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Old 05-02-2021, 11:08 AM   #21
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Hi

My guess is that you will run into the same issues down the road as others have run into with flexible panels .....sorry about that.

Bob
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Humboldt Air View Post
To really understand all of the benefits of CIGS solar panels I highly suggest everyone do your own research. It isn’t as cut and dry as measuring square inches per watt of production and comparing.
I agree, but I wonder if you could share your thoughts on a good way to convey any specifics in "layman's terms." I run up against this argument often enough that I would be interested in hearing other people's "go to" arguments.
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:40 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKNate View Post
I had the same concern about heat and the same solution idea when I installed my flex panels. I ended up deciding that the gap didn’t need to be that big to provide the desired ventilation and shading and I could accomplish what I wanted with a much simpler solution. I installed the panels with 3M Dual Lock SJ3870 in evenly spaced strips that follow the curve of the roof, allowing a convection air current to flow.
Did you go that direction with the "tape" because you thought it would be more secure, or more for the idea of convection flow (lower to higher)? I ask because it seems like running the strips the length of the trailer would allow for better airflow while driving, though I could see an argument for the direction you used providing more "grip" (though maybe that's just a perceptive illusion). It doesn't seem like that amount of distance/rise would do much in the way of convection flow.

P.s. That install definitely looks great!
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:06 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

My guess is that you will run into the same issues down the road as others have run into with flexible panels .....sorry about that.

Bob


It’s of course possible. I extensively researched the issues people have had in the past with flex panels and was satisfied they had been addressed through design and material changes in the panels I selected or could be addressed by not repeating their installation mistakes. Based on my research and also now using my system for two years, my guess is that I won’t have the same issues others ran into. Only time will tell. The warranty on my flex panels is exactly the same as their rigid counterpart, so the manufacturer (Renogy) seems to also think they’ve fixed the problems.
If I’m wrong and they do fail, well, they’re just held on with velcro...
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:27 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
Did you go that direction with the "tape" because you thought it would be more secure, or more for the idea of convection flow (lower to higher)? I ask because it seems like running the strips the length of the trailer would allow for better airflow while driving, though I could see an argument for the direction you used providing more "grip" (though maybe that's just a perceptive illusion). It doesn't seem like that amount of distance/rise would do much in the way of convection flow.

P.s. That install definitely looks great!


Dual Lock is crazy strong, so I think either way would be secure. I’m not concerned with cooling while driving - I figure a 60 mph wind across the top will keep the panels at ambient regardless of if anything flows underneath. Running the strips up the curve of the roof gives you a few inches rise to set up a convection current, the air only has to travel 2’ to flow through instead of 4’, you have 4’ of open channel ends instead of 2’, and the unsupported parts of the panel are structurally strong and won’t sag because they form an arch. If you ran the strips the other way, the unsupported panel between the strips would be nearly flat and likely to sag over time, which sets you up for panel failure. That’s also why I put so many narrowly spaced strips. Three strips of Dual Lock for the whole panel would probably be more than strong enough to hold it down, but I wanted the spacing narrow enough so it couldn’t sag between the strips.
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:40 PM   #26
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AM Solar installed the very low profile (“Stabilized”) option for Zamp Obsidian panels on my 2019 25’ FC using the 3M adhesive. No penetration of my shell was required and they were able to use my stock Airstream controller connections on the roof.

I like the appearance and after 4 months in SoCal sun think the 1” airspace helped keep us cool on 85 degree days.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:02 PM   #27
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...
3. The Tradewind looks so nice in the way the curves have been made I didn't want to detract from its beauty!
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That is a beautifully clean system. I appreciate your high value of esthetics. Even if your roof is black, your trailer will always be cool.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:11 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by AKNate View Post
That is a beautifully clean system. I appreciate your high value of esthetics. Even if your roof is black, your trailer will always be cool.


The CIGS panels have been installed on metal roofs for years without problems. They may turn sunshine into electrons, but they are not comparable in many other ways to other panels. The very interesting thing about them is they can be manufactured to be different colors. Though none are available currently from my research. The possibility of light colored CIGS panels is out there. Fingers crossed!!!
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:22 PM   #29
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Best Solar Panels for Airstreams

It will be interesting to see how this version of flexible panels holds up to the extreme UV light exposure we get in Southern California. That was why I went with rigid panels.

As a side note, our original graytank roof vent totally disintegrated from UV exposure. Ably left a few shards of plastic on the roof after a trip last year. It was totally brittle. Replaced it with a siphon vent. That’s already yellowing, so it’s time to paint it. Strong sunlight is brutal on plastics.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:58 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
It will be interesting to see how this version of flexible panels holds up to the extreme UV light exposure we get in Southern California. That was why I went with rigid panels.

