Goal Zero Yeti 400 Experiences?

bigskypylot

Explorer
Hey Flagster.

The Yeti's 12v power outputs are all some sort of socket so you'll need to splice one of these sockets onto the end of the power supply cable for your fuse box. My advice is to buy this -> http://www.goalzero.com/p/241/6mm-Male-to-Ring-Terminal-Adapter and splice it into the supply wire for the fuse box. Maybe buy a second and power the fridge with that. You could also use a cigarette socket if you are OK with that.

I spliced the GZ connector onto a male weatherpack connector and then I spliced the fridge power cord onto a female weatherpack. This allows me to switch the fridge to vehicle 12v power much more easily.




Matt
What gauge wire is that, Matt? Imy not good with this kinda stuff, if you just happened to have a couple extra cables just like that, I'd be happy to pay for your expertise lol
 

North

Observer
Question for the collective:

I have my Yeti 400 hardwired to the car battery via 8mm to MC4 connectors and 8AWG wire, like many other posters have shown here. It charges when the vehicle is running and works great.

For output, I have the 12V to ring terminal cord connected to a Blue Sea fuse panel for all of my accessory circuits (currently just LED lights and Propex heater). Up until yesterday, everything was functioning as planned. Then, I plugged the Yeti into 120V to give it a charge, as I'd drained the battery testing my systems and hadn't driven the vehicle in a bit. Now after switching back to the 8mm/MC4 input, my 12V circuits are always on. The 12V button doesn't turn any of the circuits off, and I'm using more wattage than I should be. The 120V sockets and USB ports function normally. If I unplug the 8mm/MC4 cable, the 12V circuits function normally. If I use the 120V cable for input, the 12V circuits function normally. I cannot have both the 8mm to MC4 input and 12V output plugged in simultaneously or the 12V is always on. Any ideas on what happened here? I swear I had this working until using the 120V charger.
Update: I've tried to troubleshoot the issue by isolating my power systems and have come to the conclusion that when directly wired to the car battery, with the car off, the GZ400 (AGM) will not draw power from the car batt to charge itself, but WILL draw power to supply any 12V output loads, regardless of whether or not the 12V circuits are switched "on". My GZ400 is the powerplant for my campervan, and the heater thermostat has a constant (minimal) draw. I've swapped in a buddy's GZ400 and the behavior is the same - when the 8mm supply is connected and the car is off, I can run all of my 12V outputs without seeing any draw from the Yeti; it has to be pulling power from the car batt (1 instance of a drained starter battery would seem to confirm this).

As a sanity check, has anybody else had a similar experience? Anybody with a similar setup and a different experience? I've yet to encounter anybody else who's using a Yeti 400 as a full-time powerplant for 12V accessories and is charging via the car battery. Most do one or the other; GZ as permanent accessory power fed by solar, or GZ as portable power supplied by car batt.

I think the solution to my problem is to add a isolator of some sort, whether it's an "ignition hot" relay or an actual battery isolator. Thoughts?
 

snowblind

Adventurer
Update: I have come to the conclusion that when directly wired to the car battery, with the car off, the GZ400 (AGM) will not draw power from the car batt to charge itself, but WILL draw power to supply any 12V output loads, regardless of whether or not the 12V circuits are switched "on".
Wow. This is interesting. Definitely not what is supposed to happen.

I've swapped in a buddy's GZ400 and the behavior is the same - when the 8mm supply is connected and the car is off, I can run all of my 12V outputs without seeing any draw from the Yeti; it has to be pulling power from the car batt (1 instance of a drained starter battery would seem to confirm this).
******? Is the Yeti 12v off in this instance or is it on but showing no draw?

As a sanity check, has anybody else had a similar experience? Anybody with a similar setup and a different experience? I've yet to encounter anybody else who's using a Yeti 400 as a full-time powerplant for 12V accessories and is charging via the car battery. Most do one or the other; GZ as permanent accessory power fed by solar, or GZ as portable power supplied by car batt.
My setup is different yet again with permanent vehicle wiring and portable solar options. In my set up the Yeti is connected to my auxiliary vehicle battery but I usually switch to solar when the vehicle is off. This weekend I can recreate your "vehicle off/8mm plug in" scenario and see how my Yeti performs.

The Yeti should not be "working" this way. I would shoot Goal Zero an email and see what they say. It could be that you and your friend have Yetis from a similar production run and they have updated the control panel. This happened to me and I got a new control panel for free.

A relay is probably the best way to do this wiring if you're only running one battery. Provides cheap insurance.


Best regards,
Matt
 
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e60ral

2016 4Runner Trail w/KDSS
Update: I've tried to troubleshoot the issue by isolating my power systems and have come to the conclusion that when directly wired to the car battery, with the car off, the GZ400 (AGM) will not draw power from the car batt to charge itself, but WILL draw power to supply any 12V output loads, regardless of whether or not the 12V circuits are switched "on". My GZ400 is the powerplant for my campervan, and the heater thermostat has a constant (minimal) draw. I've swapped in a buddy's GZ400 and the behavior is the same - when the 8mm supply is connected and the car is off, I can run all of my 12V outputs without seeing any draw from the Yeti; it has to be pulling power from the car batt (1 instance of a drained starter battery would seem to confirm this).

As a sanity check, has anybody else had a similar experience? Anybody with a similar setup and a different experience? I've yet to encounter anybody else who's using a Yeti 400 as a full-time powerplant for 12V accessories and is charging via the car battery. Most do one or the other; GZ as permanent accessory power fed by solar, or GZ as portable power supplied by car batt.

