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Old 10-17-2015, 01:47 PM   #1
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When a solar panel blows off

I know there have only been a few solar pnels that have blown off. Does anyone know whether these were fairly new solar installations or if they'd been on the trailers for awhile.
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Old 10-17-2015, 04:52 PM   #2
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There is a lengthy thread discussing this:
Our solar panel blew off!!

Ours was the incident that started the thread I referenced. We have a 2008 5.0 Classic. We bought it used in 2013 and had the solar panel installed by ETI when we purchased the trailer. The panel had been on for almost 2 years when we lost it in a wind storm.

I think an earlier incident involved a fairly new trailer on which the panels were secured with tape...not epoxy, likes ours was. Now ETI is bolting them on as the standard installation.
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:27 PM   #3
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I'll never understand why anyone would install a solar panel using just 'double back tape'.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:14 PM   #4
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I'll never understand why anyone would install a solar panel using just 'double back tape'.
Because it's easy! It's backing up to find it on the roadway that's difficult.....
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:57 PM   #5
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Fran & Dave -- thanks for the reminder. Terry and I were talking and he was wondering whether the solar panel problem was one that would show up immediately. Obviously that is not the case, so we'll have to get serious about fixing it.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:15 PM   #6
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Fran & Dave -- thanks for the reminder. Terry and I were talking and he was wondering whether the solar panel problem was one that would show up immediately. Obviously that is not the case, so we'll have to get serious about fixing it.
And some trailers may NEVER have a problem - there are many Escapes on the road for years now that have had no problem. Like I said, we found ourselves in a severe windstorm. We had been in storms before and we live in an area where we have strong winds right here at the house.. sometimes more than 80 mph. There is always strong wind when driving but this time it just was the right combination of circumstances (wind direction, wind speed, epoxy fatigue, etc) and off it went. The bottom line is that the bolt-on solution is supposed to be more a more secure method of keeping the panel on the roof and it is certainly worth checking your panel regularly (along with A/C shroud and other stuff on the roof) to be sure everything is still ok.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:43 PM   #7
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Good advice Fran n Dave. Not only checking stuff on the roof, but walking the entire trailer every time you stop and checking for anything out of whack. Propane tank covers blow off, steps get left extended, retractable roof antennas get left up, 7 pin connectors get drug down the road, not too mention all the things inside the trailer that don't get secured properly. How do I know?
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:11 PM   #8
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My understand from corresponding with ETI is that the blow-offs were primarily 19s under strong cross-wind conditions.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:32 AM   #9
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Unfortunately we can't predict when we'll be in a cross wind situation -- although we have been in some pretty strong winds. I think our hesitation with having it done is needing to find someone we can trust. This is when it's hard to be so far from Chilliwack.
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Old 10-18-2015, 06:29 PM   #10
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Unfortunately we can't predict when we'll be in a cross wind situation -- although we have been in some pretty strong winds. I think our hesitation with having it done is needing to find someone we can trust. This is when it's hard to be so far from Chilliwack.
Rutherford, are you regarding finding someone trustworthy to install the ETI "fix?" It really isn't hard to do, I did mine in an hour. If you are not comfortable doing it, I think I would find a local RV repair SMALL business. Not someplace like CW.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:01 PM   #11
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I'll never understand why anyone would install a solar panel using just 'double back tape'.
One of the best parts of following ALL the all-molded-forums is reading the good parts and the horror stories. There's a number of people on FiberglassRV that have installed everything from solar panels to awnings using nothing but GOOD double-sided tape on the exterior of the trailers with zero issues.

As far as I can tell 2-4 failures is an anomaly (unless that's ME).

But you know what... tires fail too, even the kind everyone says is the best.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:27 PM   #12
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Carl, glad you mentioned that because we had thought about taking the Escape to Camper World, and weren't really excited about that. So I'll look around for someone local.
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:09 PM   #13
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Carl, glad you mentioned that because we had thought about taking the Escape to Camper World, and weren't really excited about that. So I'll look around for someone local.
Camping World I use has always been reasonable in cost (often the lowest bid of 3 local places) and done good work, and I'm a picky retired engineer.

Probably depends on the service supervisor at each one. I'd take a copy of the kit instructions from ETI over and get bids on the work, then attach the copy to the work order before you sign the paperwork. Then they have specific instructions to do the job right.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:49 AM   #14
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Carl, glad you mentioned that because we had thought about taking the Escape to Camper World, and weren't really excited about that. So I'll look around for someone local.
Ruthe, also sorry about my post. Didn't notice that auto correct had changed Ruthe to Rutheford. Sometimes I hate that auto correct feature.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:03 AM   #15
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Before my last trip, I washed the trailer and inspected my solar panels. The curb side was tight but I could see day light coming under the street side, not good. I found my ETI kit and followed their instructions. I marked the bracket a,d drilled my first hole. You can feel it go thru the fiberglass and then wood. Inside was a tiny hole. I inserted the bolt and had someone hold the nut on inside as I tighten down the bolt ( I applied a lot of the sealant around the hole on the outside in a continuos loop) when I tighten down, the excess was squeezed out. I then attached the bracket to the panel and it is solid. Did the other three, attached the interior caps and went off camping. Took about an hour.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #16
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My kit came with the rivets (not bolts). What have been others experience with setting the rivet with a hammer? According to instructions, it will take a fair amount of force. My fear is using too much force and breaking through the fiberglass.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:28 AM   #17
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My kit came with the rivets (not bolts). What have been others experience with setting the rivet with a hammer? According to instructions, it will take a fair amount of force. My fear is using too much force and breaking through the fiberglass.
Maybe Escape can provide you with the bolts in lieu of using rivets. I agree, the bolt system is easier to maintain the right amount of force.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:11 AM   #18
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Thanks for these details on dealing with the solar panel -- I'm sure not all Camping Worlds are the same. And probably we could (at least Terry could ) do it ourselves with some help from our carpenter friend. And don't worry about my name getting changed -- I figured it was something like that.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:01 AM   #19
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There's a number of people on FiberglassRV that have installed everything from solar panels to awnings using nothing but GOOD double-sided tape on the exterior of the trailers with zero issues.
Zero issues so far but they will one day because 'double back foam tape' dries out. And when it dries out, it releases. It's not like butyl tape. Mounting a solar panel with 2 strips of double back foam tape then subjecting it to exterior weather conditions at 60 mph (should) seem wrong at the get go.
I'd be interested to hear a follow up on anyone that installed an awning with double back tape.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:07 AM   #20
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I would expect that the "awnings" mentioned are the small ones that owners place over windows as opposed to our "full awnings" that we would definitely not attache with double back tape. (Just my thoughts)
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