How to Fix Broken Wire on Solar Lights: A Step-by-Step Guide
For the most part, solar lights are reliable and require little to no maintenance, but even the most reliable piece of hardware will have a problem now and then. When your lights begin to dim, flicker, or stop working altogether, the first thing to look at is the battery, but once that is solved, if the problem persists, there may be a broken wire in the system.
Fixing this is not as hard as you may think. You will need some simple knowledge and a few tools. If you have these, there may be no reason to hire a professional (unless you want to). So what do you need? What skills should you have? We have pulled everything you need to know about how to fix broken wire on solar lights below.
Why You Are Having Wiring Issues
Every solar light can have a different design and layout, which means troubleshooting what needs to be done could be all down to knowing what causes the break in the first place. Many things can cause a wire to break and here are a few.
Wire Tension – If you have wrapped your lights around an object, be it a tree or a column, they will experience pulling by external forces. This could cause a wire to become weakened and eventually break.
Wildlife – If you have your lights set up outside, then they are open and free for any little critters to chew on them.
Age – If your lights are older and used pretty consistently, then the wires in the housing may get old. Constant exposure to the elements and age combined can lead to a wire break.
Unscrewed Connections – Not a broken wire, but one of the culprits of your light not working may be a loose wire. Some units use screws to attach the wires and if that screw comes too loose, the wire loses contact. With this, all you would have to do is open the housing and reattach the wire back into place.
Things You Should Know
There are some skills you should have before you begin the process of fixing a broken wire. Many of these you can find tutorials and other resources online to help you with, but having the basic skills will ensure your safety and good results.
These skills include the following.
Using a Multimeter
A multimeter is a tool used to check the electric current, resistance, or voltage of a wire. This will make sure there is no chance of electrocution as well as allow you to check if a wire is getting any juice. Though being electrocuted is not a real concern with solar-powered lights, this tool still can be useful in finding if there is any current making its way from point to point once the wire is fixed.
Soldering helps you connect two ends of a wire back together. You will need protective glasses when using a soldering iron. In order to solder here are the basic steps:
- Strip wiring [see below]
- Place a heat shrink tube on one end of the wire
- Twist the ends of the wires together
- Secure the wire with clamps
- Place rosin for soldering on the wires
- Heat up the soldering gun
- Place the tip of soldering gun under the wire and feed solder through slowly
- Then repeat on the top of the wires
- Let the solder coat and dry completely
- Coat with silicone glue and then place heat sink over the wires
- Use a lighter to heat the covering
The first step in the process of fixing a broken wire is to strip the wire casing to expose the copper filament itself. Here is how you strip a wire:
- Find the gauge of wire on your wire stripper.
- Place the wire in that slot about half an inch from the end.
- Then press down on the clamp and move the tool back and forth gently until the wire insulation begins to come off.
- Remove the casing.
No matter how small the wiring job is, there are still some tools you will need to have handy to complete the project with the best results. The list of these tools is below:
- Electrical tape
- Wire strippers
- Safety glasses
- Soldering gun & solder
- Rosin glue
- Silicone paste
- Heat shrink tube
This list includes the tools you need for a minor repair and a major one. Depending on how broken the wire is, choose accordingly.
How to Fix a Broken Wire
Now that you have an idea of what you need to fix a broken wire in your solar lights, let’s look at just how you would go about fixing that broken wire. Here is the step by step process you should take to fixing a broken wire in your solar lights.
- First, take apart the solar light housing.
- Then check for any dirt, debris, or water.
- Remove the batteries.
- Then find the broken wire. If it is not completely broken, just damaged, you may be able to fix it with electrical tape. If not, check out the stripping and soldering sections above.
- Once the wire is repaired, replace the batteries and put the housing back together.
- Turn the light on and see if it works. If not, you may have to contact the manufacturer for more troubleshooting options or replace the light.
When you notice that a light is out, it should be addressed immediately as it could lead to a bigger problem. When dealing with solar-powered lights, you will not have to worry about as much as if the light were a true electrical light, but even still, it should be fixed as soon as possible.
There are many reasons that your light might be out like a low battery charge. Or it could be something bigger like a broken wire. Fixing a broken wire is easy, but you need to have the right tools and know-how. We have tried to give you a good start above and hope that what we have relayed helps you the next time you find a broken wire.