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Old 12-02-2014, 02:47 AM   #1
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Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator

Hi all, so currently we are using a Honda EU3000 generator and it does a fine job but I fear it is on it's last leg. We do a TON of boondock camping and with 2 young boys we can run the microwave to heat up bottles and hotdogs, and the TV for the occasional video
My wife is very interested in a solar system but I'm super hesitant because I'm the one who has to "deal" with it!
Anyway, my original argument is that there is no way we can run the above items with a solar system. Then I came across the Yeti 1250 and see it can run a TV for 34 hours! I have a few other questions:
Could it power a microwave?
How would you install it? We have a 240BHSL with a 30AMP cable on the outside. Would I tap into that and plug it into the Yeti(which would be mounted inside or in the bear cave) and all is well?
If I did it I would go with the 4 Solar panel option and I guess install them on the roof.
Sorry for all the questions but the idea of solar scares me a bit. I'm use to just firing up the generator and having power for anything on demand. I don't want to give that up but the Yeti seems to be able to provide that as well????
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:01 AM   #2
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Basically that is just a large battery pack and inverter with fancy packaging. I don't think it would carry a microwave for very long. IMHO if you want to go solar, you would be better served by setting up a proper solar system with a multiple battery bank. With the Yeti once it goes dead you are dead until it recharges. I did a quick perusal of the specs no way no how it is going to run a typical microwave, too much load. FWIW it has Group 31 100AH AGM battery in it. Not much power at all.

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Old 12-02-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Ok, thanks Aaron. I know NOTHING about solar and as I said, I'd just assume stay with our trusty Honda and then replace it with another trusty Honda
Microwave is pretty important for us now so that would settle it............
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:54 PM   #4
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Solar is awesome, but beware the pre-packaged kits. They are typically overpriced for what you actually get. The best use of your money is to build a system yourself. We run a lot of 120V AC power items (but not the microwave) off of our TT's solar/battery/inverter system and while we carry a Yamaha 2400 generator with, we rarely ever fire it up.

While the basic concept isn't complicated, like most things the trick is to install it right and have realistic expectations. The main components are the solar panels, a charge controller, and batteries (and an inverter if you want to run 120V AC electronics). You can of course spend as much or as little as you want, but you can expect a decent starter project for say 100 watts of solar for around $200. For the cost of a new Honda 3000 which I'm Googling at ~$2000, you could build a totally killer solar setup capable of running your microwave no problem and never requiring a drop of gasoline or motor oil to maintain. Just a spot to sit in the sun. ;-)
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:57 PM   #5
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I bought a Champion generator because it runs on propane, and that's good. But it is an old-fashioned generator, not a new invertor, which is more quiet and better on electronics like your microwave. ATG is a Lowes store, so if you order it at a Lowes desk you'll get discounts. It's on sale now, and includes free shipping. P. S. Note the 30 amp RV outlet. This is the one I will buy next: Champion Power Equipment 75531i Portable 3100 Watt Inverter Generator | ATG Stores
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:49 PM   #6
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I also bought the 3100 Watt Champion a year ago before I got my Voltage. 1/2 the cost of the Honda & can be picked up by this old timer. Can't say the same for the 3000 Watt Honda.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:31 AM   #7
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Been doing a bunch of research. Currently the Champion inverter generators seem to be the best bang for the buck. Biggest issue that I can find is the small gas capacity. The biggest problem with extending the run time on them is the fact they don't have a fuel pump and have to be gravity fed. Not sure what the longevity on them looks like. I have a Honda construction generator with an hour meter on it that is over 5,000 hours. Hard to beat that for dependability. It is overdue for an overhaul.

I would think that the Champion 3100 Inverter or a pair of the 2,000 watt would be the way to go at this point.

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Old 12-03-2014, 02:59 AM   #8
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Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator | Power Packs | Goal Zero
So the specs are actually pretty good for this device. But as wahoonc said, it's basically just an inverter and battery pack in a fancy package.
  • 1200 watt pure sine wave inverter. That's pretty nice, worth about $500 for a name brand one or $200 for a knock off one.
  • 100Ah AGM battery. That's pretty nice, too. I think worth about $200 but I've never bought AGM.
  • MPPT solar charge controller. Again, very nice. It doesn't give any other specs about it but a user question asks how many panels can be hooked up and they reply no more than 4 30 watt ones which is only 120 watts/8 amps. So I'd say it probably doesn't have much more capacity than that, which is kind of small and probably worth $50. And their panels are 12V panels, so I don't know why they are using an MPPT controller? They could get away would less expensive PWM and not lose any charging capacity.
  • If you want to use the max number watts that they say it can handle (120 watts), you can do one Boulder 90 ($449) and 2 Boulder 15s ($54.99) for $560 or four of the Boulder 30 panels $199/ea.) for $800. Solarblvd.com has 12V 120 watt single panels for $136.
So while the Yeti seems like a solid unit, I'd say it costs a fortune compared to what the components its made from would cost you. And it couldn't quite run a standard microwave with that inverter, maybe a really small one like the 700 watt cooking power ones. But a typical 1000 watt cooking power microwave will need >1500 watts to run. Plus with only one 100 Ah battery it would drain its charge fast.
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Old 12-03-2014, 03:32 AM   #9
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I have four 140 watt panels on my Voltage and four 6 Volt golf cart batteries with a 2000 watt inverter. That said, I use a generator to run my microwave. I have the 5500 Onan in my Voltage and also have a Honda EU 3000 sitting in the back of my truck. I love the Honda EU 3000. I have one Honda EU 3000 with 120 metered hours on it and the other is about 12 years old with tons of hours on it. Most likely in the thousands of hour range. Both run Great. Both have remote start. For what it worth, I would stick with the Honda. They are bullet proof generators. Just change the oil every 50 hours or so. I have seen and heard the Champion generators and they seem to work OK. The small fuel tanks have put me off on those and I don't know if they have remote start. Remote start is well worth what you pay for it.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arlan in arizona View Post
Remote start is well worth what you pay for it.
Arlan, why do you say that? I imagine if the gen shut down that I'd have to go out and refuel or tend to something. I'm not being "snarky," I just don't see the advantage of remote control. Please tell me how it's worth it. BTW, the new Champion inverter is available with and without a remote, so I'm looking. So, go ahead and "sell" me on the remote!
P.S. an afterthought: Shutting down at quiet hours and restarting in the morning???
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:15 AM   #11
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Went back and looked at the Yeti, again, out of curiosity. To get a full "kit" is around $1800, for that you can get a Honda EU3000i on sale (or pretty close to it). While I like the concept I don't see the value in it. My personal choice (before I sold them) was a pair of Honda EU2000i generators with the parallel kit, they ran anything I needed in an RV. If money were no object I would probably shell out for the Yamaha EF3000iSEB. Yamaha has done a good job of working with the ergonomics and making their units service friendly. Honda's can be a bit of a pain to get to things on.

