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Old 09-24-2017, 03:46 PM   #1
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Cracked Solar Panel Glass

On our last trip (3 weeks ago) there were some large nuts falling from the trees in our campsite. At one point I heard a loud 'crack' like someone breaking a large piece of wood that sounded like it came from the woods behind the front driver's side of the Escape. I looked around, didn't see anything out of the ordinary and 'blew it off'.
Jump ahead two weeks and the Escape is parked in our driveway. Early last week we had some fairly severe storms come through about 1am and the next morning there were some branches down in the area where the trailer was parked. (Including several 2-inch diameter tree branches). Then yesterday I was up on the roof of the house cleaning the gutters. I had a good view of the trailer from the top and discovered that there was a crack in the solar panel glass. I don't know when it happened so no idea what caused it. My question is do I have to be concerned about operating the panel with a cracked glass. Is there a chance of something bad (electric shock, ruin my batteries, starting a fire, or). I've checked the controller and it seems to be working OK. (The controller screen showed 1.0 A output, 90% charged, and 13.6 V. The trailer has not been plugged into shore power for two weeks.) I will see my insurance agent tomorrow to see what my options are. Anyone here on the forum had experience with this kind of damage? Is this 'fixable' or do I need to be thinking replacement? Thanks in advance for your input!
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File Type: jpg CrackedSolarPanelGlass02.jpg (299.5 KB, 18 views)
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:55 PM   #2
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Paul, wow that must have taken a hard hit from something. I would worry about the glass fragments falling out more than anything else. I wonder if you could cover it with some clear 3M plastic film like some folks use on the front of the trailer to prevent water penetration and hold the glass together? Amazon sells small sample sizes depending on how big it is : 3M Film

I don't think there is any way for their to be fire or shock danger, someone with more expertise on the controller will have to address if it could be damaged.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:18 PM   #3
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I wonder if you have comprehensive insurance on your trailer. Comprehensive insurance on a vehicle covers this kind of damage. We carry "0" deductible comprehensive insurance on all our vehicles so broken windshields don't cost a dime. Worth checking out.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:23 PM   #4
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First broken panel I've heard of, you're in uncharted territory.

I can't see where it'd do any harm as long as it keeps working. Wonder if it'll still work if it gets wet, has it rained on it?
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:25 PM   #5
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I've read of concerns about having a shadow cast on a solar panel, resulting in bad performance. That looks far worse than a shadow.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:29 PM   #6
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Let us know what your insurance company says?
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:33 PM   #7
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I'm surprised to see that kind of damage. My rooftop panels have withstood dime to quarter sized hail with lots of wind, and the portable being blown 30' into a rocky field 20' below my trailer.

Other than performance degeneration due to the crack (as Glenn pointed out), and possible total failure due to water entry, there is no reason not to keep using it. If I was going to depend on it (long term boondocking), I'd probably replace it.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:41 PM   #8
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Paul, this was installed at the factory, was it not? If so, it is a part of your trailer as it came from the factory. This is what insurance is for, so they should cover it. Of course, you probably have a deductible. As said, we had not seen this here. There may be people who have had it happen but have not come on here about it.
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