Instructables
I sure loves me some sun jars!  They incorporate several of my favorite things to mess around with:  LEDs, Solar panels, hot glue, man it's all there and they look great to boot!

However, there is one big fat problem:  the sun!  When it's dark out, oftentimes the places I'd really like to have a little extra light are just the spots you can't leave a sun jar due to lack of direct exposure to sunlight. 

The obvious solution to this dilemma is to separate the solar panel from the sun jar.  I extrapolated this a bit further and realized that the only thing you actually need in the jar is the LED, and since you don't have to cram all the other electronics in there, you don't have to stay with the classic sun jar shape.

With this in mind, I combed craigslist for some suitably shaped glass blocks, went to Home Depot for the appropriate solar light, stocked up on speaker wire and came up with the Solar Powered Walkway!

***UPDATE 5/5/10:  If you build this project yourself, or something similar, post some pictures and I'll send you a patch!***


****UPDATE 1-1-11
If you are the first person to post a picture of your completed light-up walkway to the comments, I've got a 3 month pro membership to instructables that's all yours!


 
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andreinst made it!20 days ago

Hello. I saw your instructable and decided to make my own. I added some photos. You can see that I made work the led inside the glass brick but also the original one from the solar lamp. I also used white gravel, I think it's nicer like this. I don't have very explicit photos because I just wanted to try and see if I can do it. Now that I made it work I will do at least 6 more.

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depotdevoid (author)  andreinst18 days ago

Hooray hooray! The first completed "I made it!" of my walkway! I can't wait to see the completed version, but in the mean time, a digital patch and a pro membership are on their way!

Thank you very much! :) Im planing to finish this project the next week. Anyway, I will come back with more photos and explications. I also was thinking that some of this glass bricks can be part of a child's room wall and at night you can have there some light. Or even around the house. Many ideas in my head right now. When I will do something I will post an let you know. Thank you again.

Andrei from Romania :)

ovation618 days ago

This is really an excersise of thinking outside of the box. What a wonderful idea and I may attempt this myself. As an artist I can appreciate this from an artistic viewpoint.

Thanks for sharing and wish me luck when I get to trying myselt

Dale Augustson

Springfield, MO

depotdevoid (author)  ovation618 days ago

Good luck indeed! I can't wait to see the results!

kneeonhigh21 days ago
they aren't discontinued just special order.
jbowman-223 days ago

You can buy predrilled blocks with a hole in the side, they are a good size hole but still easily sealed. They also come in a smaller size and a half block for using around flower beds and the like. Hobby Lobby carries them.

Also, you could add a decorative reflective foil inside thru the hole, or paint a reflective paint on the backsiide to increase your light output.

depotdevoid (author)  jbowman-223 days ago

I've seen those pre-drilled blocks, and they would definitely be cool for different permutations of this project! The one downside is they're pretty expensive. If I wanted to redo this but actually put something inside the blocks, I'd pick them up used (as I did before), and get a set of glass boring bits from harbor freight.

Menard's ran the kind with a predrilled hole and plastic cap around christmas time last year for like $2 a pc.

mchambers522 days ago

About to start up this project this weekend. The Lowes and the Home Depot both discontinued the 8x8x4 glass blocks! I have improvised and will be creating blocks using a plywood base, a 2x2 frame and a plexiglass top. I ended up selecting this as my Solar/LED source :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007G83WD6/ref=oh...

I took the advice of the reviewer and ordered separate 2800 mAh AA batteries.

depotdevoid (author)  mchambers522 days ago
Hey, that looks like an awesome alternative! I'd love to see the result!

Don't forget to check craigslist to see if someone in your area has some of those bricks used.
BrockGrimes22 days ago

You can get a cheapy LED light at an auto store that plugs in the lighter port, It'll have a module that makes the lights change color (if you have color change leds) or blink with music you can tie into this. Also if you want to go powered instead of solar, a computer power supply has 12v, 7v, and 5v connectors. If you get the micro or mini LED christmas lights you can use the control module to make the blocks twinkle at night.

depotdevoid (author)  BrockGrimes22 days ago

Great ideas! I'd love to see your version!

cagstorm22 days ago

Am I the only one who now has Billie Jean stuck in my head?

Cool walkway BTW!

tswill223 days ago

You mentioned waterproofing the connections with silicone, and I recommend that you consider Goop or epoxy instead. Silicone releases acetic acid during cure and I have seen it attack solder and result in loose connections!

Tswill2

depotdevoid (author)  tswill223 days ago

Thanks for the heads up, I wasn't aware of that!

Use GE Silicone II, I have checked multiple sources and It is safe....

read here http://hackaday.com/2012/06/04/potting-electronics...

and http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?...

rnorton223 days ago

i love this for several reasons, the led's, the solar, and the blocks i love them and love the hundreds of uses. one other thing i love about the idea is most of the yard lighting i see get tore up from lawnmowers and knocked around over time this takes care of that. i cant wait to show my gf,. thanks man.

depotdevoid (author)  rnorton223 days ago

Right on, thanks! If you make your own version, show me some pics!

