The Big Mistake Goal Zero Made With Their Yeti Power Stations
August 2020 Update: Goal Zero has released a new Yeti 200X, 500X, No products found., 3000X, and 6000X. They’re also about to release the new 1000X soon. All of these finally have a regulated 12V output, so you’re no longer going to have to use the Goal Zero regulated 12V cable to properly power a 12V fridge/freezer. It’s still going to be needed with the older Yeti models.
Goal Zero makes power stations/solar generators that basically are 12V batteries in a box with a solar charge controller, an inverter, and other outputs. One of those outputs is the 12V output, often called the cigarette lighter plug. Most vehicles have cigarette lighter plugs that can run 12V devices.
Not all 12V outputs are created equal though, some are regulated while some aren’t. Unfortunately, Goal Zero decided to put non-regulated 12V outputs on the Yeti, which is a problem if you want to run some 12V devices like the Dometic fridges popular in van builds.
A problem with non-regulated 12V outputs is that they become less powerful the lower the battery voltage goes. So while you might be able to power a certain device when the battery is full, it will shut off as soon as the battery reaches a certain state of charge.
Related Post: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Vs Jackery Explorer 500
So if you plug a 50W light into a fully charged Yeti, it will be able to max the power and deliver 50W to the light, but if your Yeti happens to be at 20% state of charge, this light might only receive 20W and therefore not be as bright.
With a device like a 12V light, it might not be a big issue, but when you start using devices that depend more on the correct voltage, like a Dometic fridge, freezer, vacuum, or a power-hungry fan, it’s going to make a bigger difference. These devices often have their own low-voltage cutoff, which means that it might not even turn on when the battery is at 100% if the 12V plug can’t output the correct voltage.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to plug your 12V devices like LED lights, inverters, or a fridge/freezer into a regulated 12V output that can consistently deliver the correct voltage. But there is hope even if you have a Dometic fridge.
Goal Zero’s Solution Is A Regulated 12V Cable
Goal Zero has realized that this is a problem and I can imagine it’s because they’ve received a lot of negative feedback due to this. Customers buy portable power stations to cover their power needs when traveling in cars, vans, and RVs, so Goal Zero should’ve expected that people will be using 12V fridges and other 12V devices that depend on a consistent voltage.
Fortunately, in a way, Goal Zero didn’t only release new Yeti power stations with a regulated 12V output and told their customers to go upgrade, but they released an adapter that you can use with the current Yeti 1000, Yeti 1400, and Yeti 3000.
Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 12V Regulated Cable
The 12V regulated cable connects to the Anderson Power Pole output found on the Yeti lithiums, and leads to an empty Anderson Power Pole port and a regulated 12V cigarette lighter plug. This is the plug you should connect 12V devices to.
Related Post: 5 Ways To Charge Your Yeti Faster
Goal Zero 12V regulated cable can handle up to 15 amps, so you could connect several 12V devices as long as you don’t draw more than 15 amps or 180 watts.
What Is A Good 12V Fridge/Freezer To Use With A Yeti?
A popular fridge/freezer combo that works great with a Yeti and a regulated 12V cable is the Dometic CFX 50W. Dometic sells fridges and freezers in several different sizes and is one of those devices that need a regulated 12V port to run properly.
Dometic CFX 50W
The reason I recommend the Dometic is not only because it’s popular but it’s from a company that knows what they’re doing when it comes to refrigerators and freezers. If you go online and look at van builds, they’re most likely using a Dometic fridge/freezer combo.
Dometic is aware that these fridges are popular for travelers nowadays and have added modern smart-features that make them easy to use and monitor.
What About The Yeti 400 Lithium?
The adapter above is not compatible with the Yeti 400 lithium out of the box since it is missing an APP output. What you need is a 6mm to 45 amp Anderson power pole adapter and you can buy one directly from Goal Zero if you give them a call at 888-794-6250 or send an email to [email protected].
