Driveway lights - solar option?

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
So we want to illuminate our driveway as it's got high trees both sides and is pitch black.
Option 1 - put a mains electricity cable up the driveway connected to 3 lights which are automatically activated when it's dark and on all the time. Simple but wasteful of electricity.

Option 2 - put a mains electricity cable up the driveway connected to 3 lights which are motion activated with a standard sensor to only supply light when needed. Perhaps the most efficient but will the sensors be sensitive enough to light up the drive appropriately?

Option 3 - have self contained solar lights. Aren't they pretty dim and cheap/nasty?

Option 4 -have solar powered lights all connected to a single largish panel using a kit like this http://www.thesolarcentre.co.uk/products/Geo_4_Mains_Free_Solar_Lighting_Kit-557-53.html with the electronics in a small weather proof box on the drive and the panel located out of the way, on a tilted south-facing stand. Will a 12v battery drive several bright lights all night?

Option 5 - combine options 2 and 4.

Anyone done anything like this?
Thanks
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
If your drive has high trees either side, then self-contained solar lights are going to be next to useless.
We've had several different types of self-contained solar lights over the years and even after a day of charging in clear sight of bright sunshine they are pretty useless after only a short time.
Your option of a 'remote' solar charging point is interesting, although it would still mean running a cable to the individual lights.
In which case, maybe as well running a mains cable and going for efficient lights?
Can't help with the sensors, sorry.
I wouldn't bother myself, I'd simply switch them on/off via a switch in the house.
I can't see the cost of running a few lights like this being prohibitive.
So for sheer ease and effectiveness, I'd go for option 1.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
I wouldn't bother myself, I'd simply switch them on/off via a switch in the house.
I can't see the cost of running a few lights like this being prohibitive.
So for sheer ease and effectiveness, I'd go for option 1.

This is what we have. I've got 6 * 1m high lights (3 on each side) of the drive with the switch at the front door. I have a tree planted next to each light, though they are still quite young (only about 10ft tall). When fully grown, I think the effect will be pretty good.
During the summer months they are never switched on, but at this time of the year they are very handy.

Edit: My neighbour had solar light's and they were next to useless. They eventually gave up on them and went for 'proper' lighting.
 
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IronGiant

Moderator
I'd go for option 2 Stuart with a sensor at the house and at the end of the drive if the drive is too long for a single sensor at the house to activate the lights as people pull off the road.
 

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