I think the solution to my problem is to add a isolator of some sort, whether it's an "ignition hot" relay or an actual battery isolator. Thoughts?
i bet your battery voltage isn't high enough for the yeti to start charging, i think it wants 14V
 

North

Observer
******? Is the Yeti 12v off in this instance or is it on but showing no draw?
Car OFF, Yeti 12V OFF, Yeti shows no draw, but I can run any of my 12V circuits. Car OFF, Yeti 12V ON, it shows the draw from the 12V circuits (like normal).

My setup is different yet again with permanent vehicle wiring and portable solar options. In my set up the Yeti is connected to my auxiliary vehicle battery but I usually switch to solar when the vehicle is off. This weekend I can recreate your "vehicle off/8mm plug in" scenario and see how my Yeti performs.

The Yeti should not be "working" this way. I would shoot Goal Zero an email and see what they say. It could be that you and your friend have Yetis from a similar production run and they have updated the control panel. This happened to me and I got a new control panel for free.

A relay is probably the best way to do this wiring if you're only running one battery. Provides cheap insurance.


Best regards,
Matt
Thanks for the input. I'd definitely be interested to hear if you can recreate this scenario. I talked to Yeti on the phone and they offered to exchange my unit for a new one, but I wanted to do the easy test (swap my unit for a buddy's) before sending mine in. Maybe I'll email them the explanation I've written here - easier to explain in writing than over the phone.
 
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JDaPP

Adventurer
I had a similar problem, have you tried resetting the yeti battery? The procedure is in the owners manual. That cleared mine up.
 

snowblind

Adventurer
Thanks for the input. I'd definitely be interested to hear if you can recreate this scenario. I talked to Yeti on the phone and they offered to exchange my unit for a new one, but I wanted to do the easy test (swap my unit for a buddy's) before sending mine in. Maybe I'll email them the explanation I've written here - easier to explain in writing than over the phone.
I will def do a test tomorrow.

For sure you should email GZ. They have a number of engineers on staff who help with these sorts of things. Sometimes a problem only affects a certain production run and should be replaced. My display started to die so I emailed them. I'm local to GZ in SLC so they had me come in and they replaced the whole top of the Yeti with a newer one. The engineer told me there were "significant" changes from the earlier control modules.


Matt
 

North

Observer
Bump. Any ideas? @snowblind did you have a chance to test your unit?

I am in contact with Goal Zero, but thus far have been wholly underwhelmed with the support. It took ~3 days to get a response on my initial inquiry, and ~4 extra days to get a reply after I tried to clarify details of my setup with the rep. I explained the issue mostly as I explained it on this forum, but with some added detail. The rep stated that my setup was "incredibly complicated" so I tried to break it down with the following text:

Input
: I'm using the "GZ MC4 Solar to 8mm Adaptor Cable". 8mm plugs into the Yeti, and the MC4 connectors mate with 8AWG cables that have MC4 on one side, and ring terminals that attach to the battery on the other side.

Output: I use the "GZ 6mm to Ring Terminal Adaptor" to tap into a small Blue Sea fuse panel. Some of the circuits tied into this fuse panel draw a small amount of power continuously (ie Propex heater thermostat).

Today, the rep responded by asking "Is the Yeti 400 not drawing from the 12V outlet on the car correctly?" I guess I thought I was pretty clear that I'm not even using the 12V charging port??? This is the 3rd time I've contacted GZ about their product (1x for a different question, 2x for this issue). Thus far, I've been unable to get into contact with anybody that seems to have a working knowledge of how the unit functions. Am I being unreasonable??? At the end of the day, all I'm trying to do is have this question answered:

Is there a scenario in which a fully functional Yeti 400 could draw power from a constant 12V source, and allow that power bypass the 12V DC output on/off switch and all of the circuitry that shows input and output, or have I broken something in the unit?
 

dcg141

Adventurer
Update: I've tried to troubleshoot the issue by isolating my power systems and have come to the conclusion that when directly wired to the car battery, with the car off, the GZ400 (AGM) will not draw power from the car batt to charge itself, but WILL draw power to supply any 12V output loads, regardless of whether or not the 12V circuits are switched "on". My GZ400 is the powerplant for my campervan, and the heater thermostat has a constant (minimal) draw. I've swapped in a buddy's GZ400 and the behavior is the same - when the 8mm supply is connected and the car is off, I can run all of my 12V outputs without seeing any draw from the Yeti; it has to be pulling power from the car batt (1 instance of a drained starter battery would seem to confirm this).

As a sanity check, has anybody else had a similar experience? Anybody with a similar setup and a different experience? I've yet to encounter anybody else who's using a Yeti 400 as a full-time powerplant for 12V accessories and is charging via the car battery. Most do one or the other; GZ as permanent accessory power fed by solar, or GZ as portable power supplied by car batt.

I think the solution to my problem is to add a isolator of some sort, whether it's an "ignition hot" relay or an actual battery isolator. Thoughts?
Mine drew down my starting battery also so now I unplug it when its not running and has a draw. I knew that if you have batteries in a chain a draw will pull down the battery at the end first but I didn't think it would draw thru the charging port.
 

North

Observer
Mine drew down my starting battery also so now I unplug it when its not running and has a draw. I knew that if you have batteries in a chain a draw will pull down the battery at the end first but I didn't think it would draw thru the charging port.
Thanks for the info. The part that was most surprising to me is that it draws through the charge port even when the 12V output port is "off". I think I'll break up the input line with a relay that is tied to the ignition. Still a pretty slick setup, but not as slick as I'd hoped. If I were doing it again I'd probably build my own system from scratch.
 

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