Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar charger

I’ve tested the Goal Zero Nomad 7 portable solar charger and am impressed with its performance. If you have the need, you should seek out this item.
I tested this during the winter time and was able to charge NiCad batteries I have and my I-pad. Of course, sun is needed. Here in the southwest we have plenty of that but I noticed it did pretty well on a cloudy day too. The manual says it recharges batteries in 3 to 6 hours. I found it closer to 3 hours. My I-pad was a little longer and it was in the 50% range of charge when I started the recharge. That was charging the pad directly with the panels. I think it would be faster through the battery pack.
The Switch 8 and Guide 10 Plus are battery pack accessories you can get with the Nomad. The panel I bought was from a Bass Pro shop and all these items came as a package. They are sold separately. I wouldn’t want just the panel although it would be better than nothing. Actually I wanted the panels as a charger for batteries more than devices but that is a bonus. Apart from being able to charge from the solar panel, the Guide 10 can also charge four AA batteries from a USB port.
It’s possible to connect the panels to a backpack and let things charge while walking or biking. The panel’s case has loops and the battery pack has one also, to secure it to whatever you need. I did not test it this way but I’ve seen others reviews of this. I tested a similar system and found it lacking. I think if you walked with the sun at your back all day it would work better. It works at about 50% on a backpack but your mileage may vary.
Many people spend time in the outdoors to get away from technology for a while. But if you want to stay connected, this is the system for you. I got one to use in emergency situations and everyday use where I wanted to save some electricity. I just like the idea of being a little more self-sufficient.
I think having the panel stationary in direct sun is much better than moving around. Although if you had to move, it’s good to know that it still works albeit at about half strength. If you end up somewhere remote than I know from past experiences how good it is to have power.
When I think portable I think of size, bulk, and weight (SBW). This fits the Goal 0 to a T. The panel folds into a package the same size as my I-pad mini. The weight is only a little less than a pound. The panels are sturdy and the case protects and hold everything you need.
The Nomad does need direct sunlight, incidental light doesn’t work very well like most solar panels. I like the battery pack because it gives me options. Even if I have regular batteries I could use them to charge a device. Or the rechargeable batteries will work. Or you can charge directly from the panels. I like options. The Guide 10 battery pack also has a USB port on it which gives other options.
If you look you may find the same deal I did $79.99 for the Nomadm 7 (for 7 watts of power) and Guide 10 battery pack. I looked on Amazon and found only the Nomad for $79.99. The Guide 10 is listed at $44.95.
I was very happy with the performance of this item. For my needs, it fit very nicely!
Semper Paratus