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Old 09-16-2018, 06:13 PM   #1
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Renogy Z bracket question

I am working on my solar upgrade of adding (2) 100W panels to the roof of our 27FB. I plan on adding them to each side of the skylight/fantastic fan running along each side of the Airstream lengthwise.

I need to order the panels now after installing everything inside (controller, battery monitor, etc.) and was going to go with the Renogy 100W panels (slim design which are 46.9x19.7). I like the Renogy because they seem to have all the accessories I need (roof cable entry box, y connectors, etc.). I need to pick the brackets. They have straight z-brackets and curved z-brackets. Does anyone have experience with these? Which will work with the slight curve of the roof? It seems like on the forums people mention the normal ones - if you use those, do you need to bend them slightly to conform to room angle?

I am going to utilize 3M VHB 4950 and Sikaflex 221 in combo which seems like a popular solution here. So, I will need the bracket feet to mount flush with roof.

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
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Saba,

Interested in answers here. I'm exactly at the same point you are, maybe slightly ahead because my panels arrived today along with the curved brackets. Renogy uses Airstream as an example of the curved roof these brackets are made for in the description of these brackets on their website. Hope to hear they work well on Airstreams.

Good luck,
Mike
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by marter View Post
Saba,



Interested in answers here. I'm exactly at the same point you are, maybe slightly ahead because my panels arrived today along with the curved brackets. Renogy uses Airstream as an example of the curved roof these brackets are made for in the description of these brackets on their website. Hope to hear they work well on Airstreams.



Good luck,

Mike


Hi Mike - let me know if the curved ones work for you if you get a chance to put them on before I order. Worst case, I will order both standard and curved and send back what doesn’t work.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:34 PM   #4
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Z Brackets

I mounted four 100w solar panels using the Renogy Z Brackets. I affixed them with VHB tape. I bought the Z brackets because I wanted to save a few bucks and they looked like a good design.

In the end, I decided that they were too tall and exposed too much hardware to the eye. I ended up taking all four panels down, pulling off the Z brackets from the VHB tape (not fun) and redid everything with AM Solar mounts (lowest profile). I'm happy I did this - it was a pain, but now when my eye falls upon the trailer, I'm happy with that way it looks.

YMMV, as usual. Just my perspective.

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Old 09-16-2018, 09:42 PM   #5
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I ordered the Z brackets and found that they weren't going to work well for me. I felt they would put the panels too close to the roof and make it difficult to remove them. I went with the curved brackets and that has allowed me to 1) get a nice standoff from the roof of almost four inches... which makes it easy clean underneath and 2) allows met have the panels follow the curve of the roof itself (I did not want them perfectly flat.

You may like them... which reminds me: I have TWO SEALED BOXES of brand new Z brackets which I'm happy to send to someone at a steep discount. They are brand new.

I also have three MC4 splitters that I didn't use. Those are brand new too.

If anyone wants those items, hit me up with a PM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:48 PM   #6
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Use the flat brackets and mount them on the sides of the panels instead of the ends. Airstream’s are flat front to back and mounting them this way is more aerodynamic. If you do not have a plan to tilt the panels that’s the way to go.
I made my own brackets and saved the money but used the 3M tape method to attach. Mine are mounted on the ends, but I made them to pivot.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:55 PM   #7
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Well I guess this proves to each his own. The AMsolar brackets seemed expensive for what they are. Probably really well made but pricey.

Thiel, did you use 3m tape and Sikaflex? I am a little concerned about the curved brackets having enough surface area for the tape to adhere properly. Did you use carb cleaner or something else?

Thanks for the feedback.

Mike
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:00 PM   #8
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VHB and Renogy

I found that the shape of the Z brackets worked against the VHB tape creating the best connection. With the curve of the AS roof, the long thin side wanted to lift off. I even doubled them up on the front panels and it didn't help much. The AM Solar mounts attached much more securely.

-a
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
I found that the shape of the Z brackets worked against the VHB tape creating the best connection. With the curve of the AS roof, the long thin side wanted to lift off. I even doubled them up on the front panels and it didn't help much. The AM Solar mounts attached much more securely.

-a
I think that's why Renogy recommends the curved brackets for an Airstream curved roof. I'll have to see how well it works when I start the process. May not like it.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:43 PM   #10
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Philistine that I am, I plan to use the curved brackets. Since I am a ham radio operator, and need to have all the metal on the roof grounded and bonded, I’m going to drill holes and use rivnuts and SS screws to tie it all together. A bit of sealant under the mounts and screws will keep water out.

