SOLAR PANELS GLUED TO CARAVAN ROOF

Submitted: Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:11
ThreadID: 92966 Views:13395 Replies:9 FollowUps:5
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I want to fit 2x140w solar panels to the roof of a Jayco caraven has anyone tried glueing them with sikaflex or is it best to screw the brackets to the roof. Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Josh- Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:24

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:24
Can't help with the glueing/screwing question, but have you thought of the limits putting them on the roof will make to where you camp. If you camp near a tree the panels will be in shade for at leat some of the day reducing there use. If you park on a slope again it will reduce the amount of sun they get. We had ours seperate and a long lead attached. We could move them to get the most sun when home or position them to get the most sun if going out. We even found other campers would move them while we were out to maintain full sun exposure. Never had any trouble with them being stolen either. Just a thought!!!!

Josh
AnswerID: 482171

Reply By: wazzaaaa - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:36

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:36
I glued 6 of my panels 5 or so years ago with sikaflex 252, still stuck fast.
AnswerID: 482172

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:44

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 16:44
It's not really a good idea to mount the panels flat against the van roof as it stops airflow between them and the roof and they heat up, as they heat up the output drops.
Better to mount aluminium brackets (angle) to the roof with sikaflex and then bolt the panels to the vertical section of the angle using either self tappers, pop rivets or nutserts (preferred) into the actual frame of the panel. That way the panels can be raised up off the roof to allow air to circulate underneath.
Also consider how you are going to wire them back to the controller, series or parallel, both have pro's and con's.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 17:39

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 17:39
Hi Peter,
I have found to my cost that if you connect in series you have 24 volt and in parallel it is 12 volt. I blew a 12 volt reg by connecting the panels in series. Luckily it was a cheap unit, but lesson learned.

Carol,
Be careful and be sure you know what you are doing in this situation. Your regulator may be an expensive one.

Hope this helps,
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 17:30

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 17:30
Hi Carol,

I have a Jayco Sterling which has a solar panel fitted to the roof.
I have just bought the van so I did not fit the panel, it was already fitted.

I was inspecting the installation the other day as part of the familiarisation process and what I found was that the fibreglass roof panel is not stuck to the roof everywhere. Probably only in lines in specific areas. My panel is screwed to the roof via an angle bracket in each corner and a goodly quantity of Sikaflex has been used as the main adhesive.

If you stick the brackets down with Sikaflex only it would have a tendency to lift as you were driving down the road. This is why it was screwed to the roof.

If I were doing it I would screw it down also given what I observed re the fixing of the roof sheet on the van.

The other comments re airflow around the panel are very valid also. A good 35mm between the underside of the panel and the roof would be advisable.

Make doubly sure the screws have been sealed properly and use only stainless steel screws.

The numbskull who fitted the unit on mine used cad plated screws by the Looks.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: landseka - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:06

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:06
Quote: "Make doubly sure the screws have been sealed properly and use only stainless steel screws." Unquote.

I would recommend not using stainless screws as with them going into aluminium the different metals will set up corrosion (electrolysis??).

Better to use aluminium pop rivets in conjunction with the Sikaflex.

Cheers Neil
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 21:08

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 21:08
Neil,
I would suggest that as Sikaflex is being used and should thereby exclude oxygen. Exclude oxygen from the dissimilar metals then corrosion should not be an issue.

This royalty of metals only gets a look in if exposed to air and water in normal use.
Exclude both and I would feel confident in the installation

The cad plated screws used on mine have begun to rust where exposed to atmosphere and the van is just 6 years old.
I would stand by my recommendation provided that the screws were completely covered with Sikaflex.

Cheers, Bruce
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: 2517 - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:06

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:06
Hi I only used Stickflex 4 years ago and have had no problems they don,t look like moving.Mounted on angle iron with Tex screws.Bat.
AnswerID: 482182

Reply By: ben_gv3 - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:16

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:16
I vote Sikaflex... with adequate preparation first, ie cleaning the surfaces really well first.

IMO using screws does introduce waterproofing issues.
AnswerID: 482183

Reply By: Member - Peter B6 - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:32

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 18:32
Hi Carol
I not long ago fixed 2 panels to the roof of my van with Sikaflex. With the wisdom of others I purchased Aluminium Angle from a local shop fitter cut to nearly the same length as the long side of the panel. Then fixed the Panels and angle with pop rivets. Assured that this would work I still drilled holes in the angle so as to have the ability to screw them down later should I feel the need. I used 70mm x 35mm angle and put the glue on in ovals about 100mm long so as not to allow moisture to find a home. When applying the glue be generous something around 10mm thick should do the trick . I used about 3 tubes.

Hope this helps

Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 482184

Follow Up By: apwaddo - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:00

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:00
Don't use Aluminium angle for the full length of the panels. I have yet to see ANY caravan roof that is completely flat and if you use full length brackets it will put strain on the panels and the roof.

Use 3 pieces each side (max 200 mm) which will easily hold it provided they are not the 'el cheapo' panels with aluminimium angle as the frame rather than box section.

If they are the angle type, then first screw box section fastened to panel and screw your right angel brackets into that. Doesn't matter they stand a bit higher - they will perform better for it.

Stick with the Sikaflex - can't beat it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter B6 - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 06:50

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 06:50
apwaddo has a good point regarding a flat roof. I gave it careful consideration before I proceeded. I guess the message here is, planning your job is vital, all vans are different. Look at at other installations both professional and handy man, I'm sure you will find the best application for your needs. I'm happy with my outcome you need to be happy with yours.

Cheers Pete
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:08

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 20:08
Hi Carol,

Don't know if this would be applicable to your van, but we slide our panels into channels incorporated into the rack on our Troopy. This has the advantage that they are readily removable for optimum placement, but continue to generate electricity when in storage on top of the vehicle. As already said, it is important to allow airflow under your panels - their performance is reduced quite markedly at high temperatures.

Ours look like this

Image Could Not Be Found

Cheers

John

J and V
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AnswerID: 482188

Reply By: Member - Redbakk (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 17:29

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 17:29
We have four 80 watt panels glued only with sikaflex 252 to the roof of our Jayco using 5 brackets, 2 each side and 1 at the front or leading edge.....no screws....all OK and they are stuck fast.

They sit about 45 mm clear of the roof so that I can clean out from under them.

They are connected into 2 sets of 160 watt ( connected in parallel) and even in the shade and cloudy continue to keep 2 ordinary cranking batteries fully charge.

It works for us and we have had it for some time now.

I used to carry them and set them up on the ground but I'm getting too old to handle them so on the roof they went.

.

AnswerID: 482252

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