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Old 05-07-2017, 07:45 PM   #1
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wow- solar blew off!

man am I disappointed with my "build quality" right now. I just noticed my solar panel is GONE. I saw the wires sticking up so I climbed up and found this! The panel is totally gone. The bond between the gel coat and the framework of the panel totally parted. ETI better figure out a better bond than this! fuming in Pennsylvania....

steve

http://www.escapeforum.org/attachmen...85a1169789.jpg
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:52 PM   #2
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What year is your trailer ? Will warranty cover this?sorry I hope this gets fixed

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Old 05-07-2017, 07:53 PM   #3
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Escape sent out free bolt-down kits to all owners last year as the problem surfaced (mostly side winds could get under the panel.) If you bought yours new you should have received one. It was discussed at length in this forum.
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:59 PM   #4
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Here is the initial thread that resulted in the kits being sent out by ETI to the owners too far away to go to Chilliwack for the fix. The solar panels have been bolted down on new trailers ever since this incident.

Our solar panel blew off!!

It should be noted that the thread quickly veered off the original topic.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:15 PM   #5
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Five years after the build? Hummmm. I have friends that bought a "stick built" trailer and the whole trailer was totaled (by the insurance company) after five years because of LEAKS. They're now ETI built trailer owners.... just sayin'
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:16 PM   #6
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We haven't used our bolt down kits but check the panel every time we gas up.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:21 PM   #7
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2012 Escape 19 was VHB tape used steve? Sure glad mine is Bolted down. Did you get your Bolt down kit? or maybe you are not the original owner? Link didnt work on my desktop here
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:23 PM   #8
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Gotta disagree with you on this one Donna. I don't think that it's the age that's the issue. From my point of view it was a poor decision to rely only on an adhesive to hold on a solar panel. The owner is lucky that he discovered the issue in a bland way and not because it came loose and killed occupants of a following car.

Hopefully the current owners of these glued on panels will learn of the recall and bolt them on before innocent people are hurt.

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Old 05-07-2017, 08:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
From my point of view it was a poor decision to rely only on an adhesive to hold on a solar panel.
I may be wrong but wasn't it the industry standard at the time?

Regardless, it is an extremely unfortunate incident but so fortunate in that no one was hurt.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:34 PM   #10
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I may be wrong but wasn't it the industry standard at the time?
Precisely and how many of those other companies offered repair/reinforcement kits and instructions?
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:45 PM   #11
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The boat folks here probably know more, but from what I could find when I looked before, aluminum just doesn't chemically bond very well.

In both this example, and the one from a couple years ago, the epoxy looks smeared.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Gotta disagree with you on this one Donna. I don't think that it's the age that's the issue. From my point of view it was a poor decision to rely only on an adhesive to hold on a solar panel. The owner is lucky that he discovered the issue in a bland way and not because it came loose and killed occupants of a following car.

Hopefully the current owners of these glued on panels will learn of the recall and bolt them on before innocent people are hurt.

Ron
You may disagree as much as you want. I only provided a fact and it had to do with a five-year-old stick built trailer. Yes, ETI provided a bolt-on solution to the solar panel that was originally glued on with epoxy. There's a long thread about it. I feel bad for the OP, but at what point does personal responsibility (I've never waxed my trailer and the gelcoat is toast) become paramount? We often talk about how much better fiberglass trailers are than the fiberglass panel stick built trailers... but everything wears out in life. All I can say... is pay attention. I wish you well.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:02 PM   #13
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A VHB process has been used at AM solar for years with no reports of failure. ETI didn't use VHB if I recall, but used epoxy which has to be mixed and applied perfectly or it can fail.
I agree with Ron, first thing that came to mind was that I pray no one got injured when that panel went sailing since the owner had no idea it separated. The bigger issue here is the potential risk to have injuries or death occur and I hope there are not more of these epoxied units running around.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:06 PM   #14
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We haven't used our bolt down kits but check the panel every time we gas up.
I haven't used mine either, but I check the panel before leaving on a trip. I'm sure that's not often enough, but it would be a pain to drag out a step ladder and shake the panel every time I gas up. How do you check yours when you stop for gas? Would poking it with a broomstick be enough?
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:11 PM   #15
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When there is a recall, you take your vehicle in to be fixed, right. So why would you not use the kit, provided by the manufacturer to fix a known issue? You are risking others by not taking proper known procedures to make sure your solar is secure. Use the kit.....checking does not prevent failure, bolts will.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:16 PM   #16
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ETI checked my panel when I had the trailer in to swap out the fridge. They said it was okay.

I was (and am) reluctant to drill in fiberglass because I have no experience doing so, and the last place I'd want to screw up is on the roof.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:17 PM   #17
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A VHB process has been used at AM solar for years with no reports of failure. ETI didn't use VHB if I recall, but used epoxy which has to be mixed and applied perfectly or it can fail.
I agree with Ron, first thing that came to mind was that I pray no one got injured when that panel went sailing since the owner had no idea it separated. The bigger issue here is the potential risk to have injuries or death occur and I hope there are not more of these epoxied units running around.
If the epoxy held to the gel coat but the gel coat separated from the substrate , how would VHB tape be any better. The weak link appears to be the gel coat.
The only way I can see to properly attach a roof top solar panel is to glass in blocking in the roof and then attach the rails with both mechanical fasteners and adhesive
A portable solar panel seems to be the safest and more efficient option at this point in time
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
When there is a recall, you take your vehicle in to be fixed, right. So why would you not use the kit, provided by the manufacturer to fix a known issue? You are risking others by not taking proper known procedures to make sure your solar is secure. Use the kit.....checking does not prevent failure, bolts will.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
When there is a recall, you take your vehicle in to be fixed, right. So why would you not use the kit, provided by the manufacturer to fix a known issue? You are risking others by not taking proper known procedures to make sure your solar is secure. Use the kit.....checking does not prevent failure, bolts will.
In my opinion - I agree.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:59 PM   #20
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ETI checked my panel when I had the trailer in to swap out the fridge. They said it was okay.

I was (and am) reluctant to drill in fiberglass because I have no experience doing so, and the last place I'd want to screw up is on the roof.
One thing you want to consider, Mike. If your panel goes sailing and injures or kills someone or even causes property damage the lawyers and insurance co will look for who's got liability. Having been notified by the mfgr and sent recall kit will help mitigate ETI's liability. Finding that the kit was not installed by the trailer owner as instructed will put the liability on the trailer owner. If you have in writing, or a witness that ETI told you you did not need to install the kit, then it is more back on them again. Most likely though your trailer insurance will refuse to pay any claims if the recall wasn't followed and you may be held personally liable. If anything happens it would most certainly not be a fun mess.
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