Flag Pole Solar Light




This Instructable is for converting a readily available solar flood light into a solar flag pole light.

My wife bought me a flag pole for the front of the house recently, and although I love having the flag out there every day, it started to get tedious putting it up every morning and taking it down every night. I wanted to display the flag all the time, but the ex-Boy Scout in me would not fly the flag in the dark. I did a little research online and came to the conclusion that all solar pole mounted lights either had terrible reviews or cost a fortune. I am pretty cheap, although I prefer to think of it as "frugal". :-)

Basically, those standard solar flood lights are ubiquitous, so the cost of quality production tooling is spread among millions of units. Flag pole lights are a relatively specialized low volume item, so in order to get the same kind of quality, they have to charge many times the amount as for standard floodlights, or make them very cheaply. High production volume = low cost.

Anyway, a few years prior, I had found a high quality metal LED standard flood light on the remainder shelf at the local big box store that originally sold for $35 but was on sale for $10.50. It seemed like a great deal so I purchased it and put it away and forgot about it. When this project came up, it seemed like a cheap place to start, but I needed to figure out a way to adapt it to the flag pole. Luckily, along with the typical ground spike, it also came with a flange mount. I went back to the big box store and wandered around looking for a solution.

Step 1: Building the Saddle Adapter

To make this whole thing work, I needed to make some kind of saddle to interface between the flag pole and the flange mount that came with the light. The flag pole at around the location I wanted to mount it was about 2 1/2” in diameter. 2” PVC pipe is about 2 3/8” in diameter and PVC fittings are cheap, so that seemed like a good candidate for making a saddle. As you can see, I purchased a PVC 2” x 2” x 1.5” slip tee and a 1.5” plug for the 1.5” leg of the tee to make a surface that I could attach the mount.

I cut the 1.5” leg of the tee down to make the saddle more low profile, and then I cut a disk out of the 1.5” plug. The slip fits on PVC parts are tapered, so cutting that leg down meant the hole was now smaller, so I sanded the plug disk down with a disk sander around the perimeter to fit in the now smaller hole of the 1.5” leg of the tee. Finally I cut away 2/3 of the straight portion of the tee to turn the cylinder into a saddle shape. Then I rounded all the corners, glued in the plug, and sanded all the PVC surfaces for painting.

I also roughed up all the painted surfaces on the light parts as well, and masked the light sensor, lens, and solar panel parts for painting.

Finally, I put a couple of coats of plastic paint on the PVC as a primer, and followed it with a couple of coats of metallic aluminum paint on all the parts to match the flag pole. I then assembled everything and clamped the assembly to the flag pole using some large zip ties.

Step 2: Results!

As you can see, it works great and only cost about $17 (I had the paint already :-)). I doubt this specific light is still available, but I'm sure this basic approach could be adapted to a number of similar lights.

Thanks for looking, and I hope this Instructable was useful.



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    3 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work, thanks for sharing this!

    I've used metal zip ties a few times in applications like this, to avoid any potential failure of plastic zip ties due to UV damage. Just something to consider. :)

    Nice to see someone still know this rule on flying the colors. You see a lot of flags flying in the dark these days!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Good point about the metal zip ties. I was worried about scratching and galvanic corrosion with metal ties since I don't know what type of stainless they use. (Not all stainless is rust proof.) They make UV stable zip ties, but they are black. I'm going to see how they last and reevaluate.

    Mr Z 1313

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! I've been looking for a way to mount a light directly to the pole. Well written instructable! Thank You!

    I commend your desire to fly the flag every day! My only comment is to please consider the men and women who died to give you the right to be inconvenienced putting up and taking down the flag, They paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom.