I have recently become interested in solar devices. There’s something really cool about using the power of the sun instead of the power of an AC adapter, when it comes to powering products. The sun is free; Electricity definitely isn’t. That’s why I was more than happy to review a solar powered garden accent light, when the folks at SmartHome contacted me to gauge my interest in their Solar Powered Garden Accent Light.
The six sided Greenish step stone arrived in a thin box (an Ivory version is also available). The “stone” is 14 inches point to point, 12.25 inches flat side to flat side, and has a thickness of 1 inch.
The product is composed of a durable and UV protected resin material that looks very much like stone, while remaining light weight. Although this product is called a stepping stone, I’m not entirely sure it should be walked on. I don’t know how long it might hold up with people actually walking on it. I don’t have any evidence that it would not hold up, I just have a feeling that might crack after heavy use. One clue that this might be the case is the picture hanger built into the back of the stone. I think this product should be used as decorative accent, instead of a functional step.
On the back of the stone, you see the battery compartment. Two rechargeable nickel-cadmium AA batteries are included and pre-installed. These batteries have a typical life-span of 18 months and can be user replaced with 1.2V 600mAh cells.
The solar panel is located in the middle of the face of the stone. If you’re not familiar with the way solar devices work, the solar panel collects and converts sunlight into DC power everyday while the pre-installed rechargeable batteries store energy to power the light at night. The built-in photo sensor automatically activates the light at dusk and deactivates it at dawn. You can also test it by putting your hand over the solar panel. Doing so will cause the LEDs to light up until you remove your hand.
The first thing you do before setting the stone is to press the Black rubber button on the battery door. This activates the battery and turns on the dawn / dusk sensor. Then you place it outdoors in a location that receives direct sunlight. A location that receives 8hrs of direct sunlight per day is your best bet for keeping the internal batteries charged. If you place the stone in a shady location, it will cut back on the number of hours each night that the stone stays lit.
Here’s a picture of the stone that I took without a flash. As you can see, there are 4 LEDs installed. These LEDs glow an amber color, but don’t appear quite as bright in real life as they do in this image. The bulbs are supposed to have a life-span of 100,000+ hours. My handy calculator figures that 100,000 hours calculates to around 30 years if the stone only stays lit for 9 hours a day, everyday. So it looks like the only part that needs replacing will be the batteries once a year or so.
These stepping stones are an easy way to decorate and light your garden without the hard work of burying wires.