How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti

Charging Goal Zero Power Stations With Third-Party Panels

After purchasing a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium, we started looking for solar panels to go with it.

Goal Zero makes its own solar panels, but we wanted to mount two panels on top of our RV roof and have a couple of portable ones that we could angle and move around with ease on the ground. We decided to buy two Renogy 100W Suitcases (click to view on Amazon) and two Renogy 100W.

See Also: Best Solar Panels Compatible With Goal Zero Yeti Power Stations

These panels come with MC4 connectors, and the Yeti 1000 (or any Yeti for that matter) doesn’t have an MC4 input. After talking to Goal Zero, we figured out what kind of adapter we need and what you need to think about when connecting third-party solar panels to a Yeti power station, and today I am going to share what we learned.

How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti

All the solar panels I link to in this post, and in my post about the best solar panels compatible with Yeti power stations, are wired the same way as the Renogy panels.

Renogy panels have a positive male MC4 connector and a negative female MC4 connector coming from the panel. So to connect it to the Yeti, we need an adapter like this (click to view on Amazon).

iGreely Connector Solar Panel Cable Kits Compatible with Powerpole for Goal Zero Yeti, Suaoki, Renogy Portable Solar Generator Power Station 10AWG 60cm/2ft

Check Price at Amazon

As you can see, the female on the cable above is a positive wire (red), and the male is a negative (black), making it a match for my Renogy solar panels.

You’re going to have to rearrange the Anderson connector for it to fit the Yeti, but that is very easy to do.

iGreely Connector Solar Panel Cable Kits Compatible with Powerpole for Goal Zero Yeti, Suaoki, Renogy Portable Solar Generator Power Station 10AWG 60cm/2ft

If you want to use the 8mm input (since not every Yeti has an APP input), this is adapter you need (click to view on Amazon). This adapter doesn’t require any rearranging.

SolarEnz Solar Connector to 8mm Adapter Cable Perfectly Compatible with Solar Generator Portable Power Station and Solar Panel

Check Price at Amazon

Again, the adapter above has a positive MC4 female connector, and a negative MC4 male connector, which makes it a match with Renogy panels. This is important! Some adapters are wired the opposite way and won’t work.

See Also: Goal Zero Solar Panels Compared

If you have a solar panel where the MC4 positive wire is a female, and the MC4 negative wire is a male, you’re going to need the cable below. Note that this is uncommon.

MC4 Solar To Anderson Power Pole Adapter connector Male and Famale solar panel cable connector Kits for PV,Goal Zero Yeti,Suaoki,Renogy Solar Generator Portable Powerstation

Check Price at Amazon

Or the 8mm version.

JoinWin MFG Upgraded Solar Panel Kits Compatible with MC4 to 8mm Adapter Perfetly Works with Portable Power Station Generator Explorer 160 240 440 and GZ yeti Products

Check Price at Amazon

Note that the positive from your panel should always go into the positive red wire on the adapter, or you have the wrong cable. The red piece of the Anderson Power Pole should then always go into the red Anderson part on the Yeti.

There are also similar adapters available on eBay, click here to view the MC4 to Anderson Powerpole, or click here to view the MC4 to 8mm.

What Makes A Solar Panel Compatible With Goal Zero Power Stations

Let’s talk about what makes a third-party solar panel compatible with the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium power stations. We’re limited to the solar charge controller that is built into the Yeti which is a PWM charge controller. Goal Zero does sell an MPPT charge controller as well that we’ve purchased. The MPPT solar charge controller is more efficient when charging both through the wall and with solar panels.

One thing that both the PWM and MPPT have in common is the max 22-volt rating on Yeti lithium stations. What this means is that the solar panel we buy can’t be rated at more than 22V Maximum Operating Voltage (Vmp). Note that this is the case with Goal Zero’s solar charge controllers on the Yeti Lithium at least, and if you have a different power station with a Max voltage it might be talking about a different rating.

I have gone more in-depth about this in my post about solar panels compatible with Yeti stations.

If you have a Yeti non-lithium power station, the max voltage is different and depends on which model you own.

Goal Zero Yeti 150 – Has one 8mm port that supports 14-29V, up to 5A (60W max).

Goal Zero Yeti 400 – Has one 8mm port, supporting 14-29V up to 10A (120W max)

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 – Has one power pole charging port, supporting 16-48V, up to 20A (320W max), and one 8mm, supporting 16-48V, up to 10A (160W max)

To figure out what a panel is rated for, the best way is to visit the manufacturer’s website or read the product specifications. Note that you want a panel without a built-in charge controller though, as the Goal Zero Yeti power stations have them built-in already.

The panel comes with two cables sticking out of it, one MC4 male and one MC4 female. The inputs available on the charge controllers on the Yeti Lithium, however, are 8mm and Anderson Power Pole. So what we need is an adapter to connect to either one of those. I decided to use the Anderson Power Pole input since it can handle more amps than the 8mm port.

Can You Just Tell Me What Panel Works With What Adapter?

If it’s still confusing, these solar panels are compatible with both the Anderson and the 8mm adapter below. Clicking on any of the links will take you to the product page on Amazon.com.

If you don’t have a Yeti 1000, 1250, 1400, or 3000, you must use the 8mm adapter.

Solar PanelRenogy 100W / HQST 100W / Newpowa 100W / Eco-Worthy 100W / Allpowers 100W Flexible

Adapter (APP)MC4 to Anderson Power Pole Adapter

or if you want to use the 8mm input

Adapter (8mm) MC4 to 8mm Adapter Cable

If you can’t find the 8mm adapter in stock, an alternative workaround is to pair this MC4 adapter with 8mm adapter. Note that the polarity is wrong on the MC4 adapter, but you can use the included reverse-polarity adapter to still make a correct connection. Just make sure the positive (red) wire from your solar panel is on the correct side of the 8mm adapter, follow the wire all the way. If it’s not, use the included little reverse-polarity adapter.

There are also similar adapters available on eBay, click here to view the MC4 to Anderson Powerpole, or click here to view the MC4 to 8mm.

How To Connect Two Or More Panels?

When connecting more than one panel, we have to be careful with how we wire them. Two panels wired in series will exceed the maximum 22 volts quick, so we must wire the panels in parallel. What wiring in parallel means, is that the positive wires meet each other separate from the negative. This will add the amperage together, but not the volts, as series wiring does. This is done with a connector like this (click to view on Amazon).

Plug each positive wire into the same connector, and then plug the connector into the positive (red) female on the adapter we looked at before.

Then you take both negative wires, plug those into the negative (black) male on the adapter that you’ll plug into the Goal Zero.

If you want to connect three panels, this is the adapter you’ll need.

If you want to connect four panels, this is the adapter you’ll need.

Make sure you don’t exceed the max watts the Goal Zero can handle, see below for those numbers.

How Many Watts Can The Goal Zero Lithium Power Stations Handle?

The built-in PWM charge controller can handle up to 360 watts, and the MPPT can handle up to 325 watts.

The 8mm charging port on both the PWM and MPPT only likes up to 10A (120 watts) which is why I recommend using the Anderson Power Pole instead when possible.

Best Extension Cable Solution For Goal Zero Yeti?

I use MC4 connectors to extend my cables. I made my own but WindyNation sells different lengths with both 10 and 12 gauge cable. 10 gauge is recommended for up to 40A, and 12 gauge for up to 30A. If you find a different cable I recommend buying one that has an obvious red and black wire, so you won’t accidentally connect the wrong one into the Goal Zero.

For an 8mm extension cable, I recommend the Graybull 20ft 8mm extension cable.

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment. Also, I have written more posts related to Goal Zero products over on the Solar Addict blog, click here to get there.

61 thoughts on “How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti”

  1. Thanks for this! I currently have a Renogy 160W flexible solar panel connected by MC4 extension cables to a Goal Zero Anderson power pole connector cable entering my MPPT input on my Goal Zero Li 10000 and although I’m showing 20V on multimeter coming out of Anderson pole connector, when I plug into GZ MPPT, the blue light comes on however I am registering NO input? Ditto if I bypass the MPPT and plug directly into the PMW input on the GZ? Powers from AC. Next step is to call GZ but any ideas?

    Reply
    • Hello Sabrina,

      I assume you’re letting the cable be in for about 10 seconds to register and that the battery isn’t at 100%?

      The only thing I can think of to try would be to reset the screen by holding the units and info buttons for a couple of seconds until you see the screen react.

      Hope it’ll work out.

      Reply
  2. Hello! Would really appreciate your post on “bypassing the solar charge controller” to use the Renogy suitcase panels with the Goal Zero…

    Reply
  3. Thank YOU for posting this!!!

    I’ve been looking at the Renogy 160W flexible panel to replace the boulder suitcase (or in addition to it) for my GZ yeti 1250.

    Reply
  4. This is great! I’m looking at purchasing the GZ Lithium 1000W for our van, and wanted a little more affordable panels than the GZ ones! I don’t understand how the Renogy v GZ panels have such a significant price difference… (here in Canada, at leas…)
    Question, do you have affiliate links on your site? I will use them if so, if not I’ll shop around a bit more.

    Reply
    • Nice! Yeah, the price difference is huge here in the states as well… Glad I can help people connect cheaper (but great) panels.

      Yes, all our links to Amazon are affiliate links.

      Thank you Nick, safe travels!

      Reply
  5. I’ve seen multiple people hooking up panels with a VOC in the 22.6 to 22.8 range to Yeti’s and they don’t seem to have any issues even though the VOC max is supposedly 22.0.

    Do you think that extra .6-.8 VOC really matters?

    Reply
    • Hello Kevin, great question!

      The latest information I have is that the voltage limit is actually talking about the Vmp. So it’s OK to go over on the Voc, but not the Vmp. This makes a solar panel like the Renogy 160W compatible with the Yeti Lithiums.

      Reply
  6. I’m new to all this but I’m getting it figured out. Extremely helpful article! On the last paragraph “Best Extension Cable Solution For Goal Zero Yeti?” can you clarify that one MC4 extension cord will do the trick or do I need to order two – one for positive one for negative?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Kurt,

      You’ll need two, one for positive and one for negative. The specific one I linked to is sold in pair, so you get a black and a red cable.

      Thanks for your comment

      Reply
      • I had missed that detail originally. Thanks for all the info. Cables and adapters arrived and work perfectly. The system is purring along nicely – with a huge assist from you. Thanks Again! Excellent how-to.

        Reply
  7. I had the same problem Sabrina mentioned a couple of posts above. I wonder what she found out? I have the Renogy 160watt flexible panel and the GZ Yeti. Using the Anderson pole and cables recommended, I get “0”input. Is there a way to check at each junction with a voltage gage to locate the problem? I bought everything brand new. I remember reading somewhere that even with the colored wires matching you could have reversed polarity.

    Reply
  8. Hi,

    s it worth it to get a great price (say $150) on a 340 watt 51 VOC solar panel and then send it through a charge controller to my Yeti lithium 1000? Is it risky? How is it done?

    Reply
    • Do you mean adding an additional solar charge controller? Since the Goal Zero can’t handle more than 22V Vmp I wouldn’t recommend it. A lot of power would be wasted if you went through two charge controllers as well.

      Reply
  9. Can I simultaneously charge my Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with a GZ boulder 100W BC connected in the 8mm input and a 260W (under 22V) third party solar panel connected in the Anderson Power Pole?

    Reply
  10. I am planning on hooking up a Renogy 100w monocrystalline panel solar starter kit to a GZ Lithium 400, would you recommend bypassing the built in GZ controller and using the one from Renogy? I am only using one panel and the primary use for the solar/battery setup would be to power an ARB 37qt fridge as well as charging camera batteries and a laptop.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Kent, sorry for the late answer.

      I would get an adapter (mc4 to 8mm) and plug the panel straight into the Yeti. I don’t think you can bypass the charge controller on the Yeti 400 lithium without opening the box up which might void the warranty.

      Since you wouldn’t need the Renogy charge controller, you can just purchase a single panel without the kit and if needed buy a mounting kit for it.

      Thank you for your comment, let me know if you have any more questions or if I didn’t understand your question correctly.

