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Old 07-24-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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Solar installation

I'm installing 2 100 watt solar panels this weekend - any suggestions or advice on attaching brackets - screw size, length, Sealants & or Adhesives?
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:00 AM   #2
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Ok I will take a swing at it!

Guessing each panel weighs 5 pounds? Mounting on roof over other internal structural supports??? Lots of details to
Help best... But here goes a "place to begin!

Mount panels to aluminum flat bar.

Bar should be alt least 1/8" wider and thicker than brackets for solar panel.

Bar length should span two ribs.. More possibly depending on orientation, your existing roof space and penetrations. Etc...

Use SikaFlex between bar and roof. More around screw hole between bar/roof. Squishing out is ok.. Make sure roof is clean and in good repair.

Mount bar just above, toward roof center of a rib rivet.

Carefully drill proper screw matched holes in bar that align with rib rivets. Drill into rib only when alignments verified. (Tape bar down so measure carefully.

Use metal screw about 1/2" longer than bar stock is thick. 1/4" bar plus 1/2"=3/4" screw. Use next size larger than mounting screws for Solar panel. I would use bolt head (socket type) to minimize rusting. Use Stainless and since no grounding there will be low galvanic issues.

There are not many wires near rivet locations in roof, but no guarantees!! So always drill carefully, do not let bit run in deep and probe with a toothpick after drilling to check for unseen objects. Check as you drill each.

Torque carefully... you only need to pull bar flush slowly as SikaFlex oozes out. Put SikaFlex on top of screws after torquing all.

In lieu of screws, Olympic rivets would be my choice, you can install if you notice problem keeping assembly snug and sealed.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:32 AM   #3
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solar panel install

before you drill you might want to check out this thread on another solar install..

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...ar-106113.html

the need to drill is not needed with proper attachment procedures.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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Panels (100 to 150 watt) weigh anywhere between 15 and 35 lbs, depending on the manufacturer). I have yet to use screws or any other mechanical fasteners when applying solar panels to a suitable roof substrate....ie: a metal roof. Screws are necessary when adhering panels to SOB roof substrates like EPDM rubber.

Proper mounting feet are essential, and the correct use of 3M VHB tape is the way to go on Airstream roofs. The roof surface must be clean, clean, clean to assure proper bonding of the VHB tape. We also seal the outer edges of the mounting feet with SikaFlex to prevent any water penetration between the outer roof skin and the mounting tape, or between the mounting feet and the VHB tape as an additional safety measure.

As a side note, I had 4 100 watt panels on my old service van (now retired) for 6 years that were adhered to the roof with VHB tape ONLY, no sealant. they never budged or dislodged in over 150K miles of driving.
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Panels (100 to 150 watt) weigh anywhere between 15 and 35 lbs, depending on the manufacturer). I have yet to use screws or any other mechanical fasteners when applying solar panels to a suitable roof substrate....ie: a metal roof. Screws are necessary when adhering panels to SOB roof substrates like EPDM rubber. Proper mounting feet are essential, and the correct use of 3M VHB tape is the way to go on Airstream roofs. The roof surface must be clean, clean, clean to assure proper bonding of the VHB tape. We also seal the outer edges of the mounting feet with SikaFlex to prevent any water penetration between the outer roof skin and the mounting tape, or between the mounting feet and the VHB tape as an additional safety measure. As a side note, I had 4 100 watt panels on my old service van (now retired) for 6 years that were adhered to the roof with VHB tape ONLY, no sealant. they never budged or dislodged in over 150K miles of driving.
hey Lewster Is there a specific 3m VHB tape you use in your solar installs? Thanks for all your help here on the forums. Mike
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:56 AM   #6
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I put two 100 watt panels on my 20' FC last summer using a system of plates and screws and sealants. Later I read Lewster's information about 3 M VHB tape and now believe that is the only way to go. That is the way I would do it if I were to repeat mounting today.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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almost drilled holes in my roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I put two 100 watt panels on my 20' FC last summer using a system of plates and screws and sealants. Later I read Lewster's information about 3 M VHB tape and now believe that is the only way to go. That is the way I would do it if I were to repeat mounting today.
I was ready to drill holes to mount my solar panels and was watching tv, they were talking about the amazing strength of the VHB tape. I figured it was something to research,did a search on the forums and sure enough it's been done.
Pretty cool stuff. So many different versions to pick from.
MIKE
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:38 PM   #8
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Tape recommended by AMSolar is 3M VHB 4950. Got the type from Roger Carroll.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:31 AM   #9
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VHB tape for the bottom of your mounting feet. Be sure to CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN all of your surfaces before applying and be very sure of your positioning before sticking it down.

After the panels are in place, be sure to cover the feet with a quality sealant to prevent the migration of water under the feet ( as this will eventually degrade the bonding strength) and overlap the bead onto the roof. I use SikaFlex 715 silane terminated polymer for this. It is self leveling and contains almost no VOCs and does not dry nor crack like Dicor or similar products. SikaFlex 221 is also a good choice, but must be mechanically spread. It will also enhance the bonding strength of the tape by forming a bond with the top of the roof and the top of the feet..
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:13 AM   #10
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Thank you for all your help everyone!
Mike
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:40 AM   #11
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...just listen to Lewster! I did, and attached my AM Solar Panels with the VHB tape they supplied. After round 6,000 miles towing with the panels, they are fixed firm. Just got back from a week in FL last Saturday and I wash the trailer at the end of every trip, so I was up there on the roof. No issues. BTW, do make sure you wash the grime off the top of the panels after they are installed. They get pretty dirty, and the dirt obviously reduces their efficiency. You'll love the solar. I do.
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:58 PM   #12
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VERY glad I caught this thread! Solar is in our near future and as I had never heard of VHB I was very anxious about putting holes in the roof. Thanks for the great info.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:47 AM   #13
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Regarding solar panels.....I'm restoring my "66" Safari which will have (4) 6volt deep cycle batts in it. If all I want to do is to keep them charged, what size panel should I use?
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Regarding solar panels.....I'm restoring my "66" Safari which will have (4) 6volt deep cycle batts in it. If all I want to do is to keep them charged, what size panel should I use?
'keep them charged' has numerous answers. If you want to keep them charged when in storage, it would be one system. Charged while boondocking, another, and depending on what you intend to operate while off-grid…..yet another.

Can you be a little more specific?

PS: I'll toot my own horn here just a bit and add that I'm opening a solar installation center in Hood River, OR from May 15-Oct. 15 this summer. PM me for more information.
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