Has to be done to avoid RF burns and electronic damage from the transmitting antennas on the roof.
Deep apologies to Lewster, who will no doubt be appalled at this heresy...
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:20 AM   #11
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Which of the AM Solar mounts do folks use? The "Z Bigfoot Mount Set" looks like the one to use with more generic panels? It looks like the 35mm Rocker Foot Mount Set could also work though?

https://amsolar.com/rv-solar-panel-k...ng-accessories

For the curved Renogy brackets, it does looks like a narrower base connecting to the roof. It may just look like that on the website (I will email them and report back here). If so, maybe it would make sense to use 8 feet per panel? When in doubt, make it stout!
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:21 AM   #12
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Which of the AM Solar mounts do folks use? The "Z Bigfoot Mount Set" looks like the one to use with more generic panels? It looks like the 35mm Rocker Foot Mount Set could also work though?

https://amsolar.com/rv-solar-panel-k...ng-accessories

For the curved Renogy brackets, it does looks like a narrower base connecting to the roof. It may just look like that on the website (I will email them and report back here). If so, maybe it would make sense to use 8 feet per panel? When in doubt, make it stout!
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:37 AM   #13
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Renogy has the dimensions of their brackets on their website. The curved bracket base is 1"x3.9". The flat z-bracket is 3.94" by approx. 1.34" (the 1.34" is scaled as 1/2 of the 2.677" dimension they have). So, the foot contact area of the curved bracket is smaller in width by 1.34".

It would seem that doubling up the number of brackets to 8 per panel would more than make up for that. With 8, they cost about the same as any 4 of the AM Solar feet (which I would pay for either way if I knew they fit and were superior). Unfortunately, it does not appear that AM Solar has any of the 100 amp panels those are made for listed for sale on their website.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:41 AM   #14
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The way the OP wants to mount his is perfect for the standard brackets. Just bend them a little and they will lay perfectly flat.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:01 PM   #15
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I used the Renogy curved brackets on our 2018 FC25 FB. I am happy with the profile (i.e. not too high) and the adjustment flexibility was important to me on the install. I did replace the supplied SS nuts and bolts with 100% nylock. I cleaned the roof thoroughly and used 3M VHB tape and SikaFlex to bond the mounts. Thus far we have about 6,000 kilometers of experience - some in high head winds. All mounts appear to be rock-solid.
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoorsLite View Post
I used the Renogy curved brackets on our 2018 FC25 FB. I am happy with the profile (i.e. not too high) and the adjustment flexibility was important to me on the install. I did replace the supplied SS nuts and bolts with 100% nylock. I cleaned the roof thoroughly and used 3M VHB tape and SikaFlex to bond the mounts. Thus far we have about 6,000 kilometers of experience - some in high head winds. All mounts appear to be rock-solid.
Thanks for the feedback on the curved mounts. I assume you used 4 per panel? Tilted with the slope of the roof?

What did you use to clean the surface for the 3m tape? Carb cleaner?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:33 PM   #17
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You can use brake cleaner or acetone for cleaning.

I also made my own brackets. Also made my own combine box. All components can be purchased at you local big box store.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:36 PM   #18
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No need for a particular special bracket. Any can work if you do the following.

I have an 27FB, and I mounted 2x 100W panels lengthwise along side the fantastic fan.

In the goal of keeping panels close and tight to the roof, as well as keeping them as level as possible to maximize solar alignment in the most situations.

Using VHB and sikaflex...

I only used brackets along one long edge. In this case, the edge of the roof that falls away towards the sides. The other edge, I adhered the solar panel frame directly to the roof. This maximizes contact area in using VHB and keeps the panels low against the roof for better aero stability when traveling.

I'll take a picture this evening which will explain it better than words.
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:54 PM   #19
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Would not recommend any brake cleaner or carb cleaner products as these generally are petroleum based. A 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol & water is better or 3M Adhesion Promoter #06396 (best) ...available at most automotive parts stores.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:49 PM   #20
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Would not recommend any brake cleaner or carb cleaner products as these generally are petroleum based. A 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol & water is better or 3M Adhesion Promoter #06396 (best) ...available at most automotive parts stores.
It's important to understand why most don't use alcohol here, when talking Sikaflex.

From the manufacturers website:
12) In a sealing application, what should I use to tool your products?

Do not use alcohol or alcohol containing solvents! Alcohol can inhibit the cure of the product. For SikaSil® products, only dry tooling (without a chemical tooling agent or solution) is recommended. In most instances, soapy water works very well with the 1-C polyurethane Sikaflex® 200 series products. A mixture containing several drops of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in a quart sized spray bottle of tap water is usually sufficient. However, if over-painting is desired, the use of soap may not be a valid option for tooling.
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