Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-04-2017, 10:44 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 84
Solar panel install on motorhome roof

We are looking to install a small solar panel (+/- 20” x 30”) on the top of our 78 Argosy MH. Figured I'd post here since the topic also applies to Classics. For integrity reasons, we are not interested in any drilling in to the shell. This leaves the AC cover or the rear roof vent cover as attachment points. The current preference is the vent cover as this will provide some air deflection at freeway speeds. Has anyone made a similar install to the roof vent (or AC cover)?
Belle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 10:59 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
Lester and others here have talked about using adhesives to attach panels to the roof successfully.
I'm not sure of the type, you could PM him, or stand by the details should show up soon.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 11:55 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
WayneG's Avatar
 
1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,082
Check out my install on a 84 Excella 270
http://theouterlimits.ws/projects/airstream/solar/
WayneG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 12:53 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
I used a Baird panel stuck down with Sikaflex. Runs through fridge vent down inside of cavity (through trunking secured to wall) and then through grommets to the solar regulator. I don't think this interferes in any way with the rear of the fridge but wanted the leads secure and not flapping about. The edge of the top fridge vent is sharp, so I slotted the + and - leads through a small piece of garden hose to protect them at this point. This is invisible from ground level.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 01:47 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 84
Boom_Sounds: Where on the roof did you mount it?
Belle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 03:25 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
Sorry I meant to type Lewster earlier.
An exceptional adhesive that I do know of is 3M 5200.
Messy to work with, but great bonding and very durable.

I think that Lewster uses some sort of double sided tape adhesive.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 04:57 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
Belle - front of panel is just behind the air con or about a foot behind the fridge vent


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 05:00 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
I used sikaflex 521


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2017, 10:01 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by tevake View Post
Sorry I meant to type Lewster earlier.
An exceptional adhesive that I do know of is 3M 5200.
Messy to work with, but great bonding and very durable.

I think that Lewster uses some sort of double sided tape adhesive.

Cheers Richard
Thanks Richard - I new you meant Lewster.
Belle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2017, 05:50 AM   #10
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,430
You rang???

3M VHB tape #4950 with a SikaFlex-221 covering over the mounting feet. Have not lost a panel in 15 years with this method. Yes, 3M 5200 is a good bonding agent as well but requires far too long to cure for the type of work that I do. The SikaFlex is comparable in strength to the 5200 and as it is a moisture cure single component polyurethane, will cure in a few hours in normal humidity. Here in FL, it goes off within an hour and is fully cured in 12.

I only use this on metal or smooth fiberglass RV roofing. if you have a textured fiberglass, EPDM rubber or other roofing substrate you still need to use screws as well.
__________________
lewster
Solar Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
Victron Solar Components and Inverters, Zamp Solar Panels, LiFeBlue and Battle Born Lithium Batteries, Lifeline AGM Batteries
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2017, 08:21 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
That's right, I used the 3M tape and the sikaflex.....poor memory. Good point on the rubber coating, didn't think about that


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2017, 11:52 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 84
Ok then, 3M VHB tape #4950 with a SikaFlex-221 covering it is! Thanks for the help.
Belle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2017, 03:32 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
WayneG's Avatar
 
1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,082
I know most everyone will disagree, but I used VHB tape and screws.
Of course my MH is a 84 and has lots of other defects, so I am not afraid to drill holes in it, if it suits my needs.

My reasoning is that my front 2 panels are right after the curve of the Motorhome roof where they will get a lot of lift forces. Even though the VHB tape is awesome stuff for holding at normal temperatures, the aluminum roof baking in the sun can get close to the upper limits where VHB starts to loose strength. (Strength depends on which version of VHB you are using, see this pdf chart from 3M. Don't use the cheap stuff!)
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/9...alty-tapes.pdf
For whatever reason, I cant link to the PDF, so you will have to copy & paste the link in your browser.

Rocker mounts with VHB tape and stainless screws into the skin and rib.

Panel mounted where the front curve of the cab ends.
WayneG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2017, 04:12 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
I've gone for the 3m tape and sikaflex. It's on a slightly defective rubber roof, so I will keep and eye on that. It's just behind the air com unit, so protected in some respects. The Baird panel is flexible so hugs the curve in the roof. I'm going to stick some more sikaflex on thee front edge to stop potential lifting and also keep an eye on it.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2017, 01:43 PM   #15
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
I went for this, taped with the 3m and glued with sikaflex. Invisible and hugs the curves. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByAirstream Forums1489005830.100902.jpg
Views:	82
Size:	74.7 KB
ID:	281046


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2017, 07:20 PM   #16
Rivet Master
 
Gregsch's Avatar
 
1979 24' Airstream Excella 24
Tipp City , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 536
I went with VHB tape and sealant from AM Solar. Worked great and no new holes drilled in the skin.
Gregsch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 03:37 AM   #17
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
So far we have discussed taping down flexible panels and caulking the edges.
And installing rigid panels with brackets with screws.

Has anyone found a good method to mount rigid panels using the tape without screws.
Why not just go with the well fitting flexible panels, you may ask?

First is the superior output and longevity of the rigid panels.
Second the mounting that allows air circulation around the panel which helps keep it cooler for better output.

I bring these considerations up for discussion and comparison with the use of flexible vs rigid panels.
Thanks for any input.

Cheers Richard
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 04:23 AM   #18
Rivet Master
 
Boom Sounds's Avatar
 
1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,133
Images: 5
Good questions Richard. My weedy 150w panel will be outdated in a few years and will fail at some point. Will I be able to remove it and install another one? Uncharted territory. It seems to me the rigid panels have some clear benefits, as do the flexible. I guess one of the deciding factors is appearance. Personally, I would prefer not to have a rigid panel, but it's all as matter of choice.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Boom Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 05:28 AM   #19
Rivet Master
 
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,211
Clearly the flush mounted flexible panels fit the nicest.

I went thru a similar process 20 years ago when placing panels on the new pilot house we added to Tevake while in New Zealand.
I'm wondering if the performance and temperature tolerence for the Flexible panels has changed in the mean time.

We ended up making teak mounting trim for each end of the rigid panels that fit the curved shape of the roof. Once mounted they all but disappeared.

The four panels we carried covered all household needs till two or three totally cloudy days came along.

One big difference is that we never parked Tevake in the shade.��

Zoom in to see the panels just behind the blondie.

Cheers Richard
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	96
Size:	273.0 KB
ID:	281132  
tevake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 07:37 AM   #20
4 Rivet Member
 
2007 31' Classic
Gulf Breeze , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 493
Images: 1
I mounted five Renogy Monocrystaline 100 Watt panels using the Lewster method for mounting. 3 M tape to mount the bracket foot to the trailer, then smother the foot with Sikaflex. Just try to pull one off the trailer...you will hurt yourself.

I like the rigid panels. I have a flex panel I bought for experimenting. The cells can cup out becoming a trap for dirt, which reduces production.


Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums
trumpetguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar Panel Install Clarification tsunami Generators & Solar Power 15 06-02-2016 10:15 PM
2003 Airstream Land Yacht 30' Class A Motorhome Solar Roof Panel COLORADO eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 02-20-2014 01:10 PM
2003 Airstream Land Yacht 30' Class A Motorhome Solar Roof Panel COLORADO eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 02-09-2014 09:20 PM
Solar Panel Install in 1975 Sovereign Jim in Pima Generators & Solar Power 1 08-15-2010 04:51 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.