      Reply
  11. Might be a dumb question, the GZ Lithium 400 says its compatible with the Boulder 200 portable panels. The panel specs state it outputs “Anderson Powerpole 14-22V, up to 14A (200W max)”

    This contradicts the 10A maximum Ive seen stated for the GZ Lithium 400.

    Any idea which it is?

    Im currently looking at a 200W panel setup that will output around 11A max.

    Reply
    • Hello Trevor,

      You’re right; it’s confusing. The Yeti 400 Lithium maxes out at 120 watts input. You can connect the Boulder 200 to the Yeti, but you won’t see an input higher than 120 watts on the Yeti. Note that you will need an Anderson power pole to 8mm adapter if you plan on using the Boulder 200 with the Yeti 400.

      You’re right about the maximum amperage on the Yeti 400, and in the end, it’s not recommended to exceed either the voltage or the amps of the solar charge controller. I’m not sure why Goal Zero advertises it as being a safe option.

      On the other hand, 200 watts of solar panels into a PWM charge controller might not ever exceed 10 amps, and maybe that’s why Goal Zero is okay with recommending the Boulder 200. I would be careful, though, especially if you plan on using third party panels, as Goal Zero will not help you in case you burn the charge controller with panels that they don’t sell.

      Hope I didn’t make it more confusing, let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  12. Hey – appreciate the tips. If I want to hook up LED lighting with dimmer switches using a Renogy + GoalZero 1400 setup, what additional components would I need if any?

    Reply
    • Hello Nick,

      I would need some more details to help you more. Are you talking about hardwiring lights or using a light strip? If hardwiring 12V lights, it will be a bit trickier.

      If it’s a light strip with an AC plug, it will plug right in. You’d have to turn on the inverter to run them.

      Reply
  13. Looking at purchasing 3 Renogy 100W panels. Anyone see any reason not to cut off the Renogy MC4 connectors, tie them parallel into a single Anderson Power Pole Connector pigtail and plug into the a Yeti1250? Otherwise I’d have to buy a 3-1 MC4 splitter then attach an MC4-Anderson adapter.

    Basically, spend $50 on adapters for plug and play, or $10 for a pigtail and 5 minutes of wire work.

    Reply
    • Hello Mike,

      True, I guess you could do that, but you might need an additional wire between your panels and the Anderson Power Pole connector since it wouldn’t fit three wires.

      Reply
  14. Hi,

    Can i chain Rockpals Foldable 100W solar panel with Goal Zero Boulder 50W solar panels in parallel to achieve an equivalent of 150W output (similar to 3 x Boulder 50W panels)?

    My solar generator is Goal Zero 400 Lithium using 8mm input connector.

    Reply
    • Hello Razman,
      Yes, you can, but there might be some loss if the panels don’t have the same Vmp rating. So it would most likely not be as efficient as 3 x Boulder 50W panels.

      Reply
  15. So if I want to connect two Renogy 160 Watt 12 Volt to a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 I need to connect both positive male mc4’s to the negative female y adapter, both female mc4’s to the positive male y adapter. Then connect the negative female part of the y adapter to the negative male of the instaboost cable and the positive male part of the y adapter to the positve female of the instaboost cable. And then plug the anderson part of the instaboost cable into the MPPT solar charge controller, which will then power the yeti 1400 under 22v? Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing, did i do this right?

    Reply
  16. Okay, so if I have two renology 100 watts panels, I need to connect them with the BougeRV parallel connector. Then use the mc4 to Anderson pole connector. If I got the MPPT addition, would the mc4 to Anderson pole connector go into that and then the MPPT into the yeti?
    ___
    Each 100 watt renology panel (the ones I’m looking at) say the IMP is 5.72A, but I’m seeing that you’re saying the MPPT doesn’t like anything more than 10A. Would this not work? I am going to be using the mc4 to Anderson adapter.

    Also when I install, where should the wires (connecting the two panels, any others) go? Can I leave the wires connecting the two panels under the panels or do I need to drill holes in the van and somehow put them inside? Thank you.
    ___

    One last question! Sorry, I keep thinking of questions as I’m figuring this out. This article has been extremely helpful.

