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Are you wondering if you can use any rechargeable battery in your solar powered lights? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, I have braked down the question can I use any rechargeable battery in my solar lights? for you.
Quick Answer :- Yes, you can use any rechargeable battery in your solar lights but with some conditions.
To learn about these conditions let’s dive in and find out which rechargeable batteries are best suited for your solar lights. Join me on this enlightening journey.
Types of rechargeable batteries
The first thing that you need to have a basic understanding of different types of rechargeable batteries.
By having a basic understanding of different rechargeable batteries you will be in a better situation to select the best rechargeable battery for your solar lights.
Plus you will get an idea about the compatibility of different rechargeable batteries with solar lights.
There are various types of rechargeable batteries that are used in the solar devices. They are different from non-rechargeable batteries in the sense that they can be used again after discharge.
From all of them four are most used. These four are: Lead-acid, NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
I have created a small comparison table of the four types of rechargeable batteries I mentioned above.
|Feature||Lead Acid Battery||NiCd Battery||NiMH Battery||Li-ion Battery|
|Chemistry||Lead-Acid||Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd)||Nickel-Metal Hydride||Lithium-Ion|
|Nominal Voltage||2V (per cell)||1.2V (per cell)||1.2V (per cell)||3.7V (per cell)|
|Cycle Life||200-500 cycles||500-1000 cycles||500-1000 cycles||300-500+ cycles|
|Maintenance||Requires periodic water top-up||No||No||No|
|Environmental Impact||Contains toxic lead and sulfuric acid||Contains toxic cadmium||Less toxic. Contains no heavy metal.||Less toxic compared to lead-acid and NiCd batteries|
The oldest type of rechargeable battery in use. It is first invented in the year 1859 by French physicist Gaston Plante.
They are low cost, mostly used in automotive industry and have short recharge cycle. They discharge themselves when not in use. They are very heavy and have very low energy density. They deliver high currents and can tolerate deep discharges.
Nickel cadmium rechargeable battery uses nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. Invented in the year 1899 by Waldemar Jungner and became commercially available in the year 1901.
They also possess high current delivery and are used in portable electronic devices and emergency backup units.
But NiCd rechargeable batteries suffer from a phenomenon called “Memory effect” in which their capacity decreases if they are charged repeatedly before being fully discharged and contains heavy metal cadmium which is very toxic to the environment.
Nickel metal hydride
Nickel metal hydride(NiMH) batteries use nickel oxide hydroxide and hydrogen absorbing alloy as electrodes.
They are better than the NiCd rechargeable batteries. They have high energy density, requires low maintenance.
The drawback is they have less recharge cycles. They are also used in portable electronic devices like cameras, gaming consoles, solar lights, etc.
They have two to three times more capacity than NiCd batteries and high energy density.
Lithium ion battery
They have high energy density, low self discharge and no memory effect. They are more costly than all other batteries listed here.
They have long lifespan and powerful performance. You can find one installed in laptops, smartphones, electric vehicles, etc.
These are the 4 most used rechargeable type batteries in solar powered lights.
Size and kind of the rechargeable battery
The second important factor to consider while selecting a rechargeable battery for your solar lights is the size and kind of the rechargeable battery.
Rechargeable batteries are available in different sizes and kinds. The most common kinds of rechargeable batteries that are used in solar energy powered LED lights are AA, AAA and Li-ion.
They are available in different sizes. Make sure to select the right battery size which can fit in your solar LED device. See the user manual of your solar light to collect this information.
There are many battery manufactures like Energizer and Duracell which manufactures rechargeable batteries for solar lights. I have detailed post on both of the them. Below are the links to individual posts.
solar light type
Third thing that you need to be consider while selecting a rechargeable battery for your solar light is the size of your solar device.
Solar powered lights are manufactured in various sizes. Some are portable whereas some are stationary fixed at a point. There are different batteries used in different solar light sizes.
Basically solar lights are of two types:
- Outdoor solar lights
- Indoor solar lights
In outdoor solar lights you have solar string lights, solar pathway lights, solar spot lights, solar deck light, solar fence light, solar pole lights, solar camping lights, etc.
For indoor use we have solar table light, solar desk light, solar shed light, solar garage light, etc.
For most of the outdoor solar lights NiCd or NiMH rechargeable batteries are used. This is because they are available in small sizes and fits in solar lights easily.
*If you have NiCd rechargeable batteries and considering it replacing it with NiMH you can read my article: replacing NiCd with NiMH rechargeable batteries. Also changing batteries to higher capacity ones will help them stay ON longer in the night.
There are exception too like solar pole light or street light where big rechargeable batteries with higher capacities like lead-acid or Li-ion batteries are used.
For indoor use since the size is to be small again NiCd or NiMH is the best option.
Learning about the lumens of your LED solar lights will also help in determining the best rechargeable battery for your solar lights.
Solar powered lights are a great way to light up your home and outdoors. Having the right battery in your solar light can increase its life.
You can use any rechargeable battery in your solar light provided it is of right size and capacity.
Here are some additional tips you should consider while selecting a rechargeable battery for your solar energy LED lights.
- The voltage of the rechargeable battery should be the same as the voltage of the solar lights.
- The capacity of the rechargeable battery should be sufficient to power the solar lights for the desired amount of time.
- Rechargeable batteries with a low self-discharge rate are a good choice for solar lights, as they will lose less power over time when not in use.
- Some solar lights may require special rechargeable batteries, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions.