Trouble Shooting Tips

Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights ~ Informational / Troubleshooting Guide

The Use and Enjoyment of Solar Model Magical Fireflies®

 

The initial “Power Up Process” - ON/OFF Cycle Information for Solar Models   Right Click here to open PDF

 

  1. Check the AUTO / ON / OFF Switch located on the bottom side of the Solar Panel assembly.
    1. Gently switch it back and forth to get the contacts aligned and to verify that the switch is not stuck somewhere in the halfway position.
    2. Verify switch is in the ON (or AUTO) position.
    3. Are the lights working? If not, try step 2.

 

  1. Check the Rechargeable Batteries / check the positioning of the batteries:
    1. To be sure the contacts are good, open the battery compartment door, then press the batteries into position.
    2. Verify that the batteries are correctly installed with the positive terminal (+) toward the small metal square – not the spring.  Also, be sure that the spring is pressed straight against the Negative.
    3. While leaving them in place, just spin each battery a couple times to be sure the battery ends are making good connection with the terminals inside the battery compartment.
    4. Turn unit ‘ON’, does it work?  If yes, and using rechargeable batteries, make sure to place in a location where it receives direct sunlight for at least 1 full day. Turn the ON-OFF switch to the ‘OFF’ position which allows ALL the electricity from the solar panel to go into the rechargeable batteries.
    5. Are your lights working? If not, try step 4.

 

  1. Performance of Solar Panel:
  1. Without direct sunlight to the solar panel for at least 2 -3 hours, the batteries will not become fully charged. Please verify this.
    1. For ideal performance, the product works best with freshly charged batteries. Please fully charge the batteries as noted above.

 

  1. Please make sure the connection from each Firefly Cluster (the plug, the DC jack for the LED lights) is tight into the solar panel. 
    1. You may need to take each plug out then plug each back in.

 

  1. Test the unit with AA Alkaline Batteries (after checking all of step 2, steps a-d):  
  1. Remove the rechargeable batteries (which the unit shipped with) and replace with two, brand new AA Alkaline Batteries.
    1. Turn the switch on the solar panel to the ‘ON position’.  You should notice within a few seconds that all lights will illuminate, flicker and fade (this is the normal factory start up process and how we determine that the system is working properly. See more details #5).
    2. If you intend on using AA batteries (as opposed to rechargeable batteries) and using the unit outdoors, please place black tape the solar panel to avoid the unit charging the AA Alkaline batteries.

 

    1. When you placed the AA batteries, do the lights work?  If yes, please replace with the rechargeable batteries and go back to step 2d (i.e. if using rechargeable batteries, fully charge the rechargeable batteries before using).

 

  1. The initial “Power Up Process” - ON/OFF Cycle information:
  1. Please allow at least one (1) minute for the unit to start up after turning the power switch located on the bottom of the solar panel to the ‘ON’ position. Within one (1) minute, the LED’s will start flashing randomly.  When you first turn the unit ‘ON’, all the lights with flash once sequentially. This proves that the unit is working correctly. 
    1. We would encourage one to test the unit before taking it out of the packaging, so you get a feeling of how the lights operate. By leaving the lights all together in the package and test the power switch by following the below step 5b2.). 
      1. You should notice within a few seconds that all the firefly lights will illuminate (turn on), flicker and fade.  This is the normal factory start up process and how we determine that the system is working properly.  This is good and what is expected.
      2. After this initial power on cycle (lasting about 1 one minute), the unit starts to go through a software program and will randomly turn on/off each and every LED.  This software program will run a random algorithm of 999 flash, flicker, and fade sequences, mimicking Mother Nature’s real fireflies.  This start up may take some time (i.e. 20-30 seconds) before the lights begin this process and illuminate.  Sometimes this looks like the unit is not working.  Note that the LED’s will randomly light up (after the initial cycle) after 1 one minute.
    2. Please check to see if the LED’s light up (after the initial cycle) after 1 minute.  This can be accomplished with either the rechargeable batteries or AA Alkaline Batteries.

