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Old 01-08-2019, 10:59 AM   #1
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Solar Installation

I have a 2013 Escape 19 with a 90 watt panel roof mounted from factory. I want to add additional capacity and debating on another roof panel or a remote ground based panel. I would prefer roof mount but do not want to drill into the roof and I'm not sure about the flexible panels. In looking at my current installation I cannot see where the aluminum rails are bolted through the roof. Is it possible that they are glued to the roof? Has anyone glued aluminum rails to the roof and mounted the panel frame to those rails?


IMG_2616.jpg
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:39 AM   #2
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The rails are glued to the roof with 3M 5200 adhesive. You will no doubt be told the only safe thing to do is contact ETI for a retrofit kit to bolt through the ceiling, however that is not you're only safe option. Also, with your location the bolts would be in the main ceiling area instead of in overhead cabinets.

AM solar in Springfield, OR has been using VHB tape for many years and has never had a panel fly off using this technique. They have a fantastic selection of videos to help educate you in all aspects of using solar and offer a "how to" for installation on the roof.
https://amsolar.com/rv-solar/support/

I augmented my installation of my factory installation on rails like yours and feel totally confident in it. I had four 4 x 4 aluminum brackets made for $50 and used the proper VHB tape specified for that application then used Dicor lap sealant on top to keep moisture off. The middle image shows the smaller ETI supplied brackets which I did not use.
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File Type: jpg panel feet.jpg (149.2 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg ETI feet.jpg (97.0 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg Dicor feet.jpg (73.3 KB, 36 views)
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:46 AM   #3
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Looks like it may be glued, but hard to tell from the pic. I’d call ETI and ask them as well as see if you are part of the recall on the glued mounts.
If it’s bolted through you are good to go. Rather than adding another panel I’d just upgrade the 90w panel that is there. You could get a 160-200w panel and replace the 90 doubling your capacity without having to add more mounts, etc.
Rossue’s solution above would definitely be a good way to go, upgrading the existing location.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
AM solar in Springfield, OR has been using VHB tape for many years and has never had a panel fly off using this technique. They have a fantastic selection of videos to help educate you in all aspects of using solar and offer a "how to" for installation on the roof.
https://amsolar.com/rv-solar/support/
Thank you for providing the link to AM Solar's video library. What a tremendous resource. Now I can watch and be confident for a DIY solar install.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:04 PM   #5
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Before they started bolting the panels, Escape used two different methods of attaching the 1" aluminum square tubing to the roof. At first they used VHB tape. My 2011 used the tape. Eventually, they switched to epoxy. I added a 100 panel to my 17B with epoxy (with proper cleaning, etc) and both panels stayed on the roof for 100,000 miles, so both methods work. You do have to properly prepare the surfaces using either method.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #6
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I did the same as Ross, adding the oversize brackets to my epoxied aluminum tubes according to how AMSolar does it, so far so good. Personally I'd do it again this way if I were to add another panel, at least till I hear how the glued down flex panels hold up after a few years. My portables are the flex panels, they seem to scratch fairly easily although I have no idea if light scratches effect power output. Of course portables take more beating then glued to the roof ones would.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
The rails are glued to the roof with 3M 5200 adhesive. You will no doubt be told the only safe thing to do is contact ETI for a retrofit kit to bolt through the ceiling, however that is not you're only safe option. Also, with your location the bolts would be in the main ceiling area instead of in overhead cabinets.

AM solar in Springfield, OR has been using VHB tape for many years and has never had a panel fly off using this technique. They have a fantastic selection of videos to help educate you in all aspects of using solar and offer a "how to" for installation on the roof.
https://amsolar.com/rv-solar/support/



I augmented my installation of my factory installation on rails like yours and feel totally confident in it. I had four 4 x 4 aluminum brackets made for $50 and used the proper VHB tape specified for that application then used Dicor lap sealant on top to keep moisture off. The middle image shows the smaller ETI supplied brackets which I did not use.
Nice job Ross ! Pat
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
...I augmented my installation of my factory installation on rails like yours and feel totally confident in it. I had four 4 x 4 aluminum brackets made for $50 and used the proper VHB tape specified for that application then used Dicor lap sealant on top to keep moisture off. The middle image shows the smaller ETI supplied brackets which I did not use.
Looks like it will do the job. Any reason why you chose 4 small different sized brackets rather than adding a single longer bracket?
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:05 PM   #9
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Dave- those different size brackets were sent to me by ETI and were not used. Took a photo to show the difference in dimension. Used larger ones for a bigger footprint on the roof of the trailer
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:12 PM   #10
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Dave- those different size brackets were sent to me by ETI and were not used. Took a photo to show the difference in dimension. Used larger ones for a bigger footprint on the roof of the trailer
Ok. I misinterpreted your post. I had thought you used the narrower brackets. I see why you went with your own larger brackets. I am surprised that ETI sent you those odd mismatched brackets.
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