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Goal Zero Possibilities? Help Needed

goalzero lithium solar zamp renogy overlandsolar fleet

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 08:58 PM

Scored A 2018/19 Fleet Shell and now looking to electrical.  I'd love to be able to power everything off my Goal Zero 1500x [Link]. I also have no plans to connect the system to my truck...looking for all off grid solutions.


Purchase Item #1: Overland Solar Bugout 130™ Solar Charger [link]

As I will be plugging this into the accessory solar port on back of camper Im told I will need a charge controller with it. This is overkill, as my roof panel should keep me sufficiently charged, but I like having backups when with family and/or if parked in shade. And since the roof panel will also need a roof rack, I'm delaying that purchase.


Purchase Item #2: Overlander 160™ Semi-Flexible Solar Panel [Link]

As this is the primary hookup I was told I do not need a solar charge controller. 


The Plan:

My hopes are that I could simply swap out the battery terminal wires to connect to my goal zero battery via SAE to HPP -or- HPP to HPP. As I have not yet done any research, and if this is possible, I would need to look into crimping wires and adding a fuse for protection. 



Is this setup possible? 

Should I stay with the GZ product line for solar? or something else. Overland solar is FWC vendor of choice. Terminal connections are zamp, so they are also a consideration.


Can the panels power the GZ? The new 1500x HPP port accepts 600 watts and 14-50V.


Concluding remarks:

Electrical is a beast. I don't know enough to be helpful. Any direction the community can provide is helpful. I really like the idea of a modular battery setup as I intend to use the battery and a cooler for trips where the camper is not going - for instance house boating.


Power Needs:

Powered cooler

Max Air Fan

LED interior lights

Exterior light


12v blanket

12v ARB awning light



I will add pictures once Im home showing all the different connections.





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#2 ckent323


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Posted 21 June 2021 - 11:07 PM

Starting with your concluding remark.  It seems to me that you need help from someone who knows solar and 12v RV systems and has experience designing and installing these systems. 


Start with a power survey/inventory of your present electrical system (if you do not have a house battery and good battery monitor you may have to do estimates.  You may need help doing this.



Once you understnd your acual needs then you can outline a system to keep up with your needs.


If you have not done so already I recoomend you read through the following thread

https://www.wanderth...ckent323 solar


and this thread


Edited by ckent323, 21 June 2021 - 11:08 PM.

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#3 ri-f


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Posted 22 June 2021 - 07:07 AM

Jeff, Craig is right, you need to spend some time diving into the electrical threads (here or elsewhere, there are many good forums on the Internet), form a solid, basic plan, based on your anticipated needs, and then buy the component parts and start piecing it together, hopefully, using quality components. You could also consult with a 12v marine or RV tech for a couple of hours, to help you create a working plan, schematic, and parts list to get you started with your own installation. A good start for basic components would be a dedicated, 100AH Lithium battery for the camper; the 160W Overland panel that you mentioned; a Victron 100/30 MPPT solar controller; a Victron BMV712 smart meter and shunt package; some Ancor marine-grade wire (e.g. 10 AWG, 8 AWG, and some 6 AWG);  and assorted terminals/connectors and wire cutters, strippers, crimpers, to connect everything; You'll want a couple appropriately-sized Blue Seas thermal circuit breakers or fuses if you prefer, for your solar panel as well. I like the circuit breakers because they double as on/off switches, which is convenient for troubleshooting, etc. It's not difficult to learn the basics and DIY. You'll have a few simple connections to make and pretty good instructions for installation provided with most of the equipment that you buy. You're stated energy requirements aren't significant. But they may grow and if they do, you could always add to this basic system when you require more energy, which is why you need to think about trying to future proof the equipment you buy next. For example, a Victron 100/30 MPPT controller will give you the option to add another panel or two later, without having to upgrade your solar controller. And, talking about solar controllers, not sure why you were told you don't need a controller for the Overland 160 panel you mentioned. You do need one. You can not simply connect that panel to your battery directly. The voltage is too high and needs to be stepped down to be compatible with your battery. You'll want that controller and a couple of thermal circuit breakers or thermal fuses both before AND after the controller to protect the wiring from the panel to the controller and also, from the battery to the controller. Also, the MPPT controller will convert your energy more efficiently and optimize your output. The Goal Zero is not a substitute for a good, permanent (even if very basic) electrical installation in your camper, or for that matter on your boat, although it may be useful as a portable emergency backup for your home, on your boa,t as well as on your camper - in the same way, say, a Honda 1000i generator/converter can be a useful backup in an emergency. Of course, when offgrid, the Honda will need a supply of gasoline to keep it running, whereas the GZ can recharge on solar if the sun's out. If you do end up using a portable GZ, then perhaps your idea of a portable folding solar array with a 75 ft +  extension cord makes sense. But I think the Overland 160W semiflexibles are worth your while and will cover your solar needs very well. I have two of them and have absolutely no complaints. They may not be the best price point for your buck, if you're trying to cheap out, nonetheles, they are very efficient, lightweight, and well constructed with a solid lamination that will last, and they work in lower light conditions over a longer period of time throughout the course of the day than most other panels. I''ve had plenty of other panels over the years, from cheap to expensive semflexibles, to aluminum-frame and glass-covered with a wide range of specs and construction quality, and in my opinion they are simply not all created equally.The Overland 160 is an excellent panel. And there are plenty of knowlegable people on this forum, and others, that also have them and would agree.


