When Solar Lights Blink?
Your solar lights may blink because the battery is low or starting to go bad. They may also blink if the LEDs are going bad.
If the battery is low, confirm that the solar panel is okay, getting enough direct sunlight and charging as it should. If the panel is okay and sending electricity to the battery, the battery may be going bad. But if it isn’t, the LEDs might just be the problem.
Can I Use Regular Batteries In Solar Lights?
You can use regular batteries in solar lights. However, using a rechargeable battery is ideal. So, don’t make regular batteries the primary power storage for your solar lights.