Twinklelite Solar LED Stake Light

Twinklelite Solar LED Stake Light

I’ve ordered quite a few of these, some for my place, and some for friends/relatives. The good:

A: They’re pretty. Everybody likes them.

B: Nice, warm, yellow light. Lots of LED outdoor lights are cold white or some circus color situation. These are pleasant.

C: Easy to set up. I was a little worried about the simplicity of the stake (one fork) but it seems fine so far, and went into the ground smoothly. Theoretically, 3-4 forks on that stake would help you align them so they were more upright, but it wasn’t in practice a problem.

The bad:
A: The batteries and solar panels that came with them aren’t great. 600mAh. One must always take claims like “up to 8 hours each night” with a grain of salt, especially for something getting recharged off of a small solar charger, but “each night” turned into about 1-2 hours for me. The placement and amount of daylight is, I’m sure, a factor, but still the time they stayed lit dropped off quickly and dramatically each day. I’ve replaced the batteries with 2,000mAh, ($1-2 each on Amazon) and hopefully that should help, but it’s still a pretty small solar panel doing the charging.

B: Whatever “weather resistant design” means is pretty notional. After a night with some rain, they conked out after running for maybe 30 minutes, so I opened them up (more on that in a second) and water came out. The molded plastic cup that holds the battery and the very simple board is not great design for weather resistance. The “cup” body has four indents/channels at the bottom, two of which have holes to allow water in/out, meaning any water can get up and in, and then collect in the other two sections. I suspect that more or less killed off the already dodgy batteries. Fortunately, you can detach them from the staked portion and bring them in when it rains. (It’s going to rain tomorrow where I am, so they’re in the other room…) Or you could pull up the whole thing and just replant them when it’s nicer out.

C: The solar panels are inset from the top of the dish they sit in, so water (dew, not just rain) can and does collect there. Does it seep into the rest of the device? Probably. Also, just not great weather resistant design.

D: As for opening these up, they have four small screws at the bottom that are rather fiddly to take out so you can replace the battery or let the “weather resistant” unit dry out after the rain. There’s a rubber sheath type thing over the on/off switch (which might be part of what they deem “weather resistant”) and that can be a little fiddly to keep in place when reassembling. It’s not difficult, but it takes a few minutes, and once opened they are also fiddly to close up tightly (or weather resistantly, we might say.) They probably could have been designed in a way that is much easier to access, and would have been more resistant to the weather at the same time.

A single, heavier screw at the base where it posts into the stake, and a gasket where the cup matches the top piece probably would have done the same job and better. Holes in all four indents at the bottom also. Or in none. One or the other. A dab of hotglue to hold the tiny board in place would probably have been a good idea, and another dab holding the rubber “switch cover” in place would help. That switch cover should also probably be broader at the base, making it easier to fix/reset when changing batteries. Last, better batteries should be standard at this price point. (I’ll take my commission in bitcoin Touch of Eco. TYVM.)

In any case, I’m seriously considering buying up a few more solar panels and wiring them up through the stake to these things to give the recharging a little more oomph. As I started out, they do look awfully nice out in the yard. They got a bit cheap on some of the less obvious components, however, and the design could use some improvement. Weather (not a typo…) that’s worth the price is a value judgment, but I’d hope they come up with a few changes.