Goal Zero Yeti 400 Experiences?

vision-quest

Observer
Hey guys, I'm interested in getting a Goal Zero setup to run my ARB fridge constantly when I may not drive for a few days, charge up camera, laptop and phone batteries etc.

If I get a 60W setup like this:

http://www.amazon.com/PowerFilm-Foldable-Solar-Panel-Adapter/dp/B00JOOFG8O

Then daisy chain a couple of 20W GZ panels onto the 60W, would that be enough to constantly power my ARB 50qt fridge and then charge any camera batteries/phone batteries I would need?
 

Longtallsally

Adventurer
Has anyone had their AC charger go bad? We use our Yeti 400 as a charge station in the house and I'm real particular about keeping it topped up. Well, the battery dropped to 60% and I plugged it in (via a power strip, so the power was clean) and suddenly the screen flashed on and off and displayed "Low" on the input side (nothing plugged into the output).

I reset the charge controller and unplugged the charger. No change. Then I unplugged the charger long enough to let the transformer discharge and came back to it and plugged it in. POP! Well, that was that.

I've not called them yet and I'm not really worried about them replacing it, but just wondered if anyone else had this happen.
 

spikemd

Explorer
Hey guys, I'm interested in getting a Goal Zero setup to run my ARB fridge constantly when I may not drive for a few days, charge up camera, laptop and phone batteries etc.

If I get a 60W setup like this:

http://www.amazon.com/PowerFilm-Foldable-Solar-Panel-Adapter/dp/B00JOOFG8O

Then daisy chain a couple of 20W GZ panels onto the 60W, would that be enough to constantly power my ARB 50qt fridge and then charge any camera batteries/phone batteries I would need?
I have the same Powerfilml 60W panel long with some GZ foldable (27w, 2 13.5w) and a 30 watt briefcase. When I was in Baja 2 years ago, I ran about 90 watts of solar into the Extreme350 (same battery) and I could remain stationary indefinitely with good Baja sun all day. It would run down the battery a bit overnight, but the solar would charge the battery while running the ARB during the day.

Also, the ARB is almost twice as efficient as the Whynter based on the article in Overland Journal a few years ago.
 
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spikemd

Explorer
I am building up my system further. In warm conditions, the Extreme350 (same battery) wouldn't last 2 days on its own without good sun. Our excursions to the Sierras sometimes have us camping under trees, which is great for camping, but not for solar power. I have had my Extreme for 3+ years now and it died this year because I was running my ARB directly from the Anderson plugs which bypasses the battery protection. Learned my lesson and am making new connectors.

I am looking at one of two options. Purchase another 35Ah battery, the same I replaced in the Extreme this summer, put it in a battery box and chain it to the Extreme for power management. Roughly $100 for battery and $20 for the box.

The other option would be to purchase a new Yeti 400 and chain the Extreme (which has a new battery) to the Yeti and get rid of the Extreme inverter. A Yeti at Costco is $350 at the roadshow locally. The new Yeti obviously costs about $200 more than a stand-alone battery, but I really like the Yeti display which shows input charging as well as output use which my Extreme does not have. In addition, I am looking at a semi-permanent installation since the Yeti won't drain the main battery if I leave it plugged into the rover at all times. These units actually charge quicker with adequate solar over the 12v car charger

For comparison, I would have about 70ah which is close to a group 31 Optima Yellow top at 75ah. The yeti would work as the battery isolator and charge controller for the two batteries and is still portable.

I used the Extreme and a couple of Light a Lifes this Halloween to light up a wagon while we went trick or treating. Kids loved it, cars saw us and I could tote along a few adult beverages in the wagon.
 

Kgorman

Observer
I thought I would add some thoughts on our Yeti 400. We did a two week long trip recently, spending 6 days on the road camping.

The Yeti is mounted under a passenger seat, and I have the car charger routed to it so its continuously charging. I can confirm it only charges when it sees the additional voltage from the alternator, and stops charging when you stop the motor. This is a fantastic feature. We kept the unit in the car during freezing temps and I did't notice any drop in performance/charge.

