Picture of Wind Activated Garden Lights

We are all familiar with the traditional garden path lights. In this project, I am going to show you how to make them react to the wind so that they light up and flicker when the wind blows. These wind lights add an interesting visual element to your garden decorations. 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Solar Powered Garden Path Light 
10 inch Flexible Insulated Wire
A Small Piece of Wood (about 1" x 3" x 1/8")
Paper Clip (or other stiff wire)

Drill and Bit Set
Soldering Iron and Solder
Wire Cutters
Screw Driver
Needle Nose Pliers

Step 2: Open the Housing and Locate the LED Leads

Picture of Open the Housing and Locate the LED Leads
Begin by removing the light assembly from the base and opening the housing. Most models will just unscrew. If not, you may have to cut or pry open a glue seam. 

Once the housing is open, locate the leads coming from the LED and where they connect to the rest of the circuit. Cut one of the two leads at the midpoint of the exposed wire and remove any insulating material. This is where we will be connecting two new wires that will act as a wind sensitive switch. This switch will connect power to the LED only when blown on by the wind.

Step 3: Drill Holes in the Housing

Picture of Drill Holes in the Housing
First, drill holes for connecting the wires of the wind sensor. Carefully observe where all the internal components are positioned inside the housing. Find a location on the bottom side (the side where the LED is located) where no components are mounted. Then, in this location, drill two 1/16" holes about 1/4" apart. 

Then, drill holes for mounting the hanging wire. Find two spots on opposite edges of the top side (where the solar cell is located) and drill holes that are large enough for whatever string or wire that you plan to use to hang the light.

I grew up in the midwest with tons of wonderful fireflies, but now I live where there aren't any and these would be a great substitute!

sdakan2 years ago
I did this. Very easy and the rare times there's a decent breeze in my backyard, they work great. Lots of fun.
bkitchell2 years ago
What is the brand and model # of the solar powered path light?
I stopped by the garden section when I was at the store today and they still had some in stock. They are Westinghouse Item# 577105-08W. But unfortunately there aren't many results when you search for it.
These lights actually don't have any labels on them. I found them in the garden section of my local Walmart for $0.97.
bkitchell2 years ago
Thanks. I did find the exact solar lights at Walmart for $.97. However, they had a Westinghouse item #577105-08W.
Great idea! Could anyone suggest a way to add a fade or firefly-like pulse to this project?
If you add a capacitor in parallel with the LED, it will cause the LED to fade in and fade out.
Very well done. Clever thinking.
Brosiman2 years ago
Nice work!