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Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator diy project

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The Yeti-400

The Yeti 400 is a nice little unit. It looks nice. It performs well. If you like to buy off the shelf it’s a good choice.

However, it isn’t cheap. At $459.95 you’re buying a quality item at a premium price.

If you want to save some money, and you don’t mind a little workshop time, you can create a solar generator that will exceed the capabilities of the Yeti 400 for about 60% of the cost. Let’s check out the options.

What’s in the Yeti 400?

AGM battery 33 amphour 396 watthour
Pure Sine Wave Inverter 300 watt
Charge controller 10 amp (120 watt)
Input ports 1 x 8MM for solar panel or wall charger
Output ports 2 x USB, 2 x 120W ac, 2 x 6mm (12v), 1 x car socket (12v)

 

The Yeti 400 does not come with a solar panel or a wall charger, which means you have no way of charging it out of the box. 

Cost of DIY parts

ML35-12 – 12V 35AH Deep Cycle AGM Solar Battery  $63.99
Wagan EL2601 Elite 400W Pro Pure Sine Inverter  $144.26
Sun YOBA 20A LCD Solar Panel Battery Regulator Charge Controller 12V 24V Auto Switch $28.99
 NOCO HM318BKS Group 24-31 Snap-Top Battery Box for Automotive, Marine, and RV Batteries  $8.94
 Marine Grade Cigarette Lighter Socket 12 VDC  $6.48
 Sabrent 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub with Individual Power Switches and LEDs (HB-UMLS)  $6.99
 allowance for additional wires, connectors, fuses etc.  $20.00
 Total cost of DIY Parts  $279.65

 

These components will enable you to build a clone of the Yeti 400. You will save over $180 on the retail item, and have a lot of fun building it yourself.

But that’s not all. Compare our DIY components with the Yeti 400, and you’ll see that we actually end up with a much improved solar generator in the process:

  1. The Yeti battery is 33ah. Ours is 35ah.
  2. The Yeti inverter is 300 watts, ours is 400 watts
  3. The Yeti charge controller is 10 amp (120 watt), ours is 20 amp (240 watt)

This means we can run our unit at a higher rate for longer, and charge it from a larger solar panel or wall charger.
 

Add a solar panel and Wall charger to complete your project.

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel  $149.98
 BINZET AC 100-240V to DC 12V 10A Converter Adapter 120W High Power supply LED Driver Transformer 10A 120W Adapter with 3-Prong Plug 12 Volt 10 Amp for 3528 5050 SMD LED Lamp Light Strip With 5mm DC Output Jack $17.99
 Total extra cost  $167.98

 

Do the sums! The total cost of our project including wall charger and solar panel is $447.62. So we have a complete working solar generator and still have $12.33 in our pocket from the original Yeti 400 price. Go figure!

Need some technical help with the project? Here’s a nice little eBook that explains the whole process. It  also contains a lot of useful general information about solar energy. At $3.75, it’s a good investment.

 View the components list on Amazon

About Rex

I'm an ex-navy radio man who is passionate about energy independence. I look forward to the day when all our power needs come from renewable sources.

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