LED Yard Light Repairs – Lightning Bug II

Success with the LED Lightning Bug Figure spurred me to look at 2 more yard lights I didn’t know weren’t working, one I repaired, one I didn’t repair, it had a defective solar cell.

But the Lightning Bug Figure LED Light turned out not to be the only Lightning Bug LED Light that needed repaired, we have one other. It didn’t need repaired when I fixed the first, it became that way after.

Confident that my trouble shooting skills would soon have the issue resolved, I pondered where I could buy a replacement. LOL.

This rendition has 3 lightning bugs, made of glass, each with an integral LED, and suspended by small gauge, lacquer coated (the only insulation) wires from the lid in a Mason Jar with simulated grass on the bottom, and at night, the lights go through a sequence, slow flashing one light, it dims, another brightens, it dims, etc.

It has that same, improvised Chinese construction. A tiny Circuit Board, with wire connection feed throughs, that aren’t used, rather the wires were just soldered to the Circuit Board on one side atop the feed throughs.

There was a designed Circuit Board Bracket in the Lid, but the incorrect soldering technique precluded that, and besides, why do it right when you can just gob glue into the lid and push the Circuit Board partially into it.

I hoped that the Battery Contacts were just dirty, or dirty and a Bad Battery, but I found a bad switch, and while looking at the switch, the wire fell off, and I wasn’t real buoyant about the likelihood of fixing it.

I eliminated the switch, but soldering to a tiny Circuit Board, inside the Plastic Lid, was a challenge. Restripped the end and Tinned it (applied a little solder under heat), tried to Solder the wire on, but the one next to it popped off, it was the + Lead from the Solar Cell, and on a different and insulated solder pad. So, I cut the very end off, Restripped a tiny amount and Tinned it, cleaned up the Circuit Board by briefly heating some Solder Wick on it, and Resoldered the + Solar Cell Lead. That done, back to the battery lead, heated to Solder it, and the + Solar Cell Lead popped off.

Next attempt, the Solder inadvertently bridged the two, so I removed the wires, used Solder Wick to remove the solder, Tinned each wire with a little more Solder, used the shortest Soldering time possible, and somehow got both leads nicely Soldered.

I used a recently recharged NiCad Battery I removed from another defective light in the past, to be replaced with a NiMh when we get them, gently reassembled, and put it under bright light, then covered the Solar Cell, and the Lightning Bugs sprung to life. They lasted the night, recharged today, and still going strong when covered.

No meter work in here, obvious causes, the switch, broken wires, and my desire not to disturb more wires subject to subsequently breaking. Workmanship on many Chinese items is substandard. Be careful with Chinese stuff, don’t buy cheap stuff for critical things without reading reviews and assessments. Stop using things if they are malfunctioning until they can be inspected. The workmanship on some Chinese products is extremely poor.

Now on to the next yard light repair, anticlimactic, but it works again, it had stopped working for the easiest of reasons.

Author: Dr-Artaud

A Doctor that is not a Doctor, but named after a character in the movie "No Such Thing", as is the Avatar.

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