What makes these lights more efficient?
It's simple. We use LEDs with very high efficacy (light output per watt of electricity). They're among the highest efficacy LEDs on the market (and much higher than CFL or incandescent bulbs). Also, we're careful to use high-efficiency drivers/control circuitry.
Do your products have a warranty?
Yes. Our products come with a one year warranty.
How long will the LEDs last?
Under normal use, the LEDs should last 80,000 hours at least. The system will be an antique before the LEDs wear out.
What is the difference between 120V AC and 12V DC?
120 Volt Alternating Current is 'wall power', in other word the power supplied by a standard electrical outlet. 12 Volt Direct Current is a common standard for battery powered equipment. LEDs run on direct current. In order to be powered by Alternating Current, LEDs need an adaptor (called an LED driver). All of our products that are sold for use with 120V AC come with an internal LED driver. Our 12V DC products are designed for solar and other off-grid applications. The two groups are not interchangeable without custom alterations.
Solar Lighting and Charging
Why buy solar lighting?
- It saves you power and money. Right off the bat you can save money by installing it yourself using our detailed step-by-step instructions, instead of paying an electrician to install a regular fixture (check state code to make sure this is allowable in your state). If you live off-grid, and are currently running lights off a diesel generator, a LightPortal or LightPassage will pay for itself in fuel savings in a matter of months. No matter where you install it, a LightPortal or LightPassage will save you money day after day by generating free power from the sun.
- It gives you independence. With a solar light, you don't have to worry about where you can connect to the electric grid, or whether that grid will be on when you really need it. Put the light where you want it; no digging trenches, no burying cable, and no worrying about power outages.
- Last but not least, it's fantastic for the environment. You may not be able to afford solar power for you whole house, but you can start with one light, and still make a difference.
How do these systems work?
The solar panel charges the battery during the day. The charge controller prevents the battery from being overcharged. The LEDs use power from the battery to emit light. The high efficiency diffuser disperses light from each LED, while transmitting 87% of the light (compare to 40-60% for a generic diffuser).
How do I operate a solar light (LightPortal/LightPassage)?
Once the light is installed, using it is just a matter of flipping a switch, like any other light. The LightPortal comes with high and low settings: flip the switch to two bars for high, one bar for low, and zero for off. On the low setting, the fixture saves power and lasts longer. The LightPassage has on and off settings marked by one bar and a zero.
Where can solar lights be used?
Solar lights can be used anywhere you can find a sunny spot for the solar panel, and an indoor or well-sheltered (i.e. under an overhang) spot for the light fixture.
Where is the best spot to install a solar panel?
It is best to choose a spot for mounting where the solar panel will get the most sun throughout the day. If it is shaded by a tree or building for example, the effectiveness of the solar panel will be considerably reduced. See where to put a solar light for more information.
Where is the best spot to install a light fixture?
In general, you want a light fixture behind you so it shines on what you are looking at and not in your eyes. Also, you should never install our light fixtures somewhere they might get rained on. See where to put a solar light for more information.
Can the LightPortal or LightPassage be used as emergency lights?
Yes. The LightPortal and LightPassage make great emergency lights for power outages, because they are totally grid-independent.
Does the LightPortal/Exclamation Light 12V DC Version/LightPassage connect to my 120V AC house wiring?
No! These are all 12V DC products. Do not connect them to house wiring in any way. If you are interested in high-efficiency lights you can connect to your house wiring (professional installation strongly recommended for direct wiring), please see our 120V AC lights.
Can I use the LightPortal/LightPassage with my existing whole house solar system?
If you want to connect a light to an existing 12V DC system, you should use an Exclamation Light instead.
How does the Exclamation Light work?
The Exclamation Light runs on 12V DC electricity, and can be powered by the LightPortal or any 12V DC power system. It ships with 30 feet of indoor/outdoor wire and quick connectors to make it easy to connect it to a LightPortal or other system (even if it's far away).
Will a solar panel charge a battery on a cloudy day?
Yes, our solar panels will still charge, but more slowly. They can even charge with an inch of snow on the panel (but very slowly; brush snow off the panel for better charging).
How do I know if the battery is charging or full?
The red LED charge indicator on the charge controller is illuminated when the battery is charging. When the solar panel is in direct sunlight and the battery is fully charged, the red charge indicator blinks.
How do I know if the battery is low?
When the battery is low, the light produced by the fixture will get noticeably dim. Eventually, the charge controller will cut off power to the fixture and accessories to prevent over-discharging of the battery. In general though, if the solar panel is in a good spot, you wont need to worry about the state of charge of the battery. Just use your solar light like any other light, and make sure to turn it off when you are done using it.
My light has gotten very dim. What should I do?
Let it charge for a few days without using it. If it doesn't get brighter, check that nothing is obstructing the solar panel/that the solar panel is connected. If nothing is obstructing and the panel is connected, the battery may be worn out (if it is a few years+ old), and you should order a new one. If you still have problems, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will talk you through finding out what is wrong, and how to fix it.