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Thread: UK : Solar garden Floodlight ?

  1. #1
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    Default UK : Solar garden Floodlight ?

    The back garden at this time of year here is PITCH BLACK

    I have tried a few solar floodlights ( ebay random buys ) and they have all been
    hopeless , maybe scotland just dont get enough light this
    time of year ?

    Anyways just wondering if anyone in UK has bought a
    solar floodlight / light and been impressed with
    its performance , if you have please advise
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  2. #2
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    You won't get anything good out of them during weather swept in by the jetstream. While the last two days saw a take of 630 then 710 Watt-hours from a 640W system here in south UK, the previouis day got only 30, day before that, 40... and it's been like that since mid October. It's been extremely bad this winter.

    The lowest power LED floodlight worth having is 10W output, and costs about 15 quid. No solar panel attached. There IS no point getting one with a panel attached when the weather is so bad that 8 x 80W panels and top quality MPPT charge controller cannot extract enough light all day to power that tiny little lamp for three hours.

    If global warming gives us transatlantic turbulence for the foreseeable future the UK can forget steady green energy, we're back to coal and uranium fission and Russian gas until we can get thorium reactors or fusion. Or Scottish hydroelectric power if Scotland can spare any!

    A few years ago I really thought it was worth putting a solar panel system together, and did so. It's not. I'll do better charging my 12KWh battery bank on economy 7 metered mains at nights! The UK light average in the sky may fall so far that crops may fail even without flooding all the low level farms and turning them into waterbird habitats. It's getting brighter for now, but the dark spell lasted 10 weeks, last year it was about 4. Long term weather forecast suggests it's only lighter for a day or two, then back to more heavy storms, and no reason to forecast an end to them either.

    You'll do better if you can grow stuff to burn in a stove and use thermoelectric power from that, the way the Russians do it.

    The little solar panels in little lamps are toys. Even in the hot summer we had last year, a house near here that uses them leaves them on at night, and they still fade out in the early hours well before dawn, and at their brightest they glowed like pale candles at best. If you want solar power, you might get it cheap, as people give up on it and sell panels at very low cost, but you'll need a very large area to make use of them now. The weather is so erratic that if you tried to get by on less panels you'd need several deep cycle 'leisure' batteries just to store enough to power that little floodlight and still have enough reserve in the batteries to prevent them sulphating to death and cracking themselves open within six months.

    You may still get some excellent days for charging even in winter, but the trouble is that unless the jetsream goes a long way north most of the time, they will be vastly outnumbered by very dark days, to the point where we may see only about 60 bright clear days per year if we're lucky.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 02-03-2014 at 00:47.

  3. #3
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    paul i just got one of these -

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3211904805...84.m1497.l2649

    i got the 30w day white, its awesome. low power at only 30 watts and very bright.

    highly recommend
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy_con View Post
    paul i just got one of these -

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3211904805...84.m1497.l2649

    i got the 30w day white, its awesome. low power at only 30 watts and very bright.

    highly recommend
    And if you run them in a cool place you can soup them up with a 50W element too, or even make a dimmer circuit based on my laser diode driver, as I did...

    But he was asking about solar power, not the lamps so much.. All those LED floodlights are great if you can power them. As I said, forget solar, unless you really want to buy hundreds of watts of panels, and at least 2KWh of storage capacity because most of it will be needed just to keep the battery working. Even the little 10W ones need that the way our climate is going, because you'll only get about one good day per week to charge it with even if you do have as much as 500W of panels to do it with too. I know it sounds ridiculously bad, but I have this stuff, I can watch the meter beside my chair. It really IS that bad now.

    Today I got 160Wh, and apart from the last two days which were actually good, our current weather makes 160Wh from a 640 system a good day. It's usually a quarter of that, and often as low as 10W per day. Light levels are extremely low! previous winters usually yielded as much as a third of what summer would. This one, about a thirtieth.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 02-03-2014 at 03:40.

  5. #5
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    im well aware paul said solar powered, but as im good friends with paul i was just letting him know what i did in case its of any help
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  6. #6
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    Fair enough. Nothing wrong with the recommendation either. Tried one of the RGB ones? I haven't, but I've considered it. What put me off is the fiddly controller they used. I made my own controller for the main light but I'm not sure I want to get into that with the RGB ones unless they look like being able to take it. (They're fragile, thin brittle metal etc.. And I want to avoid complex electronics.)

  7. #7
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    the one i got is perfect for my needs, comes complete with everything needed. so screw it to the wall apply 240v job done and just adjust the settings of the sensors as needed
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  8. #8
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    I've got 6 x 10W and 1x 30W from a seller from China who despatches from Manchester http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10W-20W-30...item337a65ecc8 that are very similar to Andy's, except I don't have built in sensors.

    All of them are daylight and all are excellent and all have alu frames so don't rust.

    The 10W which I have under a carport are bright but it does take 6 to light it properly - it's like a stadium now. They cost around 10-12.

    The 30W is awesome as a floodlight and fills the garden for just 30W. That cost around 34.

    I highly recommend them all.

    Only way I can see you powering any of these off grid though is with a proper sizeable solar panel, battery and converter. Probably far more expensive than any savings to be made.

  9. #9
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    Not so much about SAVINGS , just about running wires down garden , not wise to put underground without bringing in an industrial digger and i cant run wires along fencing as i live on a hill and fences blow down regular

    Maybe as you guys say it just not possible with solar without throwing money at it
    In the beginning there was none. Then came the light - #1 UKLEM - 2007
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  10. #10
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    How long must that lamp be lit per day? All that I said applies for durations of a few hours or more, but if it's a few minutes, on a time limited switch to protect the batteries against deep discharge, you might get by with a small system, maybe one 80W panel and a cheap 'leisure battery' with the highest capacity you're willing to pay for, and a voltage based switch to be sure it never drops below 12.2V if you want long life out of it. The PIR lamp that Andy showed might help if the lamp only has to light conveniently when a person has to pass through the area lit by it, and it has the timed shutoff built in.

    About a trench... Is it too far, or too tough ground, to dig by hand to 18'' or so? If not, a tape brightly indicating the presence of the line to anyone who digs there some other time, and maybe a grounded copper or brass mesh laid in under the tape, all a few inches wide over the cable, might be enough. (Make sure the cable is at least 6'' lower down). I read that this was a standard practise in many domestic gardens, and industrial situations do similar, just scaled up, more rigorous, etc.. And the cable could use that 110VAC isolated line I mentioned in that other thread, using a builder's supply transformer. I think the lamps above 10W run on 'universal mains' so will plug directly to the far end. Use braided screen cable (or armoured, if you can get it cheap), RCD, etc...

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