I love my neighbors garbage this box of garden lights was about to end up in the landfill until I came along, 25 solar garden lights, and new replacement batteries. Now to begin with batteries are not supposed to go to the land fill we have a special collection for them where I live, let alone plastics are recyclable and so are the electronics.
It didn’t take me long to find out why they were thrown out most of them were beyond repair.
Step 1: Sorting the Good From the Bad
Normally when I get a box like this I sort them visually into two groups smashed beyond repair and not smashed, then I go through the not smashed and sort them by working, repairable, and not repairable. To do this I take them apart, inspect them, and test them.
These lights are easy to dissemble they just clip together there is only 1 screw to hold the circuit board in place and a little calking to hold the solar panel in place, most of the solar panels were loose because the calking degraded from exposure.
Step 2: Testing the Lights
Oxide on the solar cell is easy to repair and most of the time won’t interfere with testing. To repair this see my Instructable “Making a 1 Watt Solar Array”.
On the ones that did not work I found that the wires circuit boards and switches were oxidized beyond repair.