Goal Zero Sherpa 50 Recharging Kit E-mail
Monday, 09 September 2013 00:00

sherpa501 The GoalZero Sherpa 50 Solar Recharging Kit is a handy "go-anywhere" portable power source, consisting the Sherpa 50 Power Pack and the Nomad 13 Solar Panel.

The Sherpa 50 Power pack has a flexible design with muliple charging input types and multiple output types.

Power Pack Capacity

Built using Lithium-Ion batteries (six 3.6V, 2.6 Ah), the Power Pack has a theoretical capacity of 57.2 Wh. That's enough to recharge a large smartphone about six times, or a GoPro camera about 12 times. It is also equivalent to a 5.2Ah 12V battery- enough to power many low to medium-end fishfinders for a full day of fishing. The Power Pack output is protected with a 10A standard automobile-type fuse.

Charging

The Kit comes with various options for charging.

  • The Nomad 13 Solar Panel is capable of charging the Power Pack in eight-16 hours, depending on the strength of the sun and the angle of impact on the solar panel.
  • Multiple Nomad 13 Solar Panels can be chained together for faster charge times.
  • The Power Pack can charge from an AC wall charger in three hours.
  • The Power Pack can charge from 12V car charger in three to four hours.

Outputs

There are various output types to support various devices.

  • For USB devices, a standard 5V, 0-1.5A (7W max) regulated output port is provided.
  • A regulated 12V, 0-6A (75W max) supply is output via a 6.0mm connector.
  • For 19V laptop applications, a 7.4mm port is provided. It supports 0.5A (75W max).

There is also a 9V-13V, 0-10A (75W max) unregulated output port on the side of the Sherpa 50. This port supports an optional Sherpa Inverter that comes in 2 flavors-  110V or 220V AC output.

Usage

Earlier this summer, KFM had the opportunity to give the Sherpa 50 a good test. We took it out on Oregon's John Day River for four days. We had multiple GoPro batteries to charge, in addition to cell phones that were pressed into duty as GPS devices. At the end of every day we'd put the unit out for three to four hours to charge in the late afternoon sun. While this limited period was not ideal, the Sherpa 50 provided enough additional charging to the Power Pack (fully charged at the beginning of the trip) to keep us powered for the full trip.

On the last afternoon of that trip we did have some technical difficulties, which were debugged with the help of customer service when the trip was complete. Apparently, if the unit gets too hot the output ports can cease to operate. Unfortunately, this trip occured during a heat wave, and we dealt with daily 100+ degree temperatures. Indeed, the GoPro that was plugged in that last afternoon did not charge. When the problem developed, the charging unit was also in a tent, which raised temps even more. To avoid this problem, one must be aware of where the Sherpa 50 is used and try to avoid overly hot locations. If using outside, place the Power Pack in the open air and in the shade.

Despite the one overheating issue, the Sherpa 50 Solar Kit did an adequate job of keeping us powered over the course of the trip. While we primarily used the USB output, the 110V inverter came in handy when we didn't have the right USB cable but did have a wall plug cable. And, while we didn't run fishfinder electronics on this trip, with the right connectors the Power Pack itself has enough juice to power some fishfinders using the 12V output. At an MSRP price of $360, the unit may seem on the expensive side. But when you need power and there are no other sources around,  the Sherpa 50 Solar Recharging Kit is a reasonable solution.

 

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