December 15, 2017 at 6:11 am #55491
We finally bit the bullet and pulled together enough to take advantage of the Christmas sale price on a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 power pack (1400 watt hours) and a Nomad 100 watt folding solar panel. It just arrived two days ago, and initial checkout seems to be satisfactory. The 1400 model uses a lithium battery, cutting the weight down considerably to “only” 46 pounds, compared to 103 pounds for the slightly less powerful lead acid battery model (1250 watt hours). But with the built in handles, the 1400 is relatively easy to move around, even for this old man. We got it fully charged up and are going to see just how much it drains tonight running my wife’s CPAP machine. [Update: it will provide several nights for the machine. 80% power remaining after a full night’s use. Good to know.]
My two biggest complaints so far are the lack of a decent length charging cord, and the slow charge rate when using 120 volts input. The charging cord that connects the solar panel to the unit is only 6 feet long, meaning that wherever the solar panel is placed, the unit has to be right beside it. We paid an additional $20 to get the 30 foot cord, which they claim will only reduce input by perhaps 5 watts due to loss in the long cable (understandable). But when charging from the wall (120v), it only charges at 55 watts or so (normal is between 55-65 according to the company). I called the company and was told that one additional power transformer can be purchased and plugged into the same input as would be used with the solar panel, to nearly double the charging power. They said the low charging rate is a function of the charge controller. At an additional $50 for the 2nd transformer, I passed, at least for now. For the price of the unit, I really believe they’d create more good will with customers if they included at least the 15 foot charging cable for the solar panel input, and the 2nd charging transformer for 120v charging, in order to charge at something over 100 watts.
Just a few days prior to the shortest day of the year yesterday, meaning the sun is almost at its lowest in the sky for the year, and within about an hour of sunset, I set up the solar panel and unit to test out the function of the solar panel for charging the unit. I was actually pleasantly surprised, with the sun very low in the sky due to time of year, and also near sunset, that it was still putting out 45 watts. So I expect that in the middle of the day, particularly in the summer when the sun is higher (therefore more light on the panels), I’ll produce far more power. And that 45 watts was before I’d even removed the “clear” plastic protective film on top of the panel sections (same as what covers many cell phone screens for protection prior to use). That alone would reduce some of the light to the panel despite being “clear.” So I suspect I would have gotten something more like 50 watts or so had the solar panel sections all been fully exposed to the sun without the protective film. (Solar panels never put out the rated amount of wattage, from everything I’ve read. It’s apparently the rating they’d provide if the panels were on top of Mt. Everest on the longest day of the year, at noon – no pollution, little atmosphere, therefore maximum sunlight on the panels.)
We have no fantasies of being able to keep our big refrigerator running for more than a few hours if the power goes out, and certainly won’t be able to power air conditioning or electric heaters. But a few 12v lights, even a computer or other electronic devices, along with the more important CPAP machine should be no problem for this device. The specs are fairly impressive.
If anyone’s interested, there is a Christmas sale going on right now for both the Yeti 1400 watt hour storage device, and the 100 watt Nomad solar panel that folds up rather nicely. I’ve got no affiliation with them at all, except having received a little 50 watt hour device with the associated inverter, along with a small folding solar panel designed to go with the unit, a few years ago. It’s fairly impressive for its size, so we finally decided to purchase the bigger unit. While we hope to be able to live OK without power if needed, it will be nice to at least have some, both for the CPAP machine as well as a little bit of entertainment (games on an otherwise useless cell phone, music, etc.). And information stored in our laptops would still be available unless we get an EMP, since these will nicely charge laptops and other rechargeable devices.
I have to laugh, though – the company is almost literally in the shadow of the “Utah Data Center” buildings. That facility pulls an obscene amount of power, while this company is producing equipment that produces power entirely from the sun (though the units can be charged under normal conditions from 120v AC).December 21, 2017 at 7:33 am #56011
Lithium batteries are taking over GS. Lightweight and very fast charging. You could use a second battery for your solar and locate it closer to the panels.
The GZ lithium 3000 is only 68 pounds! Thats a roll around. I see though lithium batteries cant be paired together like AGM batteries.
I bought Marinco 10/10 chargers for my AGM gels. They work great. 10 amp charge is beyond my solar capability. Maybe if I had a windmill.
By the way battery chargers are designed to have a slow charge rate in the beginning. Its not until it gets to bulk charge that it speeds up. Microprocessor control. You spend the money for the good stuff. Lol
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