Good luck with the project, read up, and go for the DIY,


Edited by ri-f, 22 June 2021 - 05:11 PM.

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#4 PaulT


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Posted 22 June 2021 - 07:58 AM

I echo the reading to get up to speed.  The Goal Zero technical specs are somewhat incomplete. They state that the use Li-Ion batteries. This is fine for what I understand is they expect to provide AC power out. They can make that work fine.  


However, contact their technical support people to learn what specific DC output volts and current they provide for powering automotive/RV nominal 12v units. Our 12v appliances typically expect 12 to 14 volts.  Some Lithium Ion power packs may provide less than 12 volts DC output. This would not likely be high enough voltage to drive many automotive/RV appliances.


Many of us use LiFePO4 batteries that typically provide 13 plus volts DC which work well for these appliances

The important caveat is to get specific output values for the power supply and to get specific input power needs for the appliances you will need to power.  For example the fridge may not work well with less than 12 volts but would work fine with using the Goal Zero AC power if the fridge is a dual power AC/DC unit but may not be happy with 11 volts DC.



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I thought getting old would take longer.

#5 rando


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Posted 22 June 2021 - 01:49 PM

I think a lot of us are missing the fact that the OP already has a ~120Ah lithium battery (the Goal Zero 1500) that includes a built in solar charge controller, inverter, battery monitor etc. 


If you were starting from scratch, this would not be the recommended way to go, for various reasons.  You could also consider selling the GoalZero and putting together a dedicated system, which would work better.    But seeing you already have it, I think you can make it work if that is what you want:


For charging, any old solar panel should work (based on the 14-50V 50A charging port).   The specs on the goalzero are pretty minimal, so it is not clear if the charging ports are PWM or MPPT, so you would want to get a '12V Nominal' panel (ie more like 18V output).   No need for an overland solar or Goal Zero panel, neither represent very good value.    A 150 - 250W  Renogy or what ever commodity panel on Amazon/Ebay will work just as well.   You don't need a charge controller, but you will need a wiring adapter.   Assuming your shell is pre wired for solar, there should be an SAE plug on the roof where you can plug in the panel, and then some wires somewhere in the shell that you will need to adapt to the GoalZero connector.  Check the polarity.


For the output, you will want some sort of fuse/breaker panel to which you can wire your loads to (Blue Sea makes a variety of nice options).  You will then need an adaptor to power this from the GoalZero and figure out the polarity.   


One thing to be aware of is that the power packs like the goalzero, don't actually use 12V batteries inside, and the 12V output is powered by an internal converter to produce a 12V output.   I am not sure how much power these converters will waste if you leave them on continuously like you would need to for camper operation.

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