Goal Zero Portable Power Essentials Kit
Shipping Options: $5 Standard OR $12 Two-Day OR $15 One-Day
Shipping Estimates: Ships in 1-2 business days (Friday, Mar 21 to Monday, Mar 24) + transit
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Not bad, but I personally would prefer the Rockout speaker over the AAA batteries like the deal from last week, which just so happens is available at moofi http://moofi.woot.com/offers/goal-zero-rock-out-solar-kit-with-guide-10-plus-1
Bad customer service, read the comments on Amazon, 18 of them concerning their customer service one star. I have had many conversations with goal zero to no conclusion
I went Solar Panel shopping about 4 months ago and considered this product. However, I ended up getting the more powerful (but arguably lower quality) 10 watt panel from Instapark: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZRYU9O … currently about $50 and was even cheaper on sale before Christmas.
I clip it onto my laptop backpack and pair it with a battery that can charge off a USB port such as the Power Banks Woot is currently selling (http://www.woot.com/plus/gorilla-gadgets-power-banks-1) and it works great. I get about 2 charges on an iphone 5 or 1 ipad charge and I can charge two small power banks at once or the phone directly.
If you are looking at one of these for regular use, also consider the more powerful Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel (http://www.amazon.com/Goal-Zero-12003-Black-Nomad/dp/B00A2F2U1K) which costs more but can daisy chain together with other panels to even power a laptop.
One great resource I found for making a purchase decision for these is here:
The LED stick light that comes with the set can be powered off any USB port or battery with a USB output and is on amazon for about $10 (http://www.amazon.com/Goal-Zero-14101-Stick-Light/dp/B0045XRK06) There are a variety of these for sale. They are handy.
Not sure how correct this is, but there’s a difference between the older Blue and these black panels. The blue ones, apparently, had a sheet of glass covering the panel, while the blacks have everything molded into the glass. Apparently, the black panels crap out if there’s a crack, because the connections are severed, while the blue ones can still work, up to, like, 60% damaged.
Does anyone know if this is the newest version of the Nomad 7 Solar Panel? Or is this the older version that does not let you daisy chain the Nomads.
The GZ FAQ says the older 7 can only be the caboose on a chain. Check out the GZ site for info on what can be attached to whom and how.
Should I note that the pieces separately make this a great deal? Two sets of quality rechargeable batteries ($20), battery charger/flashlight/power pack ($20), light bar ($10); you are paying less than $20 for a quality 7 watt solar panel that can support USB, 12 volts or chain to more recent GZ panels.
I purchased this set back when Woot had it in January and have loved every minute of it. To answer a few questions:
1)This is not the newest version of the Nomad 7 but it is also not the oldest. It falls somewhere in-between. The cords and box are in a mesh pocket on the back of the panel.
2)You could in theory daisy chain it as the caboose as has been mentioned. Just use the 12V boost output port and connect it to the input port on one of the newer Nomads that have this feature. A cable to do this would be required as it is not provided in this set.
3)The amount of power you get to charge your phone will depend on a number of factors. The guide 10 plus delivers 5V at 1A. It will provide this power for as long as it is able. At some point the voltage curve will fall below the minimum power and cancel the charge session. Theoretically 5V with 2300mAh batteries is 11.5W. My older smartphone has a 2200mAh battery at 3.7V or 8.14W. I should be able to get a single full charge out of the setup, and this is what I find in practice.
4)You can charge your phone, or any USB device directly via the USB port but I find that any variation in the sunlight and positioning can lead to unstable charging. The guide 10 is great in this respect as it is able to act as a voltage stabilizer. When the sun is bright it will charge my device and any extra power will be used to charge the batteries, when solar output dips then the Guide is able to dip into the batteries and keep the charging session going.
5)In good sun it takes the AA (2300mAh) batteries about 3 hours to charge. In lower light it can take longer, I had it charging all day yesterday (cold and overcast) and it was just barely over 50% from a completely dead pack. The AAA (700mAh) take less time to charge, but then they have less capacity.
6)I use the AAA batteries in a Petzl headlamp at night and then during the day I am able to recharge them to full power, a feature I really like. Another nice benefit is that NiMH have a very stable discharge curve compared to alkaline that have a pretty steep curve.
I know some have had problems with Goal Zero gear, but I think in any situation you will find this. The people who generally write reviews are those that absolutely rave about the product or those that find nothing but faults and problems, so I try to assess the product the best I can and take the advice of others online with a grain of salt.
I picked up this kit last woot. Only tested the panel really. I verified the light worked by plugging it into the precharged battery pack and it worked nicely. I used the panels on a sunny day indoors just pushed up against a window. Even with the light going through the multiple panes of glass it charged a smartphone in about the same time as plugging it into the wall. Color me impressed. Tried it on a cloudy, overcast day and it worked but was flipping back and forth between device charging and not charging. I would say in an emergency situation you could use it on an overcast day to charge the battery pack, it would just take a long time.
Overall quite pleased with the unit. I dont know about the customer service, I hope I never have to use it. This woot was cheaper than any of the similar in-store offerings from questionable companies that probably have just as terrible customer service. So I can get screwed by company A that I bought local, get screwed by company B I bought online and saved $20. Or Pay 30-50% more and buy from company C that has a known good customer service track record. For me, I’m poor. I have to take the risk and save $20. Seems to have paid off so far!
Thanks for this heads up!
Just note that the other offer trades both the USB light and the AAA batteries for the speaker. I’m not saying it’s a bad trade, just making sure you knew what was involved.
I bought this deal a few months ago and have been quite happy with it, but be aware that you absolutely will need to air it out for quite a while… it arrives reeking of chemicals.
In regards to the reviews focused on GZ customer service, those may well be accurate. I reached out to GZ with questions and the responses were less than timely.
But I’m still a fan of the products. I like this bundle (bought it last time), am a huge fan of the Guide 10 (sometimes I need actual batteries, not just USB power, and this does both), and at this price it’s pretty much a can’t-miss bundle.
The panel is a nice size (fits well on my dashboard) and functions well even on cloudy days.
And, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the system is fully compatible with Eneloops batteries. So if the GZ batteries ever give out, the rest of the system will keep working for me.
I got this the last time it was offered, and it also came with the female cigarette lighter adapter; I do not know if the one I just ordered does as well, but…By coincidence, I’ve been having a discussion about the output (VDC) with someone. Earlier today (good sun in West GA) I hooked up the cig adapter and put it on my multimeter: output was showing at 15.16VDC.
It’s done well charging batteries and my cell phone as well, sitting on the dashboard of my truck when I’m at work.
Nice review and very detailed…you work for Goal Zero