Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > RV SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FORUMS > Going Green
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-24-2021, 08:03 PM   #1
Member
 
melvin2345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 31
Solar panels on a thin roof

I have a 2003 Fleetwood Southwind 37U. I just picked up 2 200w panels, and was ready to mount them. I can walk on my roof, felt super solid. I used the z brackets and screws that came with the rich solar kit. I laid the panels, sharpied the holes and brackets. Covered the bracket footprint with dicor. Lowered panels onto the dicor. Set the chuck on my dewalt to 3, snug without stripping. Four of the 8 on the first panel went great. Rest either spun freely or bottomed out once the self drilling part cleared the plywood. 2nd panel was the same. I figured there was nothing I could do at that point, not knowing how to fix it, so I covered the screw heads and bracket feet in dicor for the time being, with the intent of scraping/cutting back the dicor and fixing it later.

Long story short, what the hell do I do now, lol. Once I strip back the dicor and pull the screws out, how can I properly secure the panels?
melvin2345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-24-2021, 08:12 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Winterbagoal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarnialabad, Peoples Republik of Canuckistan
Posts: 1,755
If the bracket positions can be adjusted along the perimeter of the panels, you might look into 3M VHB tape as an alternative to screws and Dicor. People that don't want to drill holes have used it for a while now. It's two sided tape that holds like a weld.
__________________
All comments are my opinions, and worth exactly what you paid for them.
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU (sold @ ????) - 2016 Sunstar 26HE (sold @ 4600 miles) - 2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
Winterbagoal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2021, 05:00 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 270
You likely hit steel or aluminum framing, possibly roof framing or framing used for mounting cabinets inside the RV. Options: pull the screws and drill through the obstruction with a bit designed to drill through steel (difficult, but usually doable) and put the screws back, move the mount brackets or panels to a different location and try again (use something like Eternabond tape over the old holes), use shorter screws, or switch to VHB tape like the other poster recommended.

What you don't want to do is leave it like it is for very long. Since those mounts aren't secured tightly, the panels could bounce while going down the road and eventually pull or tear the dicor off the roof membrane, or tear the membrane itself, and give you a leak.
__________________
2021 Thor Four Winds 26B on Chevy 4500
atreis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2021, 11:19 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,140
What type of roof do you have? If EPDM, VHB tape isnít a great option. The amount of bonding you get will depend on how well the EPDM is attached to the sheathing.
How thick is your sheathing? If you arenít sure, one way to find out is to go inside the trailer and remove the plastic frame under a fan. The sheathing on my trailer is 3/8Ē. I opted to use well nuts where I couldnít hit a roof truss. Since the well nut was raised up a bit from the roof, I used butyl tape so the bracket would be level.

Since the panels are already attached, I think the first thing Iíd try would be to try some thicker diameter screws to see if theyíd bite.

Another option would be to add more brackets. Be aware that drilling into the panel would probably invalidate your warranty. Assuming the trusses are 16Ē on center, you MIGHT be able to locate some trusses by measuring from where you hit solid wood.

In any case I think Iíd anchor the panels to something solid, such as an AC unit or ladder, just in case they donít hold. Good luck!
__________________
It ainít camping unless you have a microwave.
Yosemite77 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2021, 06:24 AM   #5
Member
 
melvin2345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite77 View Post
What type of roof do you have? If EPDM, VHB tape isnít a great option. The amount of bonding you get will depend on how well the EPDM is attached to the sheathing.
How thick is your sheathing? If you arenít sure, one way to find out is to go inside the trailer and remove the plastic frame under a fan. The sheathing on my trailer is 3/8Ē. I opted to use well nuts where I couldnít hit a roof truss. Since the well nut was raised up a bit from the roof, I used butyl tape so the bracket would be level.

Since the panels are already attached, I think the first thing Iíd try would be to try some thicker diameter screws to see if theyíd bite.

Another option would be to add more brackets. Be aware that drilling into the panel would probably invalidate your warranty. Assuming the trusses are 16Ē on center, you MIGHT be able to locate some trusses by measuring from where you hit solid wood.

