Walking around my local Home Depot a couple weeks ago I saw some lawn solar lights on sale for $2.97 each. Taking a gander at them I found that each once included a AA rechargeable battery. A few thoughts on how these could be used in a grid-down situation immediately came to mind and I bought a couple.
Of course the obvious use is to provide light. Now – you are not going to light up dark alley with the 1.2 lumens that the tiny bulb puts out. Placed in a dark area with no other light – it works fairly well. Removing the lighted end from the stand it can be carried and placed pretty much anywhere. When charged, they provide plenty of light to read by or walk around a dark house. Mount it on a weapon? Maybe for Elmer Fudd.
The main reason I bought these solar lights is to recharge AA batteries. Think about it – having an array of these spread out all over the yard all day can have the sun working for you…..proving power. The battery that is included with lights are only 250mAh. This is not a whole lot of stored power. Modern day regular rechargeable batteries run around 2000 mAh of stored power. I replaced the included batteries with some 2500mAh Energizer batteries for testing.
I placed the Energizer filled solar lights out in my yard all day. Before dark I removed the battery to stop it from draining when the LED light came on at night. After all day in the sun – the battery was approx 50% charged. The following day I repeated and that night the battery was found to be 100% charged.
I am pretty happy with these. What I do not know is if there is a built in charge protector to stop the batteries from over charging. What I do know is for $3.00 I bought a solar battery charger that will charge a typical AA battery within 2 days.