Restoring Plastic Solar Cells Like New





Introduction: Restoring Plastic Solar Cells Like New

About: I like making something from nothing so I don't through away items until I know for sure it has out lived it's usefulness. So you might want to Follow Me to see how nothing can become something Useful.

It doesn't take long for the Sun to damage any plastic and solar garden lights are no exception. This spring I decided instead of replacing the old solar yard lights and try restoring the plastic cells do to oxidation. This was not allowing the batteries to fully charge.

Check out my other project I just published Found a way to use damaged solar light that their globes broke do to the Sun's UV rays but the cap that contained the solar cells are still good.

UPDATE: Check out another Solar Light I Made using Old Solar Garden Light

Step 1: Item Needed for Restoring

I used RAIN X because it is a well known brand. I am sure other brands of Headlight restorer would work. Just follow the instructions and be surprise of the results.  Now  I get a fully charged battery. You can see the results in my photos.



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    I haven't looked it up yet but do the lights use a nimh AA rechargeable battery? Someone told me they just put a regular AA in it and the light comes on now. But I think it would use a rechargeable.

    1 reply

    They ARE rechargeable - do NOT recommend using a standard battery. Spares can be bought at Home Depot or online. Remove the old battery so you can compare it to replace with proper size and voltage

    I tried cutting board oil on one light - restored it wonderfully - no sanding etc. needed. It's out in the yard, but want to give it some time for long term results. I have also seen clear gloss paint used, shines it up without any further work. Testing this method also - but so far so good!

    2000 grit sandpaper from Home Dept (or any hardware store) does an amazing job with very little work ? Just restored more than a dozen of ours when considered at first to just buy more.

    cool. I seen some cloudy solar lights out in the yard that is just laying around as junk. I will try this out. I would like to find these in garbage bins haha, I could use the solar cells for a fun project or send them off to other solar hobbyist.

    in the past i have also discovered that brasso works just as well. the old metal canned brasso read at near the bottom that it could be used also on watch crystals and high impact plastics so i thought i will ry it on "headlight lenses" we used a 2 step process devoloped by 3M that required a air powered tool to do the scrubbing. very expensive. brasso was less than 3 bucks 3M took at least 30 mins to do brasso less than 15 with only a cotton cloth and clean as well if not better. cheaper quicker. Just sayin.

    Cool I always pick these out of garbage piles with cloudy cells and throw them back thinking they are no good next time ill try this

    For the plastic cleaning. Have not tried but seen on instructabales, hot soapy water, then old toothbrush with toothpaste. Doodado

    Oo nice. I should try that. i have a few that are a bit confused. One light is on all day and the other just is ca-poo-t.

    I wonder if this would work on restoring my glasses? Just that I'm too afraid to try them on something that I need daily and make them worse.
    What do you think?


    Toothpaste and elbow-grease works well too!

    3 replies

    my husband said the same thing this morning...

    Good point, toothpaste might take it off but how long will the elbow grease last without applying a sealant.


    Probably as long as it took to go cloudy in the first place ;-) The electronics are ok but the plastic is made by the lowest bidder.

    You should be able to paint a dab of clear varnish on the top... The best would  be a clearcoat varnish, like what is used on polycarbonate motorcycle windshields (polycarb on it's own is very strong - but too soft and prone to scratching), but clearcoat is horribly expensive, so a quick dab of any old varnish should do after hitting it with toothpaste.

    Oh, and if you have an electric drill with a polishing pad, you don't even need the elbow grease - wear goggles though - it splatters :)

    great idea, I have several curbmined solarlights I can use this on

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comment glad this helped you out. If you solar lights you might want to check out my other project.

    OMG! I had no idea this was even an option. You just saved me $100.00. Bless you all over the place.

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comment glad this helped you out.