    Trying to figure out the size for the extension cable. I’m seeing you recommend (from what I remember, without scrolling back up there) 10 or 12AWG for 30 or 40A. What amps are you referring to exactly? Would that be the amps coming from the solar panels? I’m using two 100w renology panels and I think the amps come out to around 11, so would I just go for the 12AWG (assuming you mean just amps coming from the panels) or would I need to go even smaller size?

    Also (!) which cables would be passing through the roof exactly? Once I connect the two panels, would I then pass the adapter through the roof?
    Would the order be (if I go with the MPPT)
    1. Adapter to join the two panels (pass through van roof)
    2. Extension cable
    3. MPPT
    4. Anderson Pole (into the goal zero)

    Reply
    • Hello C,
      Let’s see if I can answer all your questions in one comment.

      Would the mc4 to Anderson pole connector go into that and then the MPPT into the Yeti?
      Yes, the MC4 to APP adapter is plugged into the Yeti MPPT module, which is installed on the Yeti.
      but I’m seeing that you’re saying the MPPT doesn’t like anything more than 10A
      If you would use the 8mm input (the MPPT module has two 8mm inputs and one Anderson pole input), the limit is 10A. But since you’ll be using the Anderson port which can handle up to 325W on the MPPT module, you will be fine with two 100W panels.
      where should the wires (connecting the two panels, any others) go?
      The MC4 Y Branch adapters I recommend (the BougeRV) are waterproof and can be left outside on the roof. I have two 100W panels on my trailer roof and the MC4 Y branch is sitting next to the panels. Just make sure it doesn’t have a lot of slack so it can flop around while you’re driving. Sure, you could drill more holes and pull the adapters inside (if the solar panel wires can reach), but it’s not necessary.
      What amps are you referring to exactly (when talking about extension cable ratings)? Would that be the amps coming from the solar panels?
      Correct, the more amperage the solar panels generate, the bigger the cables. 12AWG cable would be fine for two 100W panels.
      Which cables would be passing through the roof exactly?
      The adapter can stay on the roof. It will only be the MC4 extension cable (two wires) going through the roof. The extension cable plugs into the MC4 to Anderson adapter, then into the Goal Zero MPPT. So the MPPT is the last step. The Goal Zero MPPT module is installed on the Goal Zero Yeti (all you have to do is connect two cables). Note that the MPPT module is only supported with the Yeti 1000 and 1400, and comes preinstalled on the Yeti 3000.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
  17. Really appreciate your responses. I do have another question. Would I be able to run a 45w 12v fridge as well as a 12v maxxfan at the same time?

    Reply
    • Sorry, I should have specified that I’m wondering if there are two plugs that would accommodate these two things. I did the power calculations and they should be able to run together (if I’m correct about that.)

      Reply
    • It depends on which Yeti you’re planning on buying. The Yeti 1000 and up can do it, but not the Yeti 400 lithium.
      The problem with running 12V fridges with the Yeti is the unregulated 12V ports, so you’ll need the Goal Zero Yeti lithium 12V regulated cable. Without this adapter, you’ll have issues running a 12V fridge with the Yeti because the 12V port voltage will depend on the battery’s state of charge.

      Goal Zero is going to release new Yeti lithium power stations this year with regulated 12V outputs, but the only one released so far is the Yeti 200X.

      The Maxxfan comes with bare wires on the end, so you would have to get a cigarette lighter adapter and wire that to the fan, then you can plug the cigarette lighter plug into the Yeti. You will probably need some copper battery wire to extend the cable so it will reach.

      They’re both ok to run at the same time, each 12V port can output up to 120W.

      Reply
  18. My goal zero 3000 originally came with mppt unit installed. I had to remove it to install the kit that allows for charging from the vehicles alternator (YETI LINK) . Since that mppt unit with the Anderson power pole input is no longer there, is it OK to just connect a solar panel to the ANDERSON input that is built into the goal zero without any additional charge controller? With the vehicle’s battery/alternator connected to the rear input of the YETI LINK, the 8mm input on the front of the YETI LINK does not seem to allow any wattage in.

