Solar Panel Install Ideas - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2013, 05:23 PM   #85
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...they seem to be very low watt and very flexible.
Yea, and they are way overpriced IMO. I've read they aren't as flexible as they appear in the pictures either. I was pointing out that particular panel because they have grommets and the title of the thread is "Solar Panel Install Idea's".

I've seen a lot of flexible panels on sailboats with grommets, but have not looked too closely at how they are mounted. I was just trying to brainstorm alternatives to permanently mounted panels because that's what I'm planning on doing eventually.

This isn't the only thread that looks like a bar room discussion though...there are a couple that look like flat out bar room brawls! I try to keep my nose out of any discussion involving vehicle tow ratings and manufacturer trailer weights!

Most though are very wholesome "coffeeshop" discussions and very helpful!
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:30 PM   #86
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Jack,

If 'I' should out last the solar panels I'm not concerned about having to remove the old ones. I think I'd just buy another flexible panel and tape it down over the first. The first only weigh 4 lbs, another 4lbs would be inconsequential.
I'm with you Norm. I think if I replaced the panel later, the new one would go right where the former, taped panel went. Also, I think you could remove it carefully (maybe the wire technique), even if it does some damage to the gelcoat, it will be covered by the new panel and who would ever see it??? I'm sure there's a sealer you could cover the damaged area with. The problem I have with taping mounting brackets and bolting the panel to the bracket, is that it can catch too much air while driving. That makes the tape more likely to fail. With Norm's solution, there's no chance of air getting under the panel and causing lift off. IMHO, but what do I know. So for my solar decision number 973, I'm going with Norm's system...once again. Tomorrow may be different. Good thing I didn't rush out there and do it right away. Indecisiveness and procrastination has paid off for me once again.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:42 PM   #87
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Since the trailer has a good chance of outliving the solar panel, I almost think I would choose bolts through the hull to tape. I'm waiting for the flexible panel prices to drop. I like the idea rolling it up to store, then pulling it out when needed. Raz
I was looking at some on eBay that seem reasonably priced for the price, but they are semi flexible, which would be good to conform to the shape of the roof. LINK to one example with good feedback.

I did look into the roll up ones, but most of them with any good level of wattage are super long and narrow. It would be tough to find a way of mounting them. And yeah, they are still quite pricey.
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An HQRP flexible solar panel I've been eyeing on amazon has grommets on each corner. I wonder if it would be possible to use some sort of snap or stud to secure the panels at the grommet rather than shticking the whole thing to the roof. It might mean through-holes, but it could also have the advantage (maybe to some it might be more of a disadvantage...) of being easily removable during travel and able to be moved to sunnier locations.
Just a thought.
I see that many have those grommets, and was wondering about using them for mounting somehow. Had never considered the flexibility of being able to remove them for placement elsewhere. A good though to consider.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:38 PM   #88
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Avoiding holes through the roof and tape that rips off gelcoat both sound like sound reasons to stick to my current system of just pulling the solar out from its compact storage spot and use as required.
I slide my 80 watter into zee channels screwed to the underside of the aft bedboard in the space between lockers. 25' 12awg tether; 3% resistance loss. Movable to take advantage of mixed shade and sun. Worst worry: theft.

jack
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:54 PM   #89
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Worst worry: theft.
That is just not a problem that Norm has. As he said, most people can't tell they are even there, and with the VHB tape, what could they do about it? Actually I guess they could wreck them trying to steal them.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:56 PM   #90
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Mine rides up against the front bathroom wall - installed 4 marine deck half loops to the wall and use a couple of thin bungee cords to hold it there. Its not taking up any space. Yes theft is a concern but I normally only need to put it out every 3-4 days and I tend to put it away if I am going to be leaving the camp site. On those occasions that I really need to leave it out as I still need the charge from it I stick it on the roof of the trailer and you cant even see it. So far (5 years of use) its not gone for a walk.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:08 PM   #91
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I can place mine on the roof but I don't want to and you can't make me!

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Old 01-31-2013, 07:21 PM   #92
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As to solar panel theft, the only people who know we have solar panel are probably 5th wheelers from their bed room window or people who come inside and see our solar controller. Our panels are great for their low weight, low air resistance and theft proof nature. They are more than flexible enought to conform to the Scamp's roof.

There are more flexible panels but they also take a larger area for the same wattage and actually would not fit on our roof.

Their only disadvantage is that they can't be tilted to face the sun or moved from the shade.

Other than that they have been completely reliable thru all kinds of weather for many road miles.

