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Old 10-06-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
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2007 20' Safari SE
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unrolling unisolar panel

I just bought the 64 watt Uni-solar 9+ft panel to place on a 20' Safari. Advice from someone who has seen this done would be appreciated, as once the glue touches the roof, there is no second chance [so I hear]. I wonder about the roof curve, and a semi-rigid 9 foot sticky panel, and when to remove the backing. As it unrolls? Or, ?? Two people, 10 feet above the ground, with a tenacious 9 foot long flexing panel, ready to adhere to whatever comes near?

Also, is it possible to crawl around on the roof, or is it not made for that. I would hate to create a leak. I need to clean the roof prior to installation. And then connect the wires.
David
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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Download the installation instructions from the Unisolar website...

Basically lay the panel out in place, and then pull the backing off from underneath... Once you get about six inches of mastic exposed, there is no going back.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Dan,
Thanks. Went to the site and it is a good set of instructions, so will print them out. None came with the panel.
David
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #4
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One tip - I tried to install on a warm, sunny day and I had a heck of a time getting the white plastic peel off covering to come off of the mastic - it was really stuck and would pull up the mastic instead of just peeling away. It turned out that the solution was waiting for a cool morning - then the white plastic came off cleanly no problem.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:12 AM   #5
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--What was the "warm" temperature?
Fortunately the mornings are getting cool [50s] in TN.
--Was there any problem with the curve of the roof? Did you roll it out straight on the flat roof, then come back and push down onto the curved part, or, immediately push down on the curve and straight roof as you unrolled it?
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:15 AM   #6
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Also Dan: Did you buy the MC4 connectors somewhere, or cut and splice with different connectors. I'm wondering where to get them.

Thanks much for your input,
David
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:45 AM   #7
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David, you can get them from Amazon and also on Ebay.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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I bought MC4 connectors from this place - Products - MIDWESTGREENSOLUTIONS.NET

But you can get them on either Ebay or Amazon. I'd definitely recommend using MC4 connectors rather than cutting off the cable ends on the panel - it will give you more flexibility down the road.

It was probably 85 degrees and sunny when I first tried to apply the panels and the backing stuck. The next morning, in 60 degrees and shade, I had no problem getting the backing off cleanly.

I laid my panels front to back along the trailer. They had no problem adhering to the curved roof - the are quite flexible - in fact with my 18 foot panels I felt like I had to be careful not to over-flex them when carrying them around - they are pretty bendy. Also, I am not sure it really matters that you get it perfect - the adhesive mastic is really strong and sticky stuff. Just make sure you wash the top of trailer first and give it time to dry.

I'm more worried about what I would do if I ever needed to remove the panels - I think it would be a big sticky mess up there.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:52 PM   #9
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Once again, thank you Dan. I ordered the connectors--it took a while to figure out that the panel came with MC3s, so I ordered MC4s and will replace the MC3s.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:22 AM   #10
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My thanks for the information. Finished the last of the installation yesterday November 7, with the addition of the RM1 remote meter, so as to view amps, volts, and watts from the panel. I installed the control panel under the bed behind the cafe bulkhead, so as to have a short wire run from the front mounted pos and neg bus assemblies. Ran the solar cable down the port bow directly in line, and shielded by the rock protectors for the window and trailer skin, then up and in right next to the battery cable. I used stick-ons + zip ties to secure the cable. The RM1 meter cable runs from the control panel, under the bed, up through the back stern bulkhead in the closet, and then to the bulkhead at the door entrance. I didn't spend too much time looking for the solar pre-wire, after following it along the port side on the floor to the bathroom bulkhead and up, no doubt to somewhere near the bathroom/kitchen roof. I was not interested in drilling a hole in the exterior roof, and the 20' safari has no refrigerator vent to the roof-it exits via a side panel. I have not yet seen anything close to the 64 watts the UniSolar panel claims to send, rather 20 something. But am not able to turn the trailer for best sun angle where it is residing. I'll be on the road in a few days and will see then its true maximum.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:39 PM   #11
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DBULL -
So you replaced the MC3 junction boxes with MC4. I haven't had the nerve to remove the MC4 boxes on some Unisolar panels because I don't know how. Plus I'm thinking if I can get them off, why put any back, since it seems to me preferable to hook up wires directly to whatever the junction box is hooked up to, then run the wires down thru a hole in the roof so there's one less thing (wires coming out of a junction box) for the neighborhood riff-raff to yank. Any thoughts?
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