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DIY Small Solar Street Light

There is a variety of small solar street light that you can find in the market. These categories can be in the form of operation (smart/intellectual or manual), design (all in one or split), style (classic, contemporary or standard), technology (LED and ambient or motion detection), or based on the type of the component (battery, solar panel, and Lighting source).

Most of the time, the available solar street lights don’t come with a design that matches our goals and budgets. The small ones that you buy in the store may not be as powerful as you want them to be for your walkway.  In such cases, you may need to build your lighting system to improve visibility on your yard, sidewalk, patio, or street. For a small-scale project, you will need a DIY small solar street light.

In this article, we are going to look at a different dimension, height. Here we will learn how to make a small solar street light from scratch. This type of system can be in terms of the size of power or the length of the pole.

the image displays a small solar street light

All in one solar street light

Components of  a small solar street light

In the design of a small solar street light, you will need a Kit with the following components:

  • A solar panel(s)
  • Rechargeable battery or batteries (lithium-ion) with housing
  • Transistor(s), resistor(s), and capacitor(s)
  • Zero Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
  • A switchboard with protection circuit and housing
  • LED PCB with enclosure
  • A Lamp rod or pole

Design Drawing

the image displays small solar street light design drawing

Solar street light design drawing

Before you start connecting your components, you will need to consult relevant documents and reliable resources and come up with a wiring or schematic diagram. Others may use a flowchart describing the design to demonstrate the different functions of the solar street lights. The drawing you choose to use should help you simplify the installation process and capture all components in their rightful place.

A wiring diagram should help you calculate the required power, which is essential in the design of each of the main components. This calculation usually begins from the end product (illumination) to the energy source (PV cells). Basic electrical knowledge is essential in this stage of the design.

In standalone solar systems, you would not need a series or parallel circuit diagram, but you will need one when you are dealing with centralized street lights.  With some basic electrical concepts and skills, it should be easy for you to connect the various components in the circuit to get the required voltage and wattage capacity.

Wiring and Circuit Connections

You should make all testing on the ground by placing the solar panel(s) upside down to confirm if your LED lamps will light up. If there is no visible light, then it means there is something wrong with the connection or the street lights are not getting enough power from the batteries.

You will need tools such as a multimeter or a multi-tester to measure the voltage, AC, and resistance or your electric circuit. Since we are making an automatic solar street light, we do not need to program it to achieve superior control. Here we rely on select transistors and resistors to add the automatic function to the unit.

You can use an electromagnet or solid-state relay as a substitute for the manual switch to control the load circuit. An electromagnetic switch in an adaptive design has an input line that connects to the battery, and an output line, which connects to the load circuit. You will need a square or rectangle-shaped zero printed circuit board (PCB) to join the electrical components and embed your load or switch circuitry.

In case you are using a light sensor to control your switch automatically, then you need to have a housing that allows sunlight to fall on its surface. Also, since it is an outdoor product, you will need to provide suitable protection against water droplets, dust, and damage.

When you complete developing the control circuits, the next step would be to connect the zero PCB to the LED PCB. In case you wish to protect your LEDs from voltage or current fluctuations, you will need a compatible driver module. Some LED drivers come as integral components in the lighting fixtures, so you may not need them between the two PCBs.

the image displays led solar street light components

Solar street light installation components

Enclosure and Mountings

The housing component you choose for your solar street light components should be water and dustproof. A component enclosure with an ingress protection (IP) rating of IP65 or more offers the best protection for your system.

Mounting your components on the pole or rod should be easy if you have a clear picture of how you would want it to be. To achieve better results, ensure your components are well enclosed and that you have the necessary tools and material for mounting the system on the solid structure. Since the power is small, you can use a shorter pole considering the space-to-height ratio (SHR).

Small Solar Street Light: Conclusion

In the design of a small solar street light, there are some calculations you will have to do. You will also have to try and find a way to improve the efficiency of your system. With a simple electric circuit, this project should cost less.

In case you have limited knowledge and experience with electricity and electronics, then it is better to consult where necessary. As for the wiring and circuit connection, you can purchase a DIY small solar street light circuit Kit. Handle the testing or installation process with uttermost care.

A small solar street light is novel because it is easy to make, costs less, and provides light in case of power outages. It can be low in terms of power consumption and also in height. In terms of height, the system can be used to increase the visibility where the street is the area of concentration.

You can use this mini-type of the solar system to create emphasis on the beauty of the bricks, landscape, or horticulture along the path or street of your property or garden. With the shared information, you can now make your own small solar street light.

You may also want to check out What Is the Lighting Standard for Solar Highway Lighting System?


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