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In and around my garden I have several little dark areas that I either can't get electricity down to in order to get a light into there or it's just too much hassle, but either way, there's many dark place that can be hiding some nasty surprises which my lovely dog has left for me.
So what is the answer?
Well, as there's no electricity I am down to either battery power, wind power of gas power, and to be honest, the first on the list is by far the easiest choice as there are many battery operated systems out there that can light up my life... or more that dark place in the garden.
The only downside about battery powered devices is that they tend to run down the batteries quicker than I'd like them to, which means that I end up spending a lot of money when it comes to replacing them all in one go. Which leads me to go for rechargeable batteries as this means that I can charge up some batteries which in turn saves me constantly going out to buy more and more AA's.
But constantly replacing batteries, even rechargeable one, made me think about how I could charge the batteries whilst they were still inside the battery pack. Which led me to going out and looking into the good old world of solar powered rechargeable garden lights, in which is one fantastically weird world of light and style.
When I was in that world I came across many many many, (now that's many), lights of all different shapes and sizes. All offering light, some offering to brighten up your life all day long whilst some just come on when you go near them.
And it is the latter than I have placed around my garden in those dark areas, not only just for illuminating the area that was once a dog mess mine field, but also for adding a little extra security when it comes to people walking onto my property.
One certain light, or more solar power light that I have invested in, getting my hands on three of them in fact, are full on solar powered security lights which mean that they come on when they feel under threat, sort of?
The lights that I am talking about are in fact the Evo15 Solar powered Light with PIR, which, as I said, are security lights that don't need a fully qualified electrician to install all around your garden.
* In the box I got a few things...
* The light itself, which includes the battery pack which is attached to the light box.
* The solar panel with cable
* Mounting brackets
* Screws and plugs
Plus, easy to understand diagram instructions.
* What does it look like..?
What? The box? Well, it looks like a square bit of cardboard which has a few images of ..... Ow, you mean the light, not the box.. Sorry.
Well, this solar powered rechargeable light system is made of a black plastic material which makes it waterproof and nice looking, giving it more of a chance of fitting into most peoples style in the garden, or shed, or garage.
The actual solar panel is small, (ish) about 175mm long and 130mm wide, being about 20mm thick, but that's just the solar sensor unit. The sensor is attached to a base plate by what I can only describe best as a ball and socket joint, which makes the entire unit moveable by a full 360° so that it can point anywhere.
The light section is a little smaller, being about 140mm long, 125mm wide and the same depth, although this light section is more a curved style than the rectangular sensor section. This section is again on a ball and socket joint which can turn a full 360° so that it too can point almost anywhere. Plus, to gain better movement, the light can aimed upwards or downwards. Although why you'd want to aim it skywards I don't know? But each to there own I suppose.
Below the light section is the motion sensor which looks like a small white ball that you might mistake for the start of a very small wasps nest. But it's not a nest, it's the PIR sensor which picks up any movement around the area that this light is position so that the lights come on, staying on for about 25 seconds, roughly.
* Are they easy to fit..?
Yes they are, and you even get the screws and plugs in the box so there's no trouble with finding the right bits.
The little instruction leaflet gives you a rough idea how to fit the sections to the walls, or where ever you want to put them.
You need 3 screws and 3 plugs needed for each part, 6 in total, with the screw holes being easy to access with a long cross head screwdriver so there's no need to learn how to bend metal in order to screw these to the wall.
Simply put, you just put the brackets where you are planning on attaching them. Mark the three holes on the bracket with a pencil, or pen, or awl. Then you drill the hole. If it's brick you will need to use the plugs, if it's in wood then just screw the bracket straight on.
Do this for both the light section and the solar panel section and your done.
Then you simple connect the little connector to connect the two sections together, ( sounds like a few connections there but only one is needed).
Once done you're ready to light up the area, once you've flicked the slider to the on position.
Job done... you're up and running.
* Where can it be placed..?
Almost anywhere really as there is no need to wire this up to the mains electricity, which means that it doesn't have to be placed near a plug socket in order to work.
It does have a cable, which is what connects the solar panel to the light itself.
This cable is almost 5 metres long, which means that you can get a bit of distance between the position of the light and power from the solar panel itself, which means that the solar panel can be positioned in the best place to collect the power of the sun.
