Recharging AA Batteries Using Outdoor Solar Lights; No Electricity Required!

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A few weeks back when I posted an article about how my set of rechargeable batteries had lasted five years, reader Charles Reyer wrote in to offer his advice on how he uses his rechargeable batteries. While I thought I was doing everything I could to make my use of batteries the least harmful to our environment, Charles goes one step further – he uses the power of the sun to charge his batteries! He emailed me some quick text on how he does this via his phone (as he doesn’t have a computer right now), and here is how I understand he does it.

According to Charles, most of those little solar-powered lights that people use to light up paths or their driveway actually have regular-size AA rechargeable batteries in them. He found this out by taking apart one of the lights, only to find the same kind of rechargeable batteries inside that one can buy at the store. Because of this, Charles realized that he could use those solar lights as battery rechargers. When he needs a fresh battery for a TV remote or something else, he just swaps out a battery in one of the lights. The tired battery gets put in the light and gets charged up outside – no electricity required!

Charles also uses those inexpensive outdoor solar lights as indoor lights, building upright sconces they can sit in at night inside his home. He constructed them to have a reflective pie plate as a back, which reflects the light into his house like an old-fashioned candle sconce. I imagine it is something like this:

A few months back I came across those outdoor solar lights at the Dollar Store for a buck and at Home Depot they are usually $3-$5 each. I wish I had picked some up when I saw them there, as being able to not only light up the path outside AND recharge my batteries without using electricity would have been pretty cool. Next time I see them on sale somewhere I will definitely pick up a few to test out this recharging method.

Have you ever done this or considered a way to use those solar lights as anything more than just path lighting? Thanks to Charles for writing in and sharing his experience with us all. I hope I laid it out the way he meant it to be interpreted, and please – if you are a DIY type with some creative ideas for being more eco-friendly at home, please do get in touch

Lamp on the wall image from BigStock

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