Intro: 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.