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This is one of Poundland's solar garden light range, and it's one of the better items for appearance and hackability to ruggedise it against the elements and also customise it to your local sun levels.
The use of a AAA cell allows upgrading it to a higher capacity NiMH cell. The solar panel is a decent size, but could be replaced with a slightly bigger one if desired. The circuit board is classic and the main hack on that would be to replace the inductor to suit your local sunshine levels. The LED string can be replaced with a much longer one in your choice of colour. It's a standard copper-wire string of LEDs in parallel.
Things to improve to make your light last longer:-
Bypass the switch with a solder blob or fill it with oil to coat the contacts. They often corrode.
Coat the battery contacts and ends of the battery in grease or vaseline to block water and air from the contacts. That will greatly reduce the risk of corrosion, even if the light floods internally.
Coat the PCB liberally with lacquer like nail varnish or grease like vaseline, paying particular attention to the pins of the four pin chip.
Squish grease down the sides of the solar panel to stop water from seeping down inside. The solar panels are often very good, but can suffer from corrosion if water wicks in.
Changing the NiMh cell every few years can give a light a new lease of life, as they do age with the high number of charge cycles in a year and high summer temperatures and charge current.
Things to customise your light:-
Change the LEDs to your choice of colour and quantity.
Replace the LEDs with a custom soldered tree of clear 5mm LEDs to shoot coloured light out in all directions through the crackle glass. All the LEDs will have to match to share the current equally.
Upgrade the cell to a higher capacity one.
Swap in a new solar panel with higher current output than the existing one.
Change the little inductor to suit your local sunlight level. Higher inductance is lower LED current.
The datasheet suggests the following inductor values:-
10uH for 40mA LED current
15uH for 26mA
22uH for 18mA
27uH for 15mA
33uh for 11.5mA
47uH for 8mA
68uH for 5.3mA
82uH for 4mA
100uH for 3.3mA
You can also use 220uH, 330uH, 470uH and higher for even lower LED current for longer battery life in places with less sunshine.
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one of poundland's better offerings at the moment it is a solar-powered crackle globe and this thing has a base with a little solar panel inside it's got a string of 15 leds i could count them that would be pedantic i should turn it on and it has the globe itself that bainic caps on to mount it into the ground i'm just going to try and stuff these these have clearly just been wound around someone's hand and then stuffed in let's straighten them out and kind of make them different and stuff them in slightly less organized uh it also comes instantly with this uh clip together base that then goes into these holes in the bottom so you can stick it in the ground so it doesn't roll away in the wind so let's turn the light off and see what this looks like so uh this could be quite dark i'll turn the exposure off and turn this off it's not bad i mean it's not super duper mega bright but it's okay it's uh sparkly points of light the camera is actually more or less catching what it looks like and it's quite nice because the uh projected image from well you can see that if light shines through it you get that sort of that crackle project effect and uh to a degree you get that very slightly from these leds although they're quite diffused they're not like focus point sources so watch your eyes the light is about to come back the light is back let's take it apart and see how hackable it is and how easy it would be to make it more reliable because things do go wrong you'd think that because this globe is going to shed water over the outside and it's going to drip through these drip holes in the bottom that it wouldn't pose a problem with water build up inside but in reality you get condensation forming inside globes like this and then it can drip and if it lands the solar panel it wicks down the side if it lands in the switch it goes into the switch and causes it to corrode humidity is a terrible thing but there are ways you can bomb proof these lights i shouldn't really use the word bomb for a glass globe should i it sounds a bit destructive so let's take the screw out we have the classic little circuit board which i'll guess contains a four pin chip we have a triple a cell what capacity is it marked it is marked three 200 milliamp hour that's useful enough it's nice that it's got the little battery holder like that and we'll get the circuit board out one thing if you wanted to make this fairly resilient one of the first things to do would be to just get a soldering iron and bypass that switch completely because the switches are notorious for rusting inside and when they do make a bad connection so this is using the standard gonna have to use my magnifying glass here to see this it's using a brown oh that's a really small band in that inductor i think it's 15 micro henry but i'm not really sure i'd have to take a closer look at that but it's using the classic system that it's got little inductor it's got the little classic four pin chip to boost the voltage up and that's more or less it so things to improve you could seal this solar panel better you could use that approach of getting the weather resistant tape and putting over the top of it which would seal the edge there because that's where water is like to get and you could also drizzle glue down it uh does this have the little board around it i think it does because water wicks under these solar panels let's zoom down a bit they tend to etch with the laser before they put the final layer of that lacquer on they tend to actually laser a little border around the side so that if electrolytic action occurs and the water starts there causing it to corrode from the side it stops and it reaches that little laser line because the lacquer has gone through it but it's not always completely infallible the other option here is you could potentially put a slightly bigger solar panel on this and then you could up the size of the battery and then you could add more leds you could do so many things with this right tell you what it's fairly predictable but i shall draw out the circuitry of this little uh circuit board so we can see it and we can see what can be hacked on the circuit board itself let's explore it's a very standard circuit in fact it's the second circuit shown in the data sheet for the yx8050 which is this one here there are