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Discussion Starter #1
The Yeti 3000 goes for about $3200. The yeti link to power it from alternator is another $400.

Is it more cost effective to do it the old way, with separate components?
 

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Take a look at the Bluetti AC200, 2000 watts. Early orders for $1599, looks awesome. Will Prowse does a great review of it on YouTube - he was very impressed.
 

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This is likely to be a long thread as it depends on individual requirements and preferences. The yeti, etc. would not be suitable for mine.

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This forum is full of threads by people who did it the old way, Feel free to search for them.

Goal Zero, ect. is only recommended for people without electrical skills.
 

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As with many things you can buy the branded packaged solution and pay a lot or you can build your own for a lot less.
 

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There are a few intangible considerations when thinking about the Yeti or other packaged solutions* in addition to the considerations of cost of components and time and effort (and safety?) to build your own.

Some (generally positive) intangibles:

1) Very portable and compact. You can take it out of the van and use it anywhere including storing it elsewhere during the winter, or possibly leave it at base camp. It is very space efficient and simple cable management.
2) Resale value - I think that you could more easily sell a package solution than selling a pile of parts and cables if there comes a time to retire the van or upgrade to another situation.
3) Size of the installation - there is probably a threshold somewhere regarding how large an installation you are starting with and growing to. The larger your ultimate installation the less cost effective the packaged solution will be.
4) Per #3 above, there is also probably a threshold at the low end where at a certain size it just makes more sense to go with the package rather than doing all the planning and installation yourself - you can't beat the plug and play it just works.
5) Summarizing #3 and #4 = the smaller the system the less sense it makes to cobble it all together yourself. Depending on how you value your time and resources that threshold will vary. I'd think that less than 1500 watt/hrs it would not be worth the time and energy to build your own; over 3000 watt/hrs it becomes pretty compelling.

There are many downsides which I won't dwell on, but include repairability, scalability, and upgrading individual components over time as technology and cost change.


* We need to come up with a better generic name for these all-in-one battery packs. The industry has been calling them generators which makes very little sense. Suggestions?
 

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* We need to come up with a better generic name for these all-in-one battery packs. The industry has been calling them generators which makes very little sense. Suggestions?
In the industry they are called BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems). I prefer electricity tanks.
 
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* We need to come up with a better generic name for these all-in-one battery packs. The industry has been calling them generators which makes very little sense. Suggestions?
You hit on a hot button of mine there. The term "solar generator" drives me nuts. A generator is "a dynamo or similar machine for converting mechanical energy into electricity ".

Back OT, you make some good points as to the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-made power source. For me, repair-ability, knowledge of the system and selection of what components are used is the deciding factor.
 

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You hit on a hot button of mine there. The term "solar generator" drives me nuts. A generator is "a dynamo or similar machine for converting mechanical energy into electricity ".
Why is this a "hot button?" "Solar generator" is crystal clear to me. It would use a solar panel to run an electric motor to power the generator that produces electricity.
 

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Why is this a "hot button?" "Solar generator" is crystal clear to me. It would use a solar panel to run an electric motor to power the generator that produces electricity.
Ahahaha! Virginia, there IS a solar generator! Mr. Goldberg would be proud of you.
 

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I highly agree with Mr Savages comment.
I am very handy with electrical work having had rvs but when with goal zero modular for the van. If cost is an issue goal zero really adds up on the cabling. If you ever have to remove it you can in an a hurry without cutting cables etc. I went with goal zero yeti 1000 with solar tracking add on and two boulder 100‘S run the largest domestic fridge chest no prob round the clock with avg 70-80% power left in the bank after night. Some credit cards offer extended coverage and to savages point if an issue comes up swap is easy. Mind you it has only been a few months so we will see reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Getting back on topic, a yeti 3000x costs $3200. The yeti link to run off the alternator cost about $420. If I’m not mistaken that gives a lithium battery with 3000 watts and 280 AH, a 2000 watt inverter, a charge controller, an isolator, outlets etc. Not including labor how much would it cost to have a battery setup w similar components and capability?
 

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Getting back on topic, a yeti 3000x costs $3200. The yeti link to run off the alternator cost about $420. If I’m not mistaken that gives a lithium battery with 3000 watts and 280 AH, a 2000 watt inverter, a charge controller, an isolator, outlets etc. Not including labor how much would it cost to have a battery setup w similar components and capability?
What is the charge rate and voltage of the solar charge controller? What is the charge rate of the DC to DC charger and can it automatically connect/disconnect with ignition on/off?

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I've had a variety of Yeti for about 5 years now and they have served me well. Started out with a Sherpa 50 for motorcycle trips. Then went up to a 400, linked to a 100w solar panel for an off road trailer that I built. Next was a 1000 unit for the back of my Jeep to power a refrigerator. Last year I bought the 3000 to use in a workshop that didn't have power knowing that I was going to build a van out and transfer it to that, which I have now done. In the van I use the 3000 and 1000 as the main power source with the 400 as a portable unit for outside. The 3000 is linked to the alternator with the Link unit and charges very fast. I connected it through a breaker using 2 of the CCP's with the negative going straight to the battery terminal. On top I have 3 100w solar panels that I can use to charge any of the batteries by simply plugging in the cable.
I bought most of them during Goal Zero annual sales which if I remember correct is around 20% off, which makes a huge difference on say the Yeti 3000. Over the course of 5 years all are still going strong. The Sherpa 50 I now use as a power source for electronic projects, so all are still in use. If I take the Jeep out then it is no problem to grab the 1000 from the van. Overall it makes for a very clean, flexible and easy install, with the price point being comparable with other conventional methods. If there is a downside, the only thing I have noticed is that the Yeti's won't accept a charge if the temperature is freezing or below, until of course you move them to a warmer place. They will however still output a charge. I took the Jeep and trailer to Baja just over a year ago. We went on some pretty gnarly off road tracks bouncing up and down, getting sand and dust everywhere and still the Yeti's performed without missing a beat.
Do I like my Yeti's after 5 years of real constant use? No, I love them.
 

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I am an electrician by trade, I have ALL the skills and tools to build my own system. I think some Purists are purely missing the point of an all in one system. If you have a van set up like mine will be for weekend adventuring (not living the van life bruh) it serves as a power supply that can be continuously charged via the alternator/solar in the van. Living here in the northeast we have power outages quite often and if the Yeti can serve as my van power constantly being charged and run my van set up and serve me well but also pull double duty if I have a power outage at the house it's a win win. A few quick cable disconnects in a power outage and boom, I have a portable power bank I can slap in the house in an emergency. To me, it just makes more sense if I'm spending all that money anyway to have something that pulls double duty and in that case is well worth the invenstment vs just running my van.
 

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I'm a fan of the Yeti 3000, using it for the past year.

I think I could have build it cheaper but not likely smaller or more elegantly put together. It's easy to move around the van if your plans change. It can also be part of your house strategy if you have a disaster recovery plan requirement.

You will get it for 20% off, in the $2600 range when you get it from REI on their semi annual sale.

The newer Yeti X series (same price) is a clear upgrade with a bigger inverter and built-in MPPT. For Van use, you will probably want to take the 12V output to a 12V distribution panel so you can drive a handful of 12v devices.

I bought the van to use it rather than to build it and the Yeti was the best choice for me. Your requirements and interests may drive you to a different answer.
 
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