Introduction: Turn a Solar Light Into... a Solar Light!
In this, my first (successful) instructable, I will repurpose a solar walkway light to replace a lamp post fixture that was previously gas burning. So in effect, I am repurposing the light to make a different light.
Step 1: Dismantle the Light
Shown here are the parts in the kit, consisting of the light, a hort section of pole, and a plastic spike. Throw all these items in your spare parts bin except the main housing. Oh, and you can trash the instrcutions, too... we won't be following any of those today.
The next image shows the main housing after dismantling. We're only interested in the white plastic piece with the lamp, the solar panel, and the circuit board/battery pack. Carefully detach the solar panel from the main housing and discard all of the housing.
Step 2: Prepare the New Housing
Remove the existing fixture from the lamp post, and then remove the interior workings. Mercifully, mine was already detached from the gas line, and I recommend that you consult a trained professional if your gas line needs to be altered or detatched. No sense trading in that old light fixture for some good old fashioned third-degree burns.
Step 3: Detatch Solar Panel Wiring
Shown here are the plastic casing (the white circle) which has the mount tfor the circuit board and the little battery compartment and cover built into it.
Un-solder the two wires leading to the solar panel from the circuit board. Pull the wires completely free of the housing and set the housing aside. We're re-wiring the solar panel next.
Make a note of which wires attach where so you can put it back together again.
Step 4: Prepare the Solar Panel
Unsolder the two wires from the solar panel and re-solder two new, longer wires in their place. Do not resolder the other ends to the circuit board yet. Make sure the new wire is long enough to reach from the roof of the old fixture to the circuit board.
Next, drill a hole large enough to accomodate the two wires on the low center of one roof side. The solar panel will lay on the outside of this roof panel with its bottom edge resting on the roof edge, and the two wires will go through the hole to meet the electronics inside.
I also took this time to repaint the old fixture with a nice fresh coat of black spray paint.
Step 5: Run the New Wire and Re-Attach to Circuit Board
Thread the two wires from the solar panel through the small hole in the roof and resolder them to the circuit board.
In the image here, the wires needed to run through a small hole in the back of the white plastic thingie so that I could re-mount the circuit board in the little rectagle it came out of.
Your situation may vary slightly, or might not resemble this image in any conceivable way. Hard to say.
Anyway, pop in a NEW battery to test everything, as the supplied re-chargeable battery may not yet have a charge in it.
Step 6: Suspend Light From Ceiling of Fixture
Next, thread some galvanized steel wire through the top of the black metal fixture to make a three-point hanging system. The lower ends of the wires can thread through the exisiting screw holes on the outer edge of the white circuit board assembly, or you can drill new holes.
The terribly unfortunate image here shows the inside of the metal fixture with the wire wrapped around one metal crossbar.
Yes, I know.
Step 7: Mount Solar Panel
Mount the solar panel on the roof of the metal fixture. I used clear silicone all around the solar panel to seal it from the elements. If you have to clamp it in place until the silicone sets, as i did in the image, then clamp ever-so-gently so as not to crack the solar cell's glass front.
Step 8: Finished!
The fnished light. What a beauty.
By the way, my neighborhood Lowe's had the solar cell walkway light on the markdown shelf for half price (paid $8.60). I alreadyhad the wire, so for less than 1 month's cost of actually burning gas, I now have a self-renewing light source.
Oh... Uh... I mean, I got the solar light from the trash dumpster at the local police station... Yeah.