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Topic: Chinese Takeout Balcony Lights  (Read 1824 times)
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shelayla82
« on: July 20, 2010 08:23:50 PM »

I've been sitting on this project since I found these cute plastic Chinese take out containers at the Dollar Tree in town.  Since the plastic was see through, I originally intended to put battery operated tea lights in the lantern and string them across my balcony.  However, the wait was worth it.  After seeing jennygum's Sun Jar Tutorial, http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=348120.0, I knew I just had to use solar lights for these:
To make the finished lanterns, I placed the top part of a yard solar light upside down each take out box and closed it up.  Then I wrapped one, long string of twine around top part of the boxes handles, and hung up the strand on my balcony.  Below is a picture of an individual lantern.  You can see the solar light inside of it.
Waiting until dark, I've found that only four of the six lights lit up.  I'm hoping that it's due to not being fully charged.  My concern is that since the solar panels are inside of an transparent (or translucent?) object and pointing down, they may not collect enough sunlight to stay charged for the night.  For now, I'll wait until a full day's charge tomorrow and see if they all light up again and if the other two work.  Worse case scenario, some more tinkering will get full power to the lights.  If anyone has any experience/knowledge of how solar panels work with indirect sunlight, please let me know.  Last picture is of four of the lanterns lit up at night.  (Sorry if it's blurry, my camera takes horrible pictures in the dark.) I'm pretty excited with how they turned out!
Comments, critiques, and questions are welcome!
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catchgold22
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010 10:26:25 PM »

Very cool!  I bought a few of those plastic chinese containers as well.  I never knew what to do with them (besides one I used with tinsel to put a present in for a Doctor I work for) until now!
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shelayla82
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010 11:32:38 PM »

Just for an update:  The lights aren't working anymore.  Trying to figure out if it's bad placement or the fact that they are in a plastic container.  Have tried multiple directions of solar panels with the same result of not working.  Seeking suggestions before I buy a solar panel and lights to connect to it before I do anything else.
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