* I am not an expert nor do I have a degree in electronics stuff. I am a Do It Yourself guy who like to open, fix, and upgrade electronics stuff. I either watch videos on YouTube or learn by myself doing things. I do not have high tech pricey tools. When I first started doing this, I accidentally killed or damaged the Solar Panel PCB (printed circuit board) controller and a small volt meter that I used to adjust the volt boost step up module.
August 2017- The seller on Amazon who I have bought from have stopped selling 'Solar Panel Starry Cooper Wire String 26ft 120 LED Lights 3.7V 18650 Battery'. The listing now show 'Solar Panel Starry Cooper Wire String 26ft 120 LED Lights 1.2V NiMh? Battery'. Searching farther deep, I found several (same design but with minor changes) solar panel + string lights but at a higher price. I have also bought one (Purple LED) from Walmart and it seem the same seller still have them. I noticed the seller also sell 2x solar panel + string (Purple LED) lights.
So you have bought a single (Icicle, Qedertek, or any name) Solar Panel Starry Cooper Wire String 26ft 120 LED Lights and you are wondering...
- How many more do I have to buy to fill up the space of where I want them to light up?
^ Can you imagine seeing solar panels crowding the space?
- Maybe you are not satisfied because it is not that bright or doesn't last for hours as you hoped?
^ The sun not out long enough or cloudy (bad weather) during the day.
I have made few changes such as:
- Removed string LED lights from PCB controller
- Additional external solar panel charging (5.5V 1.6W 266mA)
- Boosted battery output voltage to 12V with DC Adjustable Step Up Down Boost Power Converter Module 'XL6009'
- Added wire with 4 connectors (support up to 4 strings from a single battery)
- Larger (> 2000mAh) 18650 batteries
Things you need:
- Wires (- black + red)
- Solar Panels 5.5V 1.6W 266mA for additional charging
- 2-Pin Waterproof Connectors
- DC Adjustable Step Up Boost Power Converter Module 'XL6009'
- Larger (> 2000mAh) 18650 batteries for 2 or more lights and longer run time
About supporting 4 strings:
Option 1... 3x or 4x 0-50 LED lights
Option 2... 1 or 2x 100-? LED lights (I put the ? there because I don't have strings higher than 120 LED lights)
Note about Option 2- I was able to use 3x 120 LED lights WITH the additional solar panel (1.6W 266mA) and the upgraded 18650 battery that lasted the whole night.
I have 8 of them but 7 are working so far. 1 has a dead PCB but the solar panel still can charge so I added a connector to charge 7 others. In total, I can have up to 21-28 (3x or 4x 50 LED) OR 7-14 (1x or 2x 120 LED) strings lighting up. I have 21 strings (red, blue, green, warm white, cool white, purple). I use them for every Holidays: Valentine's Day (red), Saint Patrick's Day (green), Independence Day / Forth of July (red, cool white, blue), Halloween (purple.. can't find orange LED copper string), and Christmas (red, green, warm white, cool white, blue).
Step 1: Remove String Wires
Remove string wires and the hot glue stuff holding the string.
Step 2: Wires and Connectors
Put together 4 wires and connectors. Why 4? I don't want to have many solar panels crowding around the area.
It doesn't have to be 4. 2? 3? Up to you.
I use 2-Pin Waterproof Connectors. Available on eBay and Amazon.
Don't forget to check which two wires + red or - black.
Another wire + connector for the additional solar panel support. I drilled a small hole in the plastic case to fit wire in.
Step 3: Adding DC Adjustable Step Up Boost Power Converter Module 'XL6009'
I should mention is you need a volt meter while you adjust the volt output on the module before you connect or run lights. If you connect a string light before adjusting the volt on the module, you can possibly kill it. eBay and Amazon.
When searching for 'XL6009' on eBay and Amazon, I found multiple versions of 'XL6009'. They all look the same but if you looked really close, you will see different numbers on them.
Soldering is required. I have tried without soldering (tying wires to module) but the string light flicker when I move / shake it. From now on (I have 4 more), I will solder wires to the module to ensure lights stay on.
Step 4: 2-Pin Waterproof Connectors for Strings If Any
Step 5: Additional External Solar Panel
Bad weather. Cloudy days. Lights dim or go out after 1-3 hours. Not good.
After looking at what available on eBay, I settled on (5.5V) 1.6W 266mA.
Both integrated (230mA) and external (266mA) solar panels = 496mA (FULL SUN).
For your information: Most USB Plugs provide 500mA.
Awesome don't ya think?
In case I didn't mention in other steps, I drilled a tiny hole in the plastic holder to allow additional external (solar panel) charging.
Step 6: Extras: Extension Wires
Allow me to put strings somewhere far from the solar panel controller.
Step 7: Done?
I think I have covered everything you need to know. Should look like these pictures above.
Let me know if I forgot something.