SunNight Solar

 SunNight Solar

5802 Val Verde St.
Suite 100
Houston, Texas 77057

Email: info@sunnightsolar.com

About

SunNight Solar is leading a new movement in delivering products to the consumer, focusing on what is being called a ‘triple bottom line’ or a 3P approach – people, planet and profits. All of their operations and programs have all three of these elements – they have integrated social and environmental benefits into every aspect of their company, while earning the profits which allow them to grow, develop new products via dedicated research and development and provide a return to their employees and investors.

The founder of SNS, Mark Bent, lived in Africa for over twenty years, first as an American diplomat, then as an oil executive for a French firm. While living in Eritrea in 2005, he wanted to provide lights to some of his friends, employees, and some children he had befriended who survived by scavenging in the local dump. When he could not find anything suitable – he started SNS, made a light which is now the leader in off-grid lighting products in Africa, parts of south and Central America . They also anticipate this light – their SunLight series – to quickly become the flashlight of choice in the US , Europe and the rest of the developing world.

They are based in Houston , Texas . The senior management team has a variety of skills, backgrounds and areas of concentration – international sales, chief of operations, head of logistics, etc. They are also augmented by a team of research scientists, engineers and specialists, some based in the US , as well as a number from Europe, China , New Zealand and elsewhere. They bring people together for specific tasks, and also have the opportunity to call upon the top universities and scientists in the world – they greatly appreciate the benefits of on-line collaborative research. They partner with a firm called Innocentive – www.innocentive.com – which offers cash awards for ‘solving’ technical challenges.

They are working on additional products – lights as well as water treatment and other solar consumer products. They are presently involved in research on a solar powered device which kills, repels or sterilizes the female mosquito. They are also looking at hydroponics.

Products

SL-1

Features 

  • Night Glow Strip – it is easy to find in the dark
  • High efficiency Polycrystalline Solar Panel
  • Charges in 8 to 10 hours of full sunlight
  • Provides 5-6 hours of illumination every night
  • Hard ABS Plastic Exterior – highly water and shock resistant and shaped to fit comfortably in your hand
  • Carrying Hook – hook it to your backpack on the go, or hang it up to illuminate a wider area
  • Battery Compartment – powered by 3 standard NiMH, AA rechargeable batteries, 800 mAh
  • 6 Super Bright White LEDs
  • Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness):  8.5″ x 2.5″ (body) or 3.625″ (head) x 1″ (body) or 2″ (head)

SL-2

Features

  • Electronic “kerosene lantern substitution” design funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 3rd world use this same light will save users money presently spent on lighting kerosene and reduce carbon particulate inhalation and fire risk
  • High efficiency “boost converter” and “constant current” LED drive ensures constant user selected level of brightness regardless of state of battery charge
  • Charge termination to protect batteries from over-charging
  • Turns off when battery is almost flat to protect battery and improve battery life
  • High efficiency Polycrystalline Solar Panel
  • Batteries charge in 8 to 10 hours of full sunlight
  • Batteries are air-cooled for better operation in very hot conditions
  • Wide beam “Room Light” and bright narrow beam Task light mode
  • Low, medium and high settings in both Room Light and Task Light modes. This allows either high intensity or extended periods of use. On a fully charged battery, high will typically operate for 4 to 5 hours, medium for 8 to 10 hours and low for 16 to 20+ hours. (Duration will reduce as batteries age)
  • Night glow strip – easy to find in the dark
  • Single piece case – rugged, requiring no screws to hold the body together
  • Water resistant
  • “Turn off in sun” and “turn off when nearly flat” features allows use in path light or night light mode. Small battery reserve allows auto turn on again with same setting next evening
  • Carabineer clip for one handed attachment to backpack, ropes, branches etc
  • Half Watt polycrystalline (not amorphous) high efficiency photovoltaic panel.
  • Six narrow angle high efficiency LEDs for task light illumination
  • Three wide angle high efficiency LEDs for room illumination
  • Three NiMH batteries – better for the environment – We do not use NiCad batteries
  • High impact resistance ABS body & polycarbonate lens
  • Dimensions   Length     x     Width     x     Thickness:  Head/Body      9″          x 3.8″ / 2.4″   x      2.3″ / 1.3″
  • Weight – 11 ounces / 300 grams

 

Additional Comments from Our Engineering Staff – The SL-2 Super BOGO light is intended to be a rugged, long life, solar rechargeable light whose primary purpose is for kerosene lantern replacement and task lighting in developing world applications. It was designed to provide wide angle illumination with more usable light than a kerosene hurricane lantern in rooms up to 4 x 4 meters, or as a study or work lamp over a table, while also providing a bright directional “task light” beam when more directed light is required.  In a kerosene lantern replacement role it can save users in excess of 30% of their monthly energy expenditures while eliminating fine carbon particle inhalation and preventing injuries from burns due to kerosene spillage or similar accidents.

 

The features which make it suited to its primary role in the developing world also make it a great light for use for camping, automobile use and as a light you will always have ready in an emergency.  Leave it where the sun shines on it and you will get hours of operation when needed.  With a fully charged original battery the SL-2 will typically operate for 4 to 5 hours on full power, about twice that on its medium power settings and 4 times as long on low power.

