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Author Topic: How to fasten solar panels  (Read 2472 times)

123pieguy

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How to fasten solar panels
« on: February 02, 2014, 11:07:36 AM »
Hi guys!  Been reading this forum for a while now - what a great resource for getting familiar with RVing! So I have just registered.  Wife and I just bought a used Aerolite Zoom 18 foot travel trailer and are looking forward to getting it on the road for the first time.  Right now we are getting it cleaned up, new cushions made, figuring out the basics.

Been playing with solar panels for a little bit and hope to put two 100 watt panels on the limited space on the not so large roof.  Have two Interstate 27 deep cycle batteries that I have to figure out where to put; but .. my main concern is how to attach the panels to the roof.  Just read a post about someone using 3M 4941 adhesive tape to attach them without putting any bolt holes in the roof.  The poster claimed the adhesive really grabs the roof and holds his panels as good as screws/bolts.  Any of you all have experience with using adhesives for your solar panels?  I am really tempted as I prefer not to put any additional holes in the exterior if I can help it.

I having gotten to where/how I will lead the wiring into the cabin itself; maybe through the side.  Anyway - just glad to be here!

mikef

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 11:28:54 AM »
Welcome! Not sure I would trust any adhesive tape for that application. Can't offer any better suggestions than bolting down, but I want to follow this post, because solar has also peaked my interest.
1992 Winnebago Chieftain 32'
460 Ford chassis, New long block

123pieguy

  • Posts: 3
Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 12:35:41 PM »
Here's the posting page of the message regarding the 3m VHB 4941 tape:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=62981.0

Right now on page 12 of messages for trailers/5th wheels.

driftless shifter

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 02:41:17 PM »
Depends on roof construction. Tape it to a membrane roof and it might just beak the adhesive bond of the membrane to the roof. You might end up with a solar kite. Investigate further, much further.

Bill
Bill & Nan
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93 bounder 34, chevy chassis
couple of aircooled vw's, 1 fast(sold), 1 reliable(sold).  Dubless : (
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I'm an analog guy in a digital age.

Simon and B

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 09:51:39 PM »
Also consider whether you want to attach it so that it's always flat on the roof, or on a pivot so you can angle to to catch more sun.

Wanderman

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 07:54:05 AM »
Mounting Solar Panels, especially the heavier aluminum framed glass versions to a roof with VHB is dicey. I have seen it work well on smaller panels and on Aluminum and fiberglass (WELL CLEANED AND PREPPED!!), but I wouldn't trust small pieces of tape to make sure your panels aren't vanishing on the highway.

A long while ago, I had to make some of the same decision. I have a very small Class A with a tiny roof and had to find a way to get the most watts up there with the lowest weight. Once that was sorted out, I knew I didn't want additional through holes that would likely cause leaks down the road. I opted for 3M's Paralastic adhesive line. It is has properties of a high-end construction adhesive, and the elastic stretch and shock absorbing of a silicone. I've had panels up there for the last 3+ years and they have NEVER moved or lifted. Now, I AM using semi-flexible panels that have the adhesive in a thin plane edge to edge.

The original story is here:
http://www.thewanderman.com/2011/11/better-solar-charging-mouse-trap-part-1.html

Subsequently, the original China sourced semi-flexible panels failed and I had to find a newer, US sourced alternative. That actually turned out rather well. A bit more power, less space used and I can get them without overseas shipping!!

Here's that story:

http://www.thewanderman.com/2013/10/new-solar-better-than-old-solar-part-1.html

Bear in mind these articles are rather lengthy, and cover the entire research, development, purchase and install of the system.

Lots of folks seem to find them useful, though.

YMMV!

Rich "The Wanderman"

Ken & Sheila

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 08:51:20 AM »
I know that AM Solar has been using the tape method for years and when I had mine installed they said they had had no failures. That said I don't know if they use it on just fiberglass roof or if they also do it on membrane roofs. One of the keys to their success is preparation of the roof and the "foot". Being a chicken, I had the tape used, but also had the leading edge feet screwed down. When they screwed down the front feet they pre-drilled, filled the hole with dicor, then the screwed and then covered with more dicor.

ken
Ken & Sheila
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 09:59:37 AM »
I've poked numerous holes in RV roofs for various things. It's a non-issue as long as you do the job right. Ken outlined the technique in the previous post:  pre-drill, caulk the hole, screw down the bracket, and caulk again over top.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

123pieguy

  • Posts: 3
Re: How to fasten solar panels
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 07:52:34 AM »
Hey - appreciate all the comments, suggestions, and cautions.  I am having second thoughts about using only tape for fastening the panels.  My Zoom 718fd trailer has a "EPDM rubber roofing membrane" roof, so I may need to at least bolt down the leading roof fasteners, as one person suggested.

Looking at the specs for my roof, it appears to be made by Dicor.  Since I have seen numerous postings about using "Dicor" sealant to seal any drilled holes, I assume this Dicor sealant does NOT contain any petroleum distillates?  The roof specs caution against using any petroleum products on a membrane roof.  I am just being cautious, and am curious if any of you all have rubber roofs and have used Dicor sealant without any problems?

Thanks, Wanderman, for the reference to your installation presentation - great instructions I have already pdf'd for future reference.

 

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