All-in-one Solar Battery Charging Kits

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gradient-echo's picture
gradient-echo
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 12 2011
Posts: 2
All-in-one Solar Battery Charging Kits

Hi everyone,

First post. Did a search for this, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.

Does anyone have experience with a company called Goal0 (Goal-Zero)?

Our home owner's association doesn't allow installation of solar panels on our roofs, so I am forced to plan small and portable. I'm looking for a good all-in-one solar solution that will allow me to charge small devices like my iphone (yes, I know the cell towers may be down, but I can still store a lot of useful information on it, and let's face it, having Angry Birds could just save my sanity!), radios, AA/AAA batteries, flashlights, etc., but also have enough power to provide brief laptop use and run low wattage lighting. 

I found a number of possible solutions on Amazon, including a kit made by iSolar, that comes with a foldable solar panel, 12V battery, and external inverter, but it looks very low quality, and I have serious doubts about its durability. It also has too many components, which make it unwieldy and prone to lost or damaged parts. Other companies like Brunton and PowerFilm also have some solutions, but most require you to buy separate components like inverters and batteries. I want simple and all-in-one.

Yesterday, I came across a company called goal0, which makes modular kits designed for expeditions, humanitarian missions, etc., and found that they make something that looks like it would exactly meet my needs. It's called the Escape 150 Explorer Kit. It comes with a briefcase type solar panel that will supposedly charge the included 150 watt-hour lithium ion battery in approximately 8 hours of good sunlight. The battery looks rugged and is water resistant, and includes USB, DC, and AC out -- all built into the casing. Only problem is that I can't find ANY reviews for this thing online (even at Amazon, where it can be found for less)! That worries me, but perhaps it's because it's a new product? Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has one of these things, or knows of any better solutions out there?

http://store.goal0.com/index.php?p=product&id=91

Thanks! 

sevenmmm's picture
sevenmmm
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 19 2011
Posts: 108
Re: All-in-one Solar Battery Charging Kits

 

This is a very small system, but the price is ok. Maybe you should buy it and review it!

I recently purchased the 60 watt system from Amazon and have propped this system up against the south wall of my cabin - of which they are charging 2 gel cell batteries hooked up in to a series. Takes more than a week of full sun to bring the batteries back from half way.  I was surprised they tested out at 56 watts, pretty darn good for a product coming out of China.They are heavy and would not consider them as fully portable. 

Here is another store that offers many options. They have an excellent education material available.

gradient-echo's picture
gradient-echo
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 12 2011
Posts: 2
Re: All-in-one Solar Battery Charging Kits

@sevenmmm: Thanks for the link. I'll check that out. I went ahead and ordered the Goal0 kit. Should be here tomorrow. I'll test it out for awhile, post a review on Amazon, and link to it from here.

I will say that their customer service is very responsive. I had a question about the Scout 150 battery, sent an email to them, and heard back right away. 

I was also looking into the Sunforce 60 watt setup that you have. It seems to be a very popular system, at a very good price. Again, the problem for me is that I'd have to leave those big panels in storage and only bring them out once the grid fails, since our HOA prohibits solar. I also wanted something I could easily pack if we have to bug out.

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