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I think the main feature of this light is the combination of the solar panel, LEDs and circuitry onto a single PCB with a thick resin coating. It means that the only other components needed are the NiMh cell and the switch (which can be shorted out for reliability.)
If I sound a bit lacklustre in this video it's partly because I was tired when I made it, and was also slightly disappointed at the lack of hackability due to most of the components being potted in resin.
The housing seems sensibly designed and will tend to sit above the surface it's positioned on, reducing the risk of water penetration.
If modding this I recommend adding some resin, hot-melt or other glue to the wires on the back of the PCB to avoid them snapping off.
If you enjoy these videos you can help support the channel with a dollar for coffee, cookies and random gadgets for disassembly at:-
http://www.bigclive.com/coffee.htm
This also keeps the channel independent of YouTube's advertising algorithms allowing it to be a bit more dangerous and naughty.
#ElectronicsCreators

I've seen these particular lights in various outlets and i'm pretty sure that poundland has had these for a while, but i've never made a video about one well, i don't think i made a video about one yet uh, but as this year is very kind of it's Because a covert poundland doesn't have a lot of stock, i thought well, let's take a look at one of these. It is, it is all ground. Mounting light comes with protective film, it's got two leds and uh. The four strips of solar material each strip is about point.

Five volts adds up to about two volts. That's used to charge the battery what's odd about these particular ones is that they have a little inductor and uh step up circuit on them. Actually, on the actual printed circuit board itself, it comes with this stake, i'm pretty sure the previous ones. You could uh actually screw it down, but this one doesn't seem to have that or it could be wrong.

Maybe it is we'll explore it afterwards, but it has a stake, so you can mush it into the ground and visually. Well i'll. Show you what it looks like. I shall turn it on.

I shall take the exposure off and then i shall turn the light off and we'll see what it looks like. It's, not bad. It's, okay, the light is coming back. Watch your eyes.

Let's take it apart at this point. No i'll show you that afterwards because there's something interesting, so i shall pop these screws out and we'll see what batteries. I wonder if they've used a 10 little button cell or if they've used something beefier like a tripoli or double a be quite good. If they've used the latter, these have been available in various forms over time that this thin shim of material, the solar module, a little plastic cover over it just sat into a little recess, is saturn to recess.

Let's see if i can get it out of the recess: oh, it's a decent sized battery, so this system is different from the normal solar lights and there's only two connections coming off these one of these is going via the switch to the positive and the negative Is going to its own dedicated terminal, but one of these terminals here the positive is actually the positive connection to the solar panel. I'm just going to mark that i'm going to mark it positive just in case. I do something terrible and i shall mark that one negative for the battery and this air panel is very familiar because i've had one before which has four leds. I wonder: if did this one come from poundland as well, not really sure, but if we zoom down in this you'll be able to see that uh it has the inductor and the chip on board right.

Tell you what i'm going to see. If i can read this number, oh you know what is that uh? The resin has not stuck to the top of that right. One moment please, i'm going to see if i can find a data sheet in this, so that chip is the qx s521. This is the best i could find online.

I couldn't find a specific data sheet for it, but it's like the classic uh solar garden, light type chip. So here's the led here's the little nickel metal hydride cell in this case. It's a this one values that it's a miserable 150 milliamp hour. That's very small! Is it going to be super light? Yes, that's like these batteries.

You get from ebay, that say, 9 900 milliamp hour, but they're really absolutely light and they're just a fake value. That happens a lot i've not tried buying one recently. I should so here's the solar panel, what they call solar plant here and in daylight, there's a little module in here a little bit of circuitry that measures the voltage from the solar panel, but also in here, there's effectively a diode, so that uh, when the sun Shines uh: it effectively charges this battery. The inductor is 47 micro henry.

In this instance, it's marked four seven zero, four, seven and zero is a multiplier, that's quite a low value. That equates to a higher current when you use a lower value, uh inductor and maybe they've done that, because it's small i'll show you this other one, because it's uh easier to pick up and the bigger by using a small inductor, there's more chance of the resin Going over the top, though it's just kind of surrounded by the resonance wicked around it, as with these leds on both these units, if anything, it might be a good idea, given the top of that chip was exposed, it might be a good idea to drizzle a Bit more resin across it, but here's the operation uh when it it detects. It's dark. This circuit kicks in and effectively it bridges this connection over to the negative, but it does it as a series of high frequency pulses and when it does that this end starts off negative and gets pulled at positive and that end gets pulled negative now.

