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Old 07-06-2016, 08:02 PM   #1
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Solar Panels on Rhino-Racks

I promised fspeier more details on my solar panel installation on Rhino-Rack Cross bars. I thought Id start a new thread to keep from polluting the tread on bought Interstate 2012 - needs a lot of parts.

Here are few more photos. The brackets I made to provide a mounting point next to the Awning are not an original idea by me. I copied the idea from a single photo posted by the Sprinter-Store some time ago. First photo is of the aluminum flat pate adapters made by the Sprinter-Store.
The rest of the photos attached are shots showing some details of the Rhino-Rack legs attached to the brackets when I was fitting the parts. All the final install fasteners were stainless steel with nylock nuts and anti-seize lube added.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:25 PM   #2
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More details

This post has some additional photos of my fit checks of the Rhino-Racks on the roof of my van. The third photo shows the clearance from the bath vent using my level across the rack bars. The last photo is the new lower 360 Siphon vent I installed to clear the solar panels. I didn't worry about the white color of the new vent compared to the original black as it is not visible.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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Final Installation

These are photos of the trimmed for length Rhino-Rack bars. Then the installation of the first two 100 watt panels in 2014. The last photo is the final four 100 watt panels installed in 2015.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:47 PM   #4
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Nice work!!

I see you reversed your MaxxFan. Be real careful that you don't leave it open when you travel, as the cover WILL be sucked right off the roof. I have seen it happen more than once!!!
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:30 AM   #5
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Looks great! Curious about your route for wiring to the controller.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:26 AM   #6
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Nice work!!



I see you reversed your MaxxFan. Be real careful that you don't leave it open when you travel, as the cover WILL be sucked right off the roof. I have seen it happen more than once!!!

Yes I never leave it open while driving. I assumed it would get ripped off in the speeds above 30 mph.


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Old 07-07-2016, 11:45 AM   #7
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Very nice! When you moved the antenna, did you have to plug any holes? Not sure how that is mounted.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:30 PM   #8
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Very nice! When you moved the antenna, did you have to plug any holes? Not sure how that is mounted.
Yes there were holes to fill for both the old 50 watt solar panel (4 holes) and the TV antenna tripod mount (3 holes). I used Sika Sikaflex 221 sealant that I got from Airstream. I filled the holes with sealant and then placed a small patch of duct tape over the holes and covered the patch with sealant.

The newer Interstates have a small TV antenna that might be easier to relocate. I also considered going to a Winegard Rayzar like the link below. But the now discontinued black disc Omni antenna works well and I wanted to keep it.

http://www.winegard.com/rayzar
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:30 PM   #9
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Thanks. I still have the same fear I had when I had to drill the first hole into my boat. Seems less critical with an RV roof as it is not as visible as a boat and consequence of a leak as dramatic!

Did I read in another thread that those roof rails don't work in the newer Interstates?
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:41 PM   #10
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Boxster,
Your conversion was my inspiration to do mine, thanks for sharing your posts last year.

jp
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:52 PM   #11
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Thanks. I still have the same fear I had when I had to drill the first hole into my boat. Seems less critical with an RV roof as it is not as visible as a boat and consequence of a leak as dramatic!

Did I read in another thread that those roof rails don't work in the newer Interstates?
No need to drill any holes to mount those panels!!!

I mount 4 X 100 watt panels on almost every AI installation that I do and there is only ONE HOLE.....and that's to get the solar charge line into the coach from the bottom of the roof combiner box.

VHB tape and SikaFlex have all of the bond strength that you need for a Sprinter's roof.

PS: I don't use racks either!!
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:06 PM   #12
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Thanks. I still have the same fear I had when I had to drill the first hole into my boat. Seems less critical with an RV roof as it is not as visible as a boat and consequence of a leak as dramatic!

Did I read in another thread that those roof rails don't work in the newer Interstates?

I think Airstream stopped ordering their base Sprinters with the roof rails from Mercedes. But there are a lot of ways to mount Solar panels on the roof of your Interstate. Lewster mentioned one of them in his post above.


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Old 07-07-2016, 09:08 PM   #13
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Nope!

No more rack rails on the newer Interstates. The contact points are still there as these are standard with every Sprinter body. You would have to order the rails from Benz and then install them into the contact points.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:11 PM   #14
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Boxster,

Your conversion was my inspiration to do mine, thanks for sharing your posts last year.



jp

Nice job! Looks like you used the AM Solar mounting feet. I would use those if I ever do another solar install on an RV. My installation got a little too complicated. I blame my Aerospace background for over designing it, when I could have just done it like yours.


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