A lot of time went into researching the perfect power setup for our demands, the standard way of doing things is by installing a dual battery system. This has been done by many people building a van or camper, you simply add a battery to the vehicle's starter battery and wire-in a battery management system. Realising the basic setup is fairly simple, but when you want to add solar panels, an inverter, usb-ports etc. the system needs a lot of additional components and it all gets more complicated pretty quickly. So, before ordering all components and getting ourselves into the time-consuming process of installing everything, we wanted to make sure there wasn't a more convenient way of doing it. We found a very interesting company specialised in portable power solutions called 'Goal Zero' and started to have a more detailed look at their product range. We were very impressed with the plug-and-play solutions which included everything we were looking for. We decided to go for a Yeti 400 power station which has a 33Ah AGM battery, built-in power outlets and even an inverter. To power the Yeti we mounted a Boulder 50 solar on the roof rack. It was very easy to install in the car, with just one wire running from the solar panel to the power station, no need to crimp cables or whatsoever. Compared to a DIY dual battery setup, the Goal Zero system is probably a little more expensive, but you don't have to deal with gathering all required individual components best suited for your needs, finding out what size cable to use, what fuses to use and there's lot more important things to research that ensure you end up with a reliable and safe system. You do have a lot more freedom when going for a DIY setup, but for us the Goal Zero setup met our needs perfectly. It is very easy to add or remove components according to your needs. We realised after a few months that we required more battery capacity and faster charging, so we added another 33Ah battery and a second Boulder 50 solar panel.
Things we run of this system are our fridge, diesel heater, laptops, camera equipment, phones and other small devices. If you are running devices that require more power, there are more powerful power stations available, so we would certainly recommend considering a Goal Zero setup for your vehicle!
Goal Zero solar panels on a Land Rover Defender
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