Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit with Nomad 7 Solar Panel
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- Directly charge a smartphone in 1 hour
- Charge up removable AA/AAA batteries from USB or sun
- Built-in LED light runs for 150+ hours per charge
- Kit includes Nomad 7 solar panel and Guide 10 Plus power pack
- 4 AA rechargeable batteries included
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From the manufacturer
Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit
With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.
Recharge by: USB or Solar.
Power Output: USB, AA/AAA Batteries.
Ideal for: Phones, GPS, Headlamp, smaller USB devices.
Kit Includes: Guide 10 Plus & Nomad 7.
Weight: 1.2 pound.
The Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit is a go-anywhere, mobile solar power kit that keeps your handheld gear going strong. Charge AA/AAA batteries from the sun with included Nomad 7 Solar Panel or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch. Use with most USB powered devices and all devices using AA/AAA batteries. The Guide 10 Plus is best used with your smaller USB power devices.
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Some Additional Information:
The product numbers on these items (Nomad 7 and Guide 10) keep changing, as do only one or some of their specifications but is other cases they are identical, which can be very confusing for customers. The old Nomad 7 did not have the large zip-lock pocket at the back of one of the panels and the Guide 10 had some over-heating problems which were SUPPOSED TO (BUT DOESN'T APPEAR TO (SEE BELOW)) BE CORRECTED IN THE GUIDE 10 PLUS SERIES! The mini-solar port output of the Nomad 7 was 6.0-6.5V 1.0A max (6W) non-regulated but in more recent models it is 6.5 x 1.1A max (7W) non-regulated. The older Nomad 7 was stated to be optimally operated at temperatures of 0-120oF (-17-48oC), but there is no mention of this in the latest Nomad 7 (or 13) panels. So if you plan to use them in hot or very cold conditions/countries it is better to choose a panel which is stated to optimally function at these extreme temperatures (check with the production company/supplier). Only the latest Nomad 7 panels can be daisy-chained together, if you want to do so.
a) The Nomad 7 solar panel is only useful when you have strong sunlight,
b) it's far too expensive,
c) it's relatively heavy (13 oz) given its low output,and
d) the 6.5V 1.0/1.1A un-regulated output to the Guide 10 results in unacceptably hot batteries which will therefore shorten their lives (I don't know why Goal Zero opted to have an un-regulated outlet!)
e) the latest models of Nomad 7 panels do not state their optimal operating temperatures, leading the readers to assume that they cannot operate at the extreme temperatures stipulated previously! [N.B. Only the much larger Nomad 20W solar panel is now stated to function at these wide temperature ranges]
The Guide 10:
a) will only charge batteries when 4 of them are inserted (this is really outdated!!) and,
b) does not have a fuse to protect against over-charge/heating
The Guide 10 does however have a very useful LED light, and a wide range of very brightly colored silicon sleeves are offered at additional cost which do protect this charger from slipping and damage though knocks/drops.
I found that the Goal Zero AA batteries showed a much more rapid self-discharge when I tested them using a PowerEx MH-C9000 battery charger/analyser (see below) than the Panasonic Eneloop 2,100 cycle AA batteries which retain 70% of their power after 5 years as stated by the manufactures.
Panasonic BK-3MCCA4BA eneloop AA New 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries, 4 Pack
There are so many better solar panels to buy for lower prices that the Goal Zero solar panels.
Personally I think that 7W panels are rather small, thereby requiring sunny conditions to perform well. They are however popular for light-weight backpacking, but you can get much less expensive and lighter 7W panels from other manufacturers in the $ 27.00-32.00 range which is far less expensive than the $ 80.00 Goal Zero Nomad 7. Here are some suggestions but please check the specifications you want (e.g. waterproof level, numbers and types of outputs (e.g. 5V 1A or 2A) and, high or low temperature operations if required through their company contact e-mail addresses):
There are so many better/cheaper solar panels to buy for lower prices that the Goal Zero solar panels.
