UHaul Solar Panel Reseal - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-15-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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UHaul Solar Panel Reseal

I took off my solar panel today to fix a leak. It was leaking at the forward mounting bolts. I pulled back the ceiling carpet and used my biggest screwdriver to unscrew the large headed bolts that anchor the solar panel frame to the roof. The bolts thread into captured nuts on the frame. Fortunately, mine were not frozen as others have reported. When I replace them, I will put anti-seize compound on the threads.

The PO had tried to fix the leak by emptying an entire tube of silicon around the perimeter of the solar panel. The leak occurs where the bolts penetrate the roof, so this was a waste of time and a dreadful sight.

The solar panel still works, so I'll repaint the frame and remount it, less the 10 pounds of caulk.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:50 PM   #2
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Would replacing the old panels with new ones the same size generate more power?

I ask because I have a CT13 too and I would like to upgrade my solar output.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #3
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You don't necessarily have to go with the same size, you can modify the bracket with aluminum angles to make it wider to fit larger panels. i replaced mine with a 50 Watt panel and it has kept 2 Deep cycle batteries topped off all winter. pictures attached. The old panel will have degraded after all of these years and was only intended to keep the battery from sulfating while sitting around. better off with a new one if you can afford it but it will also require a new solar controller.Michael J.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Great pictures!

Did you redo the bracket completely or just add the angle bracket that I see?

(Mine is leaking so I haven't investigated it yet.)
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:20 PM   #5
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Watch out for lizards! We found one under our Uhaul ceiling carpet in January after out trip to FL. He came out in TN on the way home. We have a new pet. According to the Internet, he was a she, and so we got "her" a buddy who was a she. As soon as the new she lizard went into the tank, we found out the missing information on the web site about identifying he lizards from she lizards. The new one is definitely a she; the one from FL turns out to be a he. Anyone for a baby Anole lizard?

Maybe this goes in the thread on strange things seen while camping.


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Old 03-15-2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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Tom: Any idea what was used originally to seal the panel from leaking? I haven't looked yet, so I'll be lazy and ask, can the captive nuts be accessed from outside to spray them with penetrating oil? What seals the wiring? I don't think ours leaks, if not it's about the only thing that didn't on this trailer. I sealed around the marker lights as they leaked water into the storage areas, and there are no leaks around the new Fantastic fan, so I'm gaining on it. Bob
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
Tom: Any idea what was used originally to seal the panel from leaking?
The underside of the large headed bolts had some black tarry stuff on them like butyl caulk or urethane. I will add butyl rope to the underside of the bracket (on the top side).

Quote:
I haven't looked yet, so I'll be lazy and ask, can the captive nuts be accessed from outside to spray them with penetrating oil?
You might be able to sneak in a long spray tube to hit them with penetrating oil. Mine was caulked solidly around the whole perimeter so I'm not sure what the gap is.

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What seals the wiring? I don't think ours leaks, if not it's about the only thing that didn't on this trailer.
Mine just exits the roof through a rubber grommet and was not sealed - just shielded from any direct rain by the panel. I'll seal it with butyl when I reinstall it.

Quote:
I sealed around the marker lights as they leaked water into the storage areas, and there are no leaks around the new Fantastic fan, so I'm gaining on it. Bob
I installed my fan today and Someone obliged with a rainstorm to test it. No leak in the fan, slight trickle in the newly rebuilt window. I think I need to caulk under the perimeter weatherstrip
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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Follow up.

I cleaned up the solar panel, painted the mounting bracket and reinstalled it today using butyl caulk around the 6 holes in the roof plus around the electric wires as they pass through the roof. It is only putting out 6 volts today. I'll test it on a sunnier day and see if it puts out more. If not, I may install a new, larger one. In any case, the gloppy silicon mess is gone.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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My solar panel only would put out 6 volts also, I have it disconnected now. Maybe someday I'll replace it, but it's low on the priority list right now. Bob
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:51 PM   #10
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Hello, i just tested mine and seem to give 3,8 watt on a bright sunny day. Does it bring anything to the battery. It is also leaking so with only 3,8 watt do you recommand just removing it and doing little bit of fiber glass putty to fit the hole's?

Thans

Fred
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:22 AM   #11
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..... It is only putting out 6 volts today. I'll test it on a sunnier day and see if it puts out more.........
I retested it on a sunny day and still only 6 volts. However when I disconnected it from the controller, it shot up to over 14 volts.

For now, I'll install a Schottky blocking diode and wire it directly to the battery, bypassing the controller.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:56 AM   #12
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Hello Thomas,

Mine show 4 volts, not watts . Is it worth to plug it or should I just remove it?

Thanks

Fred
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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Hello Thomas,

Mine show 4 volts, not watts . Is it worth to plug it or should I just remove it?

Thanks

Fred
Disconnect the wires from the solar panel at the controller (mounted on the side of the battery cover). Measure voltage in full sun. If still only 4 volts, it may be bad. Check the connectors under the panel, too (requires removal).
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:51 AM   #14
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Thanks for your reply. Will try it this weekend and will post my result.

Fred
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