Firedude's RV Today Tech Tip

Well it was some time back (’06) that I did a tech tip on RV Today with Stew and Tracy about solar campsite lights. I thought I’d bring it up again. It was so well received I added it to my RV Tech Tip book. At the time I had Direcway Satellite tripod set up and it sat away from my RV a bit and wanted the thing visible for safety and other reasons. I was at Home depot one day as saw these outdoor 3 tier solar lights for $29.95 a pair. I bought a pair and used one under my tripod and put the other by my door steps. They worked so well I went back and got another pair and placed them strategically around my campsite. I had a ton of people asking me about them and where I got them. The nice thing was being a host on the beach they were made of aluminum. They came with little hard plastic stakes you drove in the ground, but being mobile and maybe wanting to move them around I came up with a better idea.

I went to Ace hardware and bought 3 short pieces of threaded galvanized pipe and a round wall mounts for each one. I simply screwed the short piece of pipe into the round wall plate and boom, had a stand! The solar light stems slid right down inside the pipes nicely. I them painted the galvanized “stands” white with Rustoleum spray paint. The round galvanized wall plates have screw holes in them, so you can anchor them down to something if you wish.

Campsite solar ligjhts

The lights actually put out quite a bit of light and ad very nice accent to a campsite. Some may be wondering if I ever had any “walk off”? Not a one in 3 years and always was complimented on them. When I finally got my Trailair air ride pin box I put one on top of the level pin box and it shined and reflected off my front cap of my 5’er and really looked nice at night.

I’ve even had several who had gotten my RV Tech Tip book stop and see me thanking me for the tip. Wouldn’t know it as I did my nightly rounds after dark there they were! There are several different models out there and many to choose from. I suggest the aluminum type so corrosion isn’t such a factor. Most all come with rechargeable AA batteries that are recharged by the sun through the small solar panel built into the tops. The replacement batteries aren’t very expensive either. My first set seem to last me about nearly a year being used every night. Here’s a link on line to a place that has just about everything. I found some new 3 tier lights they have I’m going to get. It’s all in your own taste and imagination what you get. It’s up to you. Prices range widely as well depending on what you want, but you can find a nice set of lights that are inexpensive at with Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Dress up your campsite a bit and ad a little accent!
Firedude's RV Tech Tip Book

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  10. Brad,
    Great post and great idea. I can see where the glass lenses would be much better as over time the plastic get dulled due to the UV rays and sure this improves performance! Thanks!

    aka firedude

  11. TXBrad

    Cool Stuff ! I use them w/ our RV. I like Guppy 1 flower pots. I’m going to use these new plastic coffee “cans” w/ a handle. Many Rv sites are well shaded & we use an awning. W/ concrete base, one came move to sunny area during day to charge batteries.
    I have had problems w/ plastic lenses breaking after time ( think UF eats plastic lenses w/ light) I went to a “better” quality w/ a thick glass lense. I pull the batteries & pack in original box. Added these to “check departure list/

    TX Brad

  12. Sherry

    We put our solor lights in little buckets full of sand & then put sea shells on top of the sand, although we are ‘FAR from any beach, it still looks nice, we put ours by our tie down stakes, that way people don’t trip over them & they do hold the carpet down..

  13. another tip on this is the batteries you use. some state their lights don’t stay lit all night or they have to charge their batteries outside the light itself. What i found is many times the lights come with low mAh rated batteries. They are usually 1.v batteries.

    What I use are 1.2v 900mah batteries. It seems some lights come with less mAh ratined batteries. This would lead to the lights not staying lit as along if you don’t have enough mah’s. check your batteries and see what the mAh ratings are. try increasing the rating, but keep the same voltage! don’t increase the voltage as most lights are preset to run on a specific voltage.

    This worked for me as I went from 600 mAh rated batteries to 900 mAh ones. Just food for thought.


  14. Drew Mueller

    Nice post Tony. I was wondering- I have not seen RVTV in weeks. I have my DVR set to record it, and it seems to have slipped off the airwaves. (I got it on Comcast Sports Net, but now it’s no where to be found.) Anyone know where it went?


  15. Guppy, nice tip and thanks! many different way to make these work. I like your idea! Guess i better head down to Home Depot now!;-)


  16. Adrian

    we just used a solar spot light for our flag at night. We connected the light to the ladder where our flag is so now our flag is lit up. Solar is cool

  17. Guppy1

    Here’s another idea for a base. I purchased some small fiberglass flower pots, drilled a hole in the bottom and stuck PVC pipe through, extending a few inches beyound the bottom of the pot. I then filled the pot with concrete flush with the pot. Turning the pot over I now have a base for my lights that has some weight to it to help hold down our carpet when parked on a slab. Easy to reposition as necessary.