Adding Solar to Bigfoot Roof - Fiberglass RV



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Old 06-17-2019, 10:23 AM   #1
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Adding Solar to Bigfoot Roof

I just bought this, this and this. Renogy 100w starter kit, AM Solar mounting kit and sikaflex sealant.

I did double up on mounting kits...The one that comes with the solar kit is aluminum, the mounts I bought are stainless. Not sure if I wasted money, but since the kit from AM Solar came with the 3m VHB tape and is meant to have everything I need for no-hole mounting, it made sense. VHB is $20 on it's own, so worst case, I wasted $20 getting two mounting kits. Doesn't hurt that the kit I bought is the "Bigfoot" mounting kit.

I'll post photos and the process I use once they show up and I get a chance to install them. Then of course I'll let you know if they fly off my roof.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:52 AM   #2
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I found this the other day when I first learned some zip-ties are better for solar installs than others...
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.co...olar-projects/
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I just bought this, this and this. Renogy 100w starter kit, AM Solar mounting kit and sikaflex sealant.

I did double up on mounting kits...The one that comes with the solar kit is aluminum, the mounts I bought are stainless. Not sure if I wasted money, but since the kit from AM Solar came with the 3m VHB tape and is meant to have everything I need for no-hole mounting, it made sense. VHB is $20 on it's own, so worst case, I wasted $20 getting two mounting kits. Doesn't hurt that the kit I bought is the "Bigfoot" mounting kit.

I'll post photos and the process I use once they show up and I get a chance to install them. Then of course I'll let you know if they fly off my roof.

ZachO...
...thanks for posting this. Which BF model do you have? We have a 25RQ on order. We will be installing solar soon after delivery of our BF. I will be going the same route as you regarding no-hole mounts. I'm very interested in your experience with the installation and use of your system. Thanks Again!
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:58 AM   #4
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Hey Daniel. I've got a 1991 17' Gaucho. A little less roof space than you'll have! But still plenty for even another 100w panel if decided to add one.

All depends. Right now I live in my camper 6 months a year, so the idea of being able to work from the camper and avoid the office sounds really nice, which would mean being able to keep a laptop charged for 6 or so hours a day. That requires a more complicated, expensive system than anyone would need for just "camping" and running some lights, water pump, furnace.

For now, I'm not prepared to put too much money or work into this. I just want to see if I can keep my battery charged without having to set up (and haul around) my portable panels.

I'll definitely update the thread with photos and thoughts. Not sure when I'll get to it, but hopefully fairly soon after they show up. Otherwise they're either taking up space in the back of my truck, or the office, which isn't ideal.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by OCJohn View Post
I found this the other day when I first learned some zip-ties are better for solar installs than others...
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.co...olar-projects/
I hadn't heard of using zip ties at all until this. Not sure I'll use them in my installation. I definitely always have some on hand, though.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I just bought this, this and this. Renogy 100w starter kit, AM Solar mounting kit and sikaflex sealant.

I did double up on mounting kits...The one that comes with the solar kit is aluminum, the mounts I bought are stainless. Not sure if I wasted money, but since the kit from AM Solar came with the 3m VHB tape and is meant to have everything I need for no-hole mounting, it made sense. VHB is $20 on it's own, so worst case, I wasted $20 getting two mounting kits. Doesn't hurt that the kit I bought is the "Bigfoot" mounting kit.

I'll post photos and the process I use once they show up and I get a chance to install them. Then of course I'll let you know if they fly off my roof.
It was a good idea to buy the VHB mounting tape from the solar company. A lot of people don't realize that 3M has a great many variations of VHB tape and many of them would not be suitable for the surface such as fiberglass versus metal versus painted versus unpainted. Or rated for the high temperatures that can happen on a metal RV roof. You can't just walk into a store and buy any old 3M VHB tape as they are not all created equal.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I just bought this, this and this. Renogy 100w starter kit, AM Solar mounting kit and sikaflex sealant.

I did double up on mounting kits...The one that comes with the solar kit is aluminum, the mounts I bought are stainless. Not sure if I wasted money, but since the kit from AM Solar came with the 3m VHB tape and is meant to have everything I need for no-hole mounting, it made sense. VHB is $20 on it's own, so worst case, I wasted $20 getting two mounting kits. Doesn't hurt that the kit I bought is the "Bigfoot" mounting kit.

I'll post photos and the process I use once they show up and I get a chance to install them. Then of course I'll let you know if they fly off my roof.
To fix my panel on my Bigfoot 15B17G, I used the 3M VHB ribbon for 3 years without problem, using the method similar to the following video.
I removed as shown, reinstalled on our new Bigfoot 25B21RB and everything is fine. No apparent traces remained after removal of the solar panel on the 15B17G.
Have a good season.

https://www.youtube.com/user/AMSolar4RVs
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:20 AM   #8
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Great, thanks. I’ll keep you updated. Projects are stacking up though...I have new leaf springs and rear shocks for my truck sitting in the office waiting for a time I’m house sitting somewhere with a garage, too...
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:52 AM   #9
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You can purchase metal zip ties at Harbor Freight.
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:32 PM   #10
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I don't plan to route the wires into my camper or power center. They're going to go straight to the battery. Anyone have ideas for ways of attaching the wires to the roof, then side/front of the camper? Probably not conduit, but maybe a half dozen or so connections between the panel and battery to keep the wiring in place.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:07 PM   #11
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If you are going to run the wiring down the outside of the trailer, rather than a bunch of clamps, consider plastic wire mold. Comes in a number of sizes, has a self stick backing (although I'd replace it with VHB tape) and would provide a neater look.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:12 AM   #12
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Thanks Jon. So I guess maybe conduit is the way to go after all.

Any insight into why solar power wires are always black? These systems are of course always installed outside, and heat, to some extent, is the enemy. So why black wire??

Anyway. Hiding the black wire under white conduit is probably a pretty good idea.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:46 AM   #13
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The cable guy who was doing an install outside my white house apologized for the black plastic clips, but explained that the black ones were less affected by UV rays than the white ones.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:12 AM   #14
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Well now that’s interesting. I thinking only of heat but maybe that’s got nothing to do with it.
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