A few images from the Surf City Marathon. I had a blast shooting some marketing images for RaceForce. at 17,000 runners, it was one of the bigger races I’ve covered. Beautiful course right on the ocean for the majority of the time.
Field Test Day 1. Mojave National Preserve. I started with a full (solar) charge on my Goal Zero Yeti 150 (battery) in Phoenix and wanted to see if it could keep up with my charging demands today that include: iPhone (2) iPad (1) GPS watch (1) These are all things I usually take on my photography adventures. I rigged up my Nomad 20 foldable solar panel to my roof rack at 9am this morning and ran the cable into my Yeti 150 in my Toyota FJ. I let them soak up sun all day. The set up has worked great and as the sun sets I am still 80%-FULL on my battery. I need to do some more charging tonight so we’ll see how it looks in the morning. No damage to the solar panels on the roof rack after 8 hours of 4×4 roads either. I beat up on my gear so it’s important to me that they are built tough. Day 1 Grade: A+ #GetOutStayOut
Goal Zero Field Test Day 2. Mojave National Preserve. I have some photography I want to do today with my Canon DSLR so overnight I charged up using my Yeti 150, one battery for my DSLR as well as a full charge on my iPad and iPad. The Yeti used about 60% of its battery doing that, so I was left with 20% this morning. I put up the Nomad 20 panels this morning to catch the early sunrise while I was out shooting. Btw, no Joshua Trees were hurt during this field test. I’ve been really impressed with my Solar System so far, although I did noticed a small issue last night. I could not plug in my Canon DSLR battery charger into the AC port and my iPad into the USB port on the Yeti 150 at the same time. It would be great to have the ports farther apart so I can charge both at the same time. I’m off to photograph more Joshua Trees and catch some more solar power. #GetOutStayOut
Goal Zero Field Test Day 2. Afternoon Edition. Mojave National Preserve. Spare gas canisters make a great angle to collect more sun on my @goalzero Nomad20. Angling the panels towards the sun increase the efficiency of the sun rays on the panels ie more juice. In other news, they just took a HUGE “probably going waaaay to fast on this dirt road” bouncing and, besides smelling like gas now, all are still going strong. Not exactly sure much energy they have collected today because the digital readout on the Yeti150 only go in increments of 20%. It would be great to have a solid number more then within 20%. Maybe that feature comes on their bigger models? #GetOutStayOut
Goal Zero Field Test Day 2. Evening Edition. Mojave National Preserve. Sorry for the delay, no reception where I spent the night. I started this morning, after a night of charging, at about 20%. I drove around the entire day with a Nomad 20 on my roof rack (see previous post) always aware of where the sun was an setting the angle or tilt of the panels accordingly. I was constantly charging my iPhone today but that was about it. The Yeti150 ended the day of charging at roughly 40%. Meaning it gained about 20% while I was charging an iPhone on it. I would have like to see more then a 20% gain after a full day of sun but in the end I will have enough power to recharge my DSLR battery and GoPro before the next sunrise. Ideally, I would like to keep the battery up above 50% just in case of a cloudy day, but so far the Goalzero system is keeping up with my power needs. Day Two Grade: A-. As I was rigging up the angle on the panels during the day and hoping it was helping but never really sure, it occurred to me, it would be super helpful to have a sun effectiveness meter on the Yeti150 or a box in between the panels and the charger. Maybe three little LEDs that let you know if you are getting Good, OK or Bad energy from the panels. You only have a limited amount of sun energy each day, it would be great to know if I was maximizing that energy or could re-angle the panels to do so. #GetOutStayOut
Goalzero Field Test Day 3. Brunch Edition. Mojave National Preserve. So after last nights charge of my DSLR battery and GoPro they are all powered up but my Yeti150 is less then 20% at sunrise on the Kelso Dunes. As I mentioned before I am loving that the Nomad20 and Yeti150 combo are keeping up with my frequent charging but at 20% and let’s pretend a super cloudy/stormy day today, I would not have enough juice to keep all my equipment charged. Buuuut it’s not cloudy, it’s bright and sunny here in the Mojave desert and the Goalzero solar system is not only keeping up, its going strong. I’m learning that the positioning of the panels is key. Along with brushing my teeth and jumping jacks, setting up the panels to catch the first rays of the sunrise is becoming a nightly duty. I would recommend the same to anyone using the panels. It would be great to see adjustable “kickstands” coming off the back of the Nomad20 so I could leave them at basecamp positioned correctly if need be. #GetOutStayOut
Goalzero Field Test Day 3. Evening Edition. Mojave National Preserve. With everything fully charged this morning and my Yeti150 at 20% I mounted my Nomad20 panel to the roof rack of my FJ and continued my last day photographing my project in the Mojave desert. I decided to give the Yeti150 one final charge and the Nomad20 one final durability test as I made my way home from California to Arizona. On the six hour ride, the Yeti150 charged 40% while I was continually charging my iPhone. And just as important the Nomad20 withstood an 80 MPH highway run home. I arrived home with the Yeti150 at 60% and the solar panels intact. Although I wasn’t complete comfortable with only 20% this morning. If my adventure had gone another day I’m confident my Goalzero Solar System could have kept up with my energy demands. Day Three Grade: A-. I will have a “full report/final thoughts and a go-no-go” on my Goalzero set up soon. #GetOutStayOut
Goal Zero Field Test. Mojave National Preserve. Final Thoughts.
