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Old 09-02-2021, 09:24 AM   #1
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Zamp Rooftop Panel Gone With The Wind

Six months ago I installed a 170watt rooftop solar panel on my 2021 23FB using the supplied red 3M adhesive tape. Despite me doubting the tape would hold, the dealer insisted that "you could tow a truck using this tape." And that "this is the standard practice."

Everything has gone well for a few thousand miles in all kinds of weather...until hitting a crosswind in South Dakota. I didn't even notice until checking the Victron solar panel app that afternoon to discover no current flowing.
Sure enough when inspecting the roof, the Zamp panel had blown off completely...leaving behind a few dents in the roof. Now traveling east in northern Minnesota heading for New England. Guessing that roof panel repair and panel replacement will be expensive so I'm wondering if Geico would cover the repair.
Any thoughts?
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Old 09-02-2021, 09:49 AM   #2
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Mine are drilled into the roof, I'm surprised the recommended tape.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:12 AM   #3
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That panel was improperly installed. When using 3M VHB tape one must also use Sikaflex 221 to help adhere the panel and protect the Sikaflex from the weather and elements.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:22 AM   #4
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That panel was improperly installed. When using 3M VHB tape one must also use Sikaflex 221 to help adhere the panel and protect the Sikaflex from the weather and elements.
Thanks. You are probably correct. I wish the dealer had advised me of that.
(still not sure of what you said though...how does Sikaflex protect Sikaflex?)
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:23 AM   #5
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You will need to check with your insurance company about coverage, but yes, panel replacement is expensive. And they can not be replaced by just anyone. Do your research on this beforehand. Even most AS dealers do not do a good job of panel replacement.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:24 AM   #6
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Mine are drilled into the roof, I'm surprised the recommended tape.
I was surprised also at the recommendation of tape to secure the panel feet. But I am also reluctant to drill holes in the roof.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:24 AM   #7
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In the first photo there appear to be two brackets alongside the solar panel with screws through them. Were they also holding the panel or do they have another function?
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
In the first photo there appear to be two brackets alongside the solar panel with screws through them. Were they also holding the panel or do they have another function?
No screws were used at all--only the red 3M tape supplied by dealer.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:28 AM   #9
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It seems like everyone is recommending tape only for these installs to the point that people were getting angry at me for recommending screws. This is what I did and haven't had any issues in case you are going to install solar again.
Get some of these mounts https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Solar-.../dp/B0751T3QV6
They are nice because you can seperate the mount in two instead of trying to get to the screws on the underside of the panel. I did use 3M tape to mount it once everthing was lined up. Do your pilot holes for your screws. I used metal roofing screws since the have a nice rubber washer. 2 screws each leg, coat the mounting bases with Sikaflex. Once it dry mount the panel to the brakets and your good to go, then you get screws and tape. Havent had any leaking issues
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:32 AM   #10
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improper installation and use of 3m VHB!

the tape alone is not the soln. you need sufficient tape to hold the load.
as well when using 3M VHB tape, please use Sikaflex 221 tape over the 3M and the bracket mounts.

This ensures the the panel mount is protected from any weather and elements.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:46 AM   #11
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My first thoughts when discovering this issue was what a disaster this would have been if the panel blew off and went into the windshield of a following vehicle.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnSk View Post
It seems like everyone is recommending tape only for these installs to the point that people were getting angry at me for recommending screws. This is what I did and haven't had any issues in case you are going to install solar again.
Get some of these mounts https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Solar-.../dp/B0751T3QV6
They are nice because you can seperate the mount in two instead of trying to get to the screws on the underside of the panel. I did use 3M tape to mount it once everthing was lined up. Do your pilot holes for your screws. I used metal roofing screws since the have a nice rubber washer. 2 screws each leg, coat the mounting bases with Sikaflex. Once it dry mount the panel to the brakets and your good to go, then you get screws and tape. Havent had any leaking issues
My concern with using screws is that I'd need to drill into a rib as the aluminum panels are not thick enough to hold much. How to hit that target?
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Old 09-02-2021, 11:37 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=viking1;2533525]Thanks. You are probably correct. I wish the dealer had advised me of that.
(still not sure of what you said though...how does Sikaflex protect Sikaflex?)[/QUOT

Our roof has a few rivets in it...none of ours are leaking.

