Finishing and Installing Solar Driveway Lights

This sounded like a fairly quick project but it turned out to be quite involved. Earlier we showed how it all started. Next up, the finishing process. Jim took the lanterns apart and I brought them in the house for staining. Hopefully staining them means they won’t need as much maintenance as apposed to using paint.

driveway lights solar powered
Solar lanterns for driveway lights.

I brushed 2 coats of black acrylic outdoor stain on all the parts and then Jim reassembled them. I then got started on the posts and arms. We bought exterior grade acrylic walnut stain and applied 2 coats to these as well.

lamp posts
Staining the posts.

We then had to figure out how to install the posts. Here is what we were working with…years ago we had poured concrete for the previous posts.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Needs some work.

Jim used the grinder to cut away the old screws on the three bases.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Sparks were flying.

We bought 3 eight inch square 1/4 inch thick steel plates. We placed them on the concrete bases and marked where we needed to drill holes in order to attach the steel plates to the concrete bases. In the workshop, Jim drilled the holes.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Steel base.

For the next step, we had to rent a tool. After a quick trip to the rental store, Jim began to drill 3 holes into the concrete using the holes in the steel plate as a guide.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Drilling into the concrete.

Then we put concrete bolts into the three holes in the concrete as extra support for the post.

solar powered driveway lights.
That looks better.

Jim took angle iron and cut it to 13 inches long, four for each post.

Solar powered driveway lights.
This might just work.

Here is where his newly founded welding skills came into play. The four pieces of angle iron got welded onto the plate.

Solar powered driveway lights.
So far… so good.

And coordinating holes were drilled into the bottom of the post.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Drilling into the post.

We drilled holes in the angle iron so we would be able to screw the post to the supports.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Little block of steel is a guide.

Then we did a test fit in place.

Solar powered driveway lights.

We weren’t quite ready to install the post. We needed to attach the arm to the post. We took steel and cut it down to size, drilled holes in the steel then attached it to each side of the post.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Loving it so far.

Now for the fun part. People this thing is heavy. We carried it to its final resting spot but we needed more muscle power to heave it into place. Since there were no more muscles to be found we decided the skidsteer was the next best thing. Jim lifted and I guided the post into place.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Hope this works.

If you thought that last picture was sketchy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Solar powered driveway lights.
This happened…

It took some “persuasion” with a block of wood, a large post maul, a few choice words, and a couple of laughs, but we got it in place. Then we screwed the angle irons to the post.

Solar powered driveway lights.
Almost finished…

Now for the lantern… back when we were staining the wood, Jim had cut three wedges, one for each post. These wedges will make the lantern hang straight. We screwed them to the arm.

Solar powered driveway lights.
So close…

The lanterns are hanging with parts from the plumbing department.

solar powered driveway lights.
One down…two to go.

Once we got all three posts in place and the solar lanterns attached, Jim added the solar panels. They are simply screwed in place with a wire feeding back to the lantern.

solar powered driveway lights.
Installing the solar panel.

Here is a picture of all three finished.

solar powered driveway lights.
Hard to see all three at once.

The nice thing about these beacons is they run on solar of course but also you can make changes to them on a whim using a remote.

solar powered driveway lights.

At Christmas time for example we can just press a button on the remote and make them green or red. We have the beacons for sale in our online store if you are interested.

Evening finally came and I took a stroll up the driveway and…..

solar powered driveway lights.


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