N.B. UPDATE NOVEMBER 2014: MANY OF THESE OTHER MAKES OF SOLAR PANELS ARE NOW LESS EXPENSIVE THAT STATED AT THE TIME THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN: MERELY CLICK ON THE AMAZON WEB-LINK AND GET THE PRICE UPDATE.
[N.B. LIGHTER WEIGHT DOES NOT ENSURE BETTER QUALITY, AND IT MAY VERY WELL BE THE REVERSE, BUT WEIGHT IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR LIGHT-WEIGHT BACKPACKING]
PowerAdd 7W solar panel (only 8.64 oz!) ($ 20.00)
Poweradd(tm) 7W Foldable Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger for iPhones, Samsung Galaxy Phones, other Smartphones, GPS, Bluetooth Speakers, Gopro Cameras and More
Allpowers 7W solar panel (14.4 oz) (4.5 star rated) ($ 30.00)
ALLPOWERS(tm) Solar Foldable Charger 7W Solar Panel Charger iphone External Battery Charger Pack USB Portable Backup Power Bank for iPhone 6 5s 5c 5 4s 4, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Blackberry, LG, OPPO, Video Camera, PSP Video Games, Bluetooth Headset, I...
Allpowers 8W solar panel ($ 29.00 : 11.5 oz):
ALLPOWERS 8W Foldable Solar Charger Panel with iSolar Technology for iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry, ipod and All Other USB Compatible Devices
Levin 7W solar panel (11.7 oz) ($ 28.00)
LevinTM Traveller 7W Foldable Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger for iPhone, iPod, Samsung Galaxy Series Phones and Other Android Phones,Windows phones, Bluetooth Speakers, and Many Other 5V USB-Charged Devices
SunKingdom 7W solar panel ($ 29.00 : 14.7 oz)
SUNKINGDOM™ 7W 5V Portable Folding Solar Panel Charger USB Output Solar Battery Charger forMobile Phone,Digital Camera Samsung and All the 5V USB Devices(Black)
You can also see the larger panels made by many companies (e.g. Levin, Allpowers, and Sunkingdom) by clicking them on the same Amazon page as their 7W/8W panels
Here are some more powerful solar panels, which should still produce some power to charge small devices in duller/cloudier conditions, some of which are less expensive than, and have a similar weight to the Goal Zero Nomad 7W panel:
The Levin 13W panel, 22% efficient (dual USB 5V 2A (max) output), only $ 56.00 and only 15 oz
The PowerAdd 14W, 22% efficient (dual 5V 2A max USB output), only $ 40.00, and 15.8 oz
[New Release] Poweradd(tm) High Efficiency 14W Foldable Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger for iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxy Phones, other Smartphones and Tablets, Gopro Cameras and More
Intocircuit 16W dual USB ($ 49.00 : 22.5 oz) N.B. This panel received no negative or OK votes from 40 reviewers!
[16W Dual USB] Intocircuit® High Efficiency 16W Dual USB Output Foldable Solar Charger Solar Panel Adapter for iPhone 6 plus, 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, 4; iPad 5, Air, mini; Samsung GalaxyS5, S4, S3, S2, Galaxy Note 3, 2; Nexus 5; LG G2; Motorola Droid RAZR MAX...
My favorite is however the much larger Instapark Mercury 27W solar panel (2.5 lb : $ 110.00) which I have two of, and which can power a wide range of different devices at the same time via its 10 foot 18V cable coupled to multiple USB charging ports from a 5.5 x 2.5 mm female to female car charging socket (see my review on Amazon).
Instapark® Mercury27 Portable & Foldable 27 Watts Solar Battery Charger with DC 12V Output for Automotive Batteries & Dual DC 5V Standard USB Ports for iPhone, iPad, Android Smart Phone, Tablet Computer & Other Portable Device
The Goal Zero AA batteries provided did not hold their charge as well as the very low self discharge Panasonic Eneloop batteries.
The Guide 10 will most likely to damage my 2,100 cycle Panasonic Sanyo Eneloop AA/AAA batteries by overheating them using the fast 6.5V 1.1A input, so I only use the 5V 1A USB output. Overheating was know to be a problem for the earlier Nomad 7 model, but it also occurs in the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus.
