Why Do My Solar Lights Come on During the Day
Is your solar light faulty, and you don’t have any idea what’s going on? No worries! Here’re some DIY tips to save your solar light and make it work again.
Solar lights are automatic and eco-friendly lighting devices. They are set to turn off automatically when it senses the fresh start of dawn. Solar cells will then work their way during the day to convert sunlight to energy. When the night comes, the LED light uses the current stored in batteries to illuminate the streets and pathways.
You might already know that these solar equipment parts don’t come very cheap like regular lighting systems. You would definitely want to spare your solar light from going to the trash if it’s not working.
Spare your grievances as in this article, we’re going to explore why your solar lights stay on during the day. We’ll also guide you on how to troubleshoot, repair and maintain them.
10 Reasons Why Your Solar Powered Lights Turn On During the Day
1. You Placed Them Somewhere That’s Shady
When you place your automatic solar light somewhere that projects an overcast on its panel, it will assume that it’s night time. This will prompt the solar panel to stop working and will automatically turn on the LED light even if it’s still day time.
The solution is simple.
Locate your outdoor solar light where it can get direct sunlight and away from shadows.
Or at least put it somewhere high enough that’s shadow-free so it can fully recharge for 4 to 12 hours with direct light. For solar garden lights, solar yard lights and pathway lights, this can be easy as they are usually lightweight. You can easily relocate them.
If you larger lighting units such as solar street lights or solar pole lights that are difficult to frequently change locations, you can do one of the following:
Change the angle of the solar panel so it can harness more energy.
Solar street lights and some solar garden lights are provided with a remote control device so you can conveniently maneuver the direction of its parts.
Relocate the solar panel.
Split-type solar street lights have their solar panel separated from the lighting fixture. Hence, you can relocate the solar panel where it can receive an ample amount of bright light, away from shadows.
Choose a Stable Location Where You Can Permanently Settle Your Solar Street Light.
Some integrated/all-in-one solar street lights have easy-to-transport designs that can easily be relocated. Choose a perfect spot to place these lights if you found out that its current location is not suitable for it to work properly.
2. They Don’t Get Enough Sunlight Indoors
Indoor solar lights are usually placed near windows to charge because the sun hits window panes. However, it might not be placed good enough to receive direct sunlight that’s why they stay on during the day.
The solutions are, again, a no-brainer.
Keep the windows and curtains open
If you found out that it’s not charging, try opening the windows or curtains. Even though the window is transparent and the sun can get through easily, it’s still more efficient when the panels get sunlight directly without any obstructions.
Change the location of your solar light
If the previous solution didn’t work, put them outside to charge. Then bring them back in if you need them.
3. Light Sensor/Solar Panel is Dirty
The solar light’s sensor is one of the major reasons why most solar lights come on during the day. As outdoor solar lights are exposed in harsh and dusty conditions, there is a huge possibility that your sensor is blocked with dust.
Fixing this won’t need a muscle to do it. That is, when we are talking about smaller solar lighting units. However, if you’re dealing with solar high masts or a 10-ft solar street light, you might need to call an expert to do this for you.
Locate and Clean the Sensor and Solar Panel
Where to find the light sensor in solar lights?
You can easily locate it somewhere near the solar panel. Look for a small circular shape that has a wave drawn across it.
How to clean the solar panel and sensor?
Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the solar panel and the motion sensor eye. Do not use soap as it may leave patches on the surface, blocking the faces of these components.
Test the Solar Light’s Functionality After Cleaning
Once you finish and they are dried, assemble them back in place. Use a light object such as a cardboard plate to cover the panel and see if the light turns on. Then remove the cardboard and see if the light turns off automatically after a 1 minute.
Keep Them Away from Dusty Areas
To minimize maintenance, try to place your solar lights away from dusty areas.
If at this point, your lights are still faulty, either the sensor is completely damaged or the battery is probably the culprit. But first, try to check the system settings if it’s set right before concluding anything. In the next paragraphs, we’ll show you how.
4. Light Sensitivity Settings Might Be Set at High Level
This setting determines how dark it would be before your solar light should activate. At some instances, you might have set it at the highest level of sensitivity. This translates that even the slightest bit of shadow can trigger the light to turn on. Even the shadows of fireflies can trip the sensor.