Silicone will only attack the surface. If it's a good solder joint to begin with, it will be fine. Just keep it away from exposed copper and component leads on circuit boards. The speaker wires will definitely need something. They are designed for indoor use only and any moisture will attack them, even in places where you won't think it will like inside the solar panel. I have even seen them corrode on the inside, right in the middle of a run or even just sitting on the shelf. Beware of cheap speaker wire.

Interesting, I'll make a note in the instructable!

pattiemelt23 days ago

Great 'ible - I plan to make these for my yard as soon as I get my house.

If you're worried about the connection & bulb being outside the blocks, you can drill into the blocks using a glass/tile bit then insert the bulb & wire inside. Seal the hole with silicone or Goop. Or you can purchase the blocks already drilled at craft supply stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. To protect the wiring that runs from the solar panel to the blocks, you can run it through buried PVC conduit (the gray stuff). It takes a little more digging, but might be worth it if you're worried about corrosion. You can get regular low-voltage wire that is made for outdoor use, too.

depotdevoid (author)  pattiemelt23 days ago

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm pinning this one to the top!

jmans123 days ago

You can try 7 color changing leds ,Maybe try some tin foil to reflect more light up. Try not to

crumple the foil to much the smoother it is, the better itll work.

depotdevoid (author)  jmans123 days ago

Cool ideas!

tugiid24 days ago

Good jobs :)

depotdevoid (author)  tugiid23 days ago
Thanks!

I realize this is a bit old now but I saw it on the front page of the site. (not sure how that works) Anyway, I was curious if anyone ever got the patch or the 3 month pro for posting their own versions? This is a great instructable and now reminds me of SOLAR FREAKIN ROADWAYS!

depotdevoid (author)  gravityisweak26 days ago

Thanks, glad you like my project! It is old, but the mods will occasionally re-feature an instructable that's drawn a lot of views (this one has always had lots of pull from other websites that link back to instructables).

In answer to your question: no! In the four and a half years since I posted this, not a single person has shown me a picture of their finished pathway! I've given out a couple of patches for new suggestions for solar lights, but that's it. I'd love to see yours if you make one!

Challenge Accepted!

Lyattaw3 months ago

maybe I am not understanding this project completely but are you gluing/sealing a light bulb that you get with the solar panel kit you buy to the side of the glass blocks? Or are you breaking open the glass blocks and putting the light bulbs inside the glass blocks?

Lyattaw Lyattaw3 months ago

Thanks.

depotdevoid (author)  Lyattaw3 months ago

I am gluing the bulb to the side of the block, but I don't use the one that comes with the solar panel kit. Those are almost always white or yellow, so I got some other colors and used those instead.

byurczyk3 months ago

I'm planning on making these but instead of glass bricks, using the bottoms of wine bottles. :) thank you for the wonderful idea and instructable!

depotdevoid (author)  byurczyk3 months ago

Cool idea! I'd love to see how it turns out!

cflorer5 months ago

If you are going to take apart an existing solar light set and use it, you will be just FINE. Basically, all you're doing is extending the wires on the LEDs using speaker wire. However if you try to hook up LEDs to a solar panel without a charge controller and knowledge of the LED voltage, you're just going to fry a lot of LEDs and get frustrated. What I did was get the Solar Powered Multi-colored LED light sets from Harbor Freight (3 set ups for 12 bucks, batteries included) and lengthened the wires and put the LED itself inside a white spherical glass lamp shade and it was WAY cool and changes colors smoothly.

i haven't read through all the comments so i am not sure if this was asked or suggested...
would it be possible to place solar panels under each glass brick... then they would be just like the cheap solar stake lights you buy at walmart. Buy a few of those, take em apart...have to rig up the light sensor differently, just a thought. I rent so i like things to be portable for now. Easy self contained units are very easy to pull up and move.
depotdevoid (author)  MohawkMarine1 year ago
Yep, definitely doable. I did it my way are several: the main one is that where the blocks actually lay in my path is in the shade for most of the day, but I'm able to run the panel up onto my roof. There's also the matter of keeping the panel clean while mounted inside or under the bricks.

Sounds like you've got an instructable of your own brewing here though, I'd like to see what you come up with!
I am right in the middle of a move at the moment. But if i do decide to do this at the place i am heading (my parents) i will post a picture on here and give credit where it is due.
Tweinzerl1 year ago
Looks like the Kmart link is dead and the Northern Tool doesn't stock them in store in my area. What do you think of these? http://www.amazon.com/Homebrite-Plastic-Landscape-Solar-Wunderlight/dp/B003CIA2SM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1371657063&sr=8-5&keywords=solar+deck+lights It would be separate solar panels but I could hide those in garden art.
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