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Old 08-23-2019, 05:35 PM   #1
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Solar Panel Mounting

Has anyone know of a better way to mount solar panels on the roof? My understanding is that from the factory there are 8 holes through the roof to mount the solar panel. I have seen one other post that showed another owner mounting a roof rack and then mounting their panels to the rack, however, they still drilled holes through the roof to mount the roof rack. It would be nice if the panel had some fibreglassed on mounts so as to limit the number holes through the roof. It rains a lot here in BC so limiting potential water entry points is top of my mind.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:04 PM   #2
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The mounting holes are not an issue if you annually check the sealant. That said I used Etrnabond tape to hold my four semi-flexible panels. I did this mostly to keep them out of sight, and that sure out great.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:16 PM   #3
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Oh awesome! That does sound like a good option. Did you install your own entire solar system or have it pre wired and then just install your own panels?
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
The mounting holes are not an issue if you annually check the sealant. That said I used Etrnabond tape to hold my four semi-flexible panels. I did this mostly to keep them out of sight, and that sure out great.
If I recall correctly, Jim Bennett had the best solar setup I have seen on here. I don't like the solid panel sitting up high on brackets, just yells steal me when at storage. I like the flexible panels taped on with the Etnabond tape. Nice and aerodynamic.

I am not a fan of drilling into the roof for anything.

Also to add, I always camp in the shade, so I have used portables in the past.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:50 PM   #5
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Oh awesome! That does sound like a good option. Did you install your own entire solar system or have it pre wired and then just install your own panels?
Here is a link to the thread I created when doing it. I did the complete install.
Solar Installation
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Also to add, I always camp in the shade, so I have used portables in the past.
We generally try to do that but in a lot of our recent trips trees are a rarity let alone be in camping areas. That said, even sites with lots of shade still produce some level of charging and I adjust my 12V use accordingly. I can go a few days with no charging. I also carry a portable panel though it has not seen much use since I did my new system well over 2 1/2 years ago.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:30 PM   #6
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If you require mechanical fasteners then you can't avoid drilling holes. There are other approaches, as in adhesives where there are no holes, depends on what you feel comfortable with.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:30 PM   #7
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Thank you for the link. I am guessing you have to cut or drill a hole for the go power plate though?
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:34 PM   #8
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Thank you for the link. I am guessing you have to cut or drill a hole for the go power plate though?
I did the same installation on the 19 . Yes that was the one hole . It does have a cover plate that goes over though . Lensun semi Flexible fiberglass panels and still going good . Pat
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:47 PM   #9
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I have three big holes on the roof of Ten Forward. Large egress vent over the loft, MaxxFan center of the trailer and the 14x14 passive vent at the rear. Eight more holes, about the size of my pinky is not something that concerns me. I washed Ten Forward today and inspected most of the caulking and the solar panel mounts. I don't know what kind of adhesive ETI used to seal the bolts/holes, but that stuff is hard as a rock and smooth. It doesn't feel like ProFlex. IF the solar panel was to come off, it would tear a big chunk of the fiberglass off with it. I doubt that adhesive will ever let go (without a chisel) and leaks around the bolts aren't going to concern me. It's a good, clean install. YMMV
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I have three big holes on the roof of Ten Forward. Large egress vent over the loft, MaxxFan center of the trailer and the 14x14 passive vent at the rear. Eight more holes, about the size of my pinky is not something that concerns me. I washed Ten Forward today and inspected most of the caulking and the solar panel mounts. I don't know what kind of adhesive ETI used to seal the bolts/holes, but that stuff is hard as a rock and smooth. It doesn't feel like ProFlex. IF the solar panel was to come off, it would tear a big chunk of the fiberglass off with it. I doubt that adhesive will ever let go (without a chisel) and leaks around the bolts aren't going to concern me. It's a good, clean install. YMMV
That sounds like 3M 5200. If it is, the gelcoat/fiberglass will give before it does.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:56 PM   #11
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Donna- did you have ETI do their retrofit for your panel? Otherwise don't you have two rails embedded in 3M 5200 vs. L-shaped brackets at the corners?
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info on the factory install that does sound like it is super solid!
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:18 PM   #13
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Donna- did you have ETI do their retrofit for your panel? Otherwise don't you have two rails embedded in 3M 5200 vs. L-shaped brackets at the corners?
Yes, ETI did the install last August, just before I took the Big Trip. Didn't need it for the first four years, but knew I'd need it since I was dry camping for six days at the Boler 50th event. I had it wired for solar on my build sheet though. There are L-brackets at the corners, bolted through and hiding in the upper rear cabinets. I guess the brackets and bolts are covered with 3M 5200.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:33 PM   #14
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I mounted my panel on my 21 ft using eurothane windshield sealant, its the stuff the glass companies use that holds in the winshields in on vehicles, Just yesterday I decided to remove it, (100 watt) and upgrade to a 200 w. and I had a H-- of a time getting it off, had to use a winshield razorblade knife and make several cuts, . I will be reinstalling it tomorrow on a 19 escape I will be selling, so I will take some pictures and put on here if anyone would like to see,
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:37 PM   #15
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I mounted my panel on my 21 ft using eurothane windshield sealant, its the stuff the glass companies use that holds in the winshields in on vehicles, Just yesterday I decided to remove it, (100 watt) and upgrade to a 200 w. and I had a H-- of a time getting it off, had to use a winshield razorblade knife and make several cuts, . I will be reinstalling it tomorrow on a 19 escape I will be selling, so I will take some pictures and put on here if anyone would like to see,
Yes please pictures are always great!
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:48 PM   #16
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We put two 160 panels on our 19 using the AM Solar brackets and adhesive system. No holes required except for one to drop the power inside. This is well sealed and protected from the weather. One could avoid this by dropping through the refrigerator vent but that involved more difficulty in running the wires inside than dropping through the top. We have several thousand miles on our system and are not having any concerns with them. We do store our 19 at home so we donít have the theft issue.

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Old 08-24-2019, 12:40 AM   #17
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That looks like another great option! Thank you every one for the helpful suggestions and information.
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:05 AM   #18
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I really like the flexible solar panels and what Jim did looks great, unfortunately the smaller Escape trailers donít have enough available roof space for this type of install. If you decide to take this route do some research before buying as some flexible panels donít last long. I did the rack mounted panels on my E19 and as much as I hate drilling holes on the roof (or anywhere else in the trailer) I saw no other way, usually in life you canít eat the cake and have it too.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:01 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Doug & Betty View Post
We put two 160 panels on our 19 using the AM Solar brackets and adhesive system. No holes required except for one to drop the power inside. This is well sealed and protected from the weather. One could avoid this by dropping through the refrigerator vent but that involved more difficulty in running the wires inside than dropping through the top. We have several thousand miles on our system and are not having any concerns with them. We do store our 19 at home so we donít have the theft issue.
I believe ETI glued a number of panels down like AM Solar, but with fiberglass the gelcoat ripped off and the panel was left somewhere back on the road. At that point they went to bolting. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:10 AM   #20
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Caveat: I am not recommending that others do the same.

Our classic 19 has the panel mounted with epoxy. We received a bracket kit from ETI back when there were reports that some panels had blown off. We've never installed the brackets. The panel is still there, sturdy, thousands of miles and a few years later. Perhaps the fact that we store inside a garage helps.
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