Pop revit solar panel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-09-2016, 08:52 AM   #1
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Name: Ward
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Pop revit solar panel

Casita 17' FD -


I want to install a solar panel on the top of my 17' FD. It looks like pop rivet is best method. I think it is far better to have a washer or back plate in the inside of the FD. Is it possible to access the inside of the roof? Would I have to totally remove the carpet and cut a hole in the roof backing board? If I do not use a washer or back plate will the pop rivet harm the fiberglass. One forum entry said to apply pressure to the pop rivet gun until you feel pressure that cut the rivet post, and smooth off the cut end.

Is there an adhesive strong enough to secure a 100W panel to a fiberglass trailer roof?

Thank you.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:16 AM   #2
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
Texas
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3M's VHB tape has kept my panels on the roof for two years.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:29 AM   #3
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Name: Francois
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drill holes in the roof???????

if you want this panel to be tiltable (angle it to the sun) I suppose you need to fasten a frame of some sort to the roof....but rivets would be the last thing I'd use because you cannot control (and monitor) the force applied to the surfaces (inside and outside)....my choice would be SS fasteners with nylock nuts...add to that if you want to modify/change the installation rivets are a bit of a pain to change out....

I have a flat roof...I mounted a permanent panel on my roof...I read that VHB tape is the preferred product for such an application but I worried about getting the thing off if I decided to change the panel or location so I just used some garden variety tape to begin with from your local harware store....I included some redundancy in the form of a lanyard...wires go down the fridge vent (NO holes)

it's been a year, the thing is still up there....I checked the tape this spring and it's in good shape.....I might add a 30W panel to the first this year....I'll mount it the same way...the roof is flat, the panel is flat and on top of that it's shielded from the wind behind roof vents....How much force could be exerted on the panels by wind???? Almost none I figure....

KISS
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:14 AM   #4
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Name: RogerDat
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I think removal of VHB tape involves using thin wire or nylon line like a cheese slicer, then solvent to clean up the part that is left behind. Don't recall who has done from the forum but here is a link to 3M page on it.

https://solutions.3m.com/3MContentRe...bute=ImageFile

I have my awning track attached with VHB, did it late last season but it has seen a large awning attached for several days during the fall of last year. No issues so far, knock on wood tabbed to fiberglass.

I too would not advocate using rivets for attachment. They make brackets that act as stand off mounts to put a little air flow under the panel, that cooling is considered good.

I think one of the better set ups I have seen was aluminum angle attached to roof with VHB (more tape surface than brackets) to form two ridges of aluminum, then brackets mounted to that. Got the air flow under panel for cooling, got can remove and replace panel by unscrewing bracket from attached aluminum angle iron strip.

One leg of the angle was taped to the roof, one leg stuck up and formed the edge.

Homemade versions of these $10 commercial ones with the "feet" part being longer than this model. https://rvsolarstore.com/index.php?r...product_id=112


Along the lines of these, but VHB attached rather than fasteners and globs of sealant. http://i57.tinypic.com/2pt0ymh.jpg
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:27 AM   #5
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
Texas
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i dispensed with the worries about tilting the panels by overbuilding my system. Two 100 watt monocrystaline panels attached flat to the roof feed two large AGM batteries wired parallel with a 1000 watt converter for the 110v stuff. I've rarely used enough to make more than a 20% dent in my storage, even with a couple of inches of snow on the roof.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:32 AM   #6
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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PLEASE do you homework if you think you want to use VHB tape. Its not as simple as you might think. I will be using bolts through the roof, even though I detest the idea of making more holes in the roof.

And remember that solar panels age out after a while and technology improves, so you will likely want to replace the panel(s) in 5-10 years.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:30 AM   #7
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Like the other Gordon says, VHB is Almost "permanent", when it does what it's supposed to do. I like to leave options available for future changes. But mostly, I don't think I'd rest easy knowing my panels are held by tape, despite the success of many forum members who have used it.

The option I use is neoprene well nuts (expansion nuts) and 3/4", 1/4"x20 bolts. Of course, this requires 1/2" holes in the roof. Nobody likes to drill holes in the roof. An advantage of these is that I can install them myself, from the top, and I can take the panels off quite easily (I've done it). I check for tightness from time to time, and they don't budge. The 1/4" or so of thread exposed on the ceiling are capped with nylon cap nuts, which will not drip with condensation during a cold night (recent outing proved it). Maybe my willingness to drill holes in the roof is due to my feeling that my 44 year old Scamp is "experimental". If it were new, I might feel differently.

Whatever you do, make sure you are comfortable with it. Many folks have great results with remote panels, but that option has its own set of issues.