After a failed attempt of finding any quality independent photo/video reviews (with real numbers) of the Goalzero Solar Systems, I decided to take it out on a trip of my own. I used the Nomad20 panels with the Yeti150 battery.
I am a freelance photographer based out of the Sonoran Desert so buying a solar system for me just made sense. Previously I had been charging all my gear from my Toyota FJ but had run into a few charging problems when I was out in the desert not running my truck.
The gear I needed charged included: Canon DSLR batteries, GoPro, Garmin GPS watch, iPad and iPhone.
I was really wanting to test two things on my three day trip out to the Mojave National Preserve. One, Charging Capability: using only the sun, could the system keep up and charge all my equipment so I could finish my photography project. And two, Durability: would the system be durable enough to hold up. I pay extra for durable gear and expected it to not break when I need it the most. See previous posts for full real numbers review.
I left my house with a 100% on my Yeti150 and the Nomad20 strapped to the top of my roof rack. I had read that angling the panels towards the sun has a significant effect on the energy collected. I adjust the panels accordingly the entire time.
The Nomad20s are a tight durable and foldable package with a magnet closing. I thought the magnet closing wasn’t the best idea but it worked great. No problems with it. The panels also have a great big zipper pocket to hold all your cables in one place. Awesome idea. The cable that runs to the Yeti150 was long enough to run from the roof rack into the front seat of my truck. I didn’t have to buy an extender cable. The panels have a bunch of small loops on them so you can mount in a variety of ways. No cracks or even scratches on the panels themselves.
The Yeti150 worked great as well. It’s got a great drop handle on it and felt really solid enough to throw in the truck and go. Little blue lights indicate a good charge which is nice reinforcement. It’s got great options for charging. Including two USB ports, one “wall outlet” and one 12V port. I was charging multiple gear at the same time with no problem. Awesome piece of equipment.
The digital battery readout on the Yeti150 only go in increments of 20%. It would be great to have a solid number more then within 20%.
Sun effectiveness meter. Some kind of light indicator (more then the blue one) between the panels and the battery indicating if you are getting a okay/good/great charge. I was constantly moving around the panels to the sun and it would’ve been great to know that this was helping the charge.
Ports farther away. This is a big one. I could not plug in my Canon DSLR wall charger and my iPhone through the USB ports at the same time. The ports are too close together.
Plugs or caps for the ports on the Yeti150 would be great as these systems are primarily used outside… In the dirt. Not a deal breaker but would be great to have included. I will buy some plugs for mine.
Kick stands for panels to increase the effectiveness of collecting the sun.
Overall, I was really impressed with the system. I always had juice in the battery to power all my gear. I would have been more comfortable with more juice then 20% in the morning but the system did want I wanted and keep my gear fully charged for three days in the Mojave desert. Charging Capability Test gets an A. I had zero straps and/or cables fail on tight rigging (but still bouncing) on my roof rack through some fast 4×4 roads. The panels also went through two moderate rain storms with no effect on them. Durability Test also gets an A. Bottom line, as you can tell by the photo, I will continue to use my Goalzero system at home and out in the field as well as purchase more from them in the future.
I have another Field Test scheduled for mid March I’ll be doing a six day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon and will be using a Goalzero system again. Stay tuned!
You can see the awesome Goalzero gear here: www.goalzero.com
Awesome shoot last night at the unveiling of the 8 feet by 4 feet, 200,000 piece LEGO model of Taliesin West. Created by Adam Reed Tucker, a certified LEGO professional and the master mind behind LEGOs successful “Architectural” series. I got to chat with Adam a little bit during the shoot and I was amazed to find out he build the model without using any computer modeling. The entire design and build came right out of Adams creative mind. Incredible. It’s on display at Taliesin West. Go check it out!
Here are more of my images on CURBED.com