SnapRays Guidelight – A Brilliant Solution For Your Dark, Scary Places

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snaprays guidelight

My wife is a night-light fanatic. We have little lamps and night-lights all over the house – they’re in the family room, the hallway, the front room, the upstairs hallway, the kids’ bathroom. The only place we don’t have one is in OUR bathroom; she claims the green light coming off the tiny LED on the fan timer is all she wants. I figure that will last until the first time she falls into the toilet, after failing to notice the seat is up. Anyhow, all these lights are fine, should we ever feel the urge to go stumbling through the house in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, it seems like there’s always a bulb that needs to be replaced, and the lights take up valuable outlet space (hey, I might need to recharge the battery for my impact driver, and my iPhone, or any number of important things!) In a recent attempt to restore marital harmony, the folks at SnapPower sent us some of their SnapRays Guidelights to evaluate – read on, and you will be enlightened!

The SnapRays Guidelight is actually a brilliant design. From the front, it looks exactly like a standard receptacle cover, except for a small dot in the lower left corner. That’s the Gamma Death Ray, which vaporizes unwanted guests. Oops, wait – actually, it’s a light sensor that automatically turns the LEDs on in the dark and off in the light. Not quite as cool as an intruder death ray, but probably less likely to land you in prison.

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The SnapRays Guidelight – only the sensor gives it away…

Your next clue that it’s NOT just a standard outlet cover is the two little rubbery arms sticking out the back. These little rubbery arms each have a small metal contact area, and as the little arms hug your receptacle, they contact the wiring connection screws on both sides. While hugging a power receptacle probably isn’t something YOU want to try, it works out great for the SnapRays Guidelight – that’s how it extracts power to fire up the three LED lights on the bottom.

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Little rubbery arms, ready to hug your receptacle
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How it works…

The SnapRays Guidelight, a Snap To Install

Got a minute? That’s about all you’ll need to install the SnapRays Guidelight. The SnapPower installation guide recommends you turn off the power at the breaker before proceeding. Next, back out the screw (or two screws, if you have the Decora-type plates) from your outlet. Now you just slide the unit into place, making sure the little arms aren’t blocked, so they can make contact with the screw terminals. Tighten the screw(s), and you’re done – just flip the breaker on and wait ‘til it’s dark. To test the unit, you can hold your finger over the light sensor on the front; the lights should fire right up.

snaprays guidelight
The old outlet – bright, but clunky
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Cut the power, and unscrew and remove the old cover plate
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Slide the SnapRays Guidelight into place, and tighten the screw
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That’s it! It comes on at dusk, and goes off in the morning.

If your light doesn’t blaze into action, the little instruction pamphlet that comes with the SnapRays Guidelight has an excellent troubleshooting section. This is actually one of the best sets of instructions I’ve seen—very clear and thorough, nicely illustrated, and obviously written by a native English speaker. In the unlikely event the guide doesn’t resolve your problem, there is a web address listed with up-to-date solutions for a variety of installation issues.

Here’s a SnapPower rep giving a quick demo:

Upside Down??

Most homes have the outlets installed with the slots above the grounding hole. In a couple of the places I wanted to install the SnapRays Guidelight, the outlets were installed upside down, with the slots on the bottom. Since the light is designed to operate only when the LEDs are on the same side as the ground, this will result in the three LEDs shining their little lights upward. If that works for you, you’re set. I wanted them aimed downward, though, so my bunny slippers would be nicely illuminated.

The fix is simple. In this case, you really want to be sure the power is off. Then remove the cover plate, unscrew the top and bottom screws that hold the outlet in place, and carefully wiggle it out of the box. Some boxes are really packed with wires, so make sure you don’t disconnect anything while you’re maneuvering the outlet. Slowly rotate it so the ground hole is pointing downward, and carefully tuck it back into the box. Tighten up the two retaining screws, install the SnapRays Guidelight, and flip the breaker on. Your LEDs are now shining downward, and all is right with the world.

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Upside-down? Turn off the power. Then just undo the two screws…
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Carefully pull the outlet out and rotate it…
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Push it back in, tighten the screws, and install the SnapRays Guidelight!

I think the SnapRays Guidelight is a great little product. It needs no wiring or batteries, provides a good amount of light, is unobtrusive, and it’s simple to install. According to the SnapPower folks, the light costs less than ten cents a year to operate, and is estimated to last 25 years. Apparently a lot of other people think it’s a great idea, too – their Kickstarter project goal was to raise $12,000. They ended up with over 9,000 backers, and raised a total of over $480,000! (Our esteemed leader Marc credits this primarily to our early press coverage in this article from the International Builder’s Show in February). The SnapRays Guidelight is available directly from SnapPower in white, almond and ivory. The price ranges from $12-15 each, depending on the quantity ordered. Get some, and light up a little chunk of YOUR world!

Buy Now - via Snap Power

snaprays guidelight

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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8 thoughts on “SnapRays Guidelight – A Brilliant Solution For Your Dark, Scary Places”

  1. Would there be an issue with switched receptacle outlets where only half of the receptacle is hit all of the time.
    PS There is no correct or incorrect orientation for a receptacle unless specified by the builder or inspector(They both are always right)

    • Jeff, I thought the same thing, either orientation was correct but here in California the inspector insisted they have the prong down.

      Phil, I knew my logic was correct but when faced with an inspector who has irrational wants you either comply or fight your way up the ladder. It just seemed like a lot of fighting on a small point. I kept the currency for a more important matter. From the looks of the design one could rotate the wall plate either way?

    • Jeff–I pulled one of the Guidelights off to check, and the little power arms make contact with the bottom set of screws. If your outlets have the ground hole down, and the bottom outlet is the one that’s hot all the time, the Guidelight will work on that outlet. If the bottom outlet is switched, and you know a little about wiring, you could reverse the wiring so the the bottom is hot. It’s a slick product – very happy with how it works (and more importantly, so is the wife!). Dave–The Guidelight will only work when it’s oriented so the left prong contacts the neutral lug, and the right with the hot, when the lights are facing downward.

      Jeff and Dave–You’re both right in stating that the inspector is ALWAYS right (whether it makes sense or not). They can make your life miserable if you argue with their decision, so like you said, Dave, save it for the big stuff.

  2. Dave, every place I’ve ever lived has had the outlets installed with the ground prong on the bottom; it’s pretty much the standard, and that’s likely why the Guidelights are designed the way they are. That being said, a friend of mine who is a commercial electrician said that some inspectors want the ground on top, for the exact reason you mentioned–if something does happen to fall and hit the top, it’s likely to roll off. Even if it doesn’t, it will hit the ground, rather than the hot and neutral, which would cause a short.

    To answer your question, the Guidelights are available in standard and Decora models, and you can get them in white, ivory and almond. Thanks for your comments!

  3. I believe you are supposed to put receptacles in with the ground prong to the bottom which would make sense then that is why the snap lights are designed that way. I know the inspector wanted my receptacles set up that way and when you are installing almost 100 receptacles ya want to get it right the first time. Anyway just thought I would point that out. BTW I think the ground should be on top so if something falls on to the ground prong it has a chance to slide off. With the slots on top what ever just sits there and if it is made of something conductive then I guess it heats up or blows the circuit breaker…

    • Thanks, Liz. It really is a clever idea. Unfortunately, the ones we got are white, and all our receptacles are ivory, so I’ll be placing an order, and someone will be getting some as stocking stuffers!


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