Difference between revisions of "DC Microgrid/Yeti"

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(documenting our hacks at cccamp19)
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Latest revision as of 20:51, 8 September 2019

Goal Zero Yeti Hacking

Release status: beta [box doku]

Description Taming the Yeti portable power thingie
Author(s)  Severin

We borrowed a Goal Zero Yeti 400 "power bank" from our friends at Rehab Republic for CCCamp19. It has ~400Wh of battery capacity, and an inverter, which seemed like a nice addition to our solar setup.

DIY Solar Panel charging

Unfortunately, Goal Zero uses a proprietary "8mm connector" for its charging port. Thanks to @northalpha on Twitter, we figured out the connector is compatible to the round Lenovo Thinkpad charger connector (the "newer" one with the additional pin in the middle). The proper measurements for this connector seem to be 7.9mm outside diameter, 5.5mm inside diameter, and 0.8mm for the middle pin.

Since we had quite a few of Lenovo PSUs in our PSU bin at the lab, we took one, cut the cable off, and connected it very professionally to a 100W solar panel.

Comparison between the Yeti 8mm plug and the Lenovo charging plug by @northalpha on Twitter
We replaced the original cabling on the panel with some simple 2x1.5mm cable...
... and the connected that cable to the old Lenovo PSU cable

IMPORTANT: The charging port on the Yeti 400 can deal with up to 29V, so make sure you have solar panels that don't go over that.

Maximum power we got out of the panel into the Yeti were 88W, which was much more than we expected, especially since the panel we used was quite old.

Our observed charging power peak at 88W

Other potential hacks

  • Power metering for charging
  • Integration into DC microgrid, via Powerpole ports or the 12V socket up front.