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Make your own solar powered emergency interior lights


Have some of those solar-powered outdoor garden lights on the path outside? Here’s how to adapt them to an interior emergency lighting setting.

by Leon Pantenburg

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Many of us use solar-powered accent lights outside, but don’t think of them as potential emergency interior lights. But it’s easy to adapt them to an urban emergency situation. All you have to do is bring them inside.

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This solar garden light and two chandelier globes make an interesting and useful gift.

Some of the smaller wand-like lights are completely contained. Others have a rechargeable battery in them. Mine use Ni-CAD AA900, and you can easily find a charger for them.

When the lights go out, you can recharge the light by the sun. There are hand crank generators on the market that allow you to charge the light when it’s dark and gloomy.

Use the accent lights first in an emergency situation. They might get you through a dark night, saving the candles and lamp oil for times when you  can’t recharge the solar lights

Here are some of the advantages of adapting the accent lights to interiors:

  • Cost: I priced solar lights in the second week of December at one of the local box stores. The usual $4.95 light was on sale for half price. The off season is a good time to stock up.
  • Safety: Unlike a candle or other open flame light, a solar light doesn’t emit deadly carbon monoxide gas. You can use these solar lights safely in an enclosed setting.
  • Operation: A fully charged solar light, according to a manufacturer’s claims, will produce light for between eight to ten hours.  That sounds optimistic to me, but you could probably depend on several hours of light.
  • Durability: An accent light should last quite a while, depending on how it’s used and the climate.
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Illumination: Depending on the size and design of the light, they may not be very bright. You may need more than one to read by. On the other hand, an accent light can provide a comforting night light in your otherwise dark house.

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