496 of 510 people found the following review helpful
Finnicky - worth it in the end,
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This review is from: Sunforce 82156 60 LED Solar Motion Light (Automotive)
Nice, bright light - better than expected.
Adjustable settings for: 1. what constitutes dusk when the light begins to motion sense; 2. how sensitive the IR detector is to movement, and; 3. how long the light remains on.
Selectable modes for auto, on, or off.
IR sensor is adjustable up / down and left / right, separate from light.
Power cord from solar cell is very long and gives you more flexibility on installation locations.
Mounting hardware (not the units themselves) is not galvanized or otherwise weather resistant (e.g. stainless). I used a silicon based caulk to cover screw heads and seams.
Light is only adjustable up / down so getting the light to face where you want may involve mounting additional hardware.
Adjustable settings have considerable hysteresis. (I was up and down a ladder many times)
I bought three of these; two of them took considerable time (15+ minutes) to start turning off in Auto mode, even with the sensitivity and time adjustments minimized. The third worked as soon as the switch was turned. All three had been given the same amount of time to charge beforehand (5 days).
I took one star for setup because I had almost given up on two of the three purchased. The adjustment settings were initially unresponsive and the lights just stayed on in Auto mode. When they finally turned off, everything started working as indicated. The adjustment knobs are not linear, so I recommend getting a second person to perform a walking test so that the first can stay on the ladder to tweak the settings. Also recommend using some sealant on the mounting hardware to keep it from rusting. I kept picturing two years from now: we're inside and something hits the side of our house and it looks like someone is shining a flashlight in the window as one of these lights breaks away and dangles from the power cord because of cheap hardware.
Once we were able to move beyond the setup and enjoy them, these lights redeemed some stars for how bright they are and the fact that they're solar with motion detection. I truly didn't expect the intensity to be this good and to last for so long. I'm sure this will vary with the availability of optimal charging sunlight, but the performance, brightness, function, and price are well worth it so far.
FYI - the solar cell mounts to a ball-joint bracket on one of the long sides. The quickest comparison that comes to mind is the rearview mirror in a car. Except the range of movement is better on the solar cell. 360 degrees of rotation, and 180 degrees of tilt. Combine this with the length of power cord supplied and you have greater latitude on where you can install everything.
Very happy with this purchase and would definitely recommend it to others. Feel free to respond with any questions or feedback. I'll try to remember to post a follow up in 6 months and see how they're holding up.
Tracked by 10 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2012 7:05:33 AM PDT
Mine seemed to work fine the first night then last night (second day of use) I could not get it to turn off. I played with the settings but nothing really worked. I could hear the light click off (when I turned down the "on time") but it just stayed lit. I was wondering if the bugs flying in front of the sensor could be setting it off. I tried using the manual switch to turn it on this AM but it didn't light. It must have stayed on all night and drained itself I guess.
After reading your review, I wonder if it will start working like it is supposed to. Are you saying after an episode of it staying on all the time it started working fine w/o adjustments?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2012 7:26:56 AM PDT
Sean Guenther says:
Funny, I was already considering an update. The one I had the most problems with still seems to be a little finicky. To answer your question, the most direct answer is yes. The mention of hysteresis was on purpose: if you've ever worked with older rheostats (volume knobs or light dimmer switches), they sometimes have some "slop" in the adjustment. If you turn in one direction constantly, you get reliable adjustments. If you turn in the opposite direction, it's like a lag exists before the adjustment happens. This lag is the hysteresis and it can happen in both directions of adjustment. Why I'm bothering to mention this: if you have to do fine adjustments, they don't exist. Once you get close to where you want to be, the natural thing to do is make small changes back and forth. Small changes mean the lag isn't giving you reliable adjustments. Sometimes, the switch will "settle" into its new position over time. This means that the setting will drift even after nobody touches it.
Out of the three, I have one that gave me noticeably more problems. It still turns on during a decent rain, and yes I do believe the bugs are setting it off as well. The best solution I can offer is to adjust the sensitivity from maximum sensitivity and back down to minimum (you should have to be very close to set it off). From there, you can make small adjustments to increase the sensitivity (as long as you don't change direction) and those should be more reliable adjustments. I would even go so far as to wait a couple of days between adjustments. This gives the switch plenty of time to settle.
Lastly, try to make sure that the unit has had some sunny days to charge between adjusting. Battery state definitely has an affect on overall performance. I hope this information helps and feel free to respond anytime :o)
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2012 8:01:52 AM PDT
Thanks for the quick response. I understand what you are saying. Thanks for the great details. I will work with it some more.
Posted on Sep 5, 2012 6:54:46 PM PDT
Well I tried every combination over a fair amount of time. I still can't get the motion sensor to work properly. I will shut off and come back on instantly. I tried in sensitivity high and lux low (min time), Visa-versa and everything in between. I just keeps cycling on with a fraction of a second off then back on. I think it's borked. I called the tec line and all I got was a recording and they said they will call within 24 hrs, well see.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 4:50:38 AM PDT
Sean Guenther says:
It doesn't sound like an adjustment problem - I think you're correct (it's "borked"). I will say that Amazon has a pretty fair return policy if all else fails. I put even less faith in a recorded customer support line. Sorry for your troubles...there's always a few bad apples.
However, I'm sure we'd all be very interested to hear about your customer support experience if you'd be willing to share.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 11:35:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2012 4:22:52 PM PDT
I got a call back today from Sunforce. They were very pleasant and when I described the issue they agreed it was defective. They said they would be happy to help but the best recourse would be to work through Amazon since I've only had it a little while. Their reasoning was it would take longer to go through them than Amazon. They said that if I had issues with Amazon helping to call back and they would take care of it. Fair enough. I called Amazon and as usual they took care of the issue no problem. I've returned a number of items and never had an issue the past.
My only concern was that I've wired the solar panel in such a way that I really don't want to remove it and send that back too. It's not going to be an issue, Amazon is sending me a new unit and e-mailing me a shipping label. When I get the new unit I'll just swap out the light/sensor part which will be a simple matter.
It's not a perfect world but all things considered it's being handled well so far. I hope to be up and running again mid next week.
Quick update edit: Looks like they shipped my replacement already and sent it overnight. Looks like I'll have it tomorrow, nice job Amazon.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2012 12:54:05 AM PDT
Hey, Pete - please let us know how it goes. We're looking at one of these as a critter-alert light.
Thanks to both of you. Good to hear "real life" experiences with these!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 8:49:00 PM PDT
I wanted to wait a few days to confirm but the replacement lamp works just fine. The replacement did come overnight which was a nice touch. I have to ship the defective one back tomorrow but I was sent a link to print out a pre paid shipper so it's all good now.
FWIW the lamp does throw a fair amount of light and the sensitivity is what I was hoping for. I just wanted light that faced the driveway and to be sensitive enough that if someone walked up my driveway to the front door it lights up.
Posted on Sep 11, 2012 8:38:22 PM PDT
doctor don says:
How long is the power cord from the solar panel to the light?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012 5:34:26 AM PDT
I did not measure it, but it is very long. I'm going to guess 10- 12 feet? I mounted mine between the garage doors of my two garage house and ran the wire all the way passed one of the doors to the side of the house. I still had to wind up the extra wire and tape it to the back of the lamp.