Affordable battery-powered and solar-charged lights for the next round of load-shedding

G.A.S

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We've had a number of the "loadshedding lightbulbs" for a number of years in strategic locations (e.g. bed lamp, floor lamp, etc) and overall they do work well enough during loadshedding.

Unfortunately, they are not really bright enough as your only lights, and some of them do fail prematurely as is the case with any LED lamp. It also gets expensive to replace a lot of fixtures. Lastly, some brands also don't work in fixtures that run multiple lamps off one switch.
 

wroemwroem

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What we use is an inverter (220V 1000W output, 12V input), connected to our car battery, which will power switchmode powersupplies without issue.

We got the 1000W for about R600, modified sine wave on the box, but probably more square sine wave. These cheap inverters are not really suited for anything with a motor (fridge compressor, fan, pump) or an iron(?)-core transformer (microwaves, magnetic ballasts used in fluorescent tube lights), and can cause noise in audio systems, but since most electronics (chargers, tv's, dstv, routers, laptop chargers, etc) use switchmode powersupplies, it can power a lot of things. If the power brick says it takes an input of 110V-220V 50hz/60hz, then you won't have an issue.

When loadshedding is done, your normal commute will charge the battery again. You just need to be sensible and not deplete the battery too much - lead acid doesn't like deep discharges.

Anyways, what I also noticed is that LEDs doesn't work with MSW inverters, but CFLs work fine. Luckily we still have a few laying around.

Edit: Also, unless you want chinese fireworks, don't use more than 50% of the inverter's capacity as a continuous draw.
 

TheChamp

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What we use is an inverter (220V 1000W output, 12V input), connected to our car battery, which will power switchmode powersupplies without issue.

We got the 1000W for about R600, modified sine wave on the box, but probably more square sine wave. These cheap inverters are not really suited for anything with a motor (fridge compressor, fan, pump) or an iron(?)-core transformer (microwaves, magnetic ballasts used in fluorescent tube lights), and can cause noise in audio systems, but since most electronics (chargers, tv's, dstv, routers, laptop chargers, etc) use switchmode powersupplies, it can power a lot of things. If the power brick says it takes an input of 110V-220V 50hz/60hz, then you won't have an issue.

When loadshedding is done, your normal commute will charge the battery again. You just need to be sensible and not deplete the battery too much - lead acid doesn't like deep discharges.

Anyways, what I also noticed is that LEDs doesn't work with MSW inverters, but CFLs work fine. Luckily we still have a few laying around.
I have a mix of LEDs and CFL, they work just fine with a MSW?
 

Thor

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So terribly overpriced stuff is in this country, those solar lights are $3 on banggood, I have a couple.
 

wroemwroem

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Ok but how do you switch them off? Or will they be on 24/7?

They typically go on when the power goes off (the brand I have anyways). What you do is you leave the light switch in the on position. Mine have a cheap remote, so you turn it on and off with that, irrespective of whether you have power or the switch position. With others, you quickly turn the switch off and on to turn the light off (I think). When the bulb no longer receive any power, it goes on. Obviously without power, the switch position doesn't matter. Occasionally there's switches on the bulbs, which you can also use to turn it on and off.

I have a mix of LEDs and CFL, they work just fine with a MSW?
I thought about that when posting, and I think it might be my brand. I have cheap Lumaglo (Checkers) and better Osram bulbs (globe style, with normal edison screw and bayonet fittings). I have a feeling downlights, especially if they are managed by a control gear, will likely not have issues, especially if they are the dimmable type (as they will have a transformer).
 

Totempole

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Ok but how do you switch them off? Or will they be on 24/7?

Difficult to explain how they work, but when the power cuts, the globes work with your standard light switches. There are a few Youtube videos out there to explain how this is possible.

That said, Eurolux products are garbage and should be avoided.
 

Dan C

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They typically go on when the power goes off (the brand I have anyways). What you do is you leave the light switch in the on position. Mine have a cheap remote, so you turn it on and off with that, irrespective of whether you have power or the switch position. With others, you quickly turn the switch off and on to turn the light off (I think). When the bulb no longer receive any power, it goes on. Obviously without power, the switch position doesn't matter. Occasionally there's switches on the bulbs, which you can also use to turn it on and off.


