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Does anyone have experience with the goal zero solar 350?

What I am wanting to know, how long does it take for a 30 watt solar panel take to charge the unit? I read that 2 solar panels can be connected for faster charging.
 

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Green Eggs and Spam
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Does anyone have experience with the goal zero solar 350?

What I am wanting to know, how long does it take for a 30 watt solar panel take to charge the unit? I read that 2 solar panels can be connected for faster charging.
I do not want to be under a bigger ban hammer then ever before, but I have to say, "Kev, it seems that while you have great information to share on all sorts of survival topics ... you know very little about electronics".

In the real world of solar, that thing is a tinker toy.

I would not waste my money on it.

If the grid is down, I have other things to power then an I-phone.... If the GRID is HARD DOWN ... there will be no Internet.

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And that I-phone won't even be a fraction of the size nor mass of a still functional red stone brick.

That "thing" is very likely an expensive "solar toy" that is certainly advertised to generate enough power for the "smart-phone user" to want to buy it.
 

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Sprig, that was kinda harsh on Kev, but he is a big boy I am sure he would care less of your opinion of his knowledge base.

With that said the device does in fact look like in the world of solar it could be described as a toy, but I for one like the idea of having a compact solar recharger for laptops, cell phones, maybe gps, I could see this being in my secondary ( I have time to actually grab the bucket of extra's) BOB.

The fact is there is way to much valuable info on the net to copy to paper, thus most of the bonus materials are stored on flash drives and such, and this little beauty might make it easier for me to retrieve on the go instead of running back to my BOL to hook up the battery banks and such.

Thanks Kev for making aware this thing exist ( I just hope its not too pricey:)
 

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By the numbers, that is a 350 watt-hour battery. In theory, it would take ~11.7 hours to fully charge it with a 30 watt panel. Reality may vary though...and probably not for the better. Between the loss of the charge process and how strong the sunlight is where you live, you might want to assume it will take twice that long.

I have a lower end Goal Zero panel. It is very well made and their customer support is excellent. Go to their web site, ask. I am sure they will tell you.

There are certain advantages to being "toy". Goal Zero panels (the ones I have seen) are in foldaway sections, designed to be easily portable. This battery pack and the solar panels can be put in an EMP resistant container easily. Thrown in a backpack, car, etc.
 

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GOAL ZERO products can power PLENTY of non-internet items. Its a good tool for good applications. I don't own one, but would like to have one or some in my preps for sure. You never know when you need some back-up electrical power.
 

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Limpin to safety.
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Did OhioMan make that video?

;)

The base made my wife yell "TURN IT DOWN!!"
 
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Kev,
I see why the portability and the all-inane package could perk your interest, but buying any kind of product like that has major drawbacks. It consists of a battery, a charger (hopefully with a good charge controller to prevent overchargin), and an inverter. Buying each piece separately sounds like a pain and you will have more of a mess of wires. But you can customize it your hearts content. Also, if one thing goes wrong with the all-in-one, it becomes a doorstop. With a component system you can replace just the part that went bad.
 

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By the numbers, that is a 350 watt-hour battery. In theory, it would take ~11.7 hours to fully charge it with a 30 watt panel. Reality may vary though...and probably not for the better. Between the loss of the charge process and how strong the sunlight is where you live, you might want to assume it will take twice that long.
^^ what he said ^^

Keep in mind that a 30-watt panel only produces a MAX of 30 watts in ideal conditions, if you're in the southern US that's maybe 5-6 hours per day on a clear, cloudless summer day. There may be more hours of daylight than that, but the period of time during which you'll be able to produce a full 30 watts with that panel is much shorter.

Count for 15-20% efficiency loss in your inverter/charger setup, now you're looking at ~25 watts during max sun hours or roughly 14 hours worth of "peak sun" (approximately 3 days @ 5hrs/day) to charge a 350 w/h battery
 

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Goal Zero has good products and work great for specific purposes.

I live in Florida and for hurricane preps I purchased two ranger 350s with the inverters, two of the 3 watt 12 volt lights and the most expensive an ARB 12 volt fridge/freezer.

I wanted small and portable in case I need to evacuate in my van and live in it a few days.

