At free-light, we have a specific purpose: to create innovative solar products that provide maximum night time light without hydro 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:
- We use the entire solar panel to determine day/night.
- We do not allow the battery to over charge, increasing its life.
- We do not allow the battery to over discharge. We turn off the light to protect the battery once its level falls below safe levels!
- We charge the battery at a safe rate, allowing the battery to have longer life with more capacity.
- We use or offer timer operation on most of our products. This is to save the battery power for the next day in case of bad weather that does not allow the light to charge. Our top of the line Ra60 can function for up to 14 days with poor weather.
free-light solar lights are designed for year round use(except the table lights). 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. Retail available solar panels for consumer use vary in efficiency from 4-18%. Free-light solar panels are made with crystalline cells, offering high efficiency up to 18%.
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 charge the battery from fully depleted, allowing for full operation for two or more timer lighting periods(5 or 6 hours depending on the model).
|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.||The small solar panel on the left is standard solar light panel compared to our 12V solar panel.|
|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 12V powered products. Light output ranges from 4 feet on our pathway lights to more than 30 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 prices far below market levels. 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.
- 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 disconnected once it has been charged. We suggest you bring the lights inside after they charge on a sunny day. You can disconnect the battery and the light can be stored inside for up to 6months.
- 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.