    Reply
    • Hello Justin,

      Yes, the input on the left is a built-in PWM charge controller. You should not add another charge controller between the solar panel and this input. The Anderson port on it can handle up to 360W.

      It’s also ok to plug panels into the Link while it’s plugged in, and those panels should charge both your vehicle battery and the Yeti at the same time when your vehicle isn’t running. I’d need to know more to figure out what the problem could be, like what panel you’re using.

      Jesse

      Reply
      • Thank you!! This is a fantastic source of info you’ve put together here. I have no panels yet. I just plugged one of the wall chargers into the 8mm on the front of the LINK and got no response. Maybe it allows solar panels but not a wall charger through that 8mm on the front of the LINK? Vehicle was off and there were no other inputs hooked up at the time.

        Reply
        • I contacted Goal Zero and was told the Link will never show any input on the Yeti when using the front 8mm port (which can handle up to 150W input btw).

          It will charge the Yeti and the vehicle’s battery with either solar/wall charger but the only visible indication would be the state of charge percentage on the Yeti increasing.

          Reply
  19. Hello there!!

    I’m thinking about extension cables and what effects the length will have on power loss. Looking for your sage experience on the matter.

    I will be using:
    Renogy 100w mono briefcase.
    GZ Yeti 400 Lithium.

    I assume that extending the MC4 will give a faster charge than extending the 8mm due to the cable’s AWG? Or am I overthinking this and the difference will be negligible??

    Piggybacking off that thought; I want to be able to park in the shade some days and move my solar panel from the roof out into the sun. Do you recommend using a 10′ extension for the van and having a 30′ extension to swap in when parking in shade? Or if I just use a 30′ and coil up the excess while the panels on the van, would there be a noticeable loss in charge??

    Am I just splitting hairs here?? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hello Chris,

      You’re correct that using a lower wire gauge would reduce the power loss. I can’t give you exact numbers, but I can give you some estimates. I’m not an expert on this, so if somebody with more experience would like to correct or add to my answer, please do so.

      Goal Zero’s 30ft 8mm extension cord is 16 AWG and has a ~11% voltage drop, the 15ft version has a ~5.5% loss. If you connect two 15ft cables, the loss would be even higher because most of the voltage drop happens between connectors, the more connectors, the higher the loss.

      If you would use a 30ft 12 AWG wire, there would be about a ~4% voltage drop. A 30ft 10 AWG would be about ~2.5%. A 10ft 10 AWG would lose less than a percentage point.

      If you would coil up a 30ft 10 AWG cable, you’d lose ~1.5% versus using a 10ft 10 AWG cable. It’s hard to say how big the difference would be in watts.

      A lot of numbers there, hope I didn’t make it more confusing. Since the power loss isn’t significant if you’re using 10 AWG wire, I would do what would be the most convenient.

      Reply
  20. I have a yeti 150 I am borrowing, but I plan to get something bigger later. Can I charge the 150 with a third party 100W panel? I am seeing different opinions.

    I am also hoping to use the 150 to charge a 12v battery for my camper. Can I use the 6mm to alligator clamp to do that? Or should I use the wall outlet plug to a charger to do that? My concern with the 6mm to alligator clamp is I do not know when that battery is charged. Any thoughts are appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hello Ralph,

      Yes, you can charge the Yeti 150 with a third-party panel. It will only be able to input 60W (5A) at most but with a 100W panel you could max it out during peak sun hours. Since it has an 8mm input you need this adapter (click to view on Amazon).

      The Yeti 150 has a 12V battery, so I believe it would recharge a camper 12V battery with the 6mm to alligator adapter, and since it wouldn’t output 18V like a solar panel it wouldn’t hurt it (I would call Goal Zero to confirm though). Based on the features of the 6mm adapter, it sounds like that’s what it’s made for.

      An alternative would be to get a solar panel like this (click to view on Amazon) that can charge both a 12V RV camper battery and a power station at the same time. You’d use the adapter I linked above to connect it to the Yeti 150.

      Reply
  21. Thank you for this posting! I am new to using solar and have been hunting how to connect the Renogy solar panel I purchased to my Yeti 1000 system.

