Saturday, 18 May 2013

Poundland Solar Light Hack

A blogger friend James (see a post elsewhere on my blog linking to his blog) has
been pulling apart solar lights from the pound shop to see what parts he could
salvage for other projects,

I was wandering the pound store and saw something similar but not the same as
the light he had purchased. I decided to purchase a couple to take to pieces.

Before Hack:-

Whats Inside

There is a solar cell which produces between 2.0v to 2.4v in room light and 3v
in bright sunlight. 

There is also an Ni-MH AAA battery rated 1.2V at 600ma,

There is a small circuit board with a transistor like integrated circuit that
has 4 pins its labelled YX8018. After a bit of poking about I found out some
more information about this little device. It is produced by a Chinese company
called Shiningic.

Initially it confused me that the battery in the solar light was only rated at
1.2v, this would not be a high enough voltage to drive the led. After reading
up on the YX8018 I found that it is a clever little chip that acts in 2 ways,

The first way is an up-voltage converter taking the 1.2 volts of the battery
and providing enough voltage to drive the LED.

The second element is as a light activated switch. the solar cell and the LED
are wired through the chip. The positive output from the solar cell goes to the
battery positive terminal as well as to the CE (chip enable)  pin on the 8018.

when light falls onto the solar cell a voltage is places onto the negative
active CE pin which switches the chip off thereby switching the LED off. This
means that during the day the led light is switched off and voltage is only
supplied to the battery allowing it to be charged.

 Parts After Hack:

Salvaged Hardware: Salvaged Electronics:

The salvagable parts I will use in my own projects are:

  • ultrabright led
  • 3v 20ma solar cell.
  • AAA 1.2v 600mAh Ni-MH
  • 3 small screws
Now what to make with the parts !!!!!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Which pound shop did you get the light from?
    You get much better components in the ones you bought.

  3. I bought on of these just to see how it worked/ what was inside. It struck me that because moving my hand across in front of the solar cell made the led go on and off according to weather my hand blocked or allowed light to fall on the solar cell, it was a crude type of motion detector. I have an application for this, I am into model railways, I want to have modern style electric train signals controlled by a train passing the signal. i.e. the solar cell is facing the track just in front of the signal, a train passes it blocking the light causing the signal to show a green for go lamp. I just have to think of a way to get the red lamp to show when the train has passed the signal.

  4. Don't forget the (likely) 560 ┬ÁH inductor that's on there too. I wonder if it really is a NiMH cell at that price — the identical ones in North America use a NiCd cell. These, though highly toxic, are dirt cheap and survive low temperatures better than NiMHs.I've had the cheap lights last through four winters (so below -20°C) and being covered with snow, yet many of them are still running through the whole night.

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  6. I have found these at the dollar store for $1.I am stocking up for future projects