With several companies coming out with small portable power stations with impressive features, Goal Zero created a competitive model in this space with their Yeti 500X.
The Yeti 500X is the successor to the previously successful Yeti 400 Lithium and the new system has some impressive upgrades.
The Yeti 500X is a medium-sized solar-powered generator that uses solar power to charge its battery to power devices, appliances, tools, and other electronics off of the grid. It has a 505Wh battery pack, 300W pure sine wave AC inverter, and is only 12.9 lbs.
This new solar generator comes with an MPPT charge controller, whereas their previous models only had a PWM charge controller (Yeti 1000 Lithium, Yeti 1400 Lithium, and Yeti 3000 Lithium to name a few).
What does an MPPT controller mean for a solar generator? This technology improves charging times with solar panels due to efficiency improvements compared to a PWM charge controller.
Yeti 500X Specifications
The yeti 500X is priced at $699.95 on Goal Zero’s website. It’s a significant amount of money, but with the power to weight ratio, it is well worth the investment.
This is an impressive improvement from their previous model solar generators, considering the Yeti 400 Lithium weighs over 16lbs, and the previous model, the Yeti 400, weighs 29lbs.
Improvements in its weight come from the Li-ion NMC battery. Their lithium batteries are significantly better than their older lead-acid batteries because they are much lighter, can be charged faster, and offer a higher discharge rate than their lead-acid counterpart.
The Yeti 500X has a 300 Watt AC inverter with pure sine wave technology, giving your fans, lights, and other appliances smooth, effective power.
Pure sine wave technology is much better than modified sine wave generators because it allows the efficiency or power of your equipment to be used to their full power capabilities.
Yeti 500x Statistics and Product Information
|GENERAL||CHARGE TIMES||PORTS||BATTERY DETAILS|
|Product SKU: 36100||Maximum input (180W): 3 hrs||USB port (Output): 5V, up to 2.4A (12W max), regulated||Cell chemistry: Li-ion NMC|
|Chainable: No||Car charger (120W): 4.5 hrs||USB-C PD port (Output): 5/9V, up to 3.0A (18W max), Regulated||Pack capacity: 505Wh (10.8V, 46.8Ah)|
|Weight: 12.9 lbs (5.85 kg)||Wall charger (60W): 8.5 hrs||USB-C PD port (Input/ Output): 5-20V, up to 3.0A (60W max), Regulated||Lifecycles: 500 Cycles to 80% capacity (Discharge rate: 0.2C, Full charge/discharge, Temp: 25C)|
|Dimensions: 7.5 x 11.25 x 5.8 in (19.05 x 28.58 x 14.73 cm)||Boulder 50: 12-24 Hours||6mm port (Output, 6mm): 12V, up to 10A (120W max)||Shelf-life: Charge every 3-6 months|
|Operating usage temp.: 32-104 F (0-40 C)||Boulder 100: 6-12 Hours||12V car port (Output): 12V, up to 10A (120W max), Regulated||Management system: 'MPPT' charge controller, low battery protection|
|Warranty: 24 months||Boulder 200 Briefcase: 3-6 Hours||120V AC Inverter: 120VAC 60Hz, 2.5A (300W, 1200W surge)(output, pure sine wave)|
|Charging port (input, 8mm): 13-22V, up to 10A (120W max)|
The above stats are from Goal Zero’s website
Inside the box are the Goal Zero Yeti 500X Power Station and Wall Charger. Solar panels are sold separately.
Goal Zero states that the 500X is “Designed to pack 20% more power into a 20% smaller and lighter shell than its predecessor, [making it ideal] for longer camping trips, backyard parties, or on-the-go power in case of an emergency.”
What Can You Power With The Yeti Solar Generator?
- Cameras: 70 Recharges
- Mobile Phones: 40 Recharges
- Tablets: 10 Recharges
- Laptops: 8 Recharges
- Medical Devices (CPAP machine): 10 Hours
- Pellet Grills: 9 Hours
- TVs: 3 Hours
Yeti 500X vs Jackery Explorer 500
Besides the power capacity being nearly identical at about 500Wh, both the Jackery Explorer 500 and Yeti 500X have a compact frame, carrying handle, and are very lightweight.
The Yeti 500X outweighs the Jackery 500 when it comes to output ports, though. With four USB ports, the Yeti beats Jackery’s three vertical ports. The Yeti also has two AC outlets when the Jackery only has one. This may not be a big deal overall, but when you need to charge up multiple batteries or devices, the Yeti should be the first pick.
When it comes to power output via the AC outlet, the Jackery Explorer can put out a whopping 500 watts of continuous power, whereas the 500X can only do 300 Watts.
However, Goal Zero states that their 500X can do 1200 Watts of surge power when the Jackery 500 does 1000 Watts. This is important for anyone considering using these generators with high-powered tools and appliances like blenders, heaters, portable AC units, and other items that require short-term, high power.
Overall, I would take the Yeti 500X over the Jackery due to more ports because I don’t see myself using this type of solar generator for much more than charging batteries and small appliances like fans.
What would you prefer to have? Let me know in the comments below!
What Solar Panels Go Well With The Yeti 500X?
Goal Zero has its own lineup of solar panels, both mountable (Boulder) and portable (Nomad).
Depending on what you prefer, both options offer similar wattage ranges.
The company just released its new line of Nomad solar panels, and a good Nomad panel for this type of generator would be the Nomad 50 because you can recharge your 500X in a day with one of these. Plus, it’s portable.
If you’re looking for more power, check out the Nomad 100, Boulder 100, or Boulder 200 solar panel options.
I wrote an article touching on the Boulder solar panel lineup from Goal Zero, so check it out if you think these mountable solar panels are more for you.
Charge time examples with goal zero solar panels:
- Nomad 20: Charges in 29-58 Hours
- Boulder 50: Charges in 12-24 Hours
- Boulder 100 Briefcase: Charges in 6-12 Hours
Solar panels tend to use about 80% of their capacity depending on the panel, the charge controller (MPPT or PWM), and the amount of sunlight that is available on any given day.
I also encourage you to seek other solar panel manufacturers. You can get a great deal on some solar panels with few setbacks if any. Just make sure that the connections are correct for the Yeti 500X.
Solar Generator Battery Longevity
In order to maintain your solar generator for years down the road, you want to follow some basic steps that can help extend the life of your generator.
Simple maintenance and understanding of the battery could save you from having to buy a new generator too soon.
Here are some basic tips for you and your new Yeti 500X solar generator:
1. Avoid deep-cycling the battery (draining the battery completely before recharging)
Lithium-Ion batteries do not need deep-cycling and it harms the battery. This strategy was only effective for Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries. The materials inside the older batteries are engineered completely differently than current lithium-ion ones.
2. Recharge the battery before storing it away
This is a MUST because the battery will not function at its best if you leave it on low battery for months before use. Recharge it and store it away for whatever occasion you may need it for.
3. Do not exceed the maximum solar input
The maximum input from solar panels is 180 Watts. Do not exceed this or the battery may burn out. This is an easy one to screw up if you do not know the wattage of the solar panel you’re using.
Extended Warranty with your Yeti Power Station
There is a little bonus that you get when you get the Yeti 500X and that is the extended warranty for a year! All you need to do is register your generator when you receive it. This coupon is located within the product manual.
Where can you find the manual for the Yeti 500X?
For more information, check out Goal Zero’s website. Also, see the short video below of the reveal of Goal Zero’s newest solar generator: