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Old 06-21-2015, 02:53 PM   #1
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Check your solar panel!

Hello everyone...

As you may know, we are working to put a kit together to mechanically anchor the solar panels to the roof.

In the mean time, please check your panel before each trip. It is as simple as climb up on a ladder and try lift the panel on each corner. If it is on firmly enough that you are loosing your balance on the ladder while trying to lift it...it is probably ok to hit the road. If you are seeing any kind of movement between the 1" square tubing that is bonded to the roof, let me now and I will expedite a fix to you.

I have had 2 others mention a failure of the panel, bringing the number up to 5. With that information, the failed panels all seem to have been installed between late 2012 and the summer of 2013. Pay particular attention to your panel if yours was installed within this period.

The larger 150/160 watt panels which are now mounted on the rear of the roof are a relatively easy install as the panel is large enough that the bolt on brackets will bolt through the shell inside the rear side overhead compartments.

The 95 watt panel is typically mounted between the A/C and Maxx Fan. Being a smaller panel, mounting with the same method as the larger panel will have bolt heads protruding in the center dome area. I have been testing a cable attachment system that I think will solve the problem of the unsightly bolts. I am waiting to receive a shipment of the correct length of cable and will then start shipping them out. The attachment through the roof will be on the upper side of the dome with easy install rivets. I will provide proper instructions, along with a video for installation as soon as the product arrives. The easy install rivets only require a hammer to install, so no to rivet gun necessary.

I will update with more info as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience.

Reace
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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Thanks Reace! We really appreciate the diligence and concern that ETI has exhibited in working to resolve this issue quickly and efficiently. It makes us very pleased that we have an Escape!
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:44 PM   #3
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I'm very impressed with there involvement, it's not a common attribute in a lot of today's companies!
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:41 PM   #4
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Wow! I don't even own one of your trailers (yet) and I'm quite impressed with how you're handling this situation. Makes me happy we're going to eventually order one of your trailers.
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:55 AM   #5
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As always, ETI customer service is above and beyond.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:03 AM   #6
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I wonder if the cable attachment system will have a downward clamping effect or will be only a safety retainer ?
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
I wonder if the cable attachment system will have a downward clamping effect or will be only a safety retainer ?
Hi: jubal... Either way you attach it... if Reace figured it out it will be GREAT!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:38 AM   #8
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Hi: jubal... Either way you attach it... if Reace figured it out it will be GREAT!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
You may be correct. I am concerned by the solar panel that was poorly installed. The epoxy is smeared and there is air gaps between the square tube and the gel coat. The installer could help but notice the potential for failure !
The fiberglass thickness and gel coat thickness in the roof is only an eighth of an inch thick.
From ETI:
Thank you for your email.
The thickness of the white gel coat and fiber glass is approximately an 8th of an inch.
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Old 06-22-2015, 12:37 PM   #9
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Bob,
I'd go ahead and add some other previously discussed 3M product discussed here at post #129 Our solar panel blew off!! and then add the ETI fix once it arrives. I checked mine, very secure and no gaps, but if yours were mine, that is what I would do.
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:45 PM   #10
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Bob,
I'd go ahead and add some other previously discussed 3M product discussed here at post #129 Our solar panel blew off!! and then add the ETI fix once it arrives. I checked mine, very secure and no gaps, but if yours were mine, that is what I would do.
The 3M adhesives cannot now be applied between the tubing and the gel coat. The only option would be to apply the adhesive on the sides of the tubing and the gel coat roof, maybe forming an angled application. I am probably going to have to bolt thru and find a way to trim the interior exposed bolts. I have two factory installed 95 W solar panels.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
The 3M adhesives cannot now be applied between the tubing and the gel coat. The only option would be to apply the adhesive on the sides of the tubing and the gel coat roof, maybe forming an angled application. I am probably going to have to bolt thru and find a way to trim the interior exposed bolts. I have two factory installed 95 W solar panels.
According to the details for this one can be applied between 2 items previously attached and it is resistant to joint movement http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B000XBDJW...ZJUJROAL&psc=1
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:40 PM   #12
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According to the details for this one can be applied between 2 items previously attached and it is resistant to joint movement 3M Marine 4000 UV Adhesive/Sealant Fast Cure (White, 1/10 Gallon): Industrial Sealants: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
Without prior experience, one can get into trouble with fast cure products. How can adhesive be applied between two items that are already attached (between). I believe it is applied during or before the mechanical fastening. 3M 4200 is intended to be used more as an sealer than a adhesive.
I do appreciate your suggestions.
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:55 PM   #13
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I know epoxy has a bad rep here now that ETI's application has had a couple failures but if you are interested this video shows how to properly apply a fillet to the sides. Keep in mind for proper adhesion, you need to rough up both the aluminum and the trailer. As I've mentioned before removing the gelcoat is recommended by West System, but not practical.

If I'm seeing it right, if you look at the images of the OP's trailer (other thread page 3), the panel was mounted just to the rear of the apex of a 5.0 roof, could not have found a spot to get more wing effect then there. The newer installs all the way to the back, behind the air conditioner are much less susceptible to the wind. A sub par epoxy job like Bob's could compound the likelihood of a failure.

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Old 06-23-2015, 09:02 AM   #14
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In most cases, the 95 watt panels are properly bonded on and adding the cable restraints is a quick and easy way to ensure they stay that way. If the epoxy bond fails, the cables will prevent the panel from coming off the roof and a bolt through bracket will need to be installed.

For those that prefer a bolt down kit for the 95 watt panels, I do have brackets that I can send.

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Old 06-23-2015, 10:33 AM   #15
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If the epoxy bond fails the gel coat on the roof will be damaged. The panel, the retainer cable and the drive rivet will have to be removed. The gel coat repaired and the bolt through bracket installed resulting in more holes in the roof if both the options are installed. . The epoxy does not seem to be the problem. The installation quality is the problem on our 19.
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