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Old 05-01-2010, 02:22 PM
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Default Indoor lighting when there is no Electricity



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Like many here I have oil lamps, candles but I have recently changed my focus in this area to those solar powered lawn landscaping lights. I bought a dozen of those cheap $5 ones at homedepot.

I am trying to find a way of making them slighty brighter, I switched out their cheap Chinese batteries with some quality lithium rechargable batteries. We put 5 of them across the fireplace mantle with a mirror behind them and they lit the room pretty good but I wonder if there is anything else I can do

Is anyone doing this and have any ideas or any thoughts on this?

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Old 05-01-2010, 02:43 PM
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I got 12 the other day but Mrs Max wont let me try them in the garden yet until I finish my other projects and clean the drive up after finishing my land rover discovery service
I had not thought about putting in better batteries great idea

cheers
max
Old 05-01-2010, 02:45 PM
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I have a solar powered set up. It's a little expensive, but it works good. I start out with a 5 watt solar charger battery charger, I got at Harbor Freight, that charges up two deep cycle UPS batteries I have. Then I connected up a 1500 watt inverter to convert the 12 volts to 110 AC, and that'll power up standard lamps to light up my house. This also gives me up to 1500 watts of 110AC for small appliances as well.


Solar panel from Harbor Freight......$ 40.00
two UPS batteries........................$ 40.00 each
110 ac 1500 watt inverter.............$ 120.00
Misc cables, extention cords..........$ 25.00
Two lamps with bulbs about ..........$ 20.00

So for under $250 I have a solar powered emergency lighting system. This will also power small hand tools, drills, grinders, saws.... etc.
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:49 PM
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I played around with a few of those last summer. One thing I did was to remove the stake, and place the light part on top of a mason jar that I rigged inside with a reflector made from an empty beer can. I used it in my bathroom as a night light. It worked pretty well. I've also wondered about ways to improve on the basic idea.
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:47 PM
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I have those solar powered garden lights, but that's wehre they are...the garden.

For INDOOR lighting when there is no electricity, I have candles, battery-operated and dynamo flashlights, and numerous oil/kerosene lamps and 3 Dietz lanterns, PLUS 6 gallons of lamp oil and 5 gallons of kerosene stored.
Old 05-01-2010, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne View Post
I have a solar powered set up. It's a little expensive, but it works good. I start out with a 5 watt solar charger battery charger, I got at Harbor Freight, that charges up two deep cycly UPS batteries I have. Then I connected up a 1500 watt inverter to convert the 12 volts to 110 AC, and that'll power up standard lamps to light up my house. This also gives me up to 1500 watts of 110AC for small appliances as well.


Solar panel from Harbor Freight......$ 40.00
two UPS batteries........................$ 40.00 each
110 ac 1500 watt inverter.............$ 120.00
Misc cables, extention cords..........$ 25.00
Two lamps with bulbs about ..........$ 20.00

So for under $250 I have a solar powered emergency lighting system. This will also power small hand tools, drills, grinders, saws.... etc.


Too cool!

Nice set up!
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:09 PM
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Solar powered lights instead of candles or lanterns are a good option. There is very little chance of fire, and their a renewable resource.

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Old 05-01-2010, 06:42 PM
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Thanks kev, I should have known you had a video on this!

I took out those cheap batteries but there is no "mill amp hours" written on the new ones I bought. I bought "Energizer Ultimate Lithium" rechargable batteries.

I'll check again
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne View Post
I have a solar powered set up. It's a little expensive, but it works good. I start out with a 5 watt solar charger battery charger, I got at Harbor Freight, that charges up two deep cycle UPS batteries I have. Then I connected up a 1500 watt inverter to convert the 12 volts to 110 AC, and that'll power up standard lamps to light up my house. This also gives me up to 1500 watts of 110AC for small appliances as well.


Solar panel from Harbor Freight......$ 40.00
two UPS batteries........................$ 40.00 each
110 ac 1500 watt inverter.............$ 120.00
Misc cables, extention cords..........$ 25.00
Two lamps with bulbs about ..........$ 20.00

So for under $250 I have a solar powered emergency lighting system. This will also power small hand tools, drills, grinders, saws.... etc.
Its the same set up that I have except I use a 60 watt solar panel and a 2000 watt inverter. It will power not only lights but also grain grinder, sewing machine, electric mixer, recharge battery powered tools, etc.
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Solar Lights

Walmart used to sell the solar lights that had handles across the top. I was going to buy a few of those this year and then put hooks on the bathroom walls so I could hang the lights from the hooks. But, this year I couldn't find any lights with the handles.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:06 PM
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If I had land to grow sunflowers Id do the whole diesel generator thing run on sunflower oil. Either that or beeswax candles home made.

I'll more than likely end up with a bunch of those torches you pull the string on and it gives you an hours light. 2$ a pop, cant really go wrong.
Old 05-01-2010, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne View Post
I have a solar powered set up. It's a little expensive, but it works good. I start out with a 5 watt solar charger battery charger, I got at Harbor Freight, that charges up two deep cycle UPS batteries I have. Then I connected up a 1500 watt inverter to convert the 12 volts to 110 AC, and that'll power up standard lamps to light up my house. This also gives me up to 1500 watts of 110AC for small appliances as well.


