Goal Zero Yetti


Original Post
Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

Looking to power the van for the weekends. I get an aac discount on Goal Zero products so thats where I am looking first

I have read the specs on each model, however I see a fair amount of reviews saying the charge is great and just as many saying its terrible.

I am only powering devices, maybe a small space heater, maybe a small minifridge.

This again is not an off the grid necessity, just a weekend warrior effort.

Any info or comments appreciated thanks!

Also open to alternative suggestions for different powering systems.

Mike Marmar · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 56

Goal Zero is very expensive for the amount of energy you get, but they are very convenient.

Even the largest goal zero will not power a space heater (1kw, which will drain the yeti 1250 in 40 minutes) or a mini fridge for very long (the best mini fridges use 300-400Wh per day which will drain the yeti 1250 to %50 in 2 days).

The alternative is to get 4 Trojan T105-agm batteries, wire them into a 200Ah 12v bank, add a charger inverter (something like an AIMS power 1500w charger-inverter will do the trick) and wire it all up. That will give you twice the capacity of the yeti 1250 for about the same price. For even cheaper you can get regular flooded cells (trojan T105) but then you have to worry about them off-gassing and you have to keep them watered

Eric Carlos · · GJ · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 30

Goal zero yetis are overpriced for their amp-hour ratings.

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

Mike do you have a link with more info on that Trojan system? That all seems greek to me.

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

And eric can you send me ale 8 one?

Rich zz · · california · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Dan Cooksey wrote:Mike do you have a link with more info on that Trojan system? That all seems greek to me.
it's a pretty simple system. get some 12V batteries and connect them in parallel. connect that to an inverter. profit. look up solar charging videos on youtube if you wanna be cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB8q20QX6bA
Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

Space heaters use a ton of power. The lowest cost alternative is a second/third battery charged off of your alternator using a charge relay. I wouldn't even consider Goal Zero.

Mike Marmar · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 56

This is the battery I was referring to trojanbattery.com/product/t...

You can pick up a cheaper equivalent made by duracell I think at walmart. Just look for a 100Ah 6v AGM battery. You'll want 4 of them. Wire them in pairs in series to make 2 12v batteries. Wire these in parallel. You'll also need thick wiring (upwards of 2/0AWG if you have a large inverter), and fuses. I have a long writeup I wrote for a friend a while ago on this that I can dig up.

Mike Marmar · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 56
Rich zz wrote: it's a pretty simple system. get some 12V batteries and connect them in series. connect that to an inverter. profit. look up solar charging videos on youtube if you wanna be cool
You connect 12v batteries in parallel (unless you want a 24v system). 6v batteries in series to make 12v batteries.
Rich zz · · california · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Mike Marmar wrote: You connect 12v batteries in parallel (unless you want a 24v system). 6v batteries in series to make 12v batteries.
oh oops. you know, as i was writing that comment i kept saying to myself "make sure you write parallel or some poor schmuck is gonna blow up his charge controller" and yet i wrote serial. thanks.
20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Eric Carlos wrote:Goal zero yetis are overpriced for their amp-hour ratings.
That's the understatement of the year. Dont buy GoalZero. Seriously, you would crap yourself if you knew what the markup was on their product. Their 30w solar panel goes for $250 plus shipping and tax. Renogy sells their 50w solar panel for $79 shipped. Do some Google homework, it's quite easy to build your own solar cell system, and you'll save a crap-ton of money AND get a better product.
Alex Rogers · · Sydney, Australia · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 15

The Goal Zero products ARE very expensive for what they are - but they are a little like Apple software vs Linux. Why would you buy into a proprietary system that is far more expensive, constrained in ability and less powerful than open source? Because it just works, it is slick, convenient, requires no learning curve, looks good etc.

I wouldn't dream of buying Goal Zero - I built myself a trailer camping setup including 120w panels, inverter, MPPT solar charger, LED lighting, console with twin USB & 2 12v outlets, 120aH battery etc for 1/2 the price. But there is a real investment in time and effort to learn everything necessary to do this. I love having the new knowledge / ability, but most people couldn't give a rats, they just want something that works - which is why Goal Zero can charge a premium.

Dan, if you are keen to learn about DIY power, I recommend joining myswag.org/ forums, and checking out their electrical section - all you could ever want to know about mobile electrical solutions. If not, talk to a good Goal Zero reseller about the limitations of the Yeti vs your requirements and then decide if that will work for you or not.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Alex Rogers wrote:I love having the new knowledge / ability, but most people couldn't give a rats, they just want something that works - which is why Goal Zero can charge a premium.
Even if that is the case, Goal Zero has plenty of competitors that make easy, zero-brain solar solutions, but for far less.
Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

This was all great. I have lots of research to fo now. Thanks for all the information and recommendations.

Eric Carlos · · GJ · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 30

If you are just using your van on the weekends, just make sure you have your coach battery (minimum 100 Amp-hour) set up to be charged off of the engine every time it is running, I have lived in my van for extended periods without even having solar because as long as I drive some every 4 or 5 days it stays charged. And that way I don't have to worry about parking in the sun and letting the interior heat up. Not knocking solar, just giving you options. For weekends, you don't need solar if you have it set up like this.

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0
Eric Carlos wrote:If you are just using your van on the weekends, just make sure you have your coach battery (minimum 100 Amp-hour) set up to be charged off of the engine every time it is running, I have lived in my van for extended periods without even having solar because as long as I drive some every 4 or 5 days it stays charged. And that way I don't have to worry about parking in the sun and letting the interior heat up. Not knocking solar, just giving you options. For weekends, you don't need solar if you have it set up like this.
Unless you live in the van full-time and only plan on starting the engine once a week, the simplest solution for the OP is what I said earlier and what Carlos is saying here. Two 12V batteries, a simple charge relay on the alternator, and small inverter will get all of this done. The charge relay will cost between $70 and $200 depending on how fancy you want. All the rest you will have to buy anyway but you'll save by not buying solar panels and regulators.

If you intend to use an electric space heater, nothing suggested in this thread will work.
Mike Marmar · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 56

Yeah, electric space heaters are simply too energy intensive. For heating get a buddy propane heater, a CO alarm, and crack the windows for air flow.

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550
Dan Cooksey wrote:This was all great. I have lots of research to fo now. Thanks for all the information and recommendations.
Dan - Spend some time looking into "Overlanding" setups. These are the guys who trick out their Jeep or FJ etc to drive all over and "car camp" ala the Range Rover across africa setup. They have slick power setups.

Depending on how permanent you want it you can hard wire in 2nd batteries with isolators and chargers etc. I looked at a setup from CTEK that allowed both 2nd battery charging and solar depending on what you were doing. D250s is pretty slick.

HOWEVER - This will require some wiring etc that you may not be willing to do. I have this issue as modifying the family minivan with overlanding gear is not an option.

After looking at the GoalZero setups, I ended up making my own battery box for a LOT less.

Get an ~100aH AGM battery (the most expensive part)
Throw it in a trolling motor battery box (Minkota has a nice one with built in, resettable fuses) and 2x 12v cigarette outputs. That will allow you to power a 12v fridge (look at Dometic or ARB for good "value", the cheapo 12v fridges pull a lot more power)

At home, I simply charge the box using a much less expensive charger from CTEK. On the go, you can charge the box off of solar or a combo setup. Genasun makes nice MPPT controllers and you can find any number of solar panels on Amazon. You can even rig it up where you modify a laptop power supply (that plugs into your cigarette power port) to connect to the MPPT controller so you can charge as you're driving and then switch over to solar when you park. It's a bit more clunky than the D250s but I can remove everything for M-F life.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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