After Hours

Cracking open a Solar Ball

Unsuspecting Solar Ball

TechRepublic member Hal 9000 cracked open a Solar Ball and then sent in the following photos and text.

We encourage the rest of the TechRepublic community to send in photos that we can assemble into galleries on the site as well. Send your Cracking Open or photo gallery ideas to

Here's Hal 9000's story:

"There are several things in this world that should never be done but probably the worst is to tell a geek that they cannot do something -- particularly on a play toy that they like.

"I was given several Solar Balls by SWMBO's daughter. These are a 110 MM sphere that have a 60 X 60 Solar Cell, a PE cell, a 500 mAH 1.2 Volt Ni Cad battery, a simple single press single throw, single pole switch, 2 LEDs, and control circuitry soldered to a round circuit board in them to produce a light after dark that is recharged by the sun.

"The LEDs are of the super bright type and are rated to approx 2,000,000 candle power. I'll not argue with this rating because they are bright but 2 million CP out of a LED running from a 1.2 V AA battery seems slightly optimistic. The inner plastic is used to mount the solar and PE cells at the top and is chrome plated to act as a reflector for the light produced by the LEDs and has a diffuser around the entire area to cut down the bright direct light as this may adversely affect ones eyes if they got too close. Like any of the super bright LEDs, it's definitely not a good idea to look directly into them as they will damage your eyes.

"These things are supposed to float and they do spread a decent light over a swimming pool, which is one of their possible uses. I, however, have been hanging them up under the house at the end of the day, and they give off a color-changing light ranging from green to red to blue when they are working.

"They also have a On / Off switch in them, and this is supposed to be sealed to prevent water penetration."

By Sonja Thompson

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.