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This is a much simpler light than normal. Instead of the multiple options including continuous low light at dusk, switching to higher illumination when movement is detected, this unit just has a single function - switch on when movement is detected at night.
Unlike many of the shady grey imports from eBay, this unit has the sort of protection that you'd expect to be associated with a big name trying to protect its reputation.
There's still the issue of the lithium cell being outdoors in deep winter though.
I emulated the lithium cell with the bench power supply and the LED current was as follows:-
4.2V 1100mA
3.5V 530mA
3V 289mA
That's quite high for 12 ordinary LEDs in that style.
After removing one of the resistors the current was 790mA at 4.2V
Adding an extra resistor between one of the LED panel wires and it's PCB pad would allow a balance between night illumination level and the available daytime solar energy to keep the unit topped up. A value of 2.2ohms to 10 ohms could be used
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#ElectronicsCreators

Before coming back to the isle of man, i popped into aldi to see if they had anything new and interesting that we have technical stuff and they didn't have anything really majorly new. But they did have one of these little solar powered garden lights and i thought well, let's get one and see if anything has changed. I'm pretty sure i've taken one of these apart before i'm not even going to look at the last one. If i have because i want to actually just start afresh, so this one has 12 leds, it's got one two, three, four: five: six, seven, eight nine ten eleven sections of solar panel, which is about five point, five volts roughly and it appears to just have a Very simple click on click off switch that doesn't actually do anything too fancy.

Am i going to be able to even yeah there. It goes uh, it just seems to be click on click off. It doesn't seem to have multiple mode settings like you know, the ones that, when it's dusk it will uh come on at a low intensity and then open it detects movement it'll go brighter. It doesn't seem to have that um.

So that's fairly straightforward. I shall turn it off since we've now ascertained it's a passion for red detector at night time when it detects the lack of light. Presumably from this panel it will bring the lights on when you walk past it. That is all it does.

That's all it needs to do. Sometimes those gimmicks are just a bit too much. It comes as a user manual, probably in every language, under the sun, as they do and a single screw. Oh, it's just a single screw, wow.

Okay, that's a very minimalist approach! That's fine, what's it say in the back, austria? Okay, that must be where they're based uh 12 times 0.2 watt lithium ion 1 200 milliamp hour, not super high capacity, but good enough for this. This brings the question up again about using the lithium ion cells outside, because it's clear that some some of them do explode, but it's usually down to bad protection so uh. What are we seeing in here? We'll tell you what i shall pop this circuit board out. So this batch can amount.

Yes, it is. I shall pop the circuit board out and we can reverse engineer it. One moment please: uh checking the light and scope of delivery notice risk of damage if you're not cautious, when opening the packaging with a sharp knife or other pointed object, you may quickly damage the light, for this reason be very careful in opening it. Oh no! Oh really, the only person i know who routinely damages things his opening is abe, but then there is a certain hint of a magic about that.

Let me zoom down on the circuit board and we shall explore it together. We have the dreaded microcontroller the blank microcontroller. It's got the common pins of a microcontroller and it's using three of those pins. It's got one extra one, possibly for testing but uh.

It couples to the pattern thread: detector, which is its own. Well, the actual mic control and the passion fret infrared detector have a dedicated three volt regulator, it's very textbook and to provide a nice stable voltage, as the lithium cell goes down, because this is a low drop out regulator. What that means is that, even when the lithium cells very close to 3 volts, this will still put out that regulated 3 volt supply to charge the lithium cell we've got a diode here coming from the solar panel, which goes straight to the positive connection. The negative connection to the battery goes via this little protection chip with the very odd numbering of mkd0h.

I did i drew a blank in that and let's get the usual, it's like the dw1 protection chip and mosfets for all integrates into one package really common. These days to switch the leds on when dusk is sensed and passive infrared movement is detected, noting that the passer infrared detector is an all-in-one integrated unit. Basically, it gets three volts and it puts out a logic level when it gets a pulse. It does all the filtering internally.

