Portable Solar Power Harvesting – Part #3 (GoalZero Nomad 7)

Portable Solar Harvesting - goalzeroThis is the third article in this series regarding the harvesting of the sun’s energy. In other words…solar panels collecting the sun’s rays. When this series of articles is complete you will have a solid understanding if this unit meets your needs and is worth your time and money. And of course you will have my overall “buy” recommendation as well when all is done. Yes, not till then. I will have a chart in the last article that provides a comparison of each unit against each of the other units. It is eye-opening to be sure. And it shows what is the best value for your hard-earned money.

If you haven’t already read the Introduction post to this series I would suggest you do so now.

< Portable Solar Power Harvesting – Part #1 >

To make sure we are on the same page let me quickly review two things…

Mission Statement –

“Provide a highly portable way to harvest solar power.”

Requirements & Restrictions –
  • Must be reliable.
  • Must be portable.
  • Must be efficient.
  • Shouldn’t be cost prohibitive.
  • Should be as compatible with as many power storage options as possible.
The Goalzero Nomad 7 –

GoalZero Nomad7 portable solar charging for batteriesIntroduction – Goalzero has a great reputation in the marketplace. Their reputation always includes platitudes about product quality…and high prices. So are they both true? Remember, I tell you the little impressive details of a product along the way so bear with me.

I love GoalZero GoalZero nomad7 guide10packaging! Yeah, stupid thing I know. But whoever designs their packaging should get a raise. You can just feel how cool it is. I am talking the package so far.

I get the package open and get the unit out and I can it is typical GoalZero feel…it feels like quality.

The charger/controller on the back of the actual folding panel is sweet! There are four connections, three with wires and connectors hanging off of it. The four connections are:

  • GoalZero Nomad7USB port at the end of an 8” wire.
  • 12vDC connector at the end of an 8” wire.
  • The Guide 10 battery charger port at the end of an 8” wire.
  • And a port with no wire labeled “Chain Input”

Couple things struck me:

  1. The wires are all thick walled and feel like 12g wire.
  2. The wires all have the little tension, bend protection “boots” on them to protect the wire from breaking or coming out of the connector or the power port itself.
  3. Each port is clearly labeled in easy to read bright green on black. And you can easily access each of the power ports and cables.

But what the heck was the “chain input” port for? So I decided, “What the heck, read the instructions.”

Oooppppsssss! The instructions don’t match the unit exactly. But the instructions were good enough to let me know that the “chain port” was a way to daisy chain multiple Nomad7 units together to boost the amount of wattage charging your batteries. And daisy chaining two units together my friend cuts the charging time to about half of what it would be with a single Nomad 7. But, you had to buy two units to accomplish that…why not just buy a single higher wattage unit? If you need more wattage then buy the wattage rating you need and a WAY less cost.

old version of the Nomad7

old version of the Nomad7


NOTE: There are a couple versions of this unit; older and newer.

Immediately I wanted to test the output of this puppy so I peeled the protective layer off the panels and set it up in the sun. FYI, I am estimating that I was getting about 75% sun that day due to GoalZero Nomad7 cigarette socket adpatersome high-level cloud cover. I tested the 12vDC vehicle power socket and I am showing 14.92 vDC coming out. Respectable and plenty sufficient.


Technical Specs –

Watts: 7
Amps: 1 – 5(max)
Voltage: 8 – 9vDC
USB Port: Yes
Other Port(s): 12vDC
Maximum Efficiency: no info
Panel Weather/Water Resistance: weather resistant
Weight: 1lb
Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Warranty: 1yr
Price: $77.31
Cost per Watt: $11.04
Extra Accessories Provided: Micro USB cable, 12vDC vehicle power outlet, panel daisy-chain cable

Product info from manufacturer –


•  Recharge by: USB, Solar Panel
•  Power Output: USB, AA/AAA Batteries.
•  Ideal for: Phone, GPS, Headlamp

Kit Includes:

• Nomad 7
• Weight: 1.2 lbs
• Light Compatibility: Luna, Firefly


  • 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)
Summary –

Goalzero is really proud of their product…and it is represented in their pricing. This is the highest “price per watt” unit tested…$11.04 per watt. That is about FIVE times more expensive than all the other units I tested. It simply isn’t worth the money from that perspective. Yes, it does provide some nifty options like 5vDC or 12vDC power outlets. And, if you have two you can daisy-chain them together…but that is still only 14watts with two units, well below other test units. That is 2/3 of the wattage rating of other units tested. Unless you are a Goalzero groupie there are plenty of other cost-effective high-quality options.


To return to the Introduction page < click here >



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One thought on “Portable Solar Power Harvesting – Part #3 (GoalZero Nomad 7)

  1. Pingback: Portable Solar Power Harvesting – Part #1 | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

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