Please note that if your product is not working properly, especially if it is new or under warranty, we always recommend that you contact us.
That being said, most problems have easy fixes, and most problems can be avoided by understanding your product and performing minimal maintenance.
Probably not: it’s more likely that it just needs some sun. Most solar products (except for certain solar water pumps) work off of solar energy stored in rechargeable batteries.
A new product right out of the box will have “cold” batteries. Even if your product casts some light right out of the box, the strength and duration of the light will not be ideal.
All new products be placed in the sun (in the “Off” setting if the fixture has one) for two sunny days or about 12 hours of sun before they are used at night. Doing so will start the batteries with a good strong charge and allow the product to work properly.
If a proper solar charge does not fix the problem, please contact us immediately so that we can try other trouble-shooting tips or arrange for the item to be repaired/replaced under the product warranty.
Dust, pollen and other debris (anything from leaves to bird droppings) can make the solar panel less effective. Every so often (particularly when you know your area has high pollen counts), you should clean the panel.
The best way to clean a panel is with a soft rag using water without detergent or spraying it with a hose. If there is a lot of dirt, you may need to use hot water and a mild detergent. Please do not use harsh chemicals, abrasive pads, or stiff brushes, as any of these can cause damage.
If there's you have a stubborn problem, such as sap or bird droppings, it's best to take a wet (not soaking) rag and leave it on the solar panel. For sap, use hot water to melt it and than scrub with a rag or soft sponge. Never use anything sharp on your solar panel, as this can easily cause permanent and irreparable damage.
Most of the time, the problem is the battery. If you’ve had a lot of cloudy weather lately, please turn the light off for at least one night and allow the solar panel to charge the battery for at least one full sunny day (six hours of strong sun). When possible, we recommend letting the battery recharge for two days (six hours of sun.)
If this does not work, odds are your rechargeable battery needs to be replaced. Rechargeable batteries typically last between 18 months and three years. How long yours will work will depend on: the type of battery (NiCAD batteries typically need to be replaced more frequently); how you use the product; and the amount of sun your area gets.
All rechargeable batteries last for a certain number of charge/discharge cycles. (This means how many time the solar product stops working because the battery has run out.) Therefore, batteries used in areas with strong sun (such as southern California) generally will last longer than say batteries used in northern US states or areas that have a lot of cloudy or rainy weather.
You should also see the above question because a dirty solar panel can impact performance. Usually this happens for remote solar panels, such as those for shed lights or security lights where the light is mounted a signficant distance from the light fixture.
YES! It is extremely important that you use the exact same type of battery that came with the product. Using the wrong type or strength of battery can destroy your solar lighting fixture or solar pump. This means you need to check the instruction manual or the battery itself to determine:
If you no longer have the instruction manual and the print on your battery (which usually outlines the type, size and strength battery you have), you really should contact us.
Since we keep records of all purchases for some time, we'll be able to look up your product and almost always can tell you what the proper battery should be used in your product.
Many times, we get a replacement battery for you, you, other times we will recommend a website where you can get the battery you need. (Some batteries are readily available in hardware stores or home centers. Other batteries really should be ordered through SolarFlairLighting.com or a site we know has the proper battery in stock.
Note: While NiCAD and NiMH batteries are more commonly found at various strengths at store close to you, Lithium Ion and Lithium Phosphate batteries aren't readily available in the proper strengths. Since the right type and strength is crucial to your product, we always encourage customers to call for advice.
Unfortunately, it’s not true. We see this a lot on DIY sites and even TV shows, but it's a very bad idea.
While you may experience better performance for a short time by adding a differnt battery, but after a short period of time odds are you'll destroy the product and void your warranty.
The exception: some lights do allow you to switch between NiCAD and NiMH batteries. When this is the case, it will be highlighted in our product description and/or the product instructions. Just be careful that the battery strength is the same and that any other manufacturer's instructions are followed.
Please note that when items are shipped back to the manufacturer requesting repair or replacement under the manufacturer’s warranty, they will look at what is going on with the light. Damage due to the wrong battery is very easy for professionals to spot and your warranty will be considered void.
It's not a good idea, and we regularly get this question about cords for solar water pumps and also cables between the solar panel and the light fixture. Please do not splice any cables under any circumstances.
