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Solar Motion Detector Light Doesn't Work
Old 07-28-2016, 11:01 AM   #1
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Solar Motion Detector Light Doesn't Work

Cooper Lighting MSL 180 solar powered motion detector light worked fine for years until recently. It did not exhibit any signs of a low charge as I understand them.......lights coming on for shorter times, or dim, or flashing.
Now there is a clicking sound as if the sensor knows I am there but no light coming on.

Cooper suggested turning unit off to recharge for 4 days anyway. I did that with no change. The halogen bulb appears to be ok on a continuity test.
The voltage on the lead acid 6v battery measured 4.85volts which Cooper thought was plenty to power the light (6v, 15w halogen).

Any thoughts about cause of problem and how to fix.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:29 PM   #2
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"worked fine for years until recently."

There's your problem. Years on a battery. I don't care what kind of battery it is. It will fail.

It is because of this problem I have pretty much given up on all the solar gadgets out there.

Volts don't matter if you ain't got the Amps.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Volts don't matter if you ain't got the Amps.
+1

The fact that the voltage is that low indicates that one cell has gone bad. And the 4.85V is the open-circuit voltage. The moment a load is put on it, it will drop even lower. In other words, you do not really have 4.85V going to the bulb.

If a lead-acid battery is what you have, then the 6V nominal voltage should be at least 6.9 V when the solar cell is charging it. When at rest, it should be 6.4V.
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:19 PM   #4
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That model gets terrible reviews on Amazon. Before buying a new SLA battey ($12-$19 from what I read), I'd buy a new unit.

A halogen bulb will suck a lot of energy from the battery. The new ones come with LEDs, which will draw far less power. Some use standard rechargeable AA - those will be pretty cheap to replace.

-ERD50
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:32 PM   #5
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Thanks all for your comments. Got enough to go back to Cooper for another grilling. Perhaps I can find somebody else there to get an independent opinion.
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:05 PM   #6
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"worked fine for years until recently."

There's your problem. Years on a battery. I don't care what kind of battery it is. It will fail. ... .
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Thanks all for your comments. Got enough to go back to Cooper for another grilling. Perhaps I can find somebody else there to get an independent opinion.
You can grill them all you want, but what JoeWras says is true, those batteries have a lifespan of several years. No way around it for a consumer product. Even in an industrial type application, where they might rate things more conservatively, battery replacement is just normal maintenance.

-ERD50
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:32 PM   #7
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Just find a replacement battery, drop it in, and it will work fine.

I have 3 UPS for PC with bad batteries. When I looked for replacement batteries in stores, they cost as much as the UPS that I bought on sale. Should have looked on eBay, but I only remember just now.

And speaking of batteries having limited life, I am waiting to see all these EVs dropping out when their batteries go bad. Hopefully, the batteries will get cheap really soon.
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Old 07-29-2016, 03:37 AM   #8
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Had a similar issue with mine (a Heath/Zenith Solar Powered Motion Sensor Light Model 1710). It worked well for 4 years...until it didn't. I was just going to replace the unit (warranty has expired) until I did some research and found out I could just replace the battery. I went to a specialty battery store to purchase the rechargeable battery, installed and charged it, and the unit works like a charm. Now I know I would be on the look out for a replacement battery in 4 years or so.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the helpful replies. I was trying avoid convince myself that there wasn't something else wrong so I wouldn't end up buying a new battery and still have a non-functioning light. Cooper Lighting seemed to think that a new battery might not fix the problem and I probably confused the symptoms of a low charged battery with a bad one..........I thought a bad battery would show the symptoms of a low charged battery before it died (which it never did) so
I was concerned that some other component was bad.

Thanks to your feedback I got brave enough to buy a new battery from Menards. It was quoted as a weeks delivery when ordered but then the confirmation quoted 5 wks just to get it ordered. Cooper told me that you can special order from Lowes or Home Depot but neither of them seemed to know anything about that. When I called Cooper Lighting to tell them about my findings, a nice rep felt bad about the Menards finding and seemed to feel that Cooper somehow had something to do with the long delivery times so for my troubles & time, she spent some time to locate a warranty battery and sent it for no charge, even though mine is an older unit. Great customer service, I would say...........and now the light is working again!
Hopefully it lasts half as long as the previous replacement which was 4 yrs.
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