Normally the battery that, though, it's effectively across the led with inductrin series, very little current is going to flow. It's going to be leakage current or anything else, because the led typically needs at least about two volts before it will start conducting the case of the white leds, it's about 2.4 volts before they start conducting. So this 1.2 volts or a peak of 1.5 volts fully charged. It's not going to go through that.

If you've ever seen these uh solar lights that uh, when it's you hold it out in daylight, the led lights up what's actually happening. There is the solar, the the battery has uh failed and it's gone impedance and what happens is the solar panel is effectively just lighting the led directly that points usually a faulty battery or the little battery switch connection which is uh in sears of it, but in Normal operation, when it wants to boost the voltage it this end, is connected to the positive battery. This end gets pulled negative through the circuitry, and then it turns off and when it turns off, this end goes positive. This end goes negative.

Effectively goes in series with the battery. The battery's already got about 1.2 volts. That then adds a bit more on top and then the current can flow through the led make it light. So the led is actually lighting as a series of very high speed pulses.

That's about all there is to say about these: it's a very minimalist circuit, so there's scope that uh the worst thing that could happen really in these uh. The construction of the unit is fine. It's got loads of drainage holes around the edge if water did get in this theoretically going to find its way out of those the middle area, the circuit board sits in quite snugly and then there's this plastic housing that then cups over the top of that. It's quite well designed but uh, technically speaking up there, i've actually just pulled it off.

That's that's annoying right, okay, so uh that quite easy to break as well. I've just snapped a little strip off the back of that. It's no great deal. You could tack a connection onto that, but also, if you really got desperate, you could probably drill a wee hole in if you wanted to salvage one and uh access the soda joint that way, but uh yeah quite easy to break that's good to know, but the Middle bit has no drainage holes, which means that there is a risk that moisture is going to gradually ingress because, as the heat of the day heats, this up at the air will expand.

And then, if it's raining and then there's a rim of water around the edges, the air cools down again at night it'll suck the water in it's just it happens with lights. It happens all the time uh this one. I could actually swap this one to that. Is it going to be compatible? Is it the same size, let's just shove it in and see what happens? Uh yeah, it does appear to be compatible.

I'm guessing it's probably really from the same manufacturer. It's the sims earlier, but that's a poundlands solar light. It looks all right, that's reasonable construction! You have the option for putting a better battery inside um and it looks okay, just be careful when you take it out, you can snap these wires. I shall try repairing that just because i feel i need to, but there we go poundland's solar garden up light.

It's very simple: it's nice that the electronics are mounted under the resin and protects them. There's no separate circuit board. All that's on the back is the switch which can be shorted out to be honest because they're unreliable when water gets into them and the battery which uh it's fully accessible. So it's a very serviceable.

Looking light.

15 thoughts on “Poundland’s solar uplight”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rob Johnston says:

    I'm sick of my solar lights in winter not lighting up for as long, can anyone point me in the direction of what transformer I would need to run 8 lights or how to calculate what amps I need without burning the leds out.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ian Hosier says:

    Given the crappy weather in the UK and the relatively cheap price of solar cells you would expect the solar cells to fill the entire available space. As is I could imagine that you would need a years charging for a hours worth of use.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars loosingmymemory7 says:

    Your poundland store looks like our walmart here, that is to say what you consider low quality cheapy stuff is our normal £10 stuff here. They sell those silly puck lights for $12 a piece here. It would be nice to know how to solder in a Lipo battery and explain how that chip knows a full charge vs low charge.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars just_noXi says:

    I love the cheap lights that come with a replaceable battery. You can put in a decent NiMH and it works all night. Almost like it was designed to be not-so-cheap. I wonder if clive does that and if so, what replacement he uses.. 🤔🔋 I'm going for the biggest capacity I can afford, keeping in mind, that it probably be dead in a year. But so far, they are working 2 years+. I also adopted the waterproofing tape technique. It's awesome.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gydo194 says:

    my dad bought some of those fake "9900mAh" 18650 cells off of AliExpress a few years back. (regardless of me warning him they were going to be fake!) They ended up measuring a miserable 400-450mAh..

