STRIP DOWN: OUTDOOR SOLAR LIGHT

HOW DO SOME THINGS GET MADE SO CHEAPLY?

Let us look at this Chinese made outdoor solar light.

It is made to look like a rock and has a small solar panel on the top and 4 bright LED’s in the reflector lamp. The outer shell is resin molded with a recess for the solar cells, a hole for the battery box and another hole for the lamp.

The battery box has a hard cover simply molded in plastic, no material callout, and is held onto the battery box with 4 self tapping screws.  There is a hole at one end for the switch and the ‘ONOFF’ words next to it. There is a rubber gasket that protrudes through the cover and allows the light to be turned on and off. This rubber also makes the water tight seal for the battery box.

Inside the battery box there is a mechanical push switch, the battery and a small PCB. The battery is a 1.2V Ni-MH of 600mAh. The rubber is also molded with a bump for the switch.

The PCB is very simple with a resistor and a blocking diode for the solar cells.

The battery box is glued in place with lots of glue. This would have been placed by hand with a hot glue gun.

The lamp is also glued in place but looks like there is not enough to cause a proper seal so water is allowed to get in.

The 4 LED’s are on a separate PCB that is also glued to the back of the chromed plastic reflector.  Again there are no material codes on the parts.

A close up of the LED PCB. The wires are 0.2mm in diameter.

A small hole is in the top of the shell for the wires of the solar panel to go through which is then glued in place.  The actual solar cells are only 4 strips which are 3mm x 30mm, giving a total area of 360mm2. The cells are in a flexible resin with a black backing.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNT

The product is made from a few cheap and simple parts, the electronics are low quality with the battery already showing signs of corrosion. The solar cells appear far bigger than they really are. The assembly would all be manual labour and the main fixation is via the hot glue gun. But it does its job and considering the price its not badly finished.

DOWNLOAD

We have put together a PDF (22.3MB) of this STRIP DOWN, you can download it here: OutdoorSolarLight.pdf

If you do not have Acrobat reader please click here to download it.

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