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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Fitting solar panel to motorhome roof

I am just about to fit an 80 watt solar panel on to my motorhome roof.

I have made up 4 x 4" brakets from a "T" shaped section and am proposing to rivet these to the sides of the aluminium frame. The thickness of the bracket is between 3/4mm and one part of it will be under the edge of the panel.

Will that 3/4mm be enough clearance (it will be increased a bit with the Polyflex adhesive that I am proposing to stick it on with - no screws!)

Also, why is it necessary to leave a gap under the solar panel frame anyway?

Any advice would be welcome thank you?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 08:51 PM
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hm, first post I've read tonight is this- I've just fitted a 120w panel this afternoon myself

Mine came with composite (i.e. plasticky) brackets to locate it and space it off the roof and to give the correct clearance

Solar panels require space under them to stop them from overheating as this reduces their efficiency, from memory they give around 25mm clearance
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 08:57 PM
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Bout right above!
Sikaflex is used in the trade to bond them on.

On the other hand if you have some roof bars you could attach it to them with a couple of alluminium streatchers??

C.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 08:58 PM
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don't think that's enough clearance mine is a lot more than that prob about 2 inch, came with brackets supplied
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Just found these on ebay -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-X-SOLAR-...item4cf996bb2e

and they allow 16mm gap so perhaps that is what I should do at least?
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:07 PM
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Extract from Motorroamers thread in D.I.Y section

You will need these plus Sikaflex adhesive (512) and cartridge gun

Position panels and mark the footprints of the brackets

Clean the areas and underside of brackets with Sikaflex 205 cleaner primer

Adjust set screws to give a MINIMUM of 2mm spacing I prefer 3 to 4mm

Apply plenty of adhesive

Position panels and press down firmly

Clean off excess and smooth off

Leave overnight to set



LINK to part I

Andy
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Excusez-moi si mon message est perdu dans la traduction
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardsnow
Just found these on ebay -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-X-SOLAR-...item4cf996bb2e

and they allow 16mm gap so perhaps that is what I should do at least?
they are the ones I used

and as clive says, bond with sikaflex

regds neill
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Looks good to me and very comprehensive. Thank you all.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:20 PM
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Making your own brackets and connection too, again from motorroamers D.I.Y. section
For this task
You'll need some aluminium angle 60mm x 40mm x 3mm x 1 metre or equivalent
set square
hacksaw
file
drill
tape measure
pencil
rivet gun
4mm rivets
4mm hss drill bit
5mm tap
5mm set screws

This is the third set of brackets I've made so far. I've used 60mmx40mmx3mm angle as I came by it handy like
A metre length of this stuff or similar can usually be bought for under a tenner, Ebay is good for this but plus P&P
Closest I've found is 2.5"x1.5"x1/8" x1M for about £14 delivered.
Previously I've fitted 60 watt and 80 watt panels which require 4 brackets each and so only 1 set screw needed for each one. In this instance I've made brackets for 2 x 30 watt panels that will only require 1 bracket at each end and so I've fitted 2 set screws to keep them level. These are 5mm and I used a 4mm hss drill bit followed by a 5mm tap both driven through using a battery drill. You can use anything similar to achieve this or just a spacer.
Sikaflex 512 adhesive requires a MINIMUM thickness of 2mm and the set screws guarantee this will be acheived. I use the thickness of the brackets 3mm as in picture 3 to guage this.
These particular brackets are 200mm long and the panel ends (to be illustrated next) are 445 mm wide.




Attaching to the panels to follow...........



These brackets are being used on 2x30watt panels. The reason for using this configuration rather than a 60 watt is purely due to space constraints.
These measure only 445 wide by 540 long so will fit in the narrow stip between the sun roof and the van edge.
pic 1 a bracket drilled and riveted to a panel end. I use rivets because they wont come undone but can be easily drilled out should a panel need replacing.

pic 2 panels laid out simulating how they will be on the roof

pic 3 male & female branch connectors to couple the 2 panels in parallel ready to go to regulator or another panel


USING MC4 CONNECTORS







Continued in PART II

Andy
My Aire galleries HERE
Use of the tab will get you more answers

Excusez-moi si mon message est perdu dans la traduction
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 09:43 PM
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Only thing I would add is that it is useful to be able to tilt the panels especially when smaller panels are used.
All that is needed is to use brackets at the corners rather than the sides so that removing half a dozen screws allows the panel to point to the sun. Don't use rivets for this reason. The hex-headed machine screws are ideal. Also implies ensuring the the wires are long enough whichever direction you will tilt...
Patrick
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