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mikemotorbike says:

    The planned obsolesence exemplified by this lamp defines the very problem we are trying to avoid going forward. The problem is scaricity conscousness. The disbeif in the universe supporting your viability. Based on a material conception of life, we sees ourselves as a non rechargeable battery. Fear of not having enough energy makes us corrupt meaning with lies, obfuscation, and sleight of hand. This also defines poverty.

     When we buy disposable crap, we are effectively crawling on our stomachs like lizzards to our inevitable demise. Those who provide for those who wish to buy both contribute to the worlds destruction, as we drown in our own filth. Buy quality that lasts, it honours the people who made it with an understanding of the renewable nature of our rechargeable batteries and eternal light.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chilly Brit says:

    Is it just me that closes my eyes for a second or two when I hear "Watch your eyes" ?
    Maybe it's just a hangover from being around welders and plasma cutters, when someone says such a thing the instant reaction is look away or get gritty arc burn 🙂 Most people only look at the bright light once, maybe twice before learning that one!

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars keith king says:

    so these would be used as garden pathway lights. placed each side of the path,!! looks sturdy enough at 1st glance.. of course im typing at the beginning of the video. soo we will see after Doctor Clive Operates if they are any good,.. ; )
    P.S. When your tacking back on that connection that snapped off, burn a little hole in the case were it the condensation builds up.. you were more than likely going to do that, but just in case it's skips your mind.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars coondogtheman1234 says:

    I have a few of these under the Bell & Howell Disk lights. One of them kicked the bucket so I'm going to modify it.
    Looks just like yours but has four LEDs and the solar panel is twice as large as yours.
    Man yours is built very cheaply but they are great for spare parts. I don't have a poundland store here but there are Dollar tree stores. I buy lots of cheap junk and either tear it down for parts or modify it.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Moritz von Schweinitz says:

    I would love to use garden lights like these for IoT applications – somehow detect if there's enough charge in the battery, fire up some basic boost circuit and power an ES8266 for a second or two to send some sensor data, and then turn off again.

    I have however not found a super simple and cheap way to do this.

    Quite a pity, because these waterproof, solar-powered and battery-included thingies would be perfect for that.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Maximilian Thermidor says:

    Yo Clive… I was just thinking something. So I started watching these videos in high school, and I just finished my master's degree in electrical engineering and got a real job. All the while I've watched most of your videos. You sorta helped to kindle my passion for breaking electrical things and seeing that makes them tick, without you I might even been a mechanical engineer 🤮

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gianluca458 says:

    I NEVER seen in my Life a 150 mAh AA BATTERY. The solar cells looks to little to produce enough energy and… 150 mAh will let the LEDs glow for 8+ straight hours? [255 mWh] Suspicious, isnt it? 😅😂
    BUT, at least, you can replace it with something better… Like a 2800 mAh one

    Detailed teardown, thats NICE.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Joey Mormann says:

    They should engineer solar cells that can emit bright visible light. Since solar cells are essentially light emitting diodes in reverse, it would be pretty cool if they could maximize them for both power collecting and light emitting. You just have a polarity switch when the light goes out. Now LEDs are poor solar cells and solar cells are poor LEDs I don’t see why they couldn’t be made to be good at both. Someday. If people put their mind to it, I’m sure it would happen.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars cype man says:

    I love my garden solar lights and love trying to repair them with no knowledge of electronics at all. It's usually rust or duff batteries anyway.
    The point you made about a duff battery and the LED coming on during the daylight was interesting. I came by this accidentally a few months ago with one of my lights.
    I cleaned it, replaced the battery and bingo.
    Thanks for the technical explanation though. 😂

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars phil955i says:

    I have 10 of the 12 LED version sunk into gravel around the edge of my patio. They're bright enough to give a nice uplighting effect to the fence panels at night. So far very reliable. But they're cheap enough to replace if & when they do expire.

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