Flexible Solar Panels for 19' Scamp - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:58 AM   #1
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Name: Thomas
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Flexible Solar Panels for 19' Scamp

I want to put 200 watts of flexible solar panels on my 19' scamp.
Can anybody give me advise as to vendors and or installation of the system?

I already have two deep cycle batteries on the scamp, 1000w inverter and 60 amp wiring to my truck alternator.
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Old 04-02-2021, 08:37 AM   #2
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I've had Lensun panels on my trailer for 4 years, and they are going strong.

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Old 04-02-2021, 08:48 AM   #3
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How did you mount them?
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Old 04-02-2021, 10:07 AM   #4
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I have 2, 100 watt, flexible solar panels on the roof of both my Trillium and my VW Westfalia. All work well. I used double sided Gorilla tape to hold them on. I also put a bolt on each corner, just in case. Used Butyl on the bolts; no leaks.
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:04 PM   #5
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Just my $.02, but after having flexible panels from a few vendors on the roof of two Airstreams, I would never recommend them. They failed within months, we suspect because of the heat that could not escape from beneath them. The costs really added up after a while of replacing them. On our Scamp 16, we purchased 2x100W rigid panels from Renogy and simply applied VHB tape on the bottom feet and eternabond on the top to hold them in place. Thousands of miles later, they're holding strong.

If you care for some photos, you can see them on Instagram @cozylivingmachine! I think they look great compared to what I was expecting. We didn't even find the need to make an air dam or flashing like I thought we would! We also find them significantly more efficient, especially in the PNW.
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:04 PM   #6
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I went solar quite a few years ago. My panels are rigid and have always worked well. As of late I see other campers using thin, flexible solar panels. Does anyone have any experience as to how long these flexible panels last compared to the rigid models? Are they sensitive to hail damage?
Thanks,
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
I went solar quite a few years ago. My panels are rigid and have always worked well. As of late I see other campers using thin, flexible solar panels. Does anyone have any experience as to how long these flexible panels last compared to the rigid models? Are they sensitive to hail damage?
Thanks,
I had Bouge branded panels and a few other brands off of Amazon. I found that ours became hazy pretty quickly and the wiring box may not have been 100% waterproof as they would not send voltage within 12 months of ownership. When I compared them side by side with rigid Renogy panels, I found that they would output about 80% of the power in ideal conditions. Ours actually cracked in the Tennessee sun from the heat before they were further cracked and obliterated by a bad hail storm. Granted, it was enough to total cars in the area. In contrast, we had the same rigid panels on our NuCamp Cirrus 920 during the last Nashville tornado. They got hit HARD by debris and limbs, and also dragged underneath branches during the escape as well as random off-road trips, and other than minor surface scratching, one wouldn't know the difference. Technology changes, but it was enough to convince us to put rigid panels on our Scamp!!
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:03 PM   #8
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Thanks BernieMac, that's the info I was looking for. I've had no difficulties with the rigid panels and I've used them from several suppliers, but they are bulky to handle and store.
My panels aren't permanently mounted as I can't leave them unattended in the back country.
I've been through several hail storms and so far so good although I did lose my tail lights and had some roof covers cracked.
Appreciate the feedback!
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
I went solar quite a few years ago. My panels are rigid and have always worked well. As of late I see other campers using thin, flexible solar panels. Does anyone have any experience as to how long these flexible panels last compared to the rigid models? Are they sensitive to hail damage?
Thanks,
5 years on the VW. No Issues. Keeps the Battery charged and runs my ARB Fridge.


3 years on the Trillium. Same!
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Old 04-02-2021, 10:30 PM   #10
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I posted on another forum about our desire to install a Lensun panel on our Escape. Two members posted about their Lensun failures and I got two other emails from other members about their failures. I see flexible panels to fall under the "My father smoked cigarettes all his life and never died of cancer" scenario. Too many failures for us.

It looks like I'll be installing a rigid panel on the front of our camper. We have a 170 watt panel on the back. I'm alternating between installing a small 80 watt panel or just bite the bullet and install a 200 watt panel. We're still on our winter trip, so I'll wait till we get home to make the decision.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:42 PM   #11
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My research confirms flexible panels have a much shorter lifespan. Planning currently to install a 26 pound 190 watt rigid panel on my roof. A current concern is dare I rely upon liberal strips of 3M VHB tape or, drill holes for hold-down bolts? Hate drilling holes. Did a vibration test and here's a u-Tube link that is really painful.

https://youtu.be/X8tyU-2wqqo
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Old 04-03-2021, 01:57 PM   #12
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I've used 3M double sided tape quite a few times with good success to attach body impact strips, fender extensions, window moldings etc. I've also removed these items attached with these products and again, found them to be securely attached. In spite of this I would be hesitant to use tape in this application.
I don't know the composition of the glue on this tape but I do know that many solvent based products aren't compatible with some of the polymer roofing materials used on trailers.
While these products hold up well in all weather conditions, rain etc, I don't know how well they do in standing water as could occur on the roof of a trailer. I suspect it may last for a while but maybe not be permanent.
Solar panels are expensive and certainly a safety hazard should they detach while traveling.
I have a rack for my panels attached to the roof. I remove them when I leave my unit unattended in the back country or when travelling. I used Dicor caulking to cover the screw heads. No problems so far.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcjmiami View Post
How did you mount them?
Eterbond tape. VHB tape works to.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:23 PM   #14
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I built a rack for my 190 watt panel because I also want the option of tilting it when the sun angle warrants that. Leaks etc aside, my other big issue is interior headliner interior ugliness. I may have just solved all problems.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:23 PM   #15
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I hear folks putting down flexible panels, yet almost all I hear about the Lensun is great, including my experience. Older flexible panels from when they first came out definitely had issues.

Like I said, 4 years now and working as good as when installed.

Don't rely on old articles. Improvements are made with just about everything manufactured.
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Old 04-03-2021, 04:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Martin.P View Post
I have 2, 100 watt, flexible solar panels on the roof of both my Trillium and my VW Westfalia. All work well. I used double sided Gorilla tape to hold them on. I also put a bolt on each corner, just in case. Used Butyl on the bolts; no leaks.
Tell me about the gorilla tape. What the difference from VHB Tape? Can you remove it from the fiberglass if necessary? I’m asking because I want to mount a junction box on my roof.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:01 PM   #17
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Tell me about the gorilla tape. What the difference from VHB Tape? Can you remove it from the fiberglass if necessary? I’m asking because I want to mount a junction box on my roof.

Thanks in advance.
When I was doing my solar install I was going to use a combination of Eturnabond tape and VHB tape. After the first flexible panel I ditched the VHB and went with just the Eturnabond tape. Later I tried sticking my electrical junction box to the roof with the VHB and it just wasn't working. I was properly cleaning with alcohol too.

I switched to double sided Gorilla tape and that did the trick. I have had great luck with the Gorilla tape and use it all the time. That one roll of VHB tape has not been good for me. If I remember I will experiment with it in a couple of weeks. Maybe I got a bad roll maybe it was me I don't know.

As far as getting it off you can but you may have to work at it and use some solvents. The worst thing I have had to get off of my gelcoat is some fine iron filings around where I was grinding near the hitch. I a couple of days they rusted and looked horrible. I had to use some Meguires hand polish to get it out.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:44 PM   #18
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Myron, do you leave your panels in place while traveling please?
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:39 AM   #19
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Nothing on the roof yet, but the frame will be a permanent install and the panel can be easily replaced if necessary.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:48 AM   #20
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I have a 100w flex panel on my 13' Scamp been there for a year now and still going strong. Held down by 2" velcro strips.
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