April 28, 2013 by Anthony Compton
I have been looking for some packable solar panels to use while hiking this summer (I hope to activate some SOTA summits). My sister has a number of GZ products so when I found a great deal on a Nomad 27M foldable panel I picked up. The GZ panels I have tested so far are very nice but not cheapest panel you can find. Since I want to use these panels with my Amateur Radio equipment I needed to build some adaptors to allow me to hook up the panels to my equipment. My equipment uses Anderson PowerPoles so I started looking at the best cords to make the adapter. Options I found are:
12 Volt Accessory / Cigarette Lighter Adaptor
This cable comes with some of the Goal Zero panels so It can be had with out extra cost with panels such as the Nomad 13. This connector is made with coaxial cable but it can be fitted with Anderson PowerPoles.
Battery Clip Adaptor
The next option and my favorite is the adapter that is intended to connect to battery terminals. This adaptor is a little easier to install PowerPoles on. There are three versions one for each size adaptor GZ used, 4.7 mm and 8 mm, and one for the GZ Charge Controller. The 4.7 adapter uses standard stranded wire, the 8.0 mm version and the charge controller cable uses shielded cable. For the shielded cable only the center conductor cares power.
Goal Zero makes a nice controller but it’s costs is $40. Not a bad price but you can get one cheaper. Theirs has the right connectors already there for both the 4.7 mm and 8 mm panel connectors.
You can get a 5 to 10 amp controller for much less. In the photo below I used a small Instapark controller added a small 7 Ah SLA battery. This controller is rated at 3 amps and cost under $15. It does provide low voltage protection for your battery. The GZ controller does not.
This photo shows the components in the first go around of this setup. More on this later.
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