Very cheap solar light : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Wal Mart carries a Coleman rechargable lantern with two four watt fluorescent bulbs. It can be recharged 1000 times per the box. A charge will produce 9 hours of light on one bulb or 6 hours with the switch set to both bulbs. The price is $35. It has a male DC jack so that a small 1 to 5 watt panel can be used to recharge. The solar panel / panels will have to be purchased elsewhere. It is Coleman part number 5348H700.

Four lanterns would be $140 plus spare bulbs. Thats 2 lanterns for current use and 2 in a recharge state. Safer than Aladdin lamps inside.

Check out URL for the largest collection of solar items that I have ever seen.

-- Ed Stevens (ed@terraworld.nat), February 07, 1999


Ed: That sounds like a lot of money to me, plus the purchase of the solar panel. What happens in the dead of winter when the sun doesn't shine and your low on voltage? It is true that it is safer than petro fueled lamps, which will be the most reliable? I'm banking on my oil lamps. I don't have any kids to worry about knocking things over, just my cat Sammy, but we've trained her well.

-- bardou (, February 07, 1999.

The solar panel would be 30 to 45 dollars. In the winter it just takes longer to recharge. As I stated we also have Aladdin lamps. Backup upon backup. My suggestion is as cheap as it gets for solar light hands down.

-- Ed Stevens (, February 07, 1999.

How much are the replacement bulbs? If I went that route, I would buy up all I could get. I agree, always have a backup plan.

-- bardou (, February 07, 1999.

Does anyone know if any of the solar rechargeable lights meant for garden use are bright enough for reading?

-- Old Git (, February 08, 1999.

last fall, a local chain department store had a sale on solar powered sidewal lights at about $20 each. bought four, but should have bought more. Clever lens design, 1 superbrite LED, 1 removable AA rechargable battery. Gives about 2-3 candlepower. safer than candles or oil lamps. True about needing good sunlight, but they run on alkalines, too.

-- Lewis (, February 08, 1999.

Thanks, Lewis. What brand?

-- Old Git (, February 08, 1999.

I have oil lamps and have ordered a Baygen windup lantern, but I keep wondering if I want my house to be the only one in the area with a light.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, February 08, 1999.

I just went and purchased a couple of these Coleman lanterns at Wal-Mart and am pleased. The lantern is dim enough to probably not attract much attention from outside your house. You couldn't comfortably read a novel by it, but you can see well enough for it to be very useful. No fuel to mess with. 15 hours to a full charge (depending on the size solar panel), 6-9 hours of light on a charge, and 1000 charges per battery, if the label is to be believed.

I got two lanterns, to have one in use and one charging. (And might get more.) Extra bulbs at $4.47 each, two bulbs per lantern (but you can run the lantern with one or two bulbs, seems not to be much dimmer with just one.) I would want to also have a brighter source of light, too, when needed, such as a Petromax. It's true that bright light is nice, but not really necessary a lot of the time, and avoids a high profile.

Now a question on the solar panels. Edward, which of the panels on your site do you recommend? (1) It has to have the right input jack to use with the lantern's 12 volt connector. (2) I believe it should have a diode(?) to automatically stop charging, so as to not OVERcharge the lantern's battery. (3) It has to have enough wattage so that it will charge in the stated 15 hours. That is about 2 days of bright California sun. Longer than that is just too long (but I suppose one could make up for that by having more lanterns charging in reserve). So, what wattage panel would do a full charge in no *longer* than 15 hours of good sun? You mentioned that a panel in the range of 1 to 5 watts would be right. The lantern is labeled 400mA (or .4 amps), so here is how I figure it:

amps x volts = watts

.4 amps x 12 volts = 4.8 watts

If this is correct, a 5 watt panel would be about right. (A 2.5 watt panel would work, but would take twice as long to deliver the charge.)

As a matter of interest, how closely does one have to match these calculations to the wattage of the panel? Would it be harmful to use, say, an 8 watt panel here, or is it just a waste of money? (That's supposing I wanted to get a higher watt panel for some other use.)

Now you see how much of a clue I don't have, but I'd like to get started educating myself. Thank you for the tip!

-- Debbie Spence (, February 08, 1999.

Re light shining from windows--without street lights even a slight glow from a window can be seen for miles, hence the army of Air Raid Wardens in wartime Britain who patrolled as darkness fell, making sure no chinks of light showed anywhere through black-out curtains. Curtains may not do the job, there's always a chance that their folds will be disturbed. How about cut-to-fit plywood? Or get fancy and make some nice insulated shutters, hinged to the wall.

-- Old Git (, February 09, 1999.

Old Gitty up-

Sorry, butI don't recall the brand, and the packaging is long gone. They were made in the far east, so I supect they are imported/distributedin the US under several brand names.

Some I've seen are incredibly overpriced, so watch for sales.

One reason I liked them is because they can be mistaken for candlelight from outside.

A dim bulb from way back-

-- Lewis (, February 09, 1999.

BTW anyone who followed my calcs above, in my question about the solar panels, please take my calcs with a grain of salt. There is a lot more to it, as I am finding out by studying up.

-- Debbie (, February 09, 1999.

Home Depot has a solar powered motion detecting "outdoor" light which is designed like a halogen, but has one of those very bright flashlight bulbs with lots of reflective surface in the lamp. The are about $60., but could be useful indoors and outdoors. The solar panel is included and can be mounted several feet away. I am going to mount at least one to shine on my firewood storage and garden area of my backyard, plus I am going to try and hook up some sort of indoor bell that will ring when the light is activated. This was the lowest cost y2k alarm system I could come up with. When the bell rings and the light comes on, I will let out the dogs and grab the 12 gauge.

-- Bill (, February 09, 1999.

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