    Reply
  22. I’m just getting into this stuff, so bear with me while I have visions of 18 adapter cables dancing in my head. And of course the day after I did my taxes. Ouch.

    This is a home only setup. I live in California where the electric company hasn’t maintained its lines and they’ve caused big fires during wind storms, so they shut the power off, usually with a few days notice, although it also goes out for half a day here and there for no apparent reason. Its been a dry winter, and we’ll have lots more dead trees and whatnot around the lines, so I’m expecting a bad year.

    I didn’t want to do a gas generator, too much maintenance, setting it up, noise, etc. So I saw the goal zero yeti 1000 and the 100w goal zero nomad on costco for as I’ve learned, way too much money. $1300. But I got it and tinkered with it. I’ll just need it to keep a pretty efficient refrigerator going and maybe run a tv so I have something to do when the power is out.

    It charges fine from the wall and from the panel, but I’m a little worried about keeping that fridge going during a few cloudy days and figured the solution was to add another panel or two if possible. I read your article and see 100w and even larger 120 and 150/160 watt panels for <$100. My neighbor also has a roof full of panels but no powerwall type setup.

    So my probably dumb questions that perhaps you'll be able to help me with.

    One is adding a second and perhaps 3rd panel to my yeti 1000. It has the stock pwm controller, not the mppt. I saw some reviews on getting the $100 mppt controller and many said it really didn't boost the efficiency very much.

    I then saw I can get a 3 or 4 to 1 8mm combiner cable and use more goal zero panels or those that support an 8mm connector (looks like they come with a bag full of connectors of different types). However those are usually more expensive than the renology/hqst panels you listed and by a lot. Looks like some of them have the ability to directly charge usb devices, which I don't need and maybe that's why more $$$?

    So what would be the way to add a renology panel in addition to the nomad panel I already have to get two panels and would 3 work? I figured if I got everything to 8mm and used the 8mm combiner that'd do it, but I keep seeing the power pole type connectors used, which I guess would mean converting the nomad's 8mm to a power pole connector, then connecting those power pole setups to a combiner and into the power pole input on the yeti 1000?

    And then the question I already know is dumb and probably dangerous. If we were to get a week long power outage, any way I could bring some of the neighbors solar array from the existing inverter to the Yeti, and both of us could have a long ac extension cord and run some things in both houses from the Yeti? Is there something we could pre-install on his system to make it more or less plug and play?

    I also thought about getting another battery like the Jackery 500 and one of their panels, rather than adding panels to the Yeti. Bit more expensive but then I'd have two separate systems and could charge one with no load on it while the other was charging and running things in the house.

    None of the panels would be mounted by the way, I'd just be setting them out in the yard as between trees and my neighbors house between me and south, I'd have to move them around over the course of the day to maintain full sun.

    Reply
    • Hello Thomas,

      Sorry for the late answer, let me know if I have misunderstood any part of your questions. I’ll give you some information, so let me know if you have more questions.

      First of all, the Goal Zero 8mm combiner has an Anderson Power Pole on the other end of it, so you can use both a Nomad panel with the 8mm connector and plug third-party panels into the Anderson Power Pole connector.

      The Yeti 1000 PWM charge controller can handle a total of 360W input. At around 70W per 100W panel, that would mean a maximum of 5 100W panels. The MPPT charge controller can handle 325W input.

      The MPPT charge controller is much more efficient than the built-in PWM, especially during rough conditions like the morning/evening hours when the sun is low on the horizon, and on cloudy days. I do, however, agree that it’s not as efficient as a high-quality standalone MPPT charge controller in a large solar build. With what you’re planning, I would highly recommend it.

      To add more Renogy panels, here is what you would need:
      Renogy 100W panel with a Vmp rating below 22V (Yetis maximum input voltage).
      A pair of MC4 Y Branches, this combines two panels in parallel. There are larger ones if you want to use three/four panels.
      An MC4 to APP adapter which will be the adapter you plug into the Goal Zero Yeti.
      In addition, you might want some MC4 extension cables so you can store the Yeti in a waterproof space.