I also recommend taking a look at the Jackery Explorer 500 which is a lot like the Yeti 400 lithium but comes with a regulated 12V output. I have compared the two in a separate post.
Does It Work With The Lead-Acid Yeti Power Stations (150, 400, and 1250)?
No, it’s not compatible with any non-lithium Yet power station. Based on what I have read, the Yeti lead-acid power stations don’t have the same issue though.
Let me know if you have any other questions by leaving a comment down below.
12 thoughts on “How To Run A Dometic 12V Fridge/Freezer With Goal Zero Yeti”
Thank you for your very well-written and researched content!
This is one of the best blogs I have come across on this specific subject (brands).
For 1 person living in their vehicle who wants to keep cost in mind..
Would you be willing to make recommendation on an everyday setup for 1 full-time nomad?
Minimalist and cost-conscious.
Wanting to run: Cell, Small laptop, 40L CFX Dometic portable fridge. I live in AZ (mostly sunny).
Read over but still don’t completely understand what’s recommended (I have the yeti 150. Will have to return).
Have cognitive impairment and can’t understand well enough to be confident in such an expensive purchase.
Just want cold food, lol.. A setup I can use everyday.
If you have any suggestion, I would be forever greatful!
Would likely just purchase whatever you suggest.
If so, let me know if there is a way I can donate to your blog.
Hello Erica, thanks for your comment.
So it looks like the Dometic fridge uses about 200-250 watt-hours per day. A small laptop uses about 50W per hour when it’s charging, and the cell only a couple of watts. This means that if you want to use your laptop for 4+ hours and charge your phone for two hours, you’re going to be using at least 450-500 watt-hours per day.
Laptop: 200Wh (4 hours)
Since you’re going to power the fridge with a 12V DC output, you should get a power station with a regulated 12V cigarette port. Most cheaper portable power stations don’t have this.
The bare minimum would be a Jackery Explorer 500, but I recommend the Jackery Explorer 1000. It’s a lot of money but when you want to power a fridge, you’re going to want to have enough extra battery to last a cloudy day or two.
The Explorer 500 has a 518Wh battery capacity, and the Explorer 1000 a 1002Wh battery capacity.
To recharge the battery, I recommend the portable Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel.
Let me know if you have any questions.
THANK YOU for your response.
I had not considered the Jackery. Reviews check out as a much better fit for what I need.
*I am going to move forward on the setup you recommended.*
Going with minimum setup (Jackery Explorer 500), with possibility of upgrading in future.
Extremely helpful. Appreciate you taking the time.
*Will recommend this website to anyone who inquires on how I decided on my solar setup.*
Very much looking forward to receiving and hooking it all up! 🙂
Awesome, glad I could help! Let me know if you have any questions in the future. And thank you!
Question, as a 1250 owner, I assume a 1250 made in 2017 doesn’t have regulted DC output. Ideas on how to deal with this ? or do I just use the AC connection and eat the inefficiencies of having to run through the inverter? Thanks!
I might be wrong but I think the Yeti 1250 has a regulated output already.
I’ve got an earlier (pb-acid) 1250 as well and the 12v output doesn’t power my Dometic CFX3 35. The AC supply works, and the 12v outlet in the vehicle powers the fridge – so I’m wondering the same thing Andy is; do I just have to eat the 12v – 120v inverter inefficiency? I’m going to contact Goal Zero – so I’ll let you know what I find out.
Yes I would just use the AC inverter, and honestly I don’t think there is going to be a massive difference in power consumption. You’re going to hear the fans turn on more though which might bother you depending on how and where you use it.
“6mm to 45 amp Anderson power pole adapter and you can buy one directly from Goal Zero if you give them a call . . .” Unfortunately, Goal Zero says they no longer have these . . . any suggestions on where to find?
Darn, sorry I have no idea. That’s going to be hard to find.
I have a CFX and a Yeti 400 with the lead battery and I still have the problem.
But from what I’m reading there is no solution?
Unfortunately not, since Goal Zero has moved on and don’t sell a solution anymore.