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 > How are your solar panels mounted?

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cowolter

US

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Posted: 03/29/20 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Used the Renogy mounting kit along with well nuts and some rv sealant.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 03/30/20 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I might see using tape if you've got a solid material roof, like sheet metal or fiberglass."

yes, might? no. 100% the VHB tape is effective on a fiberglass or metal roof. rubber roof, then you have to use other methods. The tape may or may not stick to rubber, but issues arise as to how well the rubber is stuck to the roof. I have not used any method on a rubber roof and don't claim anything about rubber roofs, just fiberglass and metal, nothing more.
Clean the surface before applying. It will take up to 24 hours for the bond to reach full strength.

If someone has not used VHB tape and just has opinion, then take it at that.

Having used VHB tape for a lot of applications, I can attest that it is quite adequate. I have removed it many times also; it takes a lot of force to pull it free. I bet you could hold the panels on with as little as two thumb size pieces. I have always had to use a 1500 degree heat gun to melt the chemical bond to remove pieces, and then it takes a scraper or a lot of pulling.
If you drove down the road at 110 mpg with a person hanging on the panel for dear life it would probably still hold just fine. I think the roof would rip off before that tape let go.
I'm not sure why there is opinions of its strength, but I just wanted to clear it up, as it is a great resource for RVers. Tuck it away in your bag of tricks.

Of course, other times might call for screwing things in, and many here seem to be big fans of screws into fiberglass or metal, and that is fine. Each has his preference.

* This post was edited 03/30/20 11:45am by ajriding *

bpounds

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Posted: 03/30/20 12:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AJ, I love VHB tape. I can see it working on hard surface roofs. Still wouldn't be my first choice.

But you're in a travel trailer forum. Other than the Airstream and a few others, not many have solid rigid roofs. We just need to be clear about where it is appropriate. In my opinion your concern over roof penetrations is a little overblown. I doubt if Airstream uses VHB to secure anything to their roof. And doing so would be a real money saver. I suppose they've never heard of it, right? LOL.


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teejaywhy

Gilbert, AZ

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Posted: 03/30/20 05:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Considering mounting a panel to my existing roof rack (nervous about drilling into roof).

Anyone seen this done? Good idea? The only con I see is possibly aerodynamic as it will be riding 6-8" above the roof.


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Crabbypatty

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Posted: 03/31/20 04:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I opted to lay them flat. Went to hardware store and bought a 4 foot piece of angle aluminum. Used the chop saw to make uniform size brackets about 2 inches each. I screwed them into side of panel careful not to screw into the panel only the frame. Applied a generous amount of Dicor roof sealant flipped it over and placed on roof where i wanted it. Once screwed in I covered the screwed head and around he outside of the bracket with more Dicor. Never a leak mounted 6 panels that way. Highway speeds no problem. Charging no problem.

PS attach your wire or at least a long enough pig tail to make the electrical connections.


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ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 04/01/20 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

6-8 inches is high. Is this at the front or the rear of the roof?
It still might be protected somewhat by the roof turbulence.

Look up some photos or videos of how air flows over a vehicle roof of a trailer. The air will hit the front, then make a high arch over the first 5-6 feet (who knows...) of the roof then descend back down closer. The air next to the roof will always be turbulent, so your panels, if in the turbulent air, will not be hit with highway speed forces.

An aero camper roof would have a large bubble on top of the front half or third of the roof to match this air flow shape, not flat all the way. You see some class-c campers like this.

I would never drill holes into my roof unless I had to, but that's me, but as other mention, you can do so and never have leaks. It just requires attention to monitor the state of your sealant, and re-application of Lap sealant as needed. If you need to drill then do what you need to do.

On a note about the wires.
I used little plastic wire holders from Radio Shack. These are 1.5 inch square plastic pieces with a wire hold on top where you can zip tie a wire to, and pre-installed foam tape under. Meant for stereo systems in your house probably, but works on the roof. This keeps the wires from moving, and is a little neater than using Lap sealant to spot weld it down.
Important also: I then cover all the wires with wire loom. This protects the wires from the UV light. I used white to stay cooler, but black will work too. Cover anything that is exposed to the sun. This will keep wires from cracking over the years since the panels are supposed to last up to 20 years.

babock

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Posted: 04/03/20 09:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ajriding wrote:

It just requires attention to monitor the state of your sealant, and re-application of Lap sealant as needed.
You have to go up and inspect lap sealant anyway on all the other huge holes on the roof. I have had to replace more of the lap sealant that the factory has put up there on everything else than the solar panels I put up. The lap sealant area for the 4 solar panels I put up is just a fraction of the total lap sealant up there.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 04/08/20 10:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, lets stop discussing if putting a hole in the roof is as good as not putting a hole in the roof. This is a pointless and futile discussion.

babock

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Posted: 04/08/20 03:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ajriding wrote:

OK, lets stop discussing if putting a hole in the roof is as good as not putting a hole in the roof. This is a pointless and futile discussion.
LOL....of course! We all know its better to screw them down....that is except you.

Vintage465

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Posted: 04/08/20 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

babock wrote:

ajriding wrote:

OK, lets stop discussing if putting a hole in the roof is as good as not putting a hole in the roof. This is a pointless and futile discussion.
LOL....of course! We all know its better to screw them down....that is except you.


My thought.........2 cents worth. The roof was built by humans with good materials. Hopefully they used the good materials blended with some skill and abilities. Where am I going with this? The factory workers aren't magicians. They are humans like us. We have all the same stuff available to us to do this work. We can do just as good or very likely better than what they do. I personally have no fear of punching holes all over my roof.........cause I-gots-da-skeeeeeels and all the right stuff to cut holes, mount things, do maintenance and make repairs to my roof. You also get to know your roof better too. I say do it!


V-465
2013 GMC 2500HD Duramax Denali. 2015 CreekSide 20fq w/450 watts solar and 465 amp/hour of batteries. Retiring in 2021, then look-out road, here we come!

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