Why Do Outdoor Solar Lights Stop Working?

Solar lights are environmentally-friendly and cost-effective lights, but sometimes they stop working for various reasons. Luckily, these issues can often be quickly solved.

Start by checking that the batteries aren’t dead – these should be found tucked under your solar panel assemblage, and can easily be checked with a screwdriver.

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Solar lights offer an eco-friendly and economical lighting option for the home. When used in conjunction with a solar panel, they convert sunlight to battery charge throughout the nighttime hours. However, there may be issues which could make solar lights stop functioning entirely.

As solar lights depend solely on sunlight to recharge their batteries, any obstruction to their solar panel such as trees or bushes could prevent enough sun reaching it for operation at night. You can easily remedy this by trimming back any overgrowth or moving the light to another location where more direct sunlight will reach it.

Similar to solar lights, some solar lights feature an electronic timer to automatically switch them on and off at specific times. If your timer isn’t functioning as it should, lights might not come on when scheduled – to test its functionality you should unscrew the light from its base and locate its timer mechanism; usually this will consist of a dial or switch you can move onto its “on” position.

Solar lights may stop working if they come too close to other sources of illumination, like windows. A solar light near a window might mistake artificial lights from within your home for sunlight and stay illuminated all night – this issue can be fixed by moving it to an area without other lights affecting its performance.

Solar lights may just need new batteries. To access and replace them, solar lights can sometimes be difficult to open – you may require a screwdriver to loosen the cover and pop out old batteries before inserting new ones and screwing back together afterward.

If the above tips haven’t helped and your solar lights still won’t turn on, it might be time for an upgrade. While solar lights are known for being durable and weather resistant, their lifespan eventually ends. If there’s significant issue with your lights it may be best to contact their manufacturer to inquire if there is an available warranty plan.


Although solar lights are designed to withstand the elements, they may still become damaged from moisture and snow and lose functionality over time. To ensure long-term viability for these fixtures, it’s essential that they be installed in well-lit areas and maintained regularly.

If your solar light is giving you problems, the first thing to check is whether or not it is turned on. While this seems obvious, sometimes people forget this step! Solar lights use switches and microprocessors to switch on, off, or change modes – should these become worn or malfunction, their function could be compromised, leading to decreased illumination from your lights.

One issue preventing solar lights from working properly could be their battery’s charge being depleted over time, which can happen with rechargeable batteries over time. If your lights have stopped turning on or lighting as brightly, it may be time to replace their batteries.

One effective way of testing the battery with a multimeter is by running it through its paces with DC voltage settings. First, place the black probe of your multimeter on the ground pin; next place its red probe on solar pin (usually labeled as “S+” on 5252 chip). If readings of between 0.5-2 volts appear on either probe of your multimeter then chances are good that wiring connections are functioning perfectly.

If this still doesn’t resolve the problem with your solar light, water could be seeping through and making its way inside. It is common for outdoor lights exposed to weather to collect condensation over time and need drying out completely before being used again. To remedy this situation, open and dry out completely before trying it again if that fails; otherwise contact manufacturer and inquire if warranty coverage can be claimed, or purchase another replacement unit online and try that route as a workaround if that fails too.


Solar lights offer an eco-friendly alternative to fuel lamps and offer many advantages. Their easy installation process and ability to convert sunlight into energy are two key benefits; other key components include an inbuilt solar panel for collecting sunlight and batteries that store this energy for nighttime use.

Although these components of solar lights may seem basic, you should keep in mind that solar lights also contain multiple microprocessors and switches which, should any stop working properly, could result in its inability to function as intended.

One common reason that solar lights malfunction is proximity to other light sources, like street, garage or house lights. Other lights will reflect back onto the solar panel and give it the impression it’s still daytime; so to prevent this problem make sure you place them far from any other lights sources. To resolve this problem, place them a distance apart.

Another possible explanation for why your solar lights may not be functioning is a malfunctioning sensor. A sensor’s primary role is detecting darkness and switching on solar lights at night; an unresponsive or broken one cannot do this effectively, so it’s crucial that you test all sensors regularly by covering the solar panel with either your hand or something dark-colored like fabric; if the light activates at this point then reseting its sensor might help improve performance.

Solar lights may stop functioning due to old batteries that need replacing. Rechargeable NiMH and Li-ion batteries found in most solar lights require daily charging in order to stay powered up during nightfall; as they age they lose their charging ability and may begin degrading over time until finally stopping working altogether.

If all these tips fail and your solar lights still won’t turn on, it may be time to contact their manufacturer directly. Their name and contact info should be listed on your solar light packaging, making reaching them much simpler.


Solar lights installed outdoors can often become exposed to harsh environmental conditions, including temperature swings, rain, snow, sleet and all the rest. Over time this can cause the wires to fray and disconnect from their lights over time; typically this is no major issue and can easily be rectified with electrical tape or soldering iron if you possess these skills. Otherwise, if these tools or skills are unavailable it’s probably best to just get rid of your old light altogether and buy something else altogether.

Dirt and dust can also impede solar lighting performance, as solar panels must remain clean in order to collect light and charge batteries efficiently. Sometimes a quick wipe with a damp cloth is all it takes, while in other instances relocating it could provide greater exposure to direct sunlight.

Solar lights, like many outdoor lighting devices, can become targets of nibbling from wildlife. Unfortunately, even small nibbles from wildlife can damage solar lights themselves, leading to obvious consequences and issues with functioning properly. One way of solving this is moving them to more secure locations or setting them up where wildlife cannot easily access them.

Solar lights may become dysfunctional if their sensor fails to distinguish between night and day, and requires testing – one simple test would be covering it during daytime to check this possibility, then covering again at night with your hand to switch the light off if that occurs – then likely there’s a sensor issue at play here.

These 10 tips should help you repair and keep your solar lights operating as intended. If you are unable to repair it yourself, reach out to the manufacturer to inquire about their warranty policies; these should be easily accessible on packaging or by searching online. Depending on their terms of warranty coverage, your lights could even be returned for an exchange!