We used it for charging all our USB devices, charge the GZ lantern, as well as power GZ lighting at camp. We also used the AC outlet to power our blow up mattress. For the most part we left it in the vehicle, except at camp to power the lights and be a charge station. Doing these things it worked fantastically. I love that it's semi-permanently mounted, so we can move it around and use it as needed. The flexibility is nice.

The display works great. It's easy to read at a glance. I would love an iOS app that can display the stats over Bluetooth so I can check on it while having it tucked away.

i don't have many gripes, only ideas to improve the device. I have Anderson power pole plugs already wired, I would really like to use that type of connector vs the proprietary charge connector. I would like a charge port on the back as well. I would like to see GZ move to LifPO batteries, this thing is not light. I would also like to see it be able to do 20A draw. We have a coffee maker I want to use the GZ for but clearly the warm up of the hot surface trips the breaker. It needs a tie down loop or two on it, I want to secure it better and more safely in case of vehicle crash.

One tip is to get a USB multi cable with every modern connector on it, because you never know what device you will need to charge. Keep that with the 400. Also plug a cigarette lighter to USB adapter into it to double the USB ports.

I am planning to create an Anderson to battery clip cable so if I ever need a jump for the vehicle in an emergency I can use the 400. I realize that's not approved, but it's for emergency. If chaining would allow me 20A I would do it in a heartbeat. I am thinking about adding solar for trips where we sit parked longer.

Over all a really nice unit. Would buy again, I may buy another. I am emailing GZ my suggestions.
 

Cole

Expedition Leader
These use a 33Ah AGM.....those are like $45....why in the world is this $400?
Yeah really!! My house was built out of 2x4s which are only about $10 each!! So why was my house hundreds of thousands of dollars???!!! WTF?:coffeedrink:
 

PirateMcGee

Expedition Leader
Yeah really!! My house was built out of 2x4s which are only about $10 each!! So why was my house hundreds of thousands of dollars???!!! WTF?:coffeedrink:
Just wondering if people realized that it's a pretty tiny battery and when asked to run something with a decent draw they may be pretty disappointed in the lifespan of the battery.

It's a quality integrated off-the-shelf solution. Yes you can roll your own for less.
Fair enough.
 

Cole

Expedition Leader
Just wondering if people realized that it's a pretty tiny battery and when asked to run something with a decent draw they may be pretty disappointed in the lifespan of the battery.



Fair enough.

Not an argument here, just an observation, since the whole unit is physically smaller than most car batteries yet includes a pure sin inverter, charge controller, display, ports and plugs, cooling fan, and carry handle. It would be pretty easy to conclude that the battery is going to be smaller.

I think most people don't really fully utilize their expensive "house" batteries in their camper builds these days anyway. Seems most only want to power some LED lights and charge a table/phone or maybe a laptop.

If you want to run more stuff Goal Zero has a bigger solution, the Yeti 1250

The thing I love about these over built-in solutions is that you can quickly and easily take t with you anywhere or mount it anywhere ,
 

PirateMcGee

Expedition Leader
Not an argument here, just an observation, since the whole unit is physically smaller than most car batteries yet includes a pure sin inverter, charge controller, display, ports and plugs, cooling fan, and carry handle. It would be pretty easy to conclude that the battery is going to be smaller.

I think most people don't really fully utilize their expensive "house" batteries in their camper builds these days anyway. Seems most only want to power some LED lights and charge a table/phone or maybe a laptop.

If you want to run more stuff Goal Zero has a bigger solution, the Yeti 1250

The thing I love about these over built-in solutions is that you can quickly and easily take t with you anywhere or mount it anywhere ,
Ya I did a bit more digging. It is actually quite well packaged and I can see where it's useful from a portability standpoint. I agree the focus on huge batteries is misplaced and not need for most but unless you want to destroy your battery it's nice to keep it to 50% discharge and Goal Zero doesn't do a great job of mentioning that.
 
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