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David Van Brink // Sat 2007.08.11 21:30 // {solar garden light wbl weird blinking lights}

WBL: Production For Use

Solar Powered WBL

Here is my first completed solar-powered WBL.

I took the solar garden light apart and carved away much of the plastic around the battery and circuit board. This is epoxied and screwed to a plastic jar lid; the underside has a rectangular hole to replace the cheap rechargeable AA cell. The solar cell is placed on a “chip-tube” signpost, and angled slightly upward.

It’s been running reliably, nightly, for a few weeks now. (Zener diode did the trick! No more burnouts.)


Here it is at night, after a full day’s charge. It’s a 15 second time exposure, you have to imagine it blinking inside the plastic peanut-butter jar.

Recycle, Reuse

The whole point of this “production for use” series of WBLs is to use discarded materials. Old bendy straws and styrofoam packing peanuts are evident above. It turns out that, for this project, translucent objects take on quite a mystique! Straws, salsa-cups from lunch, discarded syringe holders, thin styrofoam sheets, pudding and applesauce cups, and even burnt-out incancdescent bulbs are all figuring in. But plastic bottles are the best.

Here’s the frustrating part: trying to get the labels off. Ironically, Odwalla bottles use some kind of impervious glue, shown here glinting in the sunlight and clinging accidentally to dirt. And nail polish remover labeling is (perhaps unsurprisingly) immune to nail polish remover. But the Elmer’s glue labels? They just fall off when poked.

I’ve tried soaking in water, rubbing alcohol, and “goo gone” with various levels of success. More research is needed on this aspect of reuse.

2 comments
Myles // Wed 2007.12.12 07:487:48 am

to remove any lable from a container, paint with household ammonia, then cover with some plastic wrap. Wait 10 minutes or less, the lable will peel off. This also works with stickers on cars.

David Van Brink // Mon 2007.12.17 10:0710:07 am

Awesome! Thanks for the tip! I will try the Ammonia Method & report back.

oh, i dont know. what do you think?



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