This is good because it's got a nice screened metal case that actually keeps the circuitry really simple when they integrate it like that um, but the when the passion thread, detector, detects movement and the chip detects dust via these two resistors. Here from the solar panel, it switches on this little mosfet over here in m22, which turns on the leds via these two one ohm resistors, and these are the hackable bit. If you live in an area with low levels of sunlight - and you don't need a huge amount of light at night, you could double the battery life by just removing one of these resistors, because there's two in parallel and alternative you'd want to get it even lower. If you don't need a lot of intensity, but want very long battery run time between meager cloudy day charges, you could remove both these resistors and replace them with something like a 10 ohm resistor or whatever.

You want to drop the current down to 100 milliamps and still give decent amounts of light, but a very, very long run time from the battery. That would also potentially give the possibility, i'm not sure the standby current is of charging the battery externally by external means. Right tell you what here is the schematic? It's very straightforward. This scrawny orange line was just an alternative to going jump, jump, jump and jump uh.

It's just to make it sort of easier to detect. To see where that's connected to here is the solar panel. 5.5 volt and it has across it. It's got two resistors, a resistive divider, which provides a signal over to the microcontroller.

Interestingly, and i've not marked the values on here - oh that's a bit annoying, but not to worry. I can just write them off here. This one down here is a standard value 100k. This one here is 3 6, 4, so 360 k very high resistance, but that's just to avoid wasting current doesn't need to be a low resistance.

The solar panel then charges the lithium battery via a diode. I thought it was going to be a shortcut. It is not it's a standard point. Six volt drop diode in a way makes you wonder.

If they'd used a shortcut, they could maybe removed. One of these strips of material off this solar panel, which is the most expensive, but they used a standard diode, there's plenty of leeway anyway, because the lithium battery is going up to 4.2 volt minus the that it's still going to leave about 5 volts from the Solar panel, so it's nothing really major. I measure the current under my workbench light at 40. Milliamp it'll be a lot more under sunlight, but it's not bad.

The solar panel uh charges the lithium itself, which has that protection chip and seizure that the mkd08 or mkdoh that has the classic little filter across the battery. The lithium cell itself of a 100 ohm resistor and usually a 100 nanofarad capacitor to provide a stable reference voltage, what the voltages across the battery, if it goes too low, the or too high this protection circuit will kick in and it will just disconnect the battery. The battery supply voltage, which can vary between three to four point, two volts feeds two things: it feeds the led array, but it also feeds a little three volt regulator called 6565zx or 65zx. If you live in america, it provides a stable three volt supply.

A couple of decoupling capacitors either side as usual. They've also allowed an extra de-covering capacitor here or just one of a different size. They've also added the option to add a couple of capacitors to the pass infrared for filtering in case it somehow produces glitches. They covered.

They covered their ass as they say. The three volt supply feeds the all-in-one, passer-infrared module and the microcontroller. The microcontroller has in its vicinity its own little decoupling, capacitor for stability and also a 510kv resistor, which the in the event of the power going down will ensure that the uh, probably when the battery runs low and the protection circuit kicks in this, will make sure The microcontroller gets a good reset by discharging those capacitors quickly when everything is detected, it can drive the mosfet the m22, via this 1k resistor and a 100k pull down resistor and that then lights. The cluster of 12 leds times 12 via these two parallel one ohm resistors, giving 0.5 ohm, which is going to produce quite a lot of current.

But, as i said, you can hack these. It's the really obvious big resistors here, that's them there. The uh passion thread. Detector has the usual arrangements a little clip-on cover with the uh polyethylene lens.

That's uh used to pass the infrared, but act like a lens, and it just basically creates a pattern of ridges of light that then cross over two little sensors on this, and it looks the differential between them. So it rules out ambient light because they cancel each other out ambient infrared, but when the hot spot goes in front of that lens, it modulates up and down. It's quite neat how they work. Um, yes, and that is about it, there's not much else to say about it.

It's a very straightforward little light. It has that hackable potential, but that is about the only way it can be hacked. Someone was asking recently. How would you hack it so? It just came on at any time during the day without having to wait dusk.

