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Old 02-06-2023, 01:43 PM   #1
DT6
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Flexible Solar Panel Addition

It looks like there is enough space on the roof of our 21C to add a third solar panel. I am inquiring if anyone here has added a third panel and specifically did you use a flexible panel? Were there any issues installing it? I would specifically like to avoid having to drill any more holes in the trailer, especially the roof.

I found what appears to be a very reputable brand, and it says it can be put in place with adhesive caulking. It is 200W and I have two 190W panels, so from that respect it should be fine, but I'm not educated enough with this equipment to know if the wiring connections, voltages, etc. are all compatible.

Here is a link to the panel I believe will work. There are others I'm sure:
https://www.renogy.com/200-watt-12-v...waAo8BEALw_wcB

Thanks,
Duncan
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Old 02-06-2023, 02:10 PM   #2
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I used to a great fan of through bolting on solar panel brackets especially during the era when solar panels were flying off roofs.

But on the 21, after hearing that others had used Eternabond tape, I gave it a try. Love it, nice neat installation, sealed around the edges and looks as intact as the day that I installed it. I put 3 strips of double back tape in the central areas.

My panel isn't Renogy but is identical.

Our electrical needs are very low but I do have a second identical panel with a very light frame around it that I can put on a pole and adjust for inclination and direction for maximum input as well as use it remotely to put it in clear sunlight if needed. I used to use a conventional panel on the pole but it seems like they've gotten heavier over the years.

The Eternabond is a little pricey but well worth it.

Ron
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Old 02-07-2023, 12:33 PM   #3
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I can vouch for Renogy as a good brand. I have not used any flexible panels, but just an FYI you can also mount standard panels without drilling any holes...not sure if that's the main reason you were looking at flexible, but just know you can do either...there are plenty of posts about the advantages/disadvantages of both. Here's a link to my install which I did with no drilling: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...all-21816.html
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Old 02-08-2023, 03:37 PM   #4
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I'm looking forward to looking at Ron's at the rally in May and hopefully Joe's if there. In the mean time, we are going to spend the next couple of months traveling and logging our power needs. I'm pretty sure I could use one more panel, but want to make sure before I add another. Very nice to know that additional panels do not necessarily require drilling.
Thanks for the responses!
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Old 02-08-2023, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I'm looking forward to looking at Ron's at the rally in May and hopefully Joe's if there.
Which rally?
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Old 02-08-2023, 04:26 PM   #6
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Could be the Escape Rally in Osoyoos, BC from June 25 - 29th? We were planning on attending
there and then!
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Old 02-08-2023, 05:10 PM   #7
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That would be the Escape Rally in the Valley MAY 26 to 28th.
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https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f8...ape-12918.html
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Old 02-09-2023, 08:16 AM   #8
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I'll be cooking Spam and Rapa Scapple for sampling.......
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Old 02-09-2023, 02:18 PM   #9
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That would be the Escape Rally in the Valley MAY 26 to 28th.
Duncan if this is the one you're referring to, I won't be there. But feel free to ask me any questions about my solar install...
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Old 02-09-2023, 02:29 PM   #10
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I'll be cooking Spam and Rapa Scapple for sampling.......
I'm not gonna let my dog have any.

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Old 02-09-2023, 03:12 PM   #11
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I'm not gonna let my dog have any.

Ron
But, you will try some, won't you?
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Old 02-09-2023, 08:32 PM   #12
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But, you will try some, won't you?
Sigh, curiosity might get the better of me. Why do junk foods always taste so good?

Ron
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Old 02-10-2023, 10:33 AM   #13
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Because the little kid comes out in us when we were told no!, Doctor says no to junk food not good for us so the little kid in us says oh yes I will.
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Old 02-10-2023, 12:10 PM   #14
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Why do junk foods always taste so good?
Very simple. They contain the 3 major food groups:

Sugar
Fat
Alcohol
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Old 02-17-2023, 02:48 AM   #15
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I agree, the Eternabond tape works really well. I used it to install a 150W flex panel back in 2017, and while the edges look a little stressed, it's pretty much as stuck as the day I stuck it. Probably about 40,000 klicks on it; a lot of it back and forth across the windy prairies.

However, I'm not as keen on the flexible panels as I used to be. They seem to degrade much faster than the glass. Between the the top layer aging, and perhaps with flexing that happens with the fibreglass roof, the output power seemed to be dropping over the 5 years that it was working... then, at the end of last season, it died.

I can probably resurrect it with a diode, but I'm thinking of going back to a "bolted on" glass/aluminum panel. I say this even having had one of the original Escape panels that parted ways with the trailer while traveling on a dark and windy night.

But if you go with a flex panel, it is the easiest thing in the world to mount on the top of an escape with Eternabond. I even used the stuff to tape the wires to the roof. It's all still there! Doesn't work, but it's there.
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Old 02-17-2023, 06:31 AM   #16
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I always like reading threads on solar, it's the one thing our trailer does not have that I know will be added one day when we start using it for longer trips with boondocking involved. That will be in 2025 (Patty retires), so I wonder how much more advancement there will be in the technology, pricing will it go up or down and really how much solar will we need will be the biggest questions?

Enjoy the road and smmoth travels.

Steve
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Old 02-17-2023, 08:41 AM   #17
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My speculation

For solar, the pricing is on a downward trend and assumed to continue on that track. For performance, the trend is upward, but typically incremental and small.

The three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient.
Polycrystalline solar panels can be the most cost-effective.
Thin-film solar panels can be the best for unorthodox roof styles.

See this article:
https://solarmagazine.com/solar-panels/

Shine on!
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Old 12-09-2023, 05:15 PM   #18
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Hello Ron what brand is that panel you taped on?
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Old 12-09-2023, 07:44 PM   #19
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Renogy, currently $159.99 CDN. On Amazon, $199

I think that I saw it for less in the last couple of weeks. I think that there's two levels of flexibility. For this kind of use the semi-flexible one is perfect.

Ron
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Old 12-09-2023, 07:51 PM   #20
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I bonded 3 flexible panels on my 19 in early spring of 2020. It has gone through 5 seasons which included a number of trips over a month duration and many shorter trips. It has seen thousands of kilometers on the road, storms, hail, salt spray, winter temperatures in the -30's (Celsius) and days in the +30's (again, Celsius). I don't cover the trailer in winter and in Calgary that means lots of snow and ice. I have had no disbonding at all. I like the very clean look and after looking at others with Eternabond I feel it is cleaner, nicer looking (not that you can see it if your not on a ladder), and it easier to remove the panel and old tape if it needs to be changed. Instructions are shown on 3M's site for removal.

I also had experience with using VHB tape for bonding on aircraft surfaces so I knew it would be strong enough, but also knew that proper surface preparation is very important. I wrote up my installation and procedures here:https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...9-a-17884.html

I think the Eternabond makes a strong bond and works well. I just liked the VHB tape better and am happy I went that way.
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