I thought about that when posting, and I think it might be my brand. I have cheap Lumaglo (Checkers) and better Osram bulbs (globe style, with normal edison screw and bayonet fittings). I have a feeling downlights, especially if they are managed by a control gear, will likely not have issues, especially if they are the dimmable type (as they will have a transformer).
That's probably the cheaper versions.

Mine (the Worx version as in the article) works exactly like a normal light bulb. The only difference is that it carries on working when the power fails. You can still switch it on and off just like normal.

However, you cannot unplug it from the mains and switch it on. That won't work.
 

The_MAC

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Does anyone know why this brand (Light Worx 7W Twin Pack) does not go on when you switch off the main wall socket while the light switch is in an On position?

It does go on when there is loadshedding though, but not for long :unsure:
 

Totempole

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Does anyone know why this brand (Light Worx 7W Twin Pack) does not go on when you switch off the main wall socket while the light switch is in an On position?

It does go on when there is loadshedding though, but not for long :unsure:

The short life span is common with these cheap globes. The Eurolux globes only offer usable light for about an hour tops, after that they go very dim.

It's only designed to work when there's a full power cut, so other than that they work as intended.
 

Louis72

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Difficult to explain how they work, but when the power cuts, the globes work with your standard light switches. There are a few Youtube videos out there to explain how this is possible.

That said, Eurolux products are garbage and should be avoided.
Generally, stick to Phillips/Osram bulbs. Easy to find.
 

Dan C

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Does anyone know why this brand (Light Worx 7W Twin Pack) does not go on when you switch off the main wall socket while the light switch is in an On position?

It does go on when there is loadshedding though, but not for long :unsure:
That's the way it works. It has to detect that your grid has failed. You cannot unplug it and expect it to switch on.
BTW the Worx ones are the best I had so far.
 

The_MAC

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That's the way it works. It has to detect that your grid has failed. You cannot unplug it and expect it to switch on.
BTW the Worx ones are the best I had so far.
Weird, but ok, the wall socket is switched off, the plug is still connected..

It also doesn't work if a Sonoff is connected to the lamp.
 

Dan C

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The lamps cannot be tested in a conventional way by connecting the lamp to the mains and switching the mains voltage off.

The emergency lamp detects the capacitance between the Live and Neutral lines in order to determine if the lamp is connected to a fitting or not. In a normal household there will be numerous other lamps connected to the circuit breaker for all of the lights. These other lights will form a capacitance between the Live and Neutral lines.

Therefore during a power failure the emergency lamp will detect that there is no mains voltage and then read the capacitance between the Live and Neutral lines. If there is a capacitance the lamp will know that there is power failure and that the lamp is fitted to a light fitting and will turn on. When the lamp switch is turned off the capacitance reading will be reduced to zero and the lamp will know to turn off.
@The_MAC maybe this will answer your first question
 
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The_MAC

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@The_MAC maybe this will answer your first question
Thanks a lot!

The Sonoff "issue" is also a but confusing, sounds like the Sonoff introduces some impedance that impacts the bulbs ability to detect a power outage
 

Totempole

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Put quite simply if you charge one of those E27 screw globes, touch the base with your index finger, and the screw thread with your thumb, that will simulate the same short as a power cut with the light switch on and the globe will light up.

The same would apply to a B22 globe I would imagine.
 

Dan C

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Put quite simply if you charge one of those E27 screw globes, touch the base with your index finger, and the screw thread with your thumb, that will simulate the same short as a power cut with the light switch on and the globe will light up.

The same would apply to a B22 globe I would imagine.
My cheaper Chinese ones work that way. But the Worx ones I could not get them to light up doing that finger trick.
 

The_MAC

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Put quite simply if you charge one of those E27 screw globes, touch the base with your index finger, and the screw thread with your thumb, that will simulate the same short as a power cut with the light switch on and the globe will light up.

The same would apply to a B22 globe I would imagine.
That's what I thought, but it does not, at least not the LightWorx one
 
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