* Can it light up the world..?
Well, maybe not the world, but it can light up a good area of the garden, an area where that the light is actually pointing at.
The light has 15 little LED lights in a cluster which are all housed under a piece of clear plastic that is designed to spread the light so that the light that comes from the cluster of small bulbs is a lot brighter.
The actual range of the sensor is supposed to be about 6.5 metres, which isn't too bad but as I can't really state this as gospel I don't want to say that it is 6.5 metres. What I can say is that, depending on how you've positioned the sensor itself, there's a good range around the sensor that lights up when you approach it.
* How long does it last..?
This is the one of those 'how long is a piece of string' question, but I'll do my best to answer...
A fully charged battery pack can get a good 16 hours of light, which means that it can go on all night if it keeps getting 'tripped' with animals roaming through your back garden.
However, the time it takes to fully charge the batteries depends on how much sun you get during the day. To get a full charge however does take a couple of really sunny days, although it takes a lot longer if the lights keep coming on, taking the power away from the batteries that are trying to charge up.
You could take out the batteries, put them into a mains charger and charge the batteries that way for a good 12 - 16 hours in order to get them to full power before re-inserting them into the device. This is not necessary as a normal day of light gives the solar panel enough light to charge the batteries enough for the light to work on and off through a night.
* What about maintenance..?
To be honest, there's no real maintenance needed for this light system, apart from maybe a quick wipe over once in a while, concentrating on the sensor and the solar panels so that they continue to work to there best abilities.
Other than that it's actually nice to let a few cobwebs, dust, garden debris and what ever else, to land on it as it makes it look 'lived in' sort of.
If you want to keep it as clean as it was when you first bought it then just rub it over with a cloth so that you get the garden debris, flies and spider webs off it.
* So what do I think then..?
Marvellous, simply marvellous indeed.
They not only look good but they do exactly what they are supposed to do, and they do it very brightly indeed.
The 15 little bulbs inside the plastic casing really do brighten up with some 'candle power' as they sometimes call it, which makes some single bulb lights look pretty dim indeed.
I like the way that both sections are on a ball and socket connection as I can turn the lot around to where ever I need them, especially when it comes to aiming the solar panel to towards the sun when it's at its highest point, giving the panels the best chance of catching the glow to charge up the battery. And the actual bulb section is just as easy to point to where I need the most light, moving it with ease whilst knowing that once I'd found the right place it would stay there, even in the highest winds, which can get bad in my back garden, (especially after the wife's cooked me a meal).
The sensor picks up movement with no trouble, although you can't really move the sensor position, only the light itself, so the sensor is stuck to the position you screw the box to, if you know what I mean. But it's obvious from looking at the sensor exactly where it will pick thing up so there's no real hassles in it lighting up when things pass by, even animals as small as a rat or even a mouse.
You can add a small slither of tape to the lower section of the sensor if you don't want certain parts of the sensor to pick up motion. For example, on the lower section so that animals can pass by on the ground without tripping the sensor.
This works but isn't really necessary as when the light comes on it only stays on for less than ½ a minute which doesn't take up much battery power.
I do find that the time that the light stays on is a little short at times, flicking off if I'm in the middle of something. But one slight movement and the light comes straight back on. So there's no harm done really.
What more can I say about this 'no electrician needed' gadget that really does add a glow to where ever you put it?
There's not a lot more to say really.
It does exactly what it is supposed to do. It lights up an area without the need to worry about adding to you ever expanding electricity bills.
It's bright, nice looking and adds that little extra security and safety where ever you put it.
* And the cost of lighting up your garden..?
This is the good news, apart from the news that the local burglar has been caught breaking into the local hard mans house and has suddenly disappeared, is that this solar powered security light sells for about £20.00 each, although I managed to bag three of them for £45 in a triple pack, which was nice.
* Are they worth the money..?
Yes, without a doubt, they are worth every penny in my eyes.
I've bought several different type of these lights over the passed few years, with some managing to give enough light for a while but then unable to withstand the seriously mad weather that we've been having. I've had others that have been as bright as a blackout on the dark side of the moon, which offer absolutely no way of avoiding those little presents that my dog leaves behind for me to find.
But this one is a little different. This one offers enough light to illuminate the mine field whilst withstanding the bad weather that we all love in this country.