It would be better to get the much less expensive charger which can charge 2 AA or AAA batteries from a USB 2.0 or 3.0 (fast charge) source changed between using a switch on the charger, and which did not overheat my batteries. IMPORTANTLY, this PIXO-C-USB battery charger can also UNIQUELY FROM A 5V USB SOURCE charge MOST lithium ion/polymer digital camera batteries, so photographers should be very happy!!:
Compatible with all: 3.4-4.2V, 6.8-8.4V Li-ion/Li-Po battery packs
Not Compatible with: Canon BP-809, BP-819, BP-827, LP-E6. Koyocera BP-800/1000, Leica M8 Battery Pack, 3.4-4.2V li-ion/li-Po round cells like 14500, 10440, 18650, 3V Lithium batteries CR-V3, CR123A
This charger is NOT however available from Amazon but, instead, from Goal Zero (PRESENTLY (MID-DECEMBER 2014) REDUCED TO $ 10.00):
Alternative, you could buy the really inexpensive (only $ 10.00 from Amazon) intelligent Astak AA/AAA battery charger (but you would need to adapt the solar panel to a 12V 0.5A (i.e. 6W) ouput via a female car charging socket port (N.B. the Goal Zero Nomad 7 does have this outlet but the volts from the panel would have to be reduced from 15-16V to 12V for the charger: see inexpensive Powerstream DC/DC conveter below):
Astak ($ 10.00) which can charger either 2 or 4 AA or AAA batteries, the batteries do not really hot (just warm) like the Guide 10 charger, has -ve delta V cut-off and overcharge/heat protection, and comes with a wall charger and car plug charger, and surprisingly fake (non-functional) AA batteries.
Astak Digital Ultra-fast Battery Charger for Ni-MH, Ni-Cd, 4 AA ,4 AAA Battery With Car Charger Plug /Wall Charger Plug, Overcharge Protection, Microprocessor Controlled
This battery charger can be used by used with a solar panel using a DC/DC 18V to 12V converter (PowerStream PST-DC292 from PowerStream not Amazon: price = $ 19.00) (see my Instapark Mercury 27W solar panel review). You will however have to put a 5.5 x 2.5/2.1 mm female plug to female car charging port on the solar panel cable and the output of the PowerStream PST-DC292 DC convertwer cable (see BixPower)
There are also other intelligent battery chargers which can charger 1-4 AA or AAA batteries via a solar panel via their included car charging cable and the PowerStream PST-DC292(see Megabatteries web site) and also some others which can charge AA/AAA batteries via USB inputs.
Ultralast 90 min $ 24.00 (but No Shipping Information) N.B. I have not yet tested this one:
Alternatively, I suggest that you should pay a little more money ($ 54.00) than the guide 10 charger and get the ULTIMATE 1-4 battery charger (PowerEx MH-C9000) with BREAK-IN and DISCHARGE/REFRESH to ensure the maximum care for your precious batteries.
MH-C9000 $ 54.00
Maha Powerex Wizard One MH-C9000 Advanced Battery Charger and Analyzer - Deluxe Accessory Storage Case Included
This battery charger can also be powered using a lithium ion/polymer battery pack with a 12V 2A output (N.B. you need at least a 24W solar panel to provide at least 18V 1.3A (cable also available from PowerEx/MAHA on Amazon)or directly off a solar panel (e.g. the Mercury 27W panel) via an 18V to 12V 2.5A DC/DC converter (PowerStream PST-DC292) (see my review of the PowerEx MH-C9000).
In conclusion, there are much, much cheaper and better solar panels and AA/AAA battery chargers than the Nomad 7/Guide 10 combination, and therefore I cannot rate this combination very highly (2 stars).
THe author declares that NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST EXIST in the writing of this review of this product or any other products mentioned in the review.
