Can You Use Regular AA Batteries In Solar Lights

Can You Use Regular AA Batteries In Solar Lights?

Regular alkaline-based batteries are not designed for solar units. However, for a short period, you can use regular batteries on your solar while searching for the ideal replacement.

It is crucial to keep extra NiMH and NiCd batteries recommended for your solar lights.

As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t keep regular batteries on your solar lighting system for more than a week. Keep on reading for more insights…. 

Best Rechargeable Batteries For Solar Light Units

NiMH and NiCd are the two primary forms of solar light batteries you will encounter when looking to replace damaged cells.

There are different sizes and capacities of 1.2V NiCd and 1.2V NiMH rechargeable batteries. The most popular size is AA; these are 50.5mm in height and 14.5mm in diameter.

More recently, 1.2V NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries are replacing the old style NiCd batteries.

Full-size AAA is also a popular size at 44.5mm in height and 10.5mm in diameter, making them slimmer than the AA.

There are a few others including:

2/3AA rechargeable batteries which are two thirds the size of a full AA – 31mm x 14.5mm.

2/3AAA rechargeable batteries – 30mm long and 10.5mm in diameter.

Quick Guide To Replacing Solar Light Batteries

The common reasons garden solar lights stop working is because the rechargeable batteries inside them have simply worn out. Replace them every year will do the job.

Replace your battery with a slightly different mAh capacity, as long as it is the same voltage.

Give them a couple of days to get going and you should find your solar lights return to life. If they still don’t work after checking all components, it is probably time to recycle both your light and battery separately

Old Batteriesto New

AA NiCd or NiMH 1.2v 200mAh, 250mAh, 300mAh                                    AA NiMH 1.2V 300mAh

AA NiCd or NiMH 1.2v 400mAh, 500mAh, 600mAh                                    AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh

AAA NiCd or NiMH 1.2V 200mAh, 250mAh, 300mAh                                AAA NiMH 1.2V 300mAh

AAA NiCd or NiMH 1.2V 400mAh, 500mAh, 600mAh                                AAA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh

2/3AA NiCd or NiMH 1.2V 100mAh, 150mAh, 200mAh, 250mAh             2/3AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh

2/3AA NiCd or NiMH 1.2V 300mAh, 400mAh,  600mAh                            2/3AA NiMH 1.2V 600mAh

2/3AAA NiCd 1.2V 100mAh, 200mAh                                                              2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh

2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 100mAh, 150mAh, 200mAh                                          2/3AAA NiMH 1.2V 200mAh

Common FAQ

Solar Battery Lights vs Regular Batteries

The two main types of rechargeable solar cells:

  • NiMH
  • NiCd

Solar light batteries are designed to store energy from the sun and release it during the night.

On the other hand, regular alkaline batteries aren’t designed for recharging, which is the main reason you should avoid using them on your solar light.

Use High Capacity Batteries For Solar Lights?

High capacity rechargeable batteries generally need a higher current to recharge them.

Solar light produces low charge current, and it actually better to use relatively low capacity solar light batteries.

Is It Safe To Use Regular Batteries In Solar Lights?

Since regular batteries cannot be recharged, using them on solar light units for too long can result in corrosion, permanent system failures or fire hazard.

Terminals Corrision – It can quickly drain the charge and lead to corrosion of the terminals and charging problems.

Unreliable Performance – Regular batteries will provide power to your lights for a short period only. Long duration use causes flickering lights, abrupt power drain, and other abnormal noticeable characteristics

Voiding Warranty – Using not recommended batteries voids the warranty, and no damage is covered.

You may experience flickering lights, abrupt power drain, and other characteristics that encapsulate the less than optimum performance.

When To Use Regular Batteries With Solar Lights As Last Resort?

You can use the regular batteries for short period of time (Less than 6 days, but not for too long before damages occur) 

  • When searching for recommended replacements
  • When solar light batteries drain all over sudden
  • When testing the solar unit

Ying Xu

Graduated from the University of Kansas with an Aerospace Engineering degree & served 4 years as an US Air Force officer. Experienced with basic survival skills, weapon system security,  technical disaster recovery, and system troubleshooting

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