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Old 04-06-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
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Solar Panel Install Clarification

Having exhausted reading all the solar panel install here in the AS forum and searching on-line, I'm looking for clarification on installing the solar panels I purchased from AM Solar. The instruction for the feet that are shipped with the panels says to use isopropyl alcohol as a surface prep before sticking the feet down. Here in the forum, specifically the Generators & Solar, I read a thread that said to use a mineral spirits like carb/brake cleaner. So,just wanting to make sure that when I pull the 3M VHB tape tab off and expose the glue and adhere the feet to the roof of my AS, I won't be the first AM Solar customer to have a solar panel dislodge. Please assist so I can move forward with the install.. Thanks
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tsunami View Post
Having exhausted reading all the solar panel install here in the AS forum and searching on-line, I'm looking for clarification on installing the solar panels I purchased from AM Solar. The instruction for the feet that are shipped with the panels says to use isopropyl alcohol as a surface prep before sticking the feet down. Here in the forum, specifically the Generators & Solar, I read a thread that said to use a mineral spirits like carb/brake cleaner. So,just wanting to make sure that when I pull the 3M VHB tape tab off and expose the glue and adhere the feet to the roof of my AS, I won't be the first AM Solar customer to have a solar panel dislodge. Please assist so I can move forward with the install.. Thanks
AM Solar uses alcohol because they seal the feet after placement with Dicor self-leveling sealant.

I don't use Dicor due to it's high VOC content which exhibits shrinkage and cracking in the sealant within a year or two.

If you are using a single part polyurethane adhesive/sealant around the panel feet like SikaFlex 221, then NO ALCOHOL!!! as it inhibits the strength and curing of the sealant. I use carb cleaner exclusively, but mineral spirits will also work well.

I prefer the additional adhesion that the SikaFlex provides, along with the bonding power of the VHB.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:57 PM   #3
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Lew,

What about using Vulkem or Alcoa Gutter Seal?

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Old 04-06-2016, 09:06 PM   #4
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Definitely not gutter seal as it has little adhesive properties. Perhaps Vulkem, but I have little experience using it and the formula that I tried was grainy in texture, which definitely did not suit my purposes.

I have been using SikaFlex 221 for 15 years with no failures. Can't ask for a better track record than that.


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Old 04-06-2016, 09:41 PM   #5
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SikaFlex 221 and mineral spirits here too.
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:37 PM   #6
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I recently purchased a 1990 Excella. 34' long. I would like to add solar as well. Can you tell me what you bought, so i can do more research? I have no experience with solar & need enough power to run everything but the gas stove.Thanks, Michele
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:15 PM   #7
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Start with AM Solar's website, www.amsolar.com. There's good information for the novice and they are also quite generous with information if you contact them.
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:12 AM   #8
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Just as an FYI, their new url is www.amsolarrv.com

They updated their website.


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Old 04-09-2016, 07:45 AM   #9
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No worries. The old links to the new.
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:19 PM   #10
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Attaching Solar Panels

I've had a great solar set up for more than 10 years on my 22ft International. The solar panels are attached using a Z like bracket that can be bent to fit the curve. Where there are rivets, there is a part of the frame. Using rubber expansion nuts will seal the holes and hold the panels forever. I can't believe that any mobile use of panels would rely on adhesives. Sounds like a really bad idea.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:22 PM   #11
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Tell that to the thousands of clients that AM Solar has provided with mobile solar solutions for almost 30 years.

I have yet to drill a single hole in the roof of any Airstream where I have placed solar panels.

Rubber riv-nuts have their place, but don't allow for a panel to be tilted in off-season applications. Z feet also require you to follow the roof contour with your panels. We use adjustable feet of varying heights that not only allow for the tilt feature, but also allow the panels to ride flat and parallel to the ground; a position that gets you maximum input of solar radiance over the course of the solar day.

The incredible bonding power of 3M VHB tape and advanced polyurethane adhesive sealants is a proven application method which is used quite successfully in many industries including automotive.

I'm glad that your several panels are still solidly secured to your roof. So are the over 1000 panels that I have placed on my clients roofs.

No holes........NO LEAKS!!!!!!!


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Old 04-11-2016, 08:01 PM   #12
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My apologies

This just goes to show what a dinosaur that I've become. Technology is just incredible. Enjoy.
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:33 PM   #13
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Now Ziggy... don't go insulting dinosaurs VHB is incredible stuff. Heavily used in the signage industry. If you see some fancy stores with big pieces of aluminum mounted on the walls etc good chance it was done with one of the VHB products. I tested a 3/4 x 3/4 piece for shear tension. After 24 hours pulled about 40# before I saw any movement. Digital fish scale went to 50#. It did finally release but with the amount that is on the feet of the AMSolar mounts times 4 attach points it would take a tornado or hurricane to pull them off as Lew has pointed out. Add the SikaFlex 221 and if you could hook a crane to the attach points on 4 roof panels you could probably lift the trailer. Wouldn't that be a great commercial to film?
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:18 PM   #14
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Which version of VHB?

Lewster (or anyone else with experience), which version of VHB tape do you use on solar panel mounting feet?

Thanks, Hank
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