If I were, but I wouldn't, put a solar panel on the roof.
I would drill a few more holes, enough to use more and ro-buster mounting hardware, forgo the 3m tape and use 3m 5200.

Good Luck....

Bob
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
That panel was improperly installed. When using 3M VHB tape one must also use Sikaflex 221 to help adhere the panel and protect the Sikaflex from the weather and elements.
I always use 3M adhesion promoter for these roof top applications. Then cover installation with Sikaflex.


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Old 09-02-2021, 12:46 PM   #15
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Hi

Backing up a bit:

Make *very* sure the surface is clean before you do much of anything. Wax or other coatings make for a shiny trailer and a *terrible* bond. Some recommend hitting the surface with a light pass of fine grit sand paper to "really get there". I'm not 100% convinced you have to go that crazy.

How do I know the tape has issues with wax and things like that? I use it on a lot of things. Sometimes they fall off .....

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Old 09-02-2021, 01:29 PM   #16
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I wince at using tape only... not reliable enough for me.

Airstream of Santa Barbara did a good job installing a Zamp panel on mine. It IS screwed on roof. I feel better knowing that the solar will always be on roof even with winds, oh yea, normal wind, but not like F5 Tornado.
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Old 09-02-2021, 11:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
improper installation and use of 3m VHB!

the tape alone is not the soln. you need sufficient tape to hold the load.
as well when using 3M VHB tape, please use Sikaflex 221 tape over the 3M and the bracket mounts.

This ensures the the panel mount is protected from any weather and elements.
So the function of using Sikaflex tape is keep the bonding agent in the 3M tape from drying out?
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Old 09-03-2021, 12:06 AM   #18
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Sikaflex is like caulk in this application ... or maybe I should say thats how I used Sikaflex on my install. You need to surround the entire perimeter of whatever bracket(s) has the 3M tape as the bonding method, and the Sikaflex acts as a barrier to keep any moisture from getting under the bonded surfaces, preventing a loss of adhesion. The Sikaflex "seal" around the perimeter of the bracket must be 100% coverage of the gaps, it cannot be partial, if there is any segment, even a small segment, where water can penetrate, you risk losing the bond.

I have 5 solar panels on my roof (3 are a year old, 2 more are only about 4 months old), but I check the secureness of the 3M points every now and then, so far zero problems, and I have zero concerns about them. Sikaflex is a critical part though ... it protects the underlying "glue" from degradation (if my comprehension of the whole approach is correct). As someone else also mentioned, clean surfaces at the start, before 3M tape application, is also critical.
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Old 09-03-2021, 12:39 AM   #19
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Sikaflex is like caulk in this application ... or maybe I should say thats how I used Sikaflex on my install. You need to surround the entire perimeter of whatever bracket(s) has the 3M tape as the bonding method, and the Sikaflex acts as a barrier to keep any moisture from getting under the bonded surfaces, preventing a loss of adhesion. The Sikaflex "seal" around the perimeter of the bracket must be 100% coverage of the gaps, it cannot be partial, if there is any segment, even a small segment, where water can penetrate, you risk losing the bond.

I have 5 solar panels on my roof (3 are a year old, 2 more are only about 4 months old), but I check the secureness of the 3M points every now and then, so far zero problems, and I have zero concerns about them. Sikaflex is a critical part though ... it protects the underlying "glue" from degradation (if my comprehension of the whole approach is correct). As someone else also mentioned, clean surfaces at the start, before 3M tape application, is also critical.
This is how the professional installation of my roof panels was done. Not only did my installer assure me that they had had zero problems over many years with this method but that it was very secure and preferable to creating holes in the roof.
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Old 09-03-2021, 12:43 AM   #20
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I question the "red" 3M tape. The 3M VHB I have has a white peel off with red lettering?
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