I have been looking for a solid, perpetual source of electrical power for a while. You are 100% for-sure, without-a-doubt, no-question-about-it going to need a POWER SOURCE post event. You will need to charge batteries, charge communication devices (HAM radios & FRS, etc), charge ipads to occupy the kids, run lights, and everything else we have that runs on electricity. I have a generator, Honda EU2000i (I love it) but that is not practical for running small electrical appliances such as listed above. A generator is for refrigerators, freezers, heaters, power tools and possibly Search and Rescue operations but not charging some AA’s and it has a fixed runtime since no one has unlimited gas. Post event, noise control will be critical so you’ll need power that is silent. The solution - A large battery coupled with a solar panel to supply me with a quiet, clean, and perpetual source of electricity.
I decided this was a critical system. Cost was high but it was absolutely necessary if we were to be hit with an extended power outage. Now where to find it…
At first I started looking looking at premade systems or kits. All the “kits” were just some website that paired an inverter, a deep cycle car battery and a basic panel. Different manufacturers, possible connector incompatibility and reports of poor panels made these systems sub par. I tried for probably a year to pull the trigger but was never confident enough in the components to trust the whole. (especially since most of the systems comparable to the Adventure 350 were about a $1,000!) I can honestly tell you I have been waiting for this system for years. The GoalZero Adventure 350 is a complete system, tested for compatibility, expandable, portable and yet powerful electric system.
Solar Panel..The Solar Panel was VERY Sturdy and Tough (and heavy too)
I won’t go into a full review about all it’s features and so on because there are really good ones at the end of the post in full video. What I did do was run this through its paces to see if the reviewers were full of it and tell you, my readers, if this thing works and is GOOD-TO-GO for Preppers. I read some horrible stuff about their customer service and some mixed reviews which made me hesitant. (GoalZero if you read this – CUSTOMER SERVICE IS HUGE! Get with it.) I figured if I was on the fence about buying this then maybe you were too. So I dropped $500 and got it here. Here is what I found:
I tested the unit by charging it via the wall for 8+ hours. It actually got around 16 hours. One of the sweet extras is the battery life indicator.
Next I plugged two ipads (gen 1 and gen 2) and two laptops through a power strip. The GoalZero powered all FOUR simultaneously..
With this test I am confident that a couple laptops, my HAM radio gear, charge my eneloop battery setup and my lighting needs. Speaking of lighting, available from GoalZero are the Light-a-life lights that can be chained to basically light your house. No extension cords! I have one now and I am trying to buy one a month for a total of 5 as that should be sufficient emergency lighting in my home.
Next, at 60% battery, plugged in my 32″ LCD and it ran for about 45 minutes before shutting off. Basically it can handle most post event family sized power needs. I am very happy with the load that it can handle. If I wanted to, I could purchase multiple batteries to extend the run times. I LOVE EXPANDLE SYSTEMS!
Although this system has a solar power option, I plan on keeping the battery plugged in at all times for emergency quiet and clean power!
Last great part of this system is that it portable. No, not backpacking portable but certainly vehicle bugout portable and possible foot bug-out portable!
Fan is VERY loud. I am fine with a fan but this is as loud as a cheesy air conditioner from a crappy motel. Yes – much louder than I thought too! Even though I am running a bunch of stuff off of it, the noise is just too loud.
UPDATE: After 22 minutes I figured (duh) to put the main battery/inverter on the ground. If this was post-shtf, and I had a makeshift CP (command post) where I had this thing running, it’s safe to say that it’d be on the ground. Obviously, this greatly reduced the noise and although it is still MUCH louder than I thought, its manageable.
SOLAR PANEL TEST TO COME NEXT – STAY TUNED!…
Here are some Video Reviews from other sources…