The Light & Motion Sola line is one of the best and simplest underwater imaging lights ever created. It is one of our best sellers and performs consistently well under challenging conditions to help produce outstanding images. There are a few features and issues you may encounter. Here is a handy field guide for resolving some issues quickly.Sola Lights Tips LMI Troubleshooting Help Light & and Motion underwater video light focus

Sola Lights - Tips and Troubleshooting

The Light & Motion Sola line is one of the best and simplest underwater imaging lights ever created. It is one of our best sellers and performs consistently well under challenging conditions to help produce outstanding images. There are a few features and issues you may encounter. Here is a handy field guide for resolving some issues quickly.

  • How to properly use Travel Lock Out Mode
  • How to wake a hibernating Sola
  • S.O.S. Mode
  • Cleaning the contacts
  • Charger Problems - How to read the LED


This is a safety feature that Light & Motion has implemented across the Sola line and other lights they manufacture. It is a simple method to prevent your light from accidentally turning on, especially during travel. This is designed in addition to the ability to lock the switch by rotating it 90 degrees.

If your light is accidentally turned on it can drain your battery before a dive, or worse, can overheat and cause permanent damage. It is important to remember that all Sola lights must be water-cooled (i.e. fully submerged) during regular use.

Travel Lock Out Mode is programmed into all Solas, except the Dive & Photo 500 & 800. Travel Lock Out Mode is initiated by holding the toggle switch forward for 5-7 seconds while the light is off. The indicator LEDs should flash red 3-4 times. The Sola is now locked and will not turn on or accept a charge.

Watch this video to Activate and Deactivate the Sola Light's Travel Lockout Mode.


Several models of Sola lights are programmed to go into a state of hibernation when not charged or used for an extended period of time. It goes in to hibernation to prevent full discharge of the battery, which can cause permanent damage and will eventually require replacement.

You can wake a Sola from hibernation easily. First, plug your charger into an appropriate power outlet. Next, tap the charging contacts against the charging ports on the light rapidly for approximately 5 seconds. After about 5 seconds of tapping, plug the charger all the way in to the Sola. The resulting power surge can activate the internal circuit and will allow the Sola to power up again and accept the charge.

The Sola can take up to 6 seconds to begin charging, so be patient while tapping and after plugging it in fully. Give it a solid 6 seconds of being plugged in before a second attempt is made.

Hibernation mode can be avoided by regularly charging your Sola about every 30-60 days.

Watch this video to wake a Sola from Hibernation Mode.

S.O.S. Mode

All Sola models have an S.O.S. Mode built it. Simply hold the toggle switch back for about 4 seconds when light is off. This will start a pre-programmed S.O.S. Morse Code flash pattern. Hopefully you never have to use it, but it's there just in case!

Watch this video to toggle the SOS Safety Alert Mode of the Sola.


One downside to the external battery charging contacts on the Sola is that they are prone to corrosion over time. As with all gear, proper post-dive care and plenty of fresh water rinsing will help prevent this. When the contacts on your Sola start to lose their shine or begin to show corrosion don't despair, they are easy to clean.

You can treat the corrosion with a bit of denatured alcohol (isopropyl 70% or higher also works). Just apply just a bit of alcohol to a cotton swab and clean the contacts with it. Then use a dense Wire Brush or some fine sandpaper to scour the charging contact surface. Apply more alcohol and continue to scour as needed until the contacts begin to regain some of their shine. Be sure to rinse well with fresh water after cleaning.

This same method works well for cleaning the charging contacts on the charger itself, should it begin to develop corrosion if plugged in while the Sola still has saltwater on it.

Watch this video to learn how to best Clean the Sola Charging Contacts.


All Sola chargers should display a green LED when connected to a power source. The LED will change to red upon making contact with the Sola. If your charger remains green when plugged in and the Sola LEDs do not activate, then reference the steps to wake up your Sola from and check that travel lock out mode is not activated.

If your charger LEDs turn red when connected to the Sola but the Sola LEDs do not activate, then something may be wrong with the Sola battery or board, and it should be sent in for service.

If the charger LED remains green even when connected to your Sola and the Sola LEDs do not activate, then your charger may be bad. It should be sent in for service.

Charger Type Unplugged

No Power

No Sola Attached
Sola Charging Sola Charging

Sola Lights
Sola 1 Amp Charger
Sola 2 Amp Charger
Sola 2 Amp

PSE Charger
Sola Fast Charge

Power Supply

Note: Solas charge pattern differs between models. It may be left to right or right to left. Either way, your Sola is charging normally. Older generation Solas may not change the LED color when charging. This is normal, but may require a full discharge in water then full charge to ensure the light is fully functional.


Give us a call or drop us an email. We are here to help you with your underwater imaging needs. Backscatter also offers a full service center to get your gear back to working order.

Related Posts

GoPro HERO6 Underwater Camera Review

HERO6 Black transforms your adventures into incredible QuickStories right on your phone. With its all-new GP1 chip, next-level video stabilization and twice the performance, looking good has never bee...

Read More

Nikon D850 Underwater Camera First Look and Review

The Nikon D850 is the long-awaited successor to the Nikon D810 which has been our favorite camera for ultimate stills image quality. The Nikon D850 seems to have only improved in that department and m...

Read More

Sony a9 Underwater Camera Review—Shooting Great White Sharks

With the high speed shooting of the Sony a9 mirrorless camera and just released Nauticam NA-A9 underwater housing, we decided the best underwater photography test was to take it to the island of Guada...

Read More

Nikon 8-15mm Circular Fisheye Lens Underwater Photography Review

The new Nikon 8-15mm fisheye zoom lens was released only days before our departure to the Digital Shootout. We were able to MacGyver a makeshift zoom gear with a few items around the shop that worked ...

Read More

Panasonic Lumix LX10 Underwater Camera Review

When the Panasonic LX10 was released, all the specs pointed in the direction of a perfect compact camera. Large sensor, 4K video, and a zoom lens that does not require any housing port changes for wid...

Read More

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Underwater Camera Review

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 II easily impressed us when it came out. We were blown away by the mind-boggling continuous shooting at 60 fps for stills (yes, I said stills, not movie!) in single AF, and 18 fp...

Read More