variations you can add a cadmium sulfide photocell if you wanted to turn on just a little bit later and notable things this data sheet also gives the inductor sizes and how much current flows so by using a lower value inductor you get higher current and it can go from 10 micro henrys 40 milliamps up to 100 micro henrys 3.3 milliamps in reality many of the british lights with the 10 little button cells they go up to 150 or even 330 micro henry so they just act as a dull marker light but they last a lot longer in the battery in this case it's 27 micro henry and that gives an output current of approximately 15 milliamps equivalent to what it be um let's take a look at this so here's the switch with its three positions those are the two contacts you just blob over with a soda joint if you wanted to bypass it completely the other option is to squirt some oil into it and then jiggle it backwards of course to coat everything but to be honest they always rust and give problems the circuit board itself uh if you want to protect against water and grass damage you can get either clear lacquer or nail varnish which is clear lacquer in a way and you can just paint over the whole back if you do that make sure you guns loads around these terminals here because it's not uncommon for water to build up and then cause corrosion between these terminals and the chip the other option here is to squish vaseline in and just smear the whole circuit board with vaseline and with the battery vaseline is a good option or any other grease because if you smear the battery contacts thickly with grease and then stick the battery in water just simply can't get to the metals to cause corrosion because the corroded battery terminals is a common issue the battery connects here there's a set of common negatives and the led connects here to the switched output really i should just go straight to the schematic shouldn't i changing this inductor uh if you're living a super sunny climate then you could change that to a lower value you could go down to the 10 micro henrys for that for the 40 milliamp output even the 15 micron would be an improvement likewise if you live in a super dark climate you could increase the value to 100 micro henry or something which would make the lights a lot dimmer but they last a lot longer in the battery let's take a look at the schematic so here's the chip the yx805o there is a nickel metal hydride cell and it is charged from the solar panel via an internal diode in that chip so the current flows from the solar panel through the diode and charges the cell if that switch is closed if the switch is not closed uh it won't charge it which is a shame because in a way it'd be nice to be able to turn the switch off and not of the light running but it still charges if you want that you can actually add your own diode you can put a diode over there and it will charge the battery even when the switch is off but you have to be careful because there's no current control no charge control so it will just keep charging and if you have it out for a long amount of time and bright sunshine it could actually damage the cell by over trickle charging it there's the inductor and when the unit detects that the charge voltage here has dropped below a certain level it turns on a circuit that pulses a transistor inside that switches this connection of the inductor down to the zero volt rail now normally this is at the lithium lithium hydride cell voltage you couldn't use lithium in this for this reason and that's not enough to pass straight through the leds but when this pulses when it gets dark enough initially this end is positive and this end is pulled negative and it builds up a magnetic field an inductor then when it turns off this angle is positive and this end goes negative and it effectively goes in series with the nickel metal hydride cell and that is enough to pass current through the led a common failure in these is the led starting to conduct and when you've got a lot of them in a string like this one feeling in a resistive state will start actually discharging the cell even while it's trying to charge in the daylight um that can be quite annoying other things it does it does seem to have a low battery cut off it seems to monitor the voltage in this pin and if it goes below about one volt it will turn off to stop the nickel metal hydride cell being discharged completely that is about it this is the main bit you can change here the little inductor so what i did was i cut out existing leds and i replaced it with my own i replaced it with 30 blue leds and i shall show you that so i'll take off the exposure i shot i think this is on i'm not really sure if it's on did i leave it on yes i did and it gives much more coverage inside it's just more points of light you could theoretically put a lot more in but there is a point that there if there are too many it's going to block the sunlight from getting to the solar panel but that's quite an improvement over what it was before and you don't have to limit yourself to how many they decided you could have inside it you could stuff this with 100 if you wanted it particularly if you were in a sunny climate and you reduced the size of that inductor and also enough sunlight sunshine sunshine that's like sunlight sunshine what's going to get past the leds that you've clumped up in here to the solar panel uh i suppose really watch your eyes the lights coming back here i suppose really you could also just go to town with the grease or vaseline and just push it down the side of that solar panel because if you've squished it all down the side of that then there's going to be much less chance of a water getting down there because it's already full so many things you can do to make these last better and also they're completely hackable you could also add a little connector again smaller and grease because uh if you don't it will it self corrode i've experienced that but there's many ways you can hack these and make them your own but there we go overall i would say that this is actually a really nice light it's got a nice big crackle globe it's got a fairly decent cell in it it's completely hackable and has the potential there's a bit more space you could put the slightly bigger solar panel in and you could adjust that inductor to make it more suited to where you live whether it had a lot of sunlight or in the case of well the isle of man loads of sunshine at the moment but not much during winter and that's when you know it'd be quite useful to hack it just to glow at a low level during the winter nights but there we go it's not bad at all what does poundland call this they call it a crackle ground light it's pretty good it's not bad at all.

