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To get or not to get goal zero?
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rich y
(gkine) - F

Locale: NorCal
To get or not to get goal zero? on 06/30/2012 08:11:42 MDT Print View

REI has a good deal on the goal zero 3.5. I wanted to bring a phone for GPS, but my battery won't last for more than 2 days probably with everything turned off. It's a big price though to get a solar charger. Definitely a lot cheaper to buy extra batteries. But then again a solar charger is cool thing to have pretty much anytime. What would you do?

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: To get or not to get goal zero? on 06/30/2012 08:37:20 MDT Print View

Bear Grylls!! LOL

I sell these things at my store. They seem to work 50% of the time.

I'm sure some folks have them and they work fine, but I have had a reasonably wise customer try and return the scout 150 (2 of them) and the Nomad 13.5. I couldn't get the sherpa 120 (Discontinued I think) and Nomads 13.5s to charge. I own the guide 110

Here's the skinny AFAIK:

-the batteries work great

-I cant get a solar panel to charge a battery

-They used to recommend if you have a smarty phone to charge a battery and use the batteries consistent current to charge your phone.

I've known of about 4 systems and none could charge batteries from the panels- they work great of the wall but not off the sun.

Your said REI: Buy and test, my friend.

Test the exact setup. 3.5 sized panel may take ALL DAY in the FULL SUN to charge HALF of your phone battery. May want to look at the Nomad 7.

I don't KNOW these numbers, but it is simple math on the box- all their "charge a cell phone in 4 hrs" claims are best case (read desert conditions) conditions. Any clouds or intermittent sun will totally increase your times.

This is my experience with them, YMMV.

And frankly, I hope YM does V because I want this stuff to work- its well made (tough) and would be really cool if it was stupid easy.

IMO get the Guide 10 and the Luna light. Charge it at yr house.

rich y
(gkine) - F

Locale: NorCal
Re: Re: To get or not to get goal zero? on 06/30/2012 08:47:10 MDT Print View

Yeah it's the real Bear here. I really want them to work, but like your said a single cloud would just ruin it. I think I'll bring my phone and use it only when I need to. That should last me 5 days.

Chris Lacey
solar / battery on 06/30/2012 10:25:02 MDT Print View

I picked up this

for everyday use and have brought it overnight a couple times. It can charge my Nexus S at least 3 times. Weights 5.9oz with the cord.

I was thinking of picking up a Nomad 7 (just the solar panel) to charge this battery pack but - if I put my phone in airplane mode I still get GPS (and can now pre-load maps via Google) and phone will last ~2 days if I shut it off at night. The pack will give me 6 more days of power used that way -long enough for me. Also - airplane mode = no emails.

I would still like to get a solar panel - primarily just to play with. Maybe make my kids charge all their devices with it.

William Hegardt
(whegardt) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Regarding Goal Zero 13.5 on 07/01/2012 21:27:18 MDT Print View

I took a Goal Zero 13.5 on the JMT last summer. It did charge my proprietary DSLR camera battery ok, but I'm not sure it was worth it. I did not rig it up somehow to charge while hiking. We hiked until 3-4pm most days leaving us about 2-3 hours of sunlight as we often camped in valleys. Trees were often in the way too and so finding the perfect place to use it for charging was not always easy. I often had to move it out of the shade or change the angle as the sun set. There were a couple of cloudy days where no charging was possible as well. I did get all the pictures & video I wanted, but the bottom line was that it was more trouble than I anticipated.

I hope this helps.

- Bill

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Same here on 07/02/2012 21:29:46 MDT Print View

+1 on the above post, I have the GoalZero solar charger and it will absolutely charge my iPhone, but it doesn't really work when hiking as I'm usually under trees and turning this way and that. Now if you're going to have a base camp so it can sit in the sun uninterrupted, it's great.

Ryan Dorn
Solar vs battery on 07/02/2012 23:27:49 MDT Print View

My daughter has a medical condition that requires me to be able to stay in touch, so this is a hot button issue for me. I had the Goal Zero as well and it was fine during perfect conditions, but it just didn't seem to keep up when actually hiking or in low light. Sold it and got a Joos Orange which is AMAZING. It's the only solar charger I have used that has got the job done tied to my pack, but it weighs 24 ounces, so it limits where I'll carry it.

Ultimately, I went with two Anker 5600 mAh external batteries usb charger. They weigh 3.9 ounces each and only cost $35. My Droid Bionic has a 1500 mAh battery, so I'll take one for 1-4 days trips and two for trips up to or over a week long. The two combined has enough juice for 7.5 complete charges and you'll be hard pressed to find that kind of power in something under 8 ounces and RELIABLE. They are also much smaller than than the New Trent batteries, so they are more packable.

Also, I always keep one in my wife's purse, so we have backup power anywhere. I can't say enough good things about it.

Edited by fiestabuckeye on 07/02/2012 23:47:13 MDT.