I too will be interested to hear what Arlan has to say about the remote start.


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Old 12-03-2014, 12:26 PM   #12
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rainy mornings, the kids are up and want to watch a movie - push a button and tv is on - Mom or Dad are nice and dry!


Convenience - in prepping for dinner and you need the microwave on for a quick defrost - no running outside to turn on the generator - come in defrost for 3 minutes and run back out to shut it off......


I thought the generator in our Rubicon would never get used.....I was sooo wrong - and I can turn it on and off from inside without having to bother Leo....
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:39 PM   #13
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In reply to Marty and Aaron. Nana and Poppy gave a good reason. Also, say I am watching a movie in bed. It's not quiet time yet or there is no quiet time as I am boon docking. It's been clouding for several days and my solar is not keeping up with my usage. I don't want to get out of bed, get dressed go out, climb into the back of my truck that I parked 30 feet away from the trailer just to turn off my generator.Then again in the morning, it's wet and cold out and I want to make coffee or use the microwave. I'd just as soon start the coffee and watch the morning news with out getting dressed. Could miss a party in the bedroom.

Circumstances may be different with the Champion and a small fuel tank. Don't really know. I fuel my Honda every 3rd day or so even with moderate use.

My Onan has remote start but I don't use it allot as I have to listen to it. Pretty much only use the onan for air conditioning when I want to run more than one AC. Or when on the road and I am not connected to the Honda.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:57 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies

I've read every one of them and here is what I'm getting. Solar could work and meet our need's. However it looks like in this small group most who have solar also carry a small generator!
I think the biggest reason for considering solar is the times we camp with friends. They are usually in a much smaller set ups (some in tents) and we are there with our "monster" firing up the generator. We sometimes feel awkward.
However, I've decided I can live with that feeling
We are not the type to "manage" our power usage. With 2 small boys lights get left on constantly, etc. Also, we've actually gotten many compliments on how quiet the Honda Eu3000 is. Sticking with the generator for now. Thanks again fort all your input
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcharrette View Post
I've read every one of them and here is what I'm getting. Solar could work and meet our need's. However it looks like in this small group most who have solar also carry a small generator!
I think the biggest reason for considering solar is the times we camp with friends. They are usually in a much smaller set ups (some in tents) and we are there with our "monster" firing up the generator. We sometimes feel awkward.
However, I've decided I can live with that feeling
We are not the type to "manage" our power usage. With 2 small boys lights get left on constantly, etc. Also, we've actually gotten many compliments on how quiet the Honda Eu3000 is. Sticking with the generator for now. Thanks again fort all your input
Yes, the Honda is nice and quiet. I think the champion may also be quiet. As far as lights and power consumptions go you might consider converting to led if you can afford it. When I change my Voltage over to led I was shocked to see the use difference. I have an inverter with a panel that tells me the amps I am using. Before going led I turned on all the lights inside and out side the trailer. I was drawing right a 65 amps. After the led bulbs were installed I was drawing 4 amps with everything on. I don't consider my lighting an issue at all. Just a thought and there is a lot of talk on this forum about led lighting if you are interested.
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:52 PM   #16
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You can afford LED now! They are so cheap from China, here are 10 921-socket LEDs for $33 and free shipping.
10x T10 921 AC DC 12 24V Warm White 24 5050 SMD LED Bulb Lamp Super Bright TYB | eBay
As Arlan says, their power consumption is so low that you can basically let your kids leave lights on all they want. There are so many to choose from that it may seem complicated, but don't overthink it. The more LEDs, the brighter. The ones I linked to above I would say are roughly equivalent to a typical incandescent 921 bulb. I would stick to "Warm White" as regular white can come off as blueish. For an even brighter fixture, the flat panel ones are nice because they pack even more LEDs in.
1pcs BA9S 921 Festoon 31 44mm Dome Bulb Warm White 36 1210SMD LED Super Bright | eBay
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:25 PM   #17
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I swapped all the 921 bulbs out in my trailer for about $22 dollars. The lumens aren't quite what the 921 bulbs were, but close enough for me. We are only inside to sleep at night. I also bought a roll of LED strip lights for ~$10, some of it is going in the storage compartment, the rest under the awning on the rail.

LED's are the quickest and cheapest way to gain battery capacity.

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