The "Guide 10 Plus" is a very versatile USB power pack. You can charge up its internal batteries (4x AA NiMH) from an USB power source, or from a solar panel (such as the Goal Zero 11800 Nomad 7 v2 Solar Panel). Once the internal batteries are charged, you can then power its 5V USB output port to recharge other USB devices, such as cell phone or tablet. In case of emergency, you can even insert 4 disposable alkaline AA batteries in it, just to recharge your essential USB-powered devices. Finally, it comes with a handy little LED flashlight.
The 4 included rechargeable AA NiMH batteries are advertised as '2300mAh' and are pre-charged (low-self-discharge) type. Both claims are accurate according to my measurement with the La Crosse BC1000 Battery Charger/Analyzer:
- Right out of the box, the average remaining charge was 1927mAh
- After just one Recharge/Discharge cycle, the average capacity jumped to 2360mAh
- After two more cycles, the average capacity settled at 2368mAh.
Just for comparison, the eneloop AA is only rated for a capacity of 2000mAh.
The Guide 10 Plus spec sheet says 1A max output from its USB port. In actual testing, I was able to draw up to 1.3-1.4A from its port - as least for a short duration (I don't want to risk burning up the power converter inside). This means the unit can be used to recharge most smart phones and small tablets. On the other hand, you should not expect it to power up your iPad or Kindle Fire, as those require at least 2A of current.
I connected a 5 ohm power resistor to the USB output port, and recorded its output voltage and current over time. The unit was able to generate 0.99A at 5V (or 4.95W) for 102 minutes, which corresponds to a total output energy of 8.4Wh (4.95*102/60). This is consistent with the energy stored in four AA rechargeable batteries (4 * 1.2V * 2.3Ah = 11Wh), if we assume the energy conversion is only 75-80% efficient.
The product description claims that the unit can "recharge your cell phone 1-3 times". This sounds overly optimistic. My Samsung Galaxy S3, for example, has a battery pack rated 3.7V 2100mAh, or 7.77Wh. So the total output energy of 8.4Wh from this power pack is barely enough to fully recharge my S3 just once, after conversion losses.
Just for comparison, the Jackery Bar 5600mAh Power Bank is able to provide 19.8Wh of energy during my test, enough to give my S3 two full charges. The Jackery bar is also much smaller, lighter and cheaper than this Guide 10 Plus unit.
#1: The product description did not mention whether the unit charges 4 AA batteries individually or in pairs. What I found out from my testing is that it must charge all 4 cells at once. If I connect the unit to a USB power supply with just 2 or 3 cells inserted, the red LED starts blinking as if the batteries are being charged, even though they are not.
#2: The charge-termination method seems unreliable. The first time I tried charging 4 AA cells, the unit drew 0.78A from 5V supply for 2 hours, then the LED turned solid green to signal charging was done. But those batteries were only charged to 50% capacity according to my BT-C2000 Battery Charger Tester Analyzer. The next time I restarted the charging process in the Guide 10 Plus, the LED stopped blinking after 4 hours, and all batteries were charged to 100% full. I still can't figure out why the charger terminated prematurely the first time.
#3: I connected the Guide 10 Plus unit to a USB power source, with the intention of using it just as an LED lamp. But if I don't have 4 batteries inserted, the LED light pulses every second, making it unpleasant to use.
Overall, this Guide 10 Plus unit works as advertised... mostly. Given its high price, I am disappointed by those design flaws mentioned above. So 4-star is the best I can give it, and that's only because I got the package for a good price during an Amazon Deal of the Day sale.
[Update on Aug 1, 2014]
Just in case you want to know how well the Guide 10 Power Pack works with the Nomad 7 solar panel, see my review on it for details:
The big advantage over the Anchor similar version is its more compact,
lighter weight, and you can daisy chain them.
Goal Zero has proven to me in the past to make quality items, this seem
to be no exception.
The only Con is you need to have 4 batteries in it to use charge the batteries. But, I've seen some work arounds for that.
In my opinion Goal Zero is a solid company with great goals. They stand for something more than just making a dollar. Are there cheaper alternatives? Yes, but you wouldn't be backing a company that cares about getting lights and power to third world countries.
You should buy this and keep it in your pack, just in case. Also, get a solar panel from Goal Zero to keep it charged up for free.