Solar panel from Harbor Freight......$ 40.00
two UPS batteries........................$ 40.00 each
110 ac 1500 watt inverter.............$ 120.00
Misc cables, extention cords..........$ 25.00
Two lamps with bulbs about ..........$ 20.00

So for under $250 I have a solar powered emergency lighting system. This will also power small hand tools, drills, grinders, saws.... etc.


very nice and the cost is really not bad if you consider what it is going to be needed for.... Ya' done good

At the shelter we have generators but we also have back up lighting that we had designed from a company called Solar Illuminations...The helped us a great deal...
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:39 PM
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I got a few Multi-Mode Mini Maglite 2-cell AA LED flashlights. The Candle mode is pretty amazing and could run for a few days on one set of batteries. I use rechargable Eneloop batteries and 3 wall chargers so the cost is next to nothing to me and I can go without the power for at least a week.

Also, I have one of those portable generators/jump starters with an inverter that I got at Costco. I use it regualry and make sure it fully charged.

Next on my list to buy is foldable solar panel. Hopefully, I will get it before I really need it.
Old 05-01-2010, 08:45 PM
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We used the solar garden lights when we had no power for 15 days due to an ice storm. Left the stake on them . Took the tall cottage cheese containers & filled them 3/4 of the way full of quick crete. Stuck the stakes in the quick crete.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioMan View Post
Like many here I have oil lamps, candles but I have recently changed my focus in this area to those solar powered lawn landscaping lights. I bought a dozen of those cheap $5 ones at homedepot.

I am trying to find a way of making them slighty brighter, I switched out their cheap Chinese batteries with some quality lithium rechargable batteries. We put 5 of them across the fireplace mantle with a mirror behind them and they lit the room pretty good but I wonder if there is anything else I can do

Is anyone doing this and have any ideas or any thoughts on this?

I use white LED Christmas lights in the basement. They are always on. 12vdc can run off rechargeable battery power for a long time. Solar, wind is the choices here. Grid when itís up.

LED's are safer than open flame and ANY light is good when its pitch dark in the basement.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:50 PM
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I saw some solar lights at Lowe's that look like torch lights. They are getting good reviews, I might buy a few for my deck. I would like to have solar lighting there for the summer evenings. Hopefully they're bright enough to light up the deck a little.

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Old 05-01-2010, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioMan View Post
Thanks kev, I should have known you had a video on this!

I took out those cheap batteries but there is no "mill amp hours" written on the new ones I bought. I bought "Energizer Ultimate Lithium" rechargable batteries.

I'll check again
I think the highest you can get right now is 2600 mAh NiMH. I will check the site I order from. Or better yet here you go:

http://www.batterymart.com/
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saint View Post
I think the highest you can get right now is 2600 mAh NiMH. I will check the site I order from. Or better yet here you go:

http://www.batterymart.com/
I must not have looked at the package good, thanks Saint!
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:03 PM
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I have put back hundreds upon hundreds of candles, and several kerosene lamps, along with roughly a dozen extra wicks each, and a few extra globes. Also have lots and lots of kerosene.

The only way to make those garden lights better, besides the better batteries, would be to completely rework them, well actually just rob parts from them and build something new and better. I may have to fiddle with it and maybe I can come up with a short instructional thread and parts list. Stay tuned.

Basically you will need to replace the LED's with a better, brighter ones. Doing this will shorten battery life. The only real cure for that, since you've already replaced the batteries with better ones, is to add to the battery bank, now you probably won't have room to add batteries, so you will need to gut the original light and reassemble into another container, such as a hobby box from radio shack, along with a battery holder to simplify wiring in the extra batteries. Just interrupt the circuit on one side of the original battery bank and add in the new one by taking the negative wire to the old batteries off and hooking to the new battery carriers negative post, then run a wire from the new batteries positive to the old batteries negative.

Now it is possible that the existing photocell will be insufficient to charge all the batteries sufficiently, so you may need to rob another photocell from another light and add it in, in the same fashion as the batteries.

While you're at it, add in a switch so you can turn the light on and off.
Old 05-02-2010, 12:28 PM
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I haven't bought any of the solar yard lights. Well, I have one, but it's for lighting up a halloween display.

I use cheapo LED flashlights and rechargeable batteries. Works out about as cheap and is brighter. I have a bunch of small solar battery chargers and one larger unit.

Also have a bunch of oil lamps and candles. Before I was forced to move back into the city, my plans were to grow my own oil for them.

Edit to add: Actually, I just remembered I had 2 other old solar lights that used flourescent tubes. If you can find these cheap, they have a large panel and a gel cell battery that holds a fair amount of juice. The factory gel cell is crappy and goes out in a year, but you can upgrade it or use the panel and charger with other batteries.
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