Why is there an on/off switch on solar lights?

why is there an on off switch on solar lights

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If you have a solar light with switch on it and wondering what is the use of that? than this post is for you.

In this post I will explain why is there an on/off switch on solar lights? so let’s know about it.

The main purpose of On/Off switch on the solar light is to protect its battery from over-drain and provide flexibility in use for the user.

do all solar lights have on/off switch?

The first question that may be hovering in your mind is do all solar lights have on/off button?. The answer is No.

Not all the solar lights(old models) that are available in the market have a stop/start switch on their circuit board.

But nowadays for providing more user friendly experience most modern solar lights are coming with a power on or off button.

This is done to stop/reuse the light in certain cases. These cases can be:

If going out for a journey.Off
Weather outside is not right.Off.

1. when going out for a vacation/business tour

Consider yourself going out for a vacation or away from the home for a considerable duration of time. There is no one in the house around this time.

In this duration you don’t want your solar light to shine during the night. What will be the best possible way to do that? A shutdown switch on the solar light.

If there will be a shutdown switch on the solar light you can easily turn it off and can enjoy your vacation without any thing to think.

2. when sunlight is very dim

Lets assume you have your solar lights installed outside and the weather out there is not the perfect for charging the solar lights. Possible situations can be cover of cloud, wind with dust.

You know that your solar light will not charge in this condition and if you will light them up in the night without them being satisfactory charged there is a possibility of battery damage.

You will not want this to happen with your solar light. In this case too the best way to save a solar light from battery damage is turn it off.

3. for doing test for malfunction

Many times it will happen that your solar light will not work. Maybe its light will flicker, or the light will not brighten up. There may be other malfunction issues also.

In that case also a switch will be very handy to test the solar light with both conditions(in On and in Off).

Different scenarios will require the different use of start/stop button on the solar light.

do solar lights charge when turned off?

Next is to learn about their charging is turned off. For knowing about this I actually did an experiment.

Through this experiment I wanted to know what is the relation among a switch, solar panel , and battery in this apparatus. So I opened up a outdoor motion sensor enabled solar light to see what’s inside.

Here is the inside view of the solar light for you.

inside of a solar light

Although I am not an expert in electronics(assuming same for you) but by doing some research online I got to know about the function each part is performing here. One component is important for us to look at and it is Transistor.

I made a non-technical solar light circuit diagram for you to understand my point better.

solar light circuit diagram

A transistor is a device which is used as a logic gate used for closing and opening of electronic signals.

In case of solar lights, when there is ample sunlight outside for solar cells the output generated from the solar cells is high at the transistors base. This opens the transistor and switches off the LED[1].

When its reverse condition happen the output from cells is low/zero, the current flows through the transistor lightening up the LED bulbs.

As you can see the actual work is being done by the transistor for switching the lights on or off. The use of switch is to provide an extra layer of protection for solar lights.

Hence there is no relation between charging of battery and off button. The battery will charge even if the button on solar light is turned off. Solar lights do not need to be turned on to charge.

Should The Switch On My Solar Lights Be ON Or OFF?

In most conditions you should keep your solar lights on ON mode. This will prevent the hassle of switching it On every night.

If there is a emergency situations which requires you to switch OFF the solar lights you can switch them OFF without worry.


Through this post we got to know that the use of switch on solar lights is to protect the life of the battery and give the end user more flexibility in use.

For more such informational content about solar lights you can check my page: on/off switch on solar lights.


  1. https://www.instructables.com/Simple-Solar-Circuits/


  1. Can you turn solar lights on and off?

    If there is a On and Off switch on the solar light than yes you can definitely turn it on and off.

  2. Do solar lights have to be switched off to charge?

    Not necessary. Solar lights can charge on On conditions.

  3. where is the on/off switch on solar lights?

    It is mostly located on the bottom side of the solar lights.