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Solar barn lights?

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  • Solar barn lights?

    I was reading barn building threads, and I came across mentions of solar lights for the barn. We are putting up a pole barn this week, and we won't be running electricity right away. Which solar lights work best? Most of the ones I am finding are motion sensor lights. I don't want that, but maybe you can disable that feature? I'll need either a remote or switch for turning them on, since they'll be 10' up in the air. TIA!

  • #2
    Before my new barn, I got some from Home Depot but I cannot remember the brand. The were an absolute bust. I returned one after it gave out. The second/exchanged subsequently gave out and I simply didn't bother returning.

    Good Luck; they sound great in theory and I am sure the right light could make all the difference.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you link to a couple of the ones you're finding, so we're on the same page as far as what you're looking for?

      How much light do you need? Just enough so you don't trip over things at night check, or more?

      -Wendy
      --
      Wendy
      ... and Patrick

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Yes - just enough to see where I'm going if I want to hang out at night. The barn is really just a run with stalls, roof only, so it won't be horribly dark anyway.

        Thanks!


        http://www.solarlightstore.com/solar...floodlight.cfm

        Comment


        • #5
          Our dog club has had one of those for many years, but it is motion activated.
          We use it in our equipment shed, that is not wired.
          It has worked for years without trouble.

          I think that you can unscrew the motion detector magic eye and put there a dawn to dusk one, or leave it where you turn it on with a switch.

          Maybe someone here will know more.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had success with the portfolio brand from home depot.

            I bought the ones with the solar panel that you stuck in the ground and then it had little ligths on wires that I strung around the walls of a 24x24 shed. It wasn't a tremendous amount of light (there were 6 lights total and each light only had 1 led bulb) but it was enough for the horses to see that there wasn't a demon in there, but rather a hay bale. It lasted for over a year, then my horse's moved fields and the mower knocked the panels around and I never bothered to check them again....

            Comment


            • #7
              Like you, I don't see any options there that have a switch! And I can't recommend any of the cheap pull-string lights with external panels... they just don't last. If this is a temporary thing and you don't mind replacing them every year, then... maybe.

              FWIW, I'm experimenting with solar on my horse shelter, and planning to put in a larger system for the barn. I also want to add in a small windmill, as it seems we are either getting baked or blown away here.

              So... if you're interested in possibly *not* running power to the barn but instead running it off solar, I can lay out what we've done so far.
              --
              Wendy
              ... and Patrick

              Comment


              • #8
                I tried one a few years back. It came from Home Depot (I think). I was disappointed. It was not "motion activated" and would run, at best, for about four hours after sunset. It put out adequate light so you wouldn't step in anything or trip over a log but for any work (other than mucking stalls) it was unsatisfactory. It was also rather pricey.

                I have a new shed barn and have been thinking of one on a motion sensor. It would not be light for any real work, just so I don't have to carry a flashlight at night.

                My suggestion would be to buy one of what you think will do and use it for few months before you buy anymore. That way you can evaluate its performance before you spend "real money." These things are not cheap. Make do with a generator and a work light or two until then.

                There's at least an odds on chance you'll end up staying with one solar light to get to the barn and a generator for when you finally arrive!

                G.
                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I really just want to have some light, just in case. I don't anticipate using it regularly, but I know if I don't have any options, I'll be out there using my cell phone light for some emergency and cursing myself for my lack of planning. I don't want a motion sensor that will light up when a horse moves; they'd hate that. I guess we need to invent a better option!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wsmoak View Post
                    I also want to add in a small windmill, as it seems we are either getting baked or blown away here.
                    I work in the windpower industry, and as passionate as I am about it, I have to caution you against this. A small wind turbine has almost no chance of being cost effective (i.e. pay for itself) where you are. I know it may feel windy to you, but Georgia has an exceptionally poor wind resource. (Except on some scattered high ridges up north, and offshore).

                    Problem with residential wind turbines is that specific site characteristics, tower height, and the wind resource at your *exact* location are all critical. So the brochure's generalized specs are kind of meaningless. The small turbine manufacturers are typically in China and India and are not known for standing behind the quality of their product.
                    I hate to give a negative impression of windpower, but I think people really need to be careful when it comes to small wind turbines. It tarnishes the whole industry when these mfr's & installers are out there making completely unfounded assurances about how these things will work at your site.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      They have today some wonderful lights that you put around your head with a strap.
                      They are all sizes, I have a very strong one that lights everything you do and far off where you are walking, called Coleman/MAX on the strap.
                      I found a video of them, only watched the first few seconds, don't know if they like it or not, but that is the headlamp I am talking about:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_8Pl9mlZYQ

                      You can change it's focus higher or lower also and it is very light, you don't even know you have it up there.
                      I like it because you sure can see a rattler in the dark before you step on it with that one.

                      Why don't you consider one of those to walk to the barn and do chores there?

                      They have smaller ones that clip on your hat/cap, but they are not quite as powerful.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Get a headlamp you can clip on your ballcap. 5 bucks at Academy. Buy four

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I have the headlamps. I just wanted some general light, not focused from me light. My favorite light like that looks like a pen that clips on. It is super bright. I just want some light that is in the barn, not on me. I am a very impressive loser of loose items.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have one that I have had for years, motion activated. Love it! HAve subsequently tried three times to get another one, the brand that Lowe's carries now does not work :-(
                            Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!

                            http://mellvinshouse.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There are some big flashlights shaped like a lantern you can carry to the barn and set in a place and get much light, as if from a bulb there.

                              Some of those are even solar charged ones, that you leave out in the sun during the day.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by katyb View Post
                                I have the headlamps. I just wanted some general light, not focused from me light. My favorite light like that looks like a pen that clips on. It is super bright. I just want some light that is in the barn, not on me. I am a very impressive loser of loose items.
                                For what you want, unless you're really going to put in a setup with panels and batteries, I can't really recommend solar lighting.

                                Use a headlamp for general chores, carry a lantern you can hang up somewhere, and consider a rechargeable LED work light for times when you need more.

                                I have one like this: http://www.amazon.com/Tooluxe-40279L.../dp/B000TBQBPS

                                Thanks for the advice HungarianHippo. I admit to just wanting to play with it -- I would only expect it to work maybe 15-20 days out of the year as a backup to the solar panels, on those days we're getting flattened by wind.
                                --
                                Wendy
                                ... and Patrick

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Work lights and a generator might be the best option you're going to come up with. The solution is reasonably priced, flexible (you can use the genset for other things; lights too), and you don't need to worry about codes (inspection, enforcement, etc.).

                                  It may not be a "green" solution but it's an effective one!!!

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You might want to look at LED lighting, which gives a lot of lumens from very little power. We used our windup LED lantern for camping, during the last power outage and it did a pretty good job as a lamp. Lasted all night, though with much reduced lumens, because it is REALLY dark without the nightlights in the hallway.

                                    LED lighting with some battery power, will probably be a better price value than the big flashlilghts that EAT the pricy batteries for that bright light you want. The brightness of the LEDs with even small batteries is amazing, and batteries last a VERY long time.

                                    Your location can make the solar charging panels a success or not. My northern State location is terrible for solar power, since we have so much cloud cover. Even my little garden solar lights don't always shine very bright on a lot of evenings. Not enough or bright enough, sunshine to charge them up.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A rechargeable may be an option; http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bayco-61-L...Light/14003474
                                      ... _. ._ .._. .._

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        This is the kind I had in mind you can carry with you and hang or stand anywhere and it should light a larger area in the barn:

                                        http://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-Ma...ndingMethod=rr

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