In any case I think Iíd anchor the panels to something solid, such as an AC unit or ladder, just in case they donít hold. Good luck!
What do you think of pulling all the screws and replacing them with molly bolts? Like this one:
https://www.acehardware.com/departme...nchors/5333224

I'm having a heck of a time finding well nuts in my area.
__________________
2003 Fleetwood Southwind 37U
melvin2345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2021, 06:58 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,140
I would think well nuts would be better than molly bolts. I installed my panels earlier this Spring, so I have no long term results for you, but I know others have used them with success. I bought mine off of Amazon. Hereís a couple links. Depending on your brackets, you may want to find some stainless steel washers as well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f_=as_li_ss_tl

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f_=as_li_ss_tl
__________________
It ainít camping unless you have a microwave.
Yosemite77 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2021, 08:50 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite77 View Post
I would think well nuts would be better than molly bolts. I installed my panels earlier this Spring, so I have no long term results for you, but I know others have used them with success. I bought mine off of Amazon. Hereís a couple links. Depending on your brackets, you may want to find some stainless steel washers as well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f_=as_li_ss_tl

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f_=as_li_ss_tl
Another option are Jack Nuts.
Hillman 59126 Short Jack Nuts (1/4"-20) - 15 Pieces*https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NUFMIIO...9QHPCYAHRQ3QG6


I have 1/4in Luan roof under EPDM. I was concerned about the rubber deteriorating with the Well nuts. Tried a couple of these on a test piece and they are plenty strong. Will use a lot of sealant with these too.
__________________
2017 FW Storm 32A - CHF (TeJay Plates), Roadmaster RSSA, Flow-Rite, Sumos
2020 Ford Ranger Toad- Blue Ox Baseplate, Aladdin Tow Bar, Blue Ox Patriot Brake
Bsqrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2021, 09:58 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Buxton, North Dakota
Posts: 3,891
What I have found to work well are tapered plastic anchors
__________________
2003 Winnebago Adventurer 38G F53/ V10 605 watts of Solar
1999 Winnebago Brave 35C F53V10 Handicap Equipped
1999 Jeep Cherokee, 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade and 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel
John Hilley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2021, 06:06 AM   #9
Member
 
melvin2345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 31
I ended up using molly bolts for the time being, as we have a trip coming up and couldn't wait on shipping. They seem to be pretty darn strong, but I will keep an eye on them. If I have to scrape clean and start over with well nuts, so be it. Gives me an excuse to get outside, lol.

I almost wonder if I'm just being overly paranoid about this. The panels are in line, parallel to the coach, and the first one is partially behind an A/C unit. The wind forces can't be that much in this setup, right?







If 400 watts proves to be insufficient for our needs, I will add another 200w panel or two behind the 2 already there, oriented the same way, just side by side (picture is deceiving, plenty of room left for this).
__________________
2003 Fleetwood Southwind 37U
melvin2345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2021, 10:19 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 270
There's virtually no wind force that close to the roof. The main forces come from bouncing on rough roads. Molly bolts should work fine.
__________________
2021 Thor Four Winds 26B on Chevy 4500
atreis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2021, 06:33 AM   #11
Member
 
melvin2345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 31
UPDATE: Took a trip this past weekend. Friday was one of the windiest days I've experienced in any vehicle. About 70 minutes on I-75, doing about 50-55 while I and other large vehicles (including truckers) just tried to stay on the road. That was followed up by 15 minutes on a pretty rough dirt road. Pulled into our site, went up on the roof to check it out. I saw no signs of anything trying to pull loose. Repeat the trip in reverse on the way home, albeit with much less wind. Checked again, all looks to be just fine.
__________________
2003 Fleetwood Southwind 37U
melvin2345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
panel, roof, solar, solar panel, solar panels



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
And from the solar panels to the solar charge controller...... Rvlegaleagle Going Green 10 10-20-2017 02:57 PM
Solar Rigid Panels VS Solar Flexible Panels.... Kro1957 Going Green 13 03-27-2017 08:28 AM
Solar panels mounted to the roof or elevated over items on the roof? vsheetz Technology: Internet, TV, Satellite, Cell Phones, etc. 19 03-19-2016 09:42 AM
solar electric specialties solar panels soybeans Monaco Owner's Forum 1 10-25-2012 07:09 PM
Solar Panels on Meridian Roof bill jones Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 7 12-09-2005 11:11 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.