Important – the batteries (not included):
Every Illum-A-Window™ solar candle is pre-assembled and each needs only an AA alkaline battery (not included). Similar to the plug-in alkaline battery chargers that are on Amazon, Ebay, etc., the circuitry in our Illum-A-Window™ candle also feeds the battery with a small amount of charge, but gets the energy from the Sun instead. When the day is done, the candle is charged and ready to shine that night. It is important to note, however, that all batteries lose their ability to accept a good recharge over time and with use…and that eventually they need to be replaced. The longevity of each battery greatly depends on how much Sunlight each candle receives. For example, windows on the Northern side of a home won’t see any direct sunlight, so the batteries in those candles will use up stored (and re-stored) charge faster, and will need to be replaced more often than batteries in candles on the Southern side of the home.
Okay, so the big question: “How often should I plan on replacing batteries?!” It’s a wide span because of these variations, but you’re looking at anywhere from every few weeks to every few months, depending on which side of the home you’re using and the number of sunny or cloudy days. So, worst-case scenario: the front of your home is where you want the candles, it faces North and you live in the woods…you’re looking at putting new batteries in about every 2-3 weeks (assuming using alkaline batteries). Best-case scenario: the front of your home is where you want candles, faces Due South and those windows get direct sunlight with no trees or other obstructions…you probably won’t need new batteries for a few months (using alkaline batteries).
Okay, so what kind of batteries should I get for Illum-A-Window™ candles?
After more than two years of testing, we recommend using regular alkaline batteries in most cases. If you want the best results overall, alkaline AA’s are the way to go for these candles. Although they can’t accept as many overall recharges as, say a NiCd or a NiMh, they do perform better both in lackluster conditions (lack of direct sunlight) and after cloudy days. Specifically, we recommend regular Rayovac® or Energizer® brand alkaline batteries. The candles can work well with other alkaline batteries too…but we do not recommend the use of Duracell® batteries because we were able to get a couple of them to leak in extreme circumstances. Energizer® and Rayovac® alkalines have provided the best overall results in our extensive testing for accepting recharges and longevity. Plan on replacing the batteries every few weeks (worst case) to every few months (best case), depending on the amount of Sunlight the candles receive.
Can I use other types of batteries?
Yes, NiCd’s are also okay, but the candles must receive copious amounts of Direct Sunlight and face as close to Due South as possible to function properly and keep in mind that using NiCd’s on cloudy days will not allow the candles to get enough charge to properly light up for that particular night. When using NiCd’s, the candles can shine brightly through the entire night if they receive Direct Sunlight all day. These kinds of batteries are also able to accept a couple hundred recharges (that’s more than alkaline batteries can take), so they can conceivably last for almost a year before needing to be replaced.
So why aren’t batteries included?
A few reasons: we can keep our pricing lower for you, shipping constraints, and we’ve learned it’s better to let the customer decide which kind of batteries to use. While we recommend using alkaline AA’s for overall best results and ease of operation, some customers may have homes that receive excellent amounts of Southern Exposure, are okay with the cloudy day thing, and may want to try the NiCd AA’s first. Others may have a preference on a specific brand alkaline battery they’d like to try (but not Duracell’s – see above).