      You’ll take one of the MC4 Y Branches and connect both positive wires from the solar panels to it, then take the second MC4 Y Branch and connect the negatives to it. This keeps the positive separate from negative. Then you’ll plug the MC4 Y Branches male and female connectors into the MC4 to APP adapter, which would then be plugged into the Yeti. Note that you have to rotate the Anderson Power Pole connectors on the adapter, which is easy to do.

      To answer whether you can connect to his solar array or not, I would need some more information about his setup. Like panel size, Vmp ratings, and the size of the system. You would need access to the wires coming straight from the solar panels. It’s possible that his panels are larger than 100W and that he is using a 240V inverter.

      Getting another power station is definitely something to consider, but I recommend one with an MPPT charge controller built-in that you can use the Nomad panel with. Goal Zero is going to release new models this year, so if you feel like you can wait a couple of weeks/months that might be worth it.

      Reply
  23. Hi Jesse,

    I bought that MC4 to Anderson cable and although the female cable is red, the MC4 connector has a – sign on it and doesnt work. Is there another link to the right one because I cant find it anywhere on amazon.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Reply
  24. I just ordered the following. I think it’s everything I need for a home system to keep the Yeti 1400 going. It’s basically a back up generator system for daily consumption if the power goes down. I spoke to GoalZero and they actually recommended the 160 Watt Renogy. Hopefully, I did everything right and got the right parts. Thanks for all your help! Could not have done it without you. Much appreciated. Thanks, Jay

    Item Qty
    Goal Zero Yeti 1400 1
    Renogy Solar Panel 160 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline 4
    Goal Zero 25A Yeti Power Supply 1
    Goal Zero Yeti Lithium MPPT Solar Charging Optimizer 1
    Eco-Worthy Adjustable Solar Panel Tilt Mount (41″) 4
    Powerpole extension cable (Gauge: 10, Length: 25 ft.) 2
    iGreely Connector Solar Panel Cable Kit (Goal Zero) 2
    BougeRV Connectors Y Branch Parallel Adapter 2

    Reply
    • Wow, Jay, I am jealous! That’s a nice setup!

      I assume the plan is to use both the PWM and the MPPT inputs, so it looks like you know what you’re doing!

      Reply
  25. Hey again. I got my solar panels connected to my goal zero! Success!

    I just have a question (I called goal zero but they didn’t answer today) about connecting the maxxfan. I already have my fridge hooked up to the cigarette lighter so I’m just wondering what would be best to hook my maxxfan up with? The Anderson pole? If so, do I just get some Anderson pole connectors and connect those to the maxx fan wire? Would it go into another 12v output? I’m not sure what the other outputs are referred to as.

    Thanks for all your help. Wouldn’t be almost done with the van if it wasn’t for this site!

    Reply
    • Nice!

      Yes, you could do that. I recommend using the Goal Zero 12V regulated cable if you’re powering a 12V fridge/freezer though. That cable would use the Anderson Power Pole output, so then you could install a Carviya cigarette plug on the wires from the fan and plug it into the Yeti cigarette port. Just cut off the ring terminals on the Carviya plug, strip some wire off, and connect the wires together with some twist-on wire connectors.

      Reply
  26. Hi,

    I have a 330 wP panel that is feeding into a microinvertor into my house AC, lowering my electricity bill by slowing down the meter and sometimes even reversing it.

    When the grid goes down the invertor is useless, but I would like to use the panel to charge my Goal Zero 50’s and the 200X that is underway. Only problem is the panel has maximum power voltage Vmp of 33.8 which is a bit to high for the Goal Zero’s. A trick that seems to work is connecting two MC4 to 8m in series and then charging Goal Zero’s in serial.

    I didn’t feel like testing it too long, but it looked like the two Goal Zero’s where charging.

    Can you shed a light on this before I do a test in full sun light for a few hours.

    Reply
    • Hello Hans,

      I’m sorry, I don’t have any experience with that so I can’t give you any advice. I assume it could be done with an MPPT charge controller, but I recommend calling or emailing Goal Zero directly and asking them. They have a very helpful support team.

      Jesse

      Reply

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