One 350 easily runs the fridge during the hours of darkness and I can swap off with the other battery during the daytime.

I have two powerfilm 30 watt foldable panels with charge controller that will take care of the recharging needs. Even in partial sunlight they will provide power. These are the panels on youtube they shot and they still provided power.

I have a 10 watt powerfilm panel that will charge my portable electronics without the need of the batteries.

The prices for the above items are all over the place. I watched Amazon for the deals. I ran across a closeout where I was able to purchase the two 30 watt panels for the same price as another vendor selling one 20 watt.

You can build your own system at better prices but they may not be as "pretty" or portable. Think trolling motor battery box, cheap inverter, and Harbor Freight solar panels.

Don't have unrealistic expectations. Estimate your power consumption requirements, take into account how efficient the system is and make wise purchases.

Realistically, as long as fuel is available, the most economical at the moment is a portable generator.

Mike
 

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Green Eggs and Spam
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The 30 Watt panel Goal Zero has is being sold for $300.

In the case that power is more important then portability, then KD135GX-LPU Solar Panel is a SIGNIFICANTLY better deal then that Goal Zero Tinker Toy.

If size and portability are primary over power, then UPG 10-watt Mono-crystalline Solar Module for $30 each could wire three together 1/3rd the cost of the Zero thing and have a foldable package.

Another panel idea, this time a single panel that is only 2" bigger in one dimensions is SunWize SW-S30P high quality 30-watt solar module for about $160 which is half the price of the toy system.

One of the things that IRKS me the most about Goal Zero is their lack of proper terminology for their product. Their claim of "Store 350 watts of power with the Extreme 350 Power Pack" is total BUNK.

The power pack rating should be in AMP HOURS. Totally misleading information to the uninformed.

A typical 12V automotive battery has a capacity of about 60AH. This will let someone use a 300W inverter at its peak for about an hour before the battery is at half its capacity. A "High Power" converter for a laptop that I have is rated for 120W. At 100W of actual use-age, the average automotive battery will run a hungry laptop for about three hours. Of course, smaller laptops that are meager on power can run for significantly longer.

Anyways, for the money of the Goal Zero that costs $770 I'd be buying other stuff.

In the large panel above, I'd go to Wall-Mart and buy two of their cheapest 6V batteries. Then I'd source 600W inverter or smaller off the Internet someplace; I'd recommend a pure sine inverter but in the end if I found a modified sine inverter that was a killer deal I'd consider that too.

For the smaller stuff I'd have to know some details to optimize a battery and inverter setup. However, in general if weight wasn't an issue and cost was, I'd just use a small 6-10AH gel cell for storage. Then couple that with a small inverter in the 100W range. A similarly capable system as the Goal Zero system could be put together from individuation components for easily half the price.

In reality when a solar system is sized this small it is going to be extremely limited in what it can power.
 

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I use the goal zero as a back up for my Cpap. One charge (one day of good sun with a few adjustments) will operate my machine for two nights. This was less expensive and more efficient than units specifically designed by the Cpap manufacturer, and theirs doesn't come with a solar recharger. I paid about
$270.

http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/61/Escape-150-Explorer-Kit/1:2/

Wow, after grabbing the link I feel like I stole it.
 

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The smaller, less powerful Goal zero products are good for hikers, campers, or those who are bugging out. Obviously there is no useful comparison to be made to a solar system that is a permanent install on a house, cabin, or RV. However, the POU (Philosophy of Use) of the two, very different systems (utilizing the same technology) make direct comparisons less meaningful.

My take on the larger, more powerful Goal Zero products is the same as Sprig's. Those systems can be easily and much more cheaply created from piecemeal components.
 

