DIY Solar Light

I’m taking a slight variation from my usual topics with this post. In addition to enjoying my Mustang, I have spent most of this summer building a patio with a pergola over it. The bulk of the construction is done and I am now working on getting the small details just right. If you know me at all, this shouldn’t surprise you.

After using the patio several times we felt we needed some light over the table that sits under the pergola in order to fully enjoy using it after dark. Running electricity to it seemed to be too large of an undertaking at this point. Some solar walk lights I just installed were doing a good job lighting the border of the patio and they were running on free electricity. Given the cost of energy, solar seemed to be a good way to go. Unfortunately, no solar light seemed to be available which combined the type of lighting fixture we needed (hanging), adequate brightness and the ability to have a solar panel detached from the light itself. The light needed to hang underneath the center of the pergola and we have shades installed between the beams of the pergola which would shade the light making it difficult to get adequate sun to an attached solar panel.

The approach I took was to build a light myself by converting a standard electric fixture to solar. I was motivated in this endevor by Christopher Malloy’s article on his approach to use off-the-shelf products to build a custom solar lighting solution. After some searching, I settled on a solar floodlight by Malibu to base my light on. I found it at Home Depot. It was an “extreme brightness” floodlight. (#LZ605ARP) . The first light I tried was a standard floodlight (#LZ415). Its 3 LEDs did not seem bright enought and I figured I would need to use at least 3 to get the light level I desired. They were $25 a piece so the cost would be high. Then I spotted the LZ605ARP which has 12 LEDs and two levels of brightness. A search of the Mailbu web site turned up no information on the light. It cost just under $50.

Solar Light Kit

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