Initially when they were installed there were many questions about them including the danger to gel from heating the roof, inside cieling temp, water getting under the tape and so on. None of those thoughtful and potential problems have reared their heads. So far they have worked perfectly.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:36 PM   #93
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I can't remember if I replied to this thread yet or not, I apologize now if I already did. ha. I installed an 85 watt setup from rvsolarelectric.com and installed it myself. I have loved it. I couldn't afford the special tape from 3M so after many inner arguments about putting holes in my camper I finally talked myself into doing it. I was very pleased with rvsolarelectric because when I ran into some issues and needed help I just called them and they walked me through my issues, I would totally recommend them to anyone looking for new setup. I have now been using my panel for almost a year now and have had it out on the plains of ND and SD, in the hills, in the trees, under the snow, near the water, in shade, in bright sun, and just about ever other condition possible and the setup hasn't failed me yet. I have not installed any LED lighting yet but have converted my one light to a 12v florescent bulb, charge my iphone, computer, kids handheld game systems, NOOK, and MP3 players and have a fan going almost 24 hours a day and have not ran the battery down to 50% even once and it is fully charged by mid day every day even when it is cloudy out. I run a group 32 deep cell battery, very heavy battery but I would buy another one without a doubt even if it is a bear to move around. This winter I am working on putting in one more 12v plug and buying a decent fantastic type fan and I should be all set.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:43 AM   #94
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More info on the 3M tape and lost panel

Unique problems - no warranty? - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:17 PM   #95
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From the linked thread:

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I have an Escape 19 in Wyoming that is still under warranty. I am the only person having this problem. Keep in mind, I live in Wyoming. It is not that uncommon to see semi trucks blown over on Interstate 80 due to the wind.
Not exactly anything to get over, IMHO.
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:20 PM   #96
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Mine rides up against the front bathroom wall - installed 4 marine deck half loops to the wall and use a couple of thin bungee cords to hold it there. Its not taking up any space. Yes theft is a concern but I normally only need to put it out every 3-4 days and I tend to put it away if I am going to be leaving the camp site. On those occasions that I really need to leave it out as I still need the charge from it I stick it on the roof of the trailer and you cant even see it. So far (5 years of use) its not gone for a walk.
Having seen pictures of the system Carol uses, I have been looking for a panel sized to allow that mounting in my 13 ft. I like the out of the way, portable and flexible approach she uses.

I look at theft as an always possilble risk when camping. If it's available someone might steal it. Heck they could take my hinge pins out and remove the door, or steal my spare tire. I take what precautions I can. In the case of a solar panel a thin metal cable that is locked to trailer tongue, bumper, or even just staked to the ground might discourage a casual thief. Or slow them down enough that they are noticed.

If stolen exactly how much does the panel cost? Not sure I would make installation decision based heavily on potential loss of that amount. But since I spend much of my time in camp the risk exposure is pretty low.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:28 PM   #97
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Roger this is the system I just put on the 82 13" Scamp I'm refurbishing.
This is the 4th roof mount system I have installed.
The first 3 were 50W panels this is one is a 60W.
I have never come close to running out of electricity with the 50W panels and a group 27 deep cycle battery.
I did get caught in a three day rainstorm on the way to Yellowstone a few years ago and did turn the TV charge line the second day for a while.
The brackets are 2 inch x 3/16th aluminum angle I bought at Ace hardware and they're secured with VHB tape.The fourth pic is the wire that will be hidden by seam tape as soon as I get around to cleaning the Ensolite.

I had a Harbor Freight portable system the first time. I used it once, sold it at a yard sale and did a 50W roof mount.
It was to inconvenient and I worried about it being stolen when away from the trailer.

John
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:37 PM   #98
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Roger this is the system I just put on the 82 13" Scamp I'm refurbishing.
This is the 4th roof mount system I have installed.
The first 3 were 50W panels this is one is a 60W.
I have never come close to running out of electricity with the 50W panels and a group 27 deep cycle battery....

The brackets are 2 inch x 3/16th aluminum angle I bought at Ace hardware and they're secured with VHB tape.The fourth pic is the wire that will be hidden by seam tape as soon as I get around to cleaning the Ensolite.....

I had a Harbor Freight portable system the first time. I used it once, sold it at a yard sale and did a 50W roof mount. ...

John
Nice pictures. Looks like you slotted the holes in the brackets, at least the middle one.

What is the hardware called that you used to run the cable through the roof? I know what it looks like for conduit but have never seen one set up to take rivets and with a 1 piece flange. Where did you get it?

Looks like a door drip guard converted to a windscreen, correct?

I'm not against the idea of a roof mount, I just figured for the amount of use 12volt system would get in the next year or so the portable solution would be easier to implement. Anticipate majority of near term camping will be local state parks with electric. With maybe a weekend or two of rustic.

Never heard anyone say nice things about the HF system, except the HF sales advertisements.
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