If you do modify the cables (or replace the cables that came with your product with other cables), your warranty is voided and you may damage your product. Sometimes the product can be repaired, but not always and there are no guarantees for repairs not covered by warranties. You also will need to pay both forward and return shipping costs and for the technicians time even if the item can't be fixed.
More and more often, extension cables for products with remote solar panels are available. Please call us to see if we can get an extension cable for you rather than trying to rig something up yourself.
Why: different cables are meant to carry different energy loads. Using the wrong type of cable (even if all the splicing is done properly) is unlikely to work.
We often see product descriptions that say “dusk to dawn” operation. Unfortunately, this does not really mean dusk to dawn illumination.
“Dusk to Dawn” is a standard term used throughout the solar lighting industry but it that really means the light will turn on at dusk (when the electronic eye on all solar lights senses darkness) and stay illuminated as long as there is stored solar energy stored in the rechargeable battery.
Most solar lights work between six and 12 hours each night. How long depends on how much sun you get on any one day and the type of light you have. Solar lights are great, but they do need sunshine, so remember:
Therefore, you may see less hours of operation in early spring, late fall and winter than during the summer. For tips on how to extend the run-time of your solar lights, please view this article.
First of all, it's really important that you get a pump strong enough to do the job you want. And, we recommend buying a pump a bit stronger than you need. You can always turn our pump strengths' down, but you can't make them work more than their stated capacity.
That's why we created calculators that let you:
Check and See if Your Pump is Clogged
In addition to making sure the solar panel is getting enough sun to properly charge the battery, pumps can get clogged with fish/animal waste, algae, pollen, and/or debris from plants.
Combination birdbath/fountains also can get blocked with seed shells or other debris, since many birds do like to eat near moving water.
You should regularly check your pump to make sure it’s clean so that water can flow easily. If it’s really dirty, you may also need to any hoses connected to the pipe.
When cleaning the pump, it’s best to hose it down or swish it around in a bucket of hot water without detergent or a mild detergent such as Dawn dish soap.
Harsh cleaners, particularly those with bleach or ammonia can permanently harm your pump. If necessary, a soft toothbrush can be used to clean the pump, but do not use wire or hard/stiff brushes as these too can cause irreparable damage.
Tip to Reduce the Chance of Clogged Pumps
We always wrap our pumps with a piece of nylon from old stockings or pantyhose and secure this with a rubber band. This helps prevent any large piece of seed or leave, for example, from entering the pump.
Algae can also be reduced by adding a small bit of copper to the water. Depending on the size of your pond or water feature, you may want to use a small copper piece that you can get at most craft stores (usually in the jewelry department). For larger bodies of water, we recommend adding a small copper fitter that you can get in most hardware stores or home centers. Small connector pieces (about an inch or so in diameter) cost around 75 cents to a dollar and can really help reduce algae.
This works because as copper develops a patina, the chemical reaction causes enzymes that discourage algae. This is one reason why algae is often a problem for ceramic, polyresin, or PVC water features but rarely occurs in bronze or copper containers.
No, and you can’t use it in a hot tub/spa either. This is because pools and hot tubs usually contain chlorine and other chemicals that will, over time, destroy the pumps.
For the same reason, most solar pumps or fountains cannot be used with salt water. If the pump (or pond light) can safely be used in salt or chlorinated pools, spas or fountains, the product description and user manual will note it is safe to do so.
If you don’t see “safe for salt or chlorinated water” in writing, do not use it in the product in salt or chlorinated water. Again, using any products against the manufacturer’s instruction will void your warranty.
Our motion-activated lights work with PIR (passive infrared) sensors and really don’t sense pure motion. Instead, they sense heat moving through the area. When it’s really cold, the heat of smaller animals may trigger a light more frequently than during warmer weather.
Most of our PIR lights (excluding our PIR solar lamps) have dials on the light that let you adjust the light and during very warm or very cold weather, it’s a good idea to change the settings. You’ll get less “false alarms” and improve the useful operating time of the light. For more information, please see our blog post on this subject.
The above is just a sample of the questions we answer most frequently. If your issue is not addressed, please contact us Toll Free at (866) 686-6903, email Info@SolarFlairLighting.com, or use our Help Form on our Main Help page.
This page is edited regularly to address questions about new products or seasonal issue and odds are your question may end up on this page.