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Old 12-03-2020, 03:57 PM   #1
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solar panel factory mounting

hello all!! newbie here. best rv forum i have found! no idea what
happened to my first post of this - i hope i don't get two.

Pic below is just as a heads up on solar panel mounting; factory
option i think as unit was initially ordered with all options.
2020 Forester 3011DS purchased May 30, 2020.

While cleaning the solar panel to get more current from it,
i bumped one of the Dicor splotches on the 6 mounting screws.
And it turned. then it popped off on second pass. Moldy underneath.
Never actually stuck to the panel, so not really waterproof. The other
5 were the same. (the panel is some kind of ABS type plastic so pretty
slick) I was able to VERY carefully back out the "stripped"
non-stainless steel screws. How long do you think i had before the
panel was flopping in the breeze hanging by the connector cables??
I "boat mounted" it back; stainless screws, caulked holes, 'dog bowl'
washers (officially called 'finishing cup' washers) filled with caulk,
then covered with more of same. I feel good about it. It was leaking
but i feel like i caught it in time. hope hope hope.

best regards, billw
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Old 12-03-2020, 04:08 PM   #2
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Did water get into the roof structure?
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Old 12-03-2020, 04:12 PM   #3
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It did but i am hoping only very slightly at the screws - nothing detectable inside... yet
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Old 12-03-2020, 04:30 PM   #4
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That is not good! What you just described is a lawsuit waiting to happen if a panel flies off and hits a vehicle. After installing my own panels I know what to look for if I ever buy another RV. If the existing panels where not installed at the factory with a minimum of stainless steel screws, I'll be walking away....fast!
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newRVer View Post
That is not good! What you just described is a lawsuit waiting to happen if a panel flies off and hits a vehicle. After installing my own panels I know what to look for if I ever buy another RV. If the existing panels where not installed at the factory with a minimum of stainless steel screws, I'll be walking away....fast!
.
First time owner... of course now i know what to look for. Hindsight. This is the second case of nonstainless steel screw issues i have encountered. I would not have imagined this on a new unit. "used" i could/would expect the worst.
billw
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billwww3 View Post
.
First time owner... of course now i know what to look for. Hindsight. This is the second case of nonstainless steel screw issues i have encountered. I would not have imagined this on a new unit. "used" i could/would expect the worst.
billw
I would think being basically brand new it would be under warranty. It sounds like your capable of fixing it but a word of caution that by fixing something like this IMHO could be problematic if there was any leaking inside that causes a latent failure down the road. I'd call my dealer tell them what you got and let them write it up, check it out and something is documented for you. Yes I understand this takes time and can be frustrating but in hindsight its better safe than sorry. Thanks
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:49 PM   #7
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This is exactly what happened to my 2020 Forester. While driving back from Florida on my first extended motorhome trip the panel did fly off. Before that water from the Air Conditioner had got into the walls and leaked inside. The factory replaced the roof and side with an update to the wallpaper and other items inside the walls. Contact the factory and see if they can help you out as well.

Good luck and enjoy your adventures
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:33 PM   #8
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I had my panel mounted on my old Artic Fox TT.... hated it... On my latest RV, just made it portable so I can move the panel into the sun a couple of times a day..(having it on the roof seems to be always in the shade and having the possibility to fall off hitting some motorist !)...
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:07 PM   #9
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That is terrible. Thanks for posting, Bill.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:23 PM   #10
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Some day I might mount panels on the roof of my TT. If I do it sertainly won't be the way the factory seems to do many.

First to be installed will be aluminum rails, secured at the actusl roof supports, not just roof "plywood".

Panels will then be mounted to the rails. Just like residential solar panels.

Strange how residential installers make sure the panels stay put in winds thar might only occur once or twice a year yet RV manufacturers don't seem to realize that the same winds occur every time the RV drives down the road.

Another benefit to using rails is it takes fewer roof penetrations to attach they and attachment is easier to seal as well as stronger.

Rail mount also makes it easier to make the panels "tiltable" if more efficiency is desired
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:08 PM   #11
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portable Solar

portable
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:22 PM   #12
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portable
Wow thats not only different but unique. I've personally never seen anything like that for solar. I wish I saw that years ago when I had a TT. The portability but ability to store it out of the way is pretty smart. Congratulations on such great design but usually TTs in the back get a lot of bounce, are you concerned about cracking them or the frames or do they have some rubber isolation to help with that possibility? Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:40 PM   #13
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I do have rubber stop on the bumper, I purchased at etrailer the 2” square hitch anti rattle bracket, I started with a $54 square hitch 4 bike rack from Jegs, the panels are made for RV, Renogy 160 watt each with 100/20 Victron controller, I mounted spare tire under with winch, total weight of solar about 75 Lbs. total cost around $700, I did use all stainless and aluminum hardware. With one battle born lithium battery replacing my 2 lead acid I have never ran out of power
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Daniel.mullins4 View Post
I do have rubber stop on the bumper, I purchased at etrailer the 2Ē square hitch anti rattle bracket, I started with a $54 square hitch 4 bike rack from Jegs, the panels are made for RV, Renogy 160 watt each with 100/20 Victron controller, I mounted spare tire under with winch, total weight of solar about 75 Lbs. total cost around $700, I did use all stainless and aluminum hardware. With one battle born lithium battery replacing my 2 lead acid I have never ran out of power
Again great job, well thought out and thanks for the update.
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