Goal Zero Nomad 7M Solar Panel

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   1
1-star:   0

Specs

Weight 13 ounces
Charging ports USB and 12 volt
Recharge times
1 hour - Cellular phone
2 hours - iPod, Garmin GPS receiver, satellite phone
4 hours - GoPro camera.

Reviews

1

The more I try to fix the problems of this product,…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Summary

The more I try to fix the problems of this product, the more frustrated I have become. While it works well with less advanced electronics, it is a gamble with your smart phone. Adding other components to the system, simply was throwing money at an unfixable problem.

Pros

  • Worked okay with my first smartphone

Cons

  • Has become an $80 paperweight that does not work with next generation smartphones.

March 2014--For "closure" on my entire Goal Zero experience, please check this review: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/goal-zero/usb-smart-adapter/review/30704/

January 2014--This is an update to my original review, which can be seen below.

My first usage with the Nomad 7 was with an HTC Inspire smartphone. I was very pleased, getting the charge I needed every time. I was able to use my phone effectively out on the trail to stay in contact with my wife, to read an e-book, to play a sudoku in my hammock. My hiking partner had no problems charging his iPhone 4.

Problems began when I switched phones to a Motorola Razr (not the Maxx). On a sunny afternoon in Shawnee National Forest, I hooked up the phone with 45% charge remaining and continued hiking. A couple of hours later, my phone started chirping "low battery." I stopped and saw my phone had only 1% charge left. Then it abruptly shut down.

I'll get to the technical aspects in a moment. The summary is, the Nomad did not provide enough amperage to my phone to keep it charging. The phone was in a constant state of Charging-Not Charging-Charging-Not Charging. My phone's screen lights up for a couple minutes after I plug it into charge. So for two-three hours, not only was the Nomad not charging my phone, it was causing my phone to drain power because of the screen turning on and off and on and off.

Here is what GoalZero's tech support had to say on the matter:

Phones have different needs when it comes to charging. The phone checks its power source to be sure it will not by damaged by over powering and sometimes to prevent it from charging from different brands of chargers. Almost all devices are different when it comes to this. The thing is that currently ALL USB ports are 5v, but some devices want 0.5 amps and other want up to 2 amps.

When I purchased the Nomad 7, Goal Zero was recommending the use of their Guide 10 Plus Recharger. This is a rechargeable battery pack that allows the user to charge up the batteries during the day and then charge the phone from the batteries (Goal Zero claims two full smartphone charges from a fully-charged batter pack.). I have reluctantly spent the $50 to purchase the Guide 10 Plus and will post a review after it's been tested.

In summary: Using one brand of smartphone, I was pleased with the Nomad 7 (and originally gave it 4.5 stars). With a different brand of phone, I have had to spend an additional $50 and carry more weight in my pack in order to make it give me what I originally bought it for.

ORIGINAL REVIEW--April 2013

My desire to go "ultra light" has been hampered with the purchase of this little item. At 1lb, the Nomad 7 was one of my heavier items. However, having it with me for a week of backpacking allowed to do the following with my smart phone: Call and text my wife once a day (as signals allowed). Take photos and videos throughout my trip. Read a good book at night. Play a Sudoku (or two) before going to sleep. With the sun setting at 7p.m., having the Nomad 7 allowed me to use my phone to stay in my normal sleeping pattern, instead of saying, "It's dark. Might as well crash." I've seen a few reviews on other sites that mentioned a problem with the Nomad 7M & iPhones. Specifically, there was mention that any passing shadow would disrupt the charge on an iPhone. This was NOT suppose to be a problem with Android phones. Well, I had no problems on my 'droid, and my buddy's iPhone charged without incident during the trip.  

Thanks to Trailspace for the $500 gift card to Backcountry.com! I won it while giving a review in January 2013. The gift card paid for this great item.

Where to Buy

Manufacturer's Description

For the minimalist on the go the Nomad 7M delivers ultra-compact yet powerful solar panel that enables you to charge your handheld devices directly from its USB and 12 Volt DC charging ports.

Features:
Compatible with most USB devices
3O% smaller than comparable panels
Includes 12 Volt female cigarette adapter
Pocket for devices and 4 cell charger
Compact foldable fabric case
Reflective and durable loops for hanging

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The Goal Zero Guardian 12V Solar recharging kit combines the Guardian charge controller's portable convenience with the compact, efficient Nomad 13 solar panel to keep your 12V batteries juiced up.

- REI

You've tried sending smoke signals, but your fire-starting skills kind of suck. Whip out your Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel, power up, and send messages like a civilized person via your smartphone. Or, if human contact is what you desire, power up your GPS and see how far you are from the closest pub. Or connect the solar panel to your Goal Zero Rock Out portable speaker and dance like no one's watching, because no one is. Small and light enough to tack to your backpack, this clean, Earth-loving power panel goes anywhere you do.

- Backcountry.com

On Sale. Free Shipping. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel FEATURES of the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Solar charge your cell phone in 1-2 hours Easy to Use: Use solar power with USB or 12V devices Foldable, rugged design, and weather resistant SPECIFICATIONS of the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Rated wattage: 7W Cell Type: Mono crystalline Open-circuit Voltage: 8-9V USB port: 5V, up to 1A (5W max), regulated Solar port (blue, 8mm): 15V, up to 0.3A (5W max), regulated Mini solar port (2.5mm): 6.5V, up to 1.1A (7W max) Weight: 0.8 lbs (0.36 kg) Dimensions (unfolded): 9 x 1.5 x 17 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 43.2 cm) Dimensions (folded): 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 16.5 cm) Optimal Operating Temp: 32-104 F (0-40 C) This product can only be shipped within the United States. Please don't hate us.

- Moosejaw

Goal Zero Nomad 7 portable solar panel is a compact and convenient for charging small electronic devices in the outdoors. 30% smaller than comparable panels and 14 times more powerful than the closest competitor. Use solar power to charge USB or 12V devices. Solar charge a cell phone in 1 to 2 hours. Built-in pocket protects devices. Foldable rugged design. Weather resistant. Get a Goal Zero solar panel and get outside while still being able to "check in" with the constraints of our techy world. Solar Capacity: 7W. Power Output: USB, 12V. Ideal for: Guide 10, Switch 8, Smartphone, GPS, Headlamp. Weight: 0.8 lbs. Chainable: Yes. Cell Type: Monocrystalline

- Tahoe Mountain Sports