 

Items to Note about Firefly Magic Firefly Lights:

  • The flash rate of Firefly Magic Firefly lights is overall slow, like a real firefly. The fireflies are not meant to all constantly “shine,” are not meant to all constantly “glow,” and will not all illuminate, be ‘ON’ at the exact same time, this is just like real fireflies.  Each firefly LED light might take some time to illuminate / turn ‘ON’ a second time, a third time, and so on.
  • At this time, we cannot control, or change the output of the light shining for our “off the shelf” product. Optional to discuss custom made units (LED size, color, flash rate, entails custom cost and time).
  • For the best Firefly Magic firefly viewing, the lights are meant to be used in an area with dim light, or a dark contrast behind them, or at night. This is something to keep in mind with the brightness of the space you wish to install the fireflies.  The fireflies are meant to add ambiance to a space.
  • Weather:
    • Our solar product has been designed and manufactured to work reliably in most all climates (all-weather environments, rain, snow, heat) year around.
    • Water: The Solar Model is not made to be submerged in water; they are not waterproof.

1) I opened the new box & something is missing.

E-Mail Firefly Magic Support  with the identification of the part(s) that's missing, the store name and location, and date you purchased the product. Be sure to include your name, address, and the phone number where you can be reached.

2) My 'Fireflies' don't light up - Initial installation.

STEP 1
Be sure the 'Firefly' Cluster Plug(s) are firmly pressed all the way into the jacks on the bottom side of the Solar Panel assembly. If the plugs are completely in, just twist them back and forth a few times to help the electrical connection.

STEP 2
Be sure the ON-OFF Switch located on the bottom side of the Solar Panel assembly is set to the ON position. When new, sometimes it take sliding the switch back and forth a few times between the ON and OFF positions to get the contacts aligned.

STEP 3
Sometimes, during shipping, the batteries move inside the battery compartment. To be sure the contacts are good, open the battery compartment door, then press the batteries into position. Next, while leaving them in place, just spin each battery a couple times to be sure the battery ends are making good connection with the terminals inside the battery compartment.

STEP 4
Be sure the batteries are correctly installed with the positive terminal (+) toward the small metal square - NOT THE SPRING. Also, be sure that the spring is pressed straight against the Negative

STEP 5
If you have just setup your 'Fireflies' for the first time, it's possible the rechargeable batteries are not fully charged. To be sure the unit is working properly, install two standard AA alkaline batteries, then turn the ON-OFF switch to the ON position while watching the 'Fireflies'. If all the 'Fireflies' light up and then flicker and fade off, the unit is working correctly.

Reinstall the rechargeable batteries, and place the Solar Panel Assembly in a outdoor location where it will receive direct sunlight for at least 1 full day. Be sure the ON - OFF switch is set to the OFF position which allows ALL the electricity from the solar panel to go into the rechargeable batteries.

STEP 6
If the 'Fireflies' still don't light when the two new standard AA Alkaline batteries are installed and the switch is in the ON position, please carefully recheck the above steps #1-3.

3) My 'Fireflies' stopped but they were working before.

If your 'Fireflies' have been working, and suddenly stop, the problem is likely one of the two following problems:

1) The solar panel has not been receiving enough DIRECT SUNLIGHT to keep the batteries fully charged.

To fix the problem, turn the switch to the OFF position, place the solar panel where it will receive 8 hours of DIRECT SUNLIGHT in order to get the batteries fully recharged again.

2) The battery contacts and battery ends have become dirty or corroded due to moisture.

Remove the batteries and clean both ends with a clean cloth. If you see any residue, rub it off using a pencil eraser.

Also be sure to clean the metal contacts in the battery holder so they are shiny. You can use a pencil eraser for this as well.

NOTE: Always try to place the solar panel assembly where the water sprinkler is not shooting water up underneath the unit.

4) How long will the Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries last?

Depending on the climate they're used in, Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries will last from 1 to 2 years. When they're replaced, be sure to send them to a recycling center.

You can replace the Ni-Cd batteries with another set of Ni-Cd's, or install Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. See the Battery Information Section below.

5) Some of my 'Fireflies' have been cut-off or damaged.

Even if one or more ‘Fireflies’ are damaged or cut-off, the remaining ‘Fireflies’ will continue to work. Replacement ‘Firefly’ Cluster can be purchased here.

6) Something has been broken or damaged.

Replacement parts and accessories can be purchased here.

7) Additional help and support.

If you have followed all the instructions and are still having a problem, please call 1-877-834-7335 Monday - Friday 8AM to 4PM MST, or E-Mail Firefly Magic Support


Solar Operation

One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is to capture the power of the Sun's energy by designing solar powered renewable products, and that's exactly what Firefly Magic® has done with their newly designed renewable energy 'Fireflies'.