 

The SL-2 uses a high efficiency polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic panel (or PV panel or ‘solar panel’) to charge its batteries.  The charging capability is limited by the size of the panel which would fit on the light, as in the SL-1. Depending on battery state it takes 8 to 10 “sunlight hours” (hours of direct full sunlight) to charge the supplied three 800 mAh NiMH batteries.  Users can choose to fit larger capacity batteries which will take proportionately longer to charge.  In African summer conditions a full charge should be able to be achieved in a single day. In less sunny conditions only a partial charge will be achieved in one day.  A light which is only occasionally used can accumulate a full charge over a number of days.  When the light is in use every night, as it will often be in developing world use, the hours of use per night correspond to daily sunlight hours. The medium and low power modes allow users to reduce lighting levels to allow longer lighting times when charging conditions are poor. On full power users get about 30+ minutes of lighting per sunshine hour. On medium power they get about 1 hour of operation per sunshine hour. And on low power, about 2 hours operation per sunshine hour.  So with 2 to 3 sunshine hours in a day a user can expect 4 to 6 hours of low level but useable light.

 

When suspended vertically about 1 meter above a 2 x 2 meter (6 foot x 6 foot) table an SL-2 will provide enough light for reading or other work. The light levels are low by grid lighting standards but surprisingly useable once your eyes adapt.  In a smaller area, say 1m x 1m (3 foot x 3 foot) a number of people can still read or work usefully at substantially higher light levels.  In all cases the light illuminates the surface better than a kerosene wick-lantern or hurricane style lantern would.

 

Unlike most other lights in its class, the light output of the SL-2 remains at the user selected level regardless of the state of battery charge (except as the battery nears the very, very end of its capacity levels will fall off).  To maximize battery life, operate the LEDs correctly and provide constant lighting levels the Sl-2 uses a “boost converter” – essentially an ‘electronic gearbox’, which takes the slowly dropping battery voltage and boosts it to a level suitable for providing a constant operating current for the LEDs. Unlike most LED lights the SL-2 operates its LEDs electrically “in series” so that the same current flows through all operating LEDs. This allows the current and thus the brightness to be closely controlled so that the LEDs are operated in the manner recommended by the manufacturers.

 

When the battery capacity is almost exhausted the light will first dim, then flash, then the LEDs will turn off completely. A small amount of battery capacity remains and this is used to “keep alive” the control circuitry in a “standby mode”. If a light which turns off due to a low battery condition is then exposed to sunlight it will charge its battery and then, when the sunlight is again removed, turn on again in the same mode as it was in previously. This feature allows the light to be used as an automatic path light, streetlight or nightlight. To achieve regular operation in this mode the light needs to be placed so that it is charged daily. (For 10 hours of night time, a light set on low will operate throughout the night when charged for 5 sunlight hours or more. If there are less than 5 sunlight hours available the light may turn off before dawn but will still usually operate well into the night. If the light is not charged the battery capacity will continue to drop.  When it reaches too low a level the light will reset fully and the light will then draw no battery current but the last mode is no longer remembered.  If a battery is removed or a battery “door” is unscrewed more than about 1/4 turn the light will turn off and the last mode will not be ‘remembered’.

 

When an operating light is placed in sunlight so that charging starts the LEDs will turn off. The light “remembers” what mode it was in and restarts in this mode when the sunlight is removed. If the light is charged for long enough to fully charge the battery, the charging then stops to protect the battery from over charging.

 

Battery capacity will decrease with time. Use of user installed larger capacity batteries can be expected to provide longer battery life both because of the extra initial capacity and because the batteries are not “deep cycled” so often in normal use.   Battery capacity is measured in mAh (milliamp hours). Operating time on a fully charged battery is about mAh/200 hours. The initially provided batteries are 800 mAh capacity and will provide 4+ hours of full power operation. If users fit eg 2500 mAh batteries they can expect about 2500/200 = 12+ hours of operation. Charging time is about mAh/80 sunshine hours. So an 800 mAh battery will take 800/80 = 10 sunshine hours to fully charge and a 2500 mAh battery about 2500/80 ~= 30 sunshine hours. On a good day charging will exceed these levels but these are a good guide of what may be typically expected in full sunshine. Obviously it will take several days of full sunlight to fully charge a 2500 mAh battery. Batteries will charge when light levels are lower than full sun, but charging will take longer.  Charging starts with about 6% sunlight and increases approximately linearly with increasing light levels.  A very bright but clouded sky can charge at 25% to 50% of maximum rate.  When charging, to achieve maximum charge rate the panel should be angled to point as directly at the sun as possible.  If leaving in the sun all day, angle the light so that it points at the “arc” in the sky that the sun travels over and so the light is pointing squarely at where the sun will be at midday. (Easier to do than describe).  If desired the light can be moved several times during the day for best effect, but the gains are surprisingly small compared to aligning the light in its best position initially.

 

Note that batteries MUST be inserted with all the positive ends DOWN (non-flat ends inserted first). The battery doors can be screwed tight, or opened, using a coin

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