You would remove this resistor here because then it would think it was dusk all the time and it would just bring the light on because that was pulled down to the zero volt rail and that is about it. There's nothing much else to hack here. Oh this transistor, by the way, the m22, its fuel number is pjm2302nsa, so just as well, they abbreviated it. It's rated 0.9 watts, which is reasonable enough 20 volt, which is okay, 1.2 volt gate voltage.

That's the gate voltage at which it will turn on which is extraordinarily low. It can switch 3.3 amps, which is huge, and it's got an on state resistance of 45 milliamps. That's 0.045 ohms! That's very low! I've not come across the m22 before i always expect it to be an a2shb or something like that, but that is what it is. So there we have it uh the current aldi home protector, solar powered, led light claims to have a two year guarantee.

I wonder how well this will shed water if watch will seep in round edge here and get down inside or if it will get in around the center. You just never really know, i suppose. Ultimately, when it's screwed to the wall, it's going to shed down over the surface and gravity is going to carry away and it does have drain holes in the bottom, which is always a good thing. We can also improve that we could do things like lacquering.

The pcb, to a degree we could use a conformal coating. You could even smear the back of the pcb with vaseline or grease just to make it waterproof, but there we go that. Is it the aldi i'm trying not to seal it up the aldi solar powered garden, light.

18 thoughts on “Inside an aldi solar pir light with schematic”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 99guspuppet says:

    mine has 4 modes …… off … always on at night….. dim pir turns on bright for 15 seconds at night …… off pir turns on bright for 15 seconds at night 777guspuppet

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ant Llys says:

    Another cheap Chinese solar light that won't last a winter

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! maurice van doeselaar says:

    Would be nice if ave uses the mini chainsaw again. He is more into fireplaces nowadays

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MrKillswitch88 says:

    That resin doesn't last long at all and for lights that use it instead of glass protected cells I use spray on clear coat to keep them looking somewhat fresh.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Matthew Cobalt says:

    Not for those who stick these to the walls outside, please make sure you are not covering the panels with an unforeseen shadow.

    These things definitely will last, if only with a bit of brightness loss over time.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ccaatthheerriinnee says:

    Hi Clive, do you have any safe, space heater recommendations? I feel like every space heater on Amazon has a melted plug review.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Boodikii says:

    Aw, I thought it was a mini oven from the thumbnail. Would've been cool to see the electronics of that lmao

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars electronbox says:

    I wonder what the Flir would see looking through the PE lens?

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Todd Sharp says:

    I've had a very similar model on my barn for the last 7 years (just motion, no dusk). It's been working perfectly this whole time. Comes on every single night when I walk out to lock up the animals!

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Leak says:

    Fun fact: in Austria, ALDI is actually called HOFER, so the "Hofer Straße 5" here is named after their Austrian head office, which is conveniently located there…

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars pyromaniac303 says:

    Those PJM/SK/XX2302 trench FETs are all copies of the Vishay SI2302, there are loads of them on LCSC! Used them in a couple of battery powered products where I haven't got the gate voltage for something like an AO3404, they seem pretty robust.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars DC Allan says:

    The M22 has some very good spec's plus its a nice light too.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars electroshed says:

    Someone kindly put one of these on a dark, poorly lit flight of steps at the bottom of my road, but it's packed up – it doesn't look damaged but the solar panel/window looked translucent white ish – I'm tempted to go grab it off the fence post and see what's failed on it, money is on water ingress, Clive I think you've put some lacquer around the edges of your solar lights in the past for this reason?

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars GMManBZFlag says:

    Interesting, seems like if you turn the switch off it doesn't charge.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Wim Widdershins says:

    Here in Australia, the plastic around the single screw hole would probably craze and deteriorate in the sun, causing it to fall off the wall.

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gadgetboy says:

    You make me want to stick one of those lenses in front of the thermal camera on my phone.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Texas1FlyBoy says:

    I love these explanations. I'm learning so much. Thank you!

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gerry BVR says:

    Notice:- if you are not cautious when opening the packaging you may damage the leaflet warning you to be cautious when opening the packaging.

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