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Question about solar panel screwing on rv roof

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  • Question about solar panel screwing on rv roof

    Hi everyone! i'm trying to install 2 Renogy solar panels on my rv roof and i used the screws and brackets that came with the panels. When i screw the panel to the roof, the screws didn't tight on the roof, not in every hole of the brackets. My doubt here is: Is it normal? Or if i need to do someting, what would it be?
    i'll apreciate any advices or comments. Thanks

  • #2
    A typical rv roof is only ribbed every 12 inches or so, so no, you probably won't be hitting anything substantial for every hole for solar panel mounting, though as long as the screw goes into the roof you'll probably be fine.

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    • #3
      I would not rely on a screw into sheet aluminum (or 2 dozen screws) to hold a panel at 85 mph (65 land speed into 20mph headwind) And if some of them are not gripping, I'd say you need a 4" square of plywood under each to give the screw something to bite into and not easily pull out. It's not what I'd call best practice.
      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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      • #4
        I recently installed solar on my travel trailer. The roof framing members were not spaced in a way that I could screw all of the mounting brackets into them.

        ​​​​​​I sound up placing the forward and end brackets where I could secure to the framing members. The aft brackets are screwed into the galvanized steel roof metal.

        I am confident in the strength of the mounting solution unless I were to get an itch to go 70 moh in reverse

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PNW_Steve View Post
          I recently installed solar on my travel trailer. The roof framing members were not spaced in a way that I could screw all of the mounting brackets into them.

          ​​​​​​I sound up placing the forward and end brackets where I could secure to the framing members. The aft brackets are screwed into the galvanized steel roof metal.

          I am confident in the strength of the mounting solution unless I were to get an itch to go 70 moh in reverse
          How about a 70 MPH south wind on a stationary north facing vehicle ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

            How about a 70 MPH south wind on a stationary north facing vehicle ?
            If the wind is blowing 70mph it is unlikely to go camping.

            If it snuck up on me i could do something sneaky like turning the RV around and face it into the wind.

            Seriously, I have four mounting brackets screwed into framing members on the forward edge of the panel, each end of the panel has a bracket screwed into framing members and finally the aft edge of the panel has four brackets screwed into the roof but missed framing members, I did also place a generous application of 3M 5200 on each bracket/roof attachments.

            I am comfortable with the security of that installation.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PNW_Steve View Post
              ..........
              I did also place a generous application of 3M 5200 on each bracket/roof attachments.

              I am comfortable with the security of that installation.
              Sounds good. 5200 is good stuff until you want to remove it. LOL

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              • #8
                I believe you could remove the screws and the 5200 would hold all by itself. Long, long ago I mounted a panel to the forward, downward angled roof of my 5th wheel. 4 brackets, 8 screws I doubt I hit anything structural other than the aluminum skin of the roof itself. Wind wise it was probably the worst place for a panel roof of my 5th wheel. I did use 5200 under the brackets. Even in Arizona with their 70 mph speed limits for all vehicles, the panel has hung in there like a champ. I think I'll try and remove it (still have the 5th wheel, just retired it to a stationary life in Baja) just to see how well it is bonded with that great 3M product
                2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by littleharbor View Post
                  I believe you could remove the screws and the 5200 would hold all by itself. Long, long ago I mounted a panel to the forward, downward angled roof of my 5th wheel. 4 brackets, 8 screws I doubt I hit anything structural other than the aluminum skin of the roof itself. Wind wise it was probably the worst place for a panel roof of my 5th wheel. I did use 5200 under the brackets. Even in Arizona with their 70 mph speed limits for all vehicles, the panel has hung in there like a champ. I think I'll try and remove it (still have the 5th wheel, just retired it to a stationary life in Baja) just to see how well it is bonded with that great 3M product
                  I think that you are probably right but I think that I'll keep the screws just for peace of mind

                  I hear the voice of reason and experience in your post. It's good to hear a thoughtful reply coming from the voice of experience.

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                  • #10
                    Few things.

                    For any substantial mounting on a camper or trailer, I recommend screwing directly to the frame members, this is the ONLY way you're going to get structural support. You'll probably want to pre-drill with a carbide bit and then use self-tapping screws.

                    If you are going just through the sheet metal, I guarantee you will be able to rip the entire panel off with your hand. If you can rip it off with your hand, a mild wind will easily rip it off, too.

                    If you insist on drilling into the sheet metal, go really slow and stop when you feel a little bit of tension. It's very easy to simply rip a hole that no longer grips the screw.

                    Lastly, no matter where you plan to drill, if you're putting holes in your roof, I recommend you use weather sealing washers to keep the rain out. Get the screws to the proper length and put the washer directly on the sheet metal (between the bracket and the trailer):

                    #10 Self-Tap Screw:
                    teks-self-drilling-screws-21332-64_1000.jpg

                    Weatherproof Washer for #10 screw:
                    teks-flat-washers-21270-64_1000.jpg

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                    • #11
                      Or 3M 5200 as the OP did.

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                      • #12
                        Ok, thanks everyone for you advices and comments. Difinitely i will not move the trailer until not considering all your advices. Thank you again.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ninety-9 SE-L View Post
                          Few things.

                          For any substantial mounting on a camper or trailer, I recommend screwing directly to the frame members, this is the ONLY way you're going to get structural support. You'll probably want to pre-drill with a carbide bit and then use self-tapping screws.

                          If you are going just through the sheet metal, I guarantee you will be able to rip the entire panel off with your hand. If you can rip it off with your hand, a mild wind will easily rip it off, too.

                          If you insist on drilling into the sheet metal, go really slow and stop when you feel a little bit of tension. It's very easy to simply rip a hole that no longer grips the screw.

                          Lastly, no matter where you plan to drill, if you're putting holes in your roof, I recommend you use weather sealing washers to keep the rain out. Get the screws to the proper length and put the washer directly on the sheet metal (between the bracket and the trailer):
                          Pop
                          #10 Self-Tap Screw:
                          teks-self-drilling-screws-21332-64_1000.jpg

                          Weatherproof Washer for #10 screw:
                          teks-flat-washers-21270-64_1000.jpg
                          Great suggestions. Unfortunately the framing members in the roof are not placed with mounting solar in mind. Very often at least a few of the mount points will miss framing members.

                          Unless you particularly want to, I would not bother with self sealing screws. Use Dicor self leveling sealer.. it is the "gold standard" for sealing seams and penetrations in the roof on RV's.



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