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Old 11-09-2014, 12:50 PM   #15
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Sigh. Our panels did not come with tape. So we got to drill holes in a shiny new to us roof.

Lester, If I add more panels, I'll try it your way. At very least it would be easier to line up. We struggled to get rivets, sealant and brackets in the right spot on that slippery roof.


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Old 11-09-2014, 02:51 PM   #16
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Sigh. Our panels did not come with tape. So we got to drill holes in a shiny new to us roof.

Lester, If I add more panels, I'll try it your way. At very least it would be easier to line up. We struggled to get rivets, sealant and brackets in the right spot on that slippery roof.


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Old 11-09-2014, 02:54 PM   #17
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Was my son's purchase and I just helped him install the setup. Dunno where he bought it. It does work quite nicely. Only issue is panel is a bit too far forward to put a cover over the front Fantastic Fan like he did on the rear one.


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Old 07-02-2016, 09:08 PM   #18
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First, surface preparation is key. If using SikaFlex, NEVER use alcohol !! Use mineral spirits, carb/brake cleaner, etc.

Once the surface is prepped, you can stick down the VHB tape. Apply some pressure to set.

For flex panels, use small squares of VHB to stick the panels down and then seal the entire edge with SikaFlex.
A couple questions on this.

When cleaning a surface with mineral spirits, can you apply vhb immediately after (assuming dry) or do you wait for some period of time?

For flex panels (yes I understand the opinions/issues with them) you suggested small squares of vhb. I was going to do the entire edges with half inch vhb, is that overkill? Seeing (on the intertubes) much heavier glass panels mounted with 5" brackets and vhb, it feels like it is unnecessary to run vhb the entire length of all four sides. Sikaflex 221 will be used on the edges and screw holes.

Do you do anything to prep the backside of the panels themselves?

My panels btw are 24v 135watt, I plan to run 2 in series/2 parallel to get 48volts, that should bring my loss down to 1-2% over 10 gauge.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:12 AM   #19
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A couple questions on this.

When cleaning a surface with mineral spirits, can you apply vhb immediately after (assuming dry) or do you wait for some period of time?

For flex panels (yes I understand the opinions/issues with them) you suggested small squares of vhb. I was going to do the entire edges with half inch vhb, is that overkill? Seeing (on the intertubes) much heavier glass panels mounted with 5" brackets and vhb, it feels like it is unnecessary to run vhb the entire length of all four sides. Sikaflex 221 will be used on the edges and screw holes.

Do you do anything to prep the backside of the panels themselves?

My panels btw are 24v 135watt, I plan to run 2 in series/2 parallel to get 48volts, that should bring my loss down to 1-2% over 10 gauge.
Not a bad plan.......what are you using for a solar charge controller?????
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:51 PM   #20
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Not a bad plan.......what are you using for a solar charge controller?????
A Tracer 4215bn mppt.

Really curious though about the vbh use, if I should go all around the edges or just use a few squares.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:00 PM   #21
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Has anyone given thought to mounting the solar panels to the roof with detachable brackets (or similar) and wiring them so that they could be disconnected with a plug?

My thinking is a fabricated extension cord would then allow them to be usable when camping under shade of a tree, etc.

Ken
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:29 PM   #22
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Vhb around the edges and an x in the middle
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:40 PM   #23
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Lew I gotta ask about your photo. I see screw heads on every corner. Nice looking probably stainless. So are those panels screwed and glued or are the screws doing something else?
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:34 PM   #24
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Lew I gotta ask about your photo. I see screw heads on every corner. Nice looking probably stainless. So are those panels screwed and glued or are the screws doing something else?
Hey Gary,

Sharp eye!!!

These panels were originally placed on the roof of my Sprinter almost 2 years ago with beads of SikaFlex 221 run along the top of each roof rib. The panels adhered very well, but after a couple of weeks in the heat of the sun, soon started sagging between the raised ribs!

Since these panels were for a beta test, I needed them as flat as possible!!!! My solution was to have 3 sheets of .090 aluminum cut to the exact total dimension of the panels. After surgically removing them from the roof (THAT was a chore!!!) I spent the better part of a day cleaning all of the SikaFlex residue manually, as there is no solvent for it once cured.

The aluminum was then bonded to the roof and to be easily removable and replaceable (remember, these were test panels) I used stainless TEK screws to attack the panels to the new aluminum substrate, with a full bead of SikaFlex at the front edge. There are NO HOLES in the roof of my Sprinter!!!

After a few high speed runs, the seams on the long sides of tech panels were starting to lift, so I screwed some aluminum strip over these seems to keep the panels flat.

These Grape Solar Photo-Flex panels were shot within 6 months of sun exposure. Their plastic surface faded to a dull finish which was impeding the transmission of solar radiance and thus greatly reduced the efficiency of the panels.

I polished their surfaces with a high-grade plastic polish in April and got the efficiency back up to around 50%, but they are starting to fade agin. The other issue with flex panels is their far lower acceptance rate of solar input as the sun angle starts to drop. I was looking at them just the other day and was getting 19.5VDC from the array around solar noon. That number dropped precipitously to 14.5VDC by around 3:00. Up here in OR, the sun angle is still pretty high then, but anything less than almost direct sun will drastically reduce the output of these panels!!

I wasn't a fan of these before I placed them on the roof for test purposes, and now have the experience to never use them for a commercial installation!!!

They will be replaced with AM Solar's new SP-100 panels (their own house replacement for the old Grape Solar GS-100) as soon as the new shipment is off the water......expected around the end of July.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:42 AM   #25
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... After surgically removing them from the roof (THAT was a chore!!!) I spent the better part of a day cleaning all of the SikaFlex residue manually, as there is no solvent for it once cured.
Have your tried Marine DeBond? It works great on 3M 5200 on my sailboat, but I have never tried it on Sikaflex.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:18 AM   #26
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I posted another thread, but thought I'd post here and thank Lewster. My setup is nearly complete.

http://tinyshinyhouseonwheels.com/so...-installation/
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:48 PM   #27
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I posted another thread, but thought I'd post here and thank Lewster. My setup is nearly complete.

http://tinyshinyhouseonwheels.com/so...-installation/
You're welcome!!
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