17 thoughts on “Poundland solar crackle globe is a winner”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Phalos Southpaw's Bastelstube says:

    I am going to call it Sunshite from now on xD

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Leon Close says:

    Just a vote for lanolin grease as a waterproofing agent. It's non-toxic, sticky, dielectric, water-repellent, doesn't harm plastic or rubber and is good for your hands. It does smell a bit sheepy, which could be a plus or minus, depending on your preference.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars LostJohnny says:

    Crackle globe glass is indestructible. I dropped one on Poundland's floor and it left a crater.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars thedarkknight1971 says:

    TOP TIP!! My Ex (Now a good friend) absolutely loves her garden, and, with it, her solar garden lights (so much so I joke that peeps on the ISS could see the multicoloured lights from her garden lol). Anyway, We have learned that, to help 'Weatherproof' these lights (the ones with the solar panel exposed and on top of the light), using clear nail varnish around the edges of the solar panel (where the solar panel fits into the cutout in the plastic housing) helps keep rain/moisture out of the light so the light lasts a lot longer, thus no rust on the circuit boards too. So, just 10 minutes applying a layer or two on a new pack of lights, helps them lasting from just one summer, to 2 summers (she has 3 year old lights this way too) – even cheap B&M/Wilko/Lidl/Aldi solar garden lights. As I'm her 'Tech guru' – we're in our 50s – me 51 today, I also usually upgrade the rechargable batteries with pre-charged higher MAh batts (if they are AA or AAAs) as it helps with longevity of the batteries and, with the usually fitted 150 or 300 MAh, they don't last long. So, yeah, I 'Pimp her lights' lol 👍😏 😎🇬🇧

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Z Ack says:

    Crackle globe.. sorta what the worlds turned into with all the dumbassery breeding..

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Paul Drake says:

    I like the idea of incorporating a photocell to improve battery life.
    By the way have you seen the LED light bulbs with a switch to select warm or cold white? They must be using two runs of different LEDs, I can't see how it would work otherwise.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars william romine says:

    I found this channel only recently. I don't know what he is talking about most of the time because I'm 80, and didn't grow up with transistors, diodes etc. However, I am fascinated with his style of delivery ( "watch your eyes, the light is going on"). I find this channel relaxing and entertaining. I might be learning a little bit too.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ryan Roberts says:

    Can this be used to put curses on the neighbors?

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ian Farquharson says:

    Ouch, what did you do to your left hand? Slapped a running chainsaw?

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars kevgermany says:

    Grease.. Silicone also? What about conformal coating?
    Nice info, thanks.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars FiveleafCloverFPV says:

    Always doing the same. Cheap solar lights are nice but they need some work.
    Using liquid rubber for the board and silicon kit for the solarpanel.
    Also sometimes reducing some current with an extra resistor. And aluminum tape to get some light reflection to improve it.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ZacabebOTG says:

    With outside temperatures having been around 30°C for the last week and me not having any AC at home, I welcome the word 'sunshite' with open arms.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Philie Spiess says:

    Oh, like the dielectric(I think) grease you put in ya cables when ya replace your spark plugs/wires huh?

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Andrew Fidel says:

    Hack idea, grab a cheap LED disco projector and glue the crackle globe to it, could make for some very interesting effects.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars chris neppiras says:

    their single led ones are great clive

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! James Duncan says:

    "Humidity is a terrible thing"
    You got that right 😆

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars martK banjoboy says:

    Over here if you said poundland it would cause ppl. to think of the bad side of town.

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