The GOAL ZERO engineers are at it again! Answering your questions about portable solar power, how it works, and what you can do with it! 1)

Is it possible to make solar panels light enough and flexible enough to attach to a parachute or boat sail? * Hayden Houston

  • Yes, flexible solar technology exists and should definitely exist on boat sail or top of a parachute! Though, there are a few problems with flexible solar; 1) Per watt, is it about 2-4 times more expensive than mono-crystalline, which is the technology we use. 2) It is less efficient so you will need a lot larger area to to get the same performance from mono-crystalline solar panels. We do our best to provide a technology that gives our customers the best value and experience.

2) Is there a splitter for the 4.7mm output on my Escape 30 Solar Panel so I can run two cigarette adapters and charge two devices at one time? * Troy Pearse

- The cable you're looking for would be our 4.7mm combiner cable, available here


3) What is the difference between a pure sine wave and a modified sine wave? * Anonymous_

  • A pure sine wave inverter produces a clean, undistorted electrical output. The cheaper alternative to a pure sine wave inverter is a modified sine wave inverter.
  • A pure sine wave inverter produces a clean, undistorted electrical output. The cheaper alternative to a pure sine wave inverter is a modified sine wave inverter. It looks more like a staircase. The Sherpa inverter and the Yeti 150 and 400 use modified sine wave inverters. They Yeti 1250 uses pure sine. Some care needs to be taken when using modified sine wave inverters. Devices that have motors should not be used. Older devices (10+ years) and ones with sensitive electronics (professional audio or medical equipment) should also not be used. The modified sine wave can deliver too much power per wave for these devices. In general, the modified sine wave inverter is best suited for laptop and camera power supplies, which don’t care about the shape of the wave._
  • 4) Is Goal Zero going to start putting pure sine wave inverters on all the other products besides the Yeti 1250? I am a professional photographer and would like to use the Extreme 350 instead of running a generator to power my strobes on location. These strobes don't like noise in the power pack and using a sine wave inverter would be best! * Brian Derenski

    • Yes. We launched the Yeti 1250 last year which has a pure sine wave inverter. It was such a success that we are working on including pure sine wave inverters in some of our new products that will be launched this Summer. Stay tuned!

    5) Sometimes my iPhone will charge from the Nomad 7 Solar Panel and sometimes I get the message "charging not supported with this device". Why?

    • While iPhone and other smart phones can usually charge directly through the solar panel, there are situations where they will complain. These devices are very particular about the amount of power delivered on the moment of plug-in to the solar panel. Weather conditions often affect this problem. If the device’s needs are not immediately satisfied, they can complain about the charging source. In general, ensure that the panel is being used outside and pointed directly at the sun. Open the panel first, then plug in the phone. Do take care to keep your phone out of direct sunlight – solar panels love the sun but batteries hate the sun! Because of the inherently unstable nature of solar power (clouds and other weather!), we generally recommend that smart electronics be charged through an intermediary battery pack like the Guide 10 Plus or Switch 8. Charge these power packs through the sun first – they don’t care if a cloud rolls by – then charge your phones through the power packs, which will always deliver clean stable power.

Solar technology is always advancing. Keep the questions comin'!

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