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Old 02-12-2020, 04:05 PM   #1
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Being "flexible" in learning solar lessons, and, Wait, weight?

So just about a year ago I installed 2 200 watt 12v flexible Chinese solar panels on our Sunstar. As of the trip 2 weeks ago, both had failed.


That was before I'd read about the limitations of flexible panels. Lesson 1...


Lesson 2: VHB tape lives up to it's name (Very High Bonding). I installed those panels wit 2" VHB all the way arond, plus screws in the corners. I had to physically tear the panels off the roof, with half the tape staying on the panel, and the other half on the roof.


(I thought about just leaving them in place, but, Weight, there's more...)


Lesson 3: I perused santansolar.com and was looking at used 250 watt panels. They had some for $50 , and high efficiency ones for $90. However the $50 ones were 61 lbs each, and the $90 ones 31.

Paying more attention to my weight these days, I elected for the more expensive panels, and saved 56 lbs.

I just rassled them up on the roof and hooked everything up, and the Renogy Rover is happily converting 39.9 volts at 4.63 amps (185 watts) to 14.1 volts at 12.57 amps.


Now to screw them in place and bundle the cables...
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:24 PM   #2
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Flexible does not equal durable! I started with two used 24v 160w panels 3 years ago and all is still well! This winter I've also upgraded to a 400ah LiFePo4 battery and 2000w or some wave inverter. Hope your new setup works well!
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:45 PM   #3
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It's really gratifying to see the panels pour out half their rated power even in the low afternoon February sun.


Last Thursday, I got them attached with butyl tape and #12 stainless sheet metal screws. I still need to neaten up the wiring. Unfortunately, at 3:30 Friday morning, I was in ER with locked knee and an apparent torn meniscus. I came home with crutches and a knee immobilizer, so no ladder climbing for a while. Got an appt with my orthopedist in a couple of hours, and then we'll know what the future holds.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:29 AM   #4
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It's really gratifying to see the panels pour out half their rated power even in the low afternoon February sun.


Last Thursday, I got them attached with butyl tape and #12 stainless sheet metal screws. I still need to neaten up the wiring. Unfortunately, at 3:30 Friday morning, I was in ER with locked knee and an apparent torn meniscus. I came home with crutches and a knee immobilizer, so no ladder climbing for a while. Got an appt with my orthopedist in a couple of hours, and then we'll know what the future holds.
Interesting and interesting. Glad I avoided the stick-on flex panels. I avoided them mostly to avoid that much heat applied to the roof.

3:30 a.m. !! Should I not ask what you were doing in the middle of the night to damage a knee? Seriously though, how does one tear a meniscus?
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:19 AM   #5
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3:30 a.m. !! Should I not ask what you were doing in the middle of the night to damage a knee? Seriously though, how does one tear a meniscus?

Sorry, it's not that sordid.


I probably tore it a few days earlier, in a deep crouch or squat, putting a lot of pressure on that right knee, working on a project. I felt something happen in there, but there was no pain and it still worked. (I did something similar a few years ago to the left knee.)


That's probably when it tore. A couple of days later, my knee locked up, but I got it unlocked. Then, that Thursday night, it locked up and stayed that way. I went to bed hoping it would resolve itself. At 3, it hurt enough and was still locked, so I woke my wife and off we went to ER. (From experience, the best time to go to ER if you can choose is 3-5 AM. That's when it's generally the quietest.)


The ER doc manipulated the knee and got it unlocked.


According to my ortho doc, it might be a flap tear, or a loose body floating around in there. (The left knee has a loose body that found its happy place in the back of the knee, so no surgery for that one at this time.)


Currently, I'm out of the immobilizer, waking gingerly and waiting to start PT.



We have a month long trip in a few weeks, and I'm hoping to be recovered enough to go, and delay surgery until after.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:03 AM   #6
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Sounds like a meniscus tear in your knee. Orthoscopic surgery. If you are as lucky as I, hobble in and walk out. Crutches for a week and a month of recovery till good as new.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:41 PM   #7
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Yeah, we talked about that. I apparently already have arthritis in both knees, even though I can't feel it. The doc thinks if it's torn rather than loose, I will get pain, and then am a candidate for a knee replacement.


And, our current insurance requires PT before deciding on either surgery.


Given our now-tentative April departure date, we've decided to try PT instead to see if I can get good enough to travel for a month.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:11 PM   #8
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Sorry, it's not that sordid.

I probably tore it a few days earlier, in a deep crouch or squat, putting a lot of pressure on that right knee, working on a project. I felt something happen in there, but there was no pain and it still worked. (I did something similar a few years ago to the left knee.)
Ohhhhhh ...... that's scary. I can no longer get up from a squat without something to grab onto, but I do squat nonetheless and can feel my knees stretched tight ...... Never thought about that maybe causing a tear. Glad I asked. I have some behavioral changes to make! Thanks for the details.
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