Our journey to find the perfect outdoor lighting solution
If you’re a follower of this blog, you might know all about our Neighbors from hell. Our NFH has been snooping around our driveway for a while and during the night the area by our vehicle isn’t very well-lit. So I’ve been trying to find a good solution to lighting up that area, something that would have to be wireless, so solar lighting will have to be the type of light to go in that area.
We want it to be solar-powered because; 1. we do not want it to be an extra utility to cost us money on the power bill, and 2. it will still work during a power outage. We went through a few different brands that didn’t perform well, and one of the brands that failed was a surprise to us because we’ve been using them for a long time, up until now that is.
NOMA = NO Good, and why you should avoid these ones now
We bought 5 NOMA solar lights from Canadian Tire a few years ago and 4 of them have been working perfectly fine since we installed them. One died after the first year when it would no longer keep a charge. NOMA sent a replacement battery for free but the same thing happened again after a year, all the while the other 4 were still functioning fine.
When it came to needing that security lighting for our driveway because of our NFH we decided to go ahead and get another one from Canadian Tire. I don’t know why, but they did something to their quality that turned the product into a piece of garbage.
The first one I noticed was that the design of the mounting screws changed and they were no longer held in place with a locking washer and that you now had to have tiny little mini fingers in order to get in behind the light to screw the locking knob into place. I had to put tape on the back because they kept falling out and I would have to climb back down my ladder to pick them up.
After fighting to get the first one installed (I never had a problem like this with the older ones) it came on the first night and then the second night it started acting like a strobe light. We felt like we stepped into a disco when we approached our car in the early morning darkness. So I took it back to the store to have it exchanged for another one.
After fighting with mounting screws and getting the second one installed I went to adjust the setting. One of the fregging dials was missing! AAAAAH!! I was so pissed off at this point. I had to remove the light again and don’t forget, I have to set up a ladder every time for this too. I packed it into the package and brought it back to the store for another replacement. I open the box in the car to make sure it’s not broken and all the pieces are there. The third time is a charm they say, right? WRONG!
I get the ladder out again, climb up the ladder, fight with the screws again and get the third light mounted and installed. I adjust the settings and the first night it comes on when I walk into the area and seems fine. It’s still dark the next morning when we go to work and it’s like we’re walking into a disco again! F————-ck!
OK, we really need the lighting still, so I give it just one more try. I get the ladder, tear it down, put it into the box, and return it for one more replacement. In hindsight, I should have quit on the second or third try.
I put it into the box so the sensors would think it was dark out and I put the light into the box so it was pointed up toward the opening. That way they can see what I mean by flashing. I don’t think they liked that because they had to put it beside them and all it did was flash and I’m sure it was really annoying. At this point, I couldn’t give a shit.
I get the fourth light home, but not before checking it and making sure it’s not broken, it turns on fine and I’m thinking that this time I finally have one that’s working. I get the ladder out, install the light, and put everything away and then nightfall came. Time to go out and test it.
!FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH!
It was at this point that I think the entire neighborhood probably heard the loudest F-Bomb that they’d ever heard in their lives. I was so pissed off. I wasted so many days and gas in the car trying to get one of these lights installed. The only reason why I kept trying is that we like the design and are somewhat easier to install and the fact that the other 4 are still working fine.
The next day I got the ladder out and set it up. I climbed the ladder, with no tools at all and I ripped that fregging thing off the wall threw it into the box, and jammed all the parts into the box with it. Went back to Canadian Tire, threw it onto the counter, and told them to just give me my money back while the f’n light was flashing like a strobe light into their face. Thankfully they didn’t ask why because the blinding light was a good indication.
Stay away from the NOMA solar lighting at Canadian Tire if you want to keep your sanity.
I should have just got one from Amazon
I went onto the Amazon website and spend about two hours going through solar lighting for the outdoors. Reading reviews from buyers. Not the fake reviews that are obviously paid reviews, I can spot those ones so easily. Poorly written and very short. I read the reviews that criticize the product because people who actually buy things usually have something negative to say about any product. Even if it’s just a minor thing.
I went through a lot of listings for solar lights for the yard and come to one that was a little bit more than I wanted to spend. A 500W Solar Street Light that had some solid reviews. I also had some Amazon credits and the light was on sale at the time which dropped the price down to just over $100. The Noma lights that I fought with were original $100 also.
I ordered it and within a week it was at my doorstep. It is bigger than I thought it would be. A lot bigger. I opened the box and noticed the pole was actually metal when somebody commented in the reviews that it was plastic. It’s built very sturdy and has a bit of weight to it. The bolts and screws that came with it were for concrete mounting and pole mounting. I didn’t think they would be good enough to attach to my roof area, so I bought 4 long lag bolts.
I had a really hard time getting the head of the light attached to the pole after I attached the pole to the wall. I was in an awkward position on a ladder and had to reach up behind me while looking over my shoulder holding this very heavy light trying to get it to slip over the pole.
The bolts that tighten it to the pole are on the top side and the nuts were underneath that were inset so you couldn’t turn the nuts to tighten the bolts. So to tighten the bolts from the top I had to awkwardly reach over my head and behind me and try to tighten the bolts while balancing on top of the ladder. I had to stop several times because my arm was burning and I was out of breath. It probably took me an embarrassingly long 30 minutes to tighten 4 bolts to secure the light to its pole.
If we get another one I am going to pre-assemble it all and mount it to a square board and predrill bolts through the board so all I have to do is hold onto the pole and drill in the bolts that are in the board. I may actually take the one we have now down in warmer weather and mount it on a post. This was an emergency placement for the time being till the weather gets better and I can get a pole into the ground.
So does it work though?
It’s been a few weeks and the light is functioning perfectly. We’ve had a lot of cloudy days and the light still comes on strong and lights up the entire driveway. I took a picture as you can see above, I know, taking a picture of light really doesn’t show a whole lot, but it shows where I put it and you can see what I meant by trying to attach it to the pole attached to the wall.
It even comes with a remote if you want to turn it on manually or change its settings. I have mine set to motion detection. If something moves within 50 feet of it, it will light up all the way and after a few minutes of no movement, it will dim itself down to low light settings. It will shut down completely in the daytime.
That is just a quick video demonstration of how it comes on when I walk into the area and how well it lights up our driveway. Yes, that’s me breathing heavily. The ground is covered in ice pellets and it’s hard to walk in. We were in the middle of a freezing rain weather event. Sorry, it was short, but the wind was blowing and it was cold out.
If you’re looking for a good solar lighting product, we highly recommend the 500W Solar Street Light because it’s affordable and it is very well-built. It is extremely bright and lights up a large area. No point buying any of the cheap lights they have on the market because they’re cheaply made and will cause you more of a headache than light.
NOMA failed us. They used to be good but they changed something and now they’re crap. Oh, I bet if they read this post they’d deny anything is different, but I say the 5 defective lights I purchased at Canadian Tire would say differently. The brand is obviously cutting corners it seems and unfortunately I cannot recommend them or put my trust in their products after our ordeal.
I hoped you enjoyed my little ordeal with the fight that I had to go through to learn a lesson in putting way too much faith in a product and giving them too much benefit of the doubt and chances to redeem themselves. I didn’t even get any apologies from Canadian Tire or compensation for the $50+ in gas I had to burn for all those trips back and forth to their store, not to mention my sanity.
I am an Amazon fan because of experiences like this one.