Converting Solar Lights to Electricity

One of the most popular questions from our readers is how can you convert solar lights to electrical power in order for them to be mains-powered. Or, you might be looking for a way to convert solar lights to be powered solely by batteries.

If you’re considering using a transformer to change your solar-powered lights to electrical, then this quick guide is for you. 

In this article, we will go through the process and the materials you need to convert your solar lights to electricity. 

So, let’s get straight to it!

solar lights

How to Convert Solar Lights to Electrical

Before you convert your solar lights to electrical power, you need to consider the reasons why you want to convert your solar lights. In some cases, it will be more cost-effective to buy a new set of mains-powered lights instead of spending time and resources on converting a solar light to mains-powered or battery-powered.

However, if your solar lights have emotional value to you or if they are very unique, it is understandable that you want to keep them. 

So, here are the steps to convert solar lights to electrical:

Check the voltage of your solar light bulbs

To convert any solar lights, you first need to check the voltage of your solar light bulbs. Knowing the voltage of your lights will help you to determine what transformer you need to use to convert your solar lights. In most cases, common garden solar lights that use incandescent LED bulbs will have a voltage of 3V.

solar light

Check whether your solar lights are wired in series or parallel 

You need to check whether your solar lights are wired in series or parallel to calculate the voltage required to run your lights. For example, if your lights use 3V incandescent bulbs and they’re wired in parallel, you will only need a 3V transformer. On the other hand, if your lights are wired in series, you will need a more powerful transformer, such as a 45V transformer.

Draw a new configuration plan for your lights

Now that you know the voltage of your solar light bulbs and whether they’re wired in series or parallel, you need to draw a new configuration plan for your lights. In this plan, you should include all your calculations and how the lights will run. 

If you can choose between configuring your lights in series or parallel, it is usually preferential to run your lights in parallel. This is because if your lights run in series and one bulb stops working, all the other bulbs will go out too.

Use an exterior grade transformer to rewire your lights

After you draw the new configuration plan for your outdoor lights, you need to shop for all the materials required to convert your solar lights to electrical. Usually, the most important material you need to buy is a waterproof transformer with the voltage calculated in the previous step.

waterproof transformer

It is crucial to get a transformer suitable for outdoor use if you want to use your lights outside. Ideally, you want to use a transformer with an IP rating above 44.

Hard wire your solar lights

Finally, you will need to hard wire your solar lights to your chosen transformer. You will need a wire stripper and a voltage detector to hard wire your solar lights. You need to test your lights to ensure they work properly before you plug them to a mains power outlet.

hard wire solar lights

How to hard wire your solar lights?

The first step to hard wire your solar lights is to expose the white and black cables. You can use a wire cutter to easily cut the electrical cord and expose the wires.

To expose the wires, you need to take a straight edge blade and cut down the length of the cord. This will usually be just a few inches. Make sure to expose enough of the cord to wrap around the electrical connectors in the transformer.

materials needed to convert solar light

Next, expose the copper wire on both the white and black wire.  You can use the proper size hole in the wire strippers and it easily strips the plastic coating from the wires. 

Finally, you can wire the solar light to the transformer. Make sure to attach black to black and white to white. Use waterproof electrical tape to protect all the wire connections and the main electrical cord.

Solar Adapter for Outdoor Lights

If you’re looking for a way to convert your mains-powered lights into solar lights, you can consider a solar adapter for outdoor lights

Developing your own solar adapter for outdoor lights will allow you to create your solar lights, which means you will not only save on energy bills but also contribute to a cleaner and more efficient planet.

To develop a solar adapter you need 4 system components: a battery bank, a solar panel, a charge controller and an inverter. These components will have to be set up into a system that will work as a solar adapter to convert your electric lights into a solar-powered solution.

elements of a solar adapter
 

Learn more about Solar Lights

If this blog post has answered your question or if you would like to learn more about all things related to solar lights and outside lights, please visit our outdoor lighting blog.

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