Good Luck
Gordon
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:03 PM   #8
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Name: Ward
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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VHB tape and rails

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I think removal of VHB tape involves using thin wire or nylon line like a cheese slicer, then solvent to clean up the part that is left behind. Don't recall who has done from the forum but here is a link to 3M page on it.

https://solutions.3m.com/3MContentRe...bute=ImageFile

I have my awning track attached with VHB, did it late last season but it has seen a large awning attached for several days during the fall of last year. No issues so far, knock on wood tabbed to fiberglass.

I too would not advocate using rivets for attachment. They make brackets that act as stand off mounts to put a little air flow under the panel, that cooling is considered good.

I think one of the better set ups I have seen was aluminum angle attached to roof with VHB (more tape surface than brackets) to form two ridges of aluminum, then brackets mounted to that. Got the air flow under panel for cooling, got can remove and replace panel by unscrewing bracket from attached aluminum angle iron strip.

One leg of the angle was taped to the roof, one leg stuck up and formed the edge.

Homemade versions of these $10 commercial ones with the "feet" part being longer than this model. https://rvsolarstore.com/index.php?r...product_id=112


Along the lines of these, but VHB attached rather than fasteners and globs of sealant. http://i57.tinypic.com/2pt0ymh.jpg
I like this idea. All the posts are good. I just do not like the idea of drilling a hole in the roof. I suppose I have to drill a hole to pass the cables through. I think I remember someone posting that they used a plumbing vent hole to pass the electrical through. Is silicone the best sealant?

I do not see myself changing the angle of the panel by climbing on something to reach the top of the trailer (Enchilada) - perhaps if I were 40 years younger and had climbing shoes - sounds like at least a 5.9 climb.

Ward - AKA Wardo but Wardo was taken so now I'm WardDeaux
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:11 PM   #9
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Name: Ward
Trailer: Casita
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roof hold me @ 190#?

Will the roof of the Casita hold my weight while I am installing the solar panel? No spring chicken - 190 pounds. Avoiding drilling holes in the roof is lost if I break the sucker while standing on it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:44 PM   #10
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easy to find out...

just try it... in small increments....that's what I did and found out that I could do a jig up there (97BF17).....YMWV of course

another solution not mentioned (I think) for those that absolutely hate drilling holes in the roof (like me).......would be to fiberglass "sacrificial" wood "feet" to the roof and mount whatever you want with screws that will be half an inch shorter than the wood.....

this is sort of done in home contruction for posts on vinyl covered decks....

fiberglassing is easy to do....the hard part is getting a perfect finish/match.....but it's on the ROOF that NOBODY sees anyway...and it creates the cooling space underneath the panels...even if you wanted to get rid of the whole thing at a later date anyway it would be possible....cut/chop the feet off and a little sanding and painting later and hardly anybody would be the wiser.....except for you....and NO HOLES ever drilled through the roof!!!

lots of options...

right now I have a 40W on the roof...and a 40W "deployable".....I have a 30W still in the box that I will be installing on the roof as well
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:46 PM   #11
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I also set my solar panel 100 watts with 3M VHB tape RP25.

Then down the wire by the fan in the room bath.
I can install another panel 100 watts on the other side of the air conditioner, if necessary.
I followed the instructions of the installer on the following video:

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Old 05-09-2016, 02:06 PM   #12
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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In at least one failure with 3M VHB tape holding a solar panel on the roof, it appears that the gel coat actually ripped off, and where ever the solar panel landed on the side of the highway, no doubt the frame, VHB tape and the gel coat it was attached to are still firmly attached. You have been warned.

Its documented in this 53 page thread.. reserve a few hours to read it all. And I would read it all before I use VHB tape.

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f3...-off-5742.html
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:35 PM   #13
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Name: Jack L
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For many years I owned boats. I've installed many fittings on boats using 3M-5200 adhesive sealer. These installations were all below the waterline on boats that were moored year around and only dry docked once every few years. Some of the fittings required drilling a hole larger than 2". I never had a problem with any of them. When I Installed solar on my trailer, I used 5200 and stainless steel self taping screws. So far (3 years) no problems or leaks. The 4 holes in the roof for solar do not worry me at all. The roof vent, tank vents and refrigerator vent all are installed by the factory with about 50 screws and they do not leak either. The tape sounds wonderful and 3M products are great (follow insstructions) so I'm sure the tape does what they say it will do but I'm more comfortable with the mehod I used.
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:21 PM   #14
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I talked with a vendor fiberglass boats and he told me that in my case it has lost confidence in 3M tape to fix on the roof of the trailer that screw directly into the fiberglass.

He said that when he pierces the glass fiber to fix equipment, it must be certain that there is a piece of wood in the structure so that the screw firmly grip.

He said to me that pierce the glass fiber, no piece of wood on the other side to receive the screw, with time and vibration, a star forms in fiberglass and it can be easily torn ...
This does not occur with the 3M, He told me ...
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