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Author Topic: Solar shed lighting  (Read 1034 times)


  • Kitizen
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  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Solar shed lighting
« on: September 07, 2015, 01:24:55 AM »

I was recently asked about this, so thought I'd share it a little wider.

Originally, my shed had no connection to the mains, but I wanted a light in there if I was looking for something in the dark.

For not much money, I contrived a solar-powered lighting setup that's still working today, and which I still use on occasion, even though I now have mains power in my shed.

I'd previously found some old emergency-light bulkheads thrown away in a skip.  These lights are usually wired to the mains, and charge two (maybe more?) AA rechargeable cells.  If the mains fails, they use these two AA cells to power a 9 watt fluorescent tube for an hour or two.

I replaced the two old AA rechargeables with four AA rechargeables I got from Lidl (cheap!), and wired a small 12 volt solar panel across the cells, via a diode. 

I got a solar panel, originally from Maplin, that's intended to top-up a car battery in a car that only gets occasional use.  They're often on offer for 10 or so at Maplin, this one I got from a charity shop for 3.

Although the solar panel output is rated to charge a 12Volt lead-acid battery, I reckoned that connecting it to 4 x 1.2 volt Nicad/Nimh cells would mean I'd get increased charge current.  And it seems I was right.

I wired a switch between the batteries and the emergency light, and the solar panel charges whenever there is sun.

I did this about 6 years ago, and the setup is still working.  The light output is good enough, seems to last for some time, and the solar panel hasn't blown the batteries up.  Nor has running the emergency light at twice it's intended voltage (it makes it brighter!)

Total cost to me was less than 10.