Landscaping,  Milling Lumber,  Yard Art

Building Solar Panelled Driveway Lights

You heard me right. We are building our own solar driveway lights to replace the previous store bought electric ones which lasted for 13 years.

driveway solar lights
Old light fixtures.

Over the winter one of them had a major malfunction! Like beyond repair malfunction.

Solar panelled driveway lights.
Ouch.

The factory finish on those light posts started to peel about 6 or 7 years in and we took all three apart, sanded and repainted them. Last year they were peeling again so we weren’t too sad to see them go. We actually took them down, took out the LED lightbulbs and placed them at the top of the driveway. The next morning they were gone. Perfect.

building driveway lamp posts with solar lighting.
Removing the old lamp posts.

Back in early spring we milled hemlock logs into 6 x 6 material and stacked and stickered them so they would be ready for our project.

Saw milling hemlock beams 6x6x8ft

Like the title says, these new light posts will be solar. We are going to use the same solar lights we used in our Maritime Lighthouse. (If you wish to follow along with the lighthouse build click here)

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.

Once we came up with the design we headed out to the workshop to build the lanterns that will hold the solar lights. Here are the actual lights.

driveway solar lighting
Solar lights.

These lights have several functions and colors built into them, but we will be using the solid clear white function. They also rotate like a beacon (perfect for lighthouses), flash, strobe and twinkle, and there are several colors (red, blue, green and white). But for this purpose clear white is what we want. No need to scare the neighbours. But if you are curious, here’s our Youtube video testing the light functions.

First we cut an eight inch square board for the bottom.

solar driveway lighting
Bottom of the lantern.

We cut a thin piece of trim to go around the actual light to hide the white base.

Solar driveway lighting.
Perfect.

After marking holes inside the “trim box” for drilling, Jim drilled one hole in each corner.

Solar panelled driveway lights.
Check out his thumb!

We cut threaded rod to length and passed it through the bottom board and secured it to the top board, which is also a eight inch square board.

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
Starting to look like a lantern.

We decided to cut copper pipe to cover the threaded rod and then screwed a smaller piece of wood to the top of the lantern.

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
And then there were three…

Next, we started working on the posts. These posts are heavy. We brought two into the workshop. One for the upright post and the other will get cut into an “arm” for the lantern. They needed to be passed through the planer.

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
Several passes each side.

And here are the first two all planed.

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
Two down…more to go.

We decided on the angle for the “arm” and Jim did the cutting with the circular saw.

Solar panelled driveway lighting.
Can you see our vision?

…Well by now you are probably out of coffee and sitting on the edge of your seat. Am I right? Sorry but that is as far as we got as of yesterday. Stay tuned for Part 2, the finishing and installation. Oh, and put on another pot of coffee. Installing the posts is the next step.

Later

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