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.
Pretty simple. Panels charge the battery pack, battery pack charges the electronics (like the iPhone). One thing I really like about this is the small size. That and the fact that I can recharge my Sanyo Eneloop batteries with this panel and the Guide 10 pack. I have many, many of these batteries for use in my Canon camera flashes.
Goal zero does warn that you must have strong sun and the panel positioned correctly to be able to charge an iPhone with the panel itself (without the battery pack). With that said, the first time I had it out I disconnected the Guide 10 and tried to charge my iPhone 5 directly from the USB output on the panel. Worked just fine. If the sun was behind the clouds, or the panel was positioned incorrectly, then I would get a message on my phone saying the accessory might not be supported, or something like that.
Bottom line, it works as advertised. It's a small panel with enough power to charge an iPhone 5 directly. In less than optimal conditions, just charge the AA battery pack and charge from that. That's what it was designed for, anyway, I believe.
I'll be buying a Nomad 13 after this positive experience.