At free-light, we have a specific purpose: to create innovative products that provide maximum night time light without ANY wires, using only free solar energy. No wires... ...just add SUN!
Solar energy is easy to collect, but the conversion to electrical is not so efficient. We have to maximize every part of the light to give you maximum performance. We start with over-sized solar collection panels made with the highest quality solar cells. We then harness that energy with our custom designed electronics, converting the sun's rays into electricity that will charge the large capacity battery. Our electronics monitor the solar collection panel for light conversion:
- If no conversion is happening (night), the battery is connected to the LED light.
- If the battery is fully charged, the solar panel is disconnected from the battery.
- If the battery is in danger of being over discharged, the battery is disconnected from the light.
- If the solar collection panel begins to convert light (early morning), the battery is reconnected to the solar collection panel to begin charging.
- If the battery is connected to the light, we start a 5 or 6 hour timer. Once the timer has completed its cycle, the battery is disconnected from the light. (Except for our table lights which have no timer function.
free-light solar lights are designed for year round use(except the table lights). Rugged cast aluminum bodies do not rust or bend. Our solar lights are rated to work as low as -25C (-13F) and as high as +44C (111F). free-light solar lights function for their full 5 or 6 hour cycle as long as there is 3 hours of direct sunlight per day. In the dead of winter, when there may be only 2.5 hours of average daily sunshine in the North, our lights will still work for more than 3 hours. The big variable is temperature. Cold temperatures make battery capacity shrink quickly while extremely hot weather reduces solar panel performance. Please note: if the solar collection panel is covered in frost, snow, dust or mud, charging performance will be degraded or even stopped.
Solar Collection Panel Performance. Not all solar panels are created equal. Commercially available solar panels for consumer use vary in efficiency from 4-20%. Most solar lights use a solar panel that starts out as 4% efficient but then it falls to about 2.5% within a few weeks of use. The benefit of this type of solar panel is its charging performance does not decrease so much on cloudy days or in shady locations. These panels usually require 12 hours of "light" to charge a single "AA" battery. Compare free-light solar light panels which are the highest efficiency type available at 18-20%. In direct sunshine, our 6V solar panel will charge a "AA" battery in 1 hour.
Solar Light Installation. Do not place your solar light in shady areas on your property. Place solar lights in an area where they will get the most amount of direct sunlight per day. For free-light, usually 8 hours of direct sunlight will fully charge the battery allowing for full operation for two or more timer lighting periods(5 or 6 hours depending on the model). If the solar collection panel receives 8 hours of direct sunlight on Monday, the light will turn on Monday night. Should it rain all day on Tuesday, the light will again turn on Tuesday night. Should it be overcast all day Wednesday, the light may not turn on for its complete timer cycle. Should you have a third day of overcast skies, the lighting time will be less than its normal timer cycle. After the 4th day of overcast skies, the lighting time will be significantly reduced. These are worst case examples, because free-light solar lights will continue to charge a little even in low light conditions.
|This is our 12V battery (used in our Beacon, Eclipse, Colonial models) compared to the 2 x "AA" batteries found in current "super bright" designs. Free-light batteries have a high output capacity of 7Ah compared to the two "AA" batteries which have 0.6Ah capacity (because of the connection inside the light, the 2xAA battery capacity does not increase).||This is our 6V battery (used in Triumph, Capitol, Globe and Saturn models) compared to the normal single "AA" battery found in other solar lights. Our battery has a high output capacity of 5Ah compared to the "AA" battery which has 0.6Ah capacity.|
|Free-light uses 36 LEDs in its 12V solar lights.
The 6V models use 18-24 LEDs.
|Normal solar lights use 1 LED. The other "super bright" solar lights can use up to 5 LEDs.|
|The small panel on the left is a standard solar light panel compared to our 6V solar panel used on our Triumph model.||The small solar panel on the left is standard solar light panel compared to our 12V solar panel used on Beacon, Eclipse and Colonial models.|
|This is the controller from a competitive multi LED solar light. 10 parts on this controller.||This is the controller in one of our 12V models. 62 parts on this controller.|
Our lights offer the brightness typically found with powered products. Light output ranges from 4 feet on our pathway lights to more than 20 feet with our larger 12V models. Though your investment is higher, the performance is dramatically better than other solar lights.
The only part that will need to be replaced is the battery. Batteries are easily replaced by you, and we sell them at our cost. The most expensive battery in our products costs 17.00. The solar panels/LEDs/electronics are rated at more than 15 years of service life.
Most of the models install in minutes. No wires... … just add SUN. Turn on the power switch. For permanent installation, use self tapping screws as required for your installation. And you are done. Our products install in minutes, light for hours and last for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is direct sunlight required? The quick answer is YES. If you cannot see your shadow, there is little or no charging taking place. Also, if your shadow is long meaning early morning or late afternoon, the charging is at a low level.
- Will the light work in shade? Yes, but charging performance is quite poor. An overcast day will allow some charging to occur. But in the shade, the solar panel performance is poor.
- But my calculator works indoors in almost no light? True, however the amount of power being used by the calculator will not power even a single LED for more than a few seconds.
- Can I turn off the timer? This is not possible.
- Can I use the light indoors? Yes, you can move the light indoors at night. But it must go back outside to charge during the day.
- Will the light charge inside near a window? Yes but at a VERY slow rate. The power switch on the LED would have to be turned off as charging may take as long as two weeks.
- Can I leave the lights outside year round? Other than our table lights, of course!
- If I want to bring the lights indoors during the winter, how do I store them? For best results, the battery should be removed from the light. If the light is left intact during the 3-5 months for winter, the battery will likely be depleted in the spring. For best results, leave the lights outside so they can continue to charge.
- My light is not staying on for the complete timer cycle. Why? Only one reason, not enough light to charge the battery. If you have more than 3 hours of direct sunshine and the light does not charge, check the panel is clean. Dust, bird droppings, snow, leaves will stop the charging the process. Use a damp cloth to remove the dirt from the panel or brush off the snow.
- My light is inside my lanai. But I notice sometimes, the light does not stay on for full timer cycle. Why? The lanai dramatically reduces the strength of the sun. This will reduce the charging power of the solar panel. If used in the lanai, the light will require at least 6 hours of direct sun to charge for that nights full 5 hour cycle.