As a side note, our original graytank roof vent totally disintegrated from UV exposure. Ably left a few shards of plastic on the roof after a trip last year. It was totally brittle. Replaced it with a siphon vent. That’s already yellowing, so it’s time to paint it. Strong sunlight is brutal on plastics.


I couldn’t find what plastic the MiaSolé panels are encased in from a quick search. The newer Renogy panels like I have are ETFE, which has excellent properties for outdoor durability and solar transmissibility. It is unaffected by UV light. They’ve been using it on buildings for years now. https://www.architen.com/articles/et...w-fabric-roof/
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:09 PM   #31
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I lost two panels that were secured with the 3m tape and sikaflex. It was a trip thru a truck wash that loosened the panels and they flew off on the highway.
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:26 AM   #32
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I lost two panels that were secured with the 3m tape and sikaflex. It was a trip thru a truck wash that loosened the panels and they flew off on the highway.


3M makes a lot of different tapes. You really need to do a lot of research to understand which is appropriate for a given application. You need to understand what surface energy means. Once you select the correct tape, surface prep is key. If something takes off a properly selected and applied 3M tape, it probably would have taken off a mechanically fastened thing too.
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Old 05-03-2021, 02:57 AM   #33
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I guess we have gone totally off-topic from the OP's starting post.

But to try and bring it back......

The CIGS are self adhesive, is there any indication as to what is used? It looks like they just 'peel and stick'?
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:22 AM   #34
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I guess we have gone totally off-topic from the OP's starting post.



But to try and bring it back......



The CIGS are self adhesive, is there any indication as to what is used? It looks like they just 'peel and stick'?


These panels have a peel and stick poly butyl backing. They get more sticky when heated. For a DIY install they are the most simple to use.
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:24 PM   #35
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Really appreciate your posts Humboldt Air.
Waiting a year to post, nice.
A polished Airstream is so easy to look at, especially without the AC.
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Old 05-03-2021, 06:09 PM   #36
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batteries?

Those curved ones look nice, but i'm already knee deep into the rigid ones unfortunately, but quick question, what sort of batteries are you running for them? My lead acid ones just gave up the ghost, so I'm looking at going with (2) 200 AH AGM's as a replacement since i could just buy a generator for the price of one lithium battery, but don't want to go that route either... I'm in the Pacific NW where we're not exactly camping in a lot of direct sunlight so I need my battery game to be strong! Swapping all the lights to LED's now which i'm hoping will help too.
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:35 PM   #37
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Those curved ones look nice, but i'm already knee deep into the rigid ones unfortunately, but quick question, what sort of batteries are you running for them? My lead acid ones just gave up the ghost, so I'm looking at going with (2) 200 AH AGM's as a replacement since i could just buy a generator for the price of one lithium battery, but don't want to go that route either... I'm in the Pacific NW where we're not exactly camping in a lot of direct sunlight so I need my battery game to be strong! Swapping all the lights to LED's now which i'm hoping will help too.


Hey,

I got Calb cells for 650$. 200AH about 2 years ago. They are Lofepo4.

I see that I can get 280AH cells now for 471$ with free shipping. Add a great 100 amp bms for around 140 and you can get the whole 280ah for 620$.

That is way cheaper than battle born. If you want links PM me.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:52 PM   #38
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As I said. It was done with the correct tape for the job, correct prep, etc.

The truck washes have a bit of acid in their wash. My panels were sturdy for two years until I hit that truck wash. The tape failed.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:43 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Cammalu View Post
As I said. It was done with the correct tape for the job, correct prep, etc.

The truck washes have a bit of acid in their wash. My panels were sturdy for two years until I hit that truck wash. The tape failed.


I’m sorry to hear about your panels. I think that it is worth telling your story on an individual thread. Many people are installing this way now and you are the first one I have heard having a problem. I suspect as time goes on you won’t be the last.

Thanks for the information!!!!
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:23 AM   #40
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Hey,

I got Calb cells for 650$. 200AH about 2 years ago. They are Lofepo4.

I see that I can get 280AH cells now for 471$ with free shipping. Add a great 100 amp bms for around 140 and you can get the whole 280ah for 620$.

That is way cheaper than battle born. If you want links PM me.
Hi

If you do go for raw cells ( I have piles of them sitting here), you also will need:

1) An enclosure that properly supports / protects them.

2) A good / reliable BMS with all the right features and current ratings.

3) Interconnects and possibly fusing (depending on config).

At that point you still don't have a 10 year warranty on the result .....

Bob
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