How does Renewable Energy Work?

Basically, it means utilizing a source of energy over and over again. With our Solar Powered Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights we use the power from the Sun over and over, day after day.

We do this by first collecting the Sun's solar light radiation that hits the solar cells on the solar panel assembly. The solar panel is made up of 16 individual silicon cells that are connected together and laminated under a clear plastic cover.

By using the new technology laminating process rather than the older epoxy encapsulating process, the solar panel will not turn yellow and crack over time. This means the solar cells can continue to receive the maximum level of solar energy over their years of life.

When the sunlight strikes the solar cells in the solar panel they begin to generate electric power (voltage x current = power in watts). This electrical energy is routed by wires to the battery compartment.

In order for the 'Fireflies' to operate at night the electrical power from the sun must be transferred and stored. This is accomplished by using two (2) AA rechargeable batteries located inside the Solar Panel Assembly.

The rechargeable batteries take the electrical power and store it by using a chemical conversion that stores the electrons. There are currently two generally available rechargeable battery types, Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH).

Because rechargeable batteries use chemical processes to convert, store, and output the electrical power, temperature can play a significant role in how well the batteries operate, and in turn, how the 'Fireflies' work.

We suggest you look at the battery information section below to learn about the differences between Ni-Cd and Ni-MH rechargeable batteries.

You may also want to review the OUTDOOR USE IN SUN and OUTDOOR USE IN SHADE Sections.


Battery Operation

The Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights models FMS-16S1CG and FMS-07 are a new and unique 2-in-1 product that can operate either from rechargeable or standard AA batteries . . . it's completely your choice!.

Originally, Firefly Magic® manufactured separate solar powered and battery powered firefly lighting units. This meant making a decision whether to purchase an outdoor solar power unit, or a battery power unit for locations with little or no sunlight - especially for indoor events and displays.

With the new Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights (FMS-16S1CG and FMS-07) you no longer must pick one or the other . . . you get both.

Use the rechargeable batteries that are included and place the Solar Panel Assembly in a location where direct sunlight strikes the solar panel 2-3 hours per day, and you have a self sustaining solar powered, efficient and renewable set of 'Fireflies' flashing, flickering, and fading day-after-day, week-after-week, and month-after-month.

 

How does Battery Operation Work?

If want your Firefly Magic® 'Fireflies' in a location where there is little or no sunlight you can simply replace the rechargeable batteries in the Solar Panel Assembly with standard or heavy duty Alkaline AA batteries.

Alkaline batteries use electrochemistry to produce electrical power that can operate the 'Fireflies' electronic circuits and light up the patented 'Firefly LED'.

Alkaline battery chemistry is commonly used by Duracell and Energizer batteries, where the electrodes are zinc and manganese-oxide, with an alkaline electrolyte.

The AA Alkaline battery can have approximately 2100-2500 mAh (milliamp hours) stored capacity when new. This is important as all AA batteries produce approximately 1.5 Volts when new, but the current rating in mAh tells how long they'll last. That is how long they'll operate the 'Fireflies'.

Because Firefly Magic® uses their own patented technical methodology to make the "fireflies' operate so realistically, the amount of power (Voltage x current = power in Watts) they use has been efficiently reduced. This means the model FMS-16S1CG unit with sixteen 'Fireflies' can operate continuously on just two (2) AA batteries for approximately 4 weeks. While the model FMS-07 with seven 'Fireflies' can operate continuously for over 6 weeks.

Of course if you turn the 'Fireflies' off during the day, the two AA Alkaline batteries will last even longer.

While using standard AA Alkaline batteries gives complete flexibility for having 'Fireflies' virtually anywhere, it is important to never leave dead batteries in the unit. This is because the electrochemical reaction that produces electricity inside the battery can also produce acid when the battery is depleted. This acid is corrosive and if it leaks out of the battery case will permanently damage everything it touches, especially metal contacts.

This is why it is critical to never leave dead Alkaline batteries in your Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights unit.

CAUTION - NEVER LEAVE DEAD ALKALINE BATTERIES IN THE UNIT AS THEY WILL DEGRADE AND POSSIBLY LEAK ACID, CAUSING PERMANENT DAMAGE NOT COVERED BY WARRANTY.

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