Set it back to its appropriate level
The common solar flood lights usually have this knob for adjusting the light sensitivity level. Typically, it’s labeled as a “Lux” dial. If you’re not sure about the setting, you can refer to the manufacturer’s manual.
5. Override Switch is Switched On
The override switch in outdoor solar lights override the light sensor by letting the light stay on even if it is not dark outside. Most people turn this on in solar security lights so they are left on until daylight.
Turn off the override switch.
You may have accidentally turned this on so your solar light won’t turn off during day time.
6. Light Duration Setting Takes Too Long to Switch Off
Some solar light brands have this kind of setting or knob. It basically commands the solar light to remain on after the sensor triggers the light to switch off. when the light sensors are tripped. This ranges from ten seconds to, at most, an hour.
Readjust the Light Duration Setting
Try readjusting this setting to a minute. Then test it again if the solar light can switch off automatically by itself.
7. Water/Moisture Penetration
If it’s not the dirt that’s causing the problem, it might be because of the moisture or water penetration in the system.
Solar powered lights typically have IP ratings stamped on it’s specification sheet or body. High quality manufactured solar lights usually have IP ratings of IP44, IP65, IP66, IP67 and IP68. These ratings are identified as ‘waterproof’ and should be able to prevent water penetration.
For example, solar street lights with an IP65 to IP68 ratings should be able to drain the water from the inside without affecting core parts and electronics.
However, some lights might have been poorly manufactured, letting the water in. Even a little water can cause your solar light to malfunction and give faulty readings.
If Still Under Warranty, Contact the Manufacturer
If your newly-purchased solar garden light has suffered water ingress issue the moment you place them outdoors, you would have to contact the manufacturer.
Do not open it by yourself as it would void the warranty. You can send a picture back to the manufacturer so they can provide replacements.
Drain the Water Away and Let it Dry
If the warranty expires, you can try to solve this case by yourself.
Simply open the cover and wipe away the moisture.
Let it dry for a couple of days before reassembling it back. Make sure the batteries are intact.
Allow it to charge longer before testing if it works.
8. Flickering Solar Lights Due to Faulty Wires
Solar lights malfunctioning may also be due to a faulty wiring prohibiting it to function normally. Again, if it’s still under warranty, it is better that you contact your manufacturer about the matter. If not, you can troubleshoot and fix the wires by yourself.
Fix Broken Wires
Check the solar unit for any faulty wire and check wiring continuity. If you saw wires that are bitten by squirrels, use electrical tape or solder it to patch them back together.
You may also want to read our “How to Fix Broken Wires on Solar Lights” article.
9. Faulty or Damaged Sensor
If you have tried cleaning the sensor but it still doesn’t work properly, it might be that it’s broken or not working. You can inform the manufacturer about this if it’s covered by the warranty, but if not, you can try to find a replacement.
Buy a new sensor
To avoid added costs, you can ask the same supplier if they can provide you with the same model for the sensor or you can search the internet for the model.
If you do not know how to do the wiring yourself, you can refer to this helpful instructable: How Do You Repair the Light Sensor on a Solar Light. Or you can ask an electrician to fix it for you.
10. Faulty or Damaged Battery
A faulty or damaged battery can also be a major reason why your light doesn’t switch off during the day.
After you have checked, troubleshoot and cleaned the sensor, and still haven’t rooted the cause of failure, you can now turn your attention to the battery.
Signs that you have a faulty battery:
The battery drains away quickly.
It might cause your solar unit to switch on during daytime.
How to Troubleshoot
To find the problem with the solar battery, start by testing each part of the circuit, all the way to the charging source.
Replace Your Batteries
Try to replace your batteries and see if it will work. The typical batteries for solar lights are NiCd, NiMH, lithium ion and lithium iron phosphate.
Solar yard lights, solar garden lights and older solar lighting equipment usually have NiCd or NiMH rechargeable batteries. You can easily buy them over the counter or online.
Most solar street lights nowadays have Lithium batteries. They are more efficient, less environmentally-hazardous and have longer lives than nickel batteries.