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$350 for a 30 a/h battery, with a inverter and charger is a pretty hefty price. YoU can accompish the same and add a 45 watt soLar array to charge for aboUt the same price and have a battery capacity that is twice as big. If yoU want to keep weight down, there are smaLLer batteries, and the price goes down as weLL.
YoU can pt together a 30 a/h battery, inverter, and charger togther for ess than $80
Now, to answer the qestion the OP originaLLy asked, the charge time is based on the size of the battery in amps divided by the nUmber of amps being appLied to the battery. For exampe, 30 amp battery reqUiring a 100% charge with 6 amps appied wiLL take 5 hors to charge. The 30 watt paneL can sUppy 2.5 amps at 100% efficiency, 12 hrs to charge. Yes, 2 soLar paneLs wiLL cUt the charging time in haLf
(excUse the speLLing errors as some keyboard keys are not working today, can YoU Figre ot which keys are not working. They work in caps)
watts = vots * amps
 

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That "thing" is very likely an expensive "solar toy" that is certainly advertised to generate enough power for the "smart-phone user" to want to buy it.
You come across as though you have good knowledge on this topic. Like Kev, I too have seen this thing and am curious about this charging device. If it is indeed a "toy," and if you have credible knowledge, why not share what you know? I do appreciate that your post may save me or others from wasting good money, but you know what would be at least 2X helpful? If you were to take the time to suggest a better device and provide some criteria, or specifications that, 1. demonstrates the devices credibility, and 2. at the same time demonstrates yours:thumb:

Please
 

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I like Goal Zero. Although I don’t have the 350 system, I do have several other Goal Zero products like the Yeti and several Sherpa systems. I like all of them and consider them to be better than other systems or better than what I could build with Harbor Freight.

My set of Sherpa batteries has a total of 220 watts (2, 50 watt and 1, 120 watt batteries along with solar panels). With them, I can run LED lights, efficient fans, and a combination DVD/television all evening long. I can then recharge them in the day.

Personally, I think one 30 watt panel for the 350 is too little. I would go for two of those 30 watt panels.
 

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man I wish solar technology would catch up.

Every way I look at solar, I keep coming up with cost vs efficiency,...and there's NO way i can justify even a small system. Just too dang inefficient....and expensive for what they put out.
 

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Goal zero products are generally 3-4 times more expensive than building something similar yourself, their products are good quality but WAY overpriced. The one thing made by goal zero that is a great value is the USB powered Luna light (I got mine on ebay for $7.95 delivered).



This was a completely dark room


 

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To answer the OP's question directly: it takes two full sunny days minimum to charge one Extreme 350 with one Boulder 30 panel. (source: direct first hand experience, YMMV based on latitude and season). You can link up to four Boulder 30s in an array. With four panels, you cut your charge time on a 350 to about four hours. On a sunny summer day, I can fully charge one Extreme 350 and get another to about 80%.

To address some other points that have come up in this thread:

  • Goal Zero gear is more expensive than DIY solutions, and they are particularly more expensive on the panels in terms of price/watt. That said, their products are engineered, packaged solutions. They are designed for portability and plug-and-play. You can charge the Extreme 350 from solar panels, from a wall outlet, or from the 12v outlet in your car. It has a built in charge controller, a charge meter, and two standard 45A Anderson power pole connectors. You can also link Extreme 350s to build a battery bank of up to four units.
  • Don't buy Goal Zero product direct from their website. Buy it through a reseller (like Amazon) for significant (30%+) discount.
  • If you have some background with electrical systems, you can probably build something comparable for less money. However, when I put together a parts list for building my own, I only came in about 20% cheaper overall, even though I was saving over 50% on the panels. When I factored in the labor to construct it, and the fact that it would not be as clean or portable, the choice was pretty clear for me.
  • I own (2) Extreme 350s, (2) inverters, (4) Boulder 30 panels. The four panels fit into two padded carrying cases (sold separately), and pack easily in the back of my truck cab with a tripod and the two 350's. I can take the kit to a campsite, setup all four panels in an array and be charging my 350s with 120W of solar cells in about 20 minutes from the time I unload. More importantly for me, so can my wife because it's a simple matter of latching a few clips, attaching the tripod, and plugging in a few cables. Portability and ease of use come at a cost.

If you're building a fixed solar power solution for your home, I would definitely not recommend Goal Zero's Extreme 350 and Boulder 30 panels. But if you want a portable solar power solution that you can quickly and easily setup, take down, and transport (in a vehicle), I think the Goal Zero product line pretty well hits the mark, even if it does so at a premium.
 
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