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    Fitting solar panel onto Romahome Roof?

    It would appear ideal to fix a solar panel to the roof of my old demountable Romahome. But is the roof strong enough? Having suffered past roof leaks that took ages to locate and cure how would I fix on a panel? I feel reluctant to drill holes? Advice please? Thanks.

    #2
    Stick it on with Sikaflex, no need to drill!

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by maddy View Post
      Stick it on with Sikaflex, no need to drill!
      Thanks Maddy. My Romahome is glass fibre body and I've rubber coated/sealed the roof so hoping Sikaflex is suitable. You must have had to drill a hole for the cables to pass inside; or not?

      Comment


        #4
        Sikaflex is itself rubbery so I'd expect it to bond OK to your protective coating .... but a bit of a test might be an idea before you commit yourself. gasgas was discussing solar panels with someone recently and they too were a bit windy about drilling holes in the roof, he suggested running the wire through an existing hole like a roof light. Roof lights come out quite easily and the wire could then be fed down the side before replacing it ... thus obviating the need to have it trailing through the hatch opening itself.

        You'll not regret going solar, I have a 120 watt panel and a charge-controller that charges both the vehicle and the leisure batteries, I'm a 100% wild camper and it's transformed the experience, furthermore when the vehicle has been parked for what would normally be long enough to flatten the battery, you'll find that it's fully charged and ready for action.

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          #5
          Mike - I'm interested at how you arrived at 120W as the ideal size for your panel. We are currently looking into solar for our little R20 and were thinking of 60W or even 40W. We really only need phone/laptop charging, LED lights and possibly enough power to drive a radio or portable CD player with portable speaker - no water pump, TV or other power use. We keep havering over a much larger 120W system because just occasionally we'll take the 100W Ham Radio rig that could take 20A from 12v should we transmit full power (we'd almost certainly never do that but 10A at 1/2 power is feasible). Transmitting is obviously only for a short while, most of the time is just listening when current drain is about 1A.

          Our R20 doesn't have much roof space and anyway I worry our silver birch treee sap problem will reduce the efficiency of any roof panel, so we were thinking of a folding panel that we put out on site. Of course the bigger and heavier the more of a pain to move around in the small van when travelling which is why we are looking at 60W - more than we need for day to day but with a bit of help should we play radio.

          Comment


            #6
            Brian- A lot of what you say makes sense, if Chris will only use the radio for short bursts of transmission, the leisure battery will cope with that. I wouldn't bother with 40 watts. The effort of putting it in although not great, is of course the same for a big one as a small one.
            Chris- I think the size of your available roof space should determine what power of panel you should get, but I don't think you will use 120 watts. My choice of 100 watts was arrived at purely by a big wall chart I saw in a large motorhome dealer which had 'number of occupants' across the top, and 'length of vehicle' down the side. The crossing points indicated how many watts of solar panel you need.
            I stuck my panel on with ordinary silicone sealant which is a good enough adhesive. I put the panel near to a roof light and ran the two wires from the panel through the opening, I didn't remove the roof light. The rubber seal is good enough to stop rain entering.
            If I were you I would get an 80 watt or 100 watt panel, if they will fit on your available space, and get a 'double' charge controller which charges both the car battery and the leisure battery.
            Last edited by gasgas; 08-09-2015, 08:47.
            If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mark ch3 v24

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              #7
              When I went to a THS site without EHU, a number of campers in caravans had the little suitcase types, at around 60w. I went over to speak to one of them, as I had believed, from what I had read on the subject, that these were practically useless, didn't generate enough power, blah blah, waste of money. So it was surprising to hear that these actually worked very well, although the proviso was to buy one that charged with daylight, rather than sunlight. And those who had them, recommended them!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by chrisg149 View Post
                It would appear ideal to fix a solar panel to the roof of my old demountable Romahome. But is the roof strong enough? Having suffered past roof leaks that took ages to locate and cure how would I fix on a panel? I feel reluctant to drill holes? Advice please? Thanks.
                Having read this thread , I have just this min phoned Ant at Avon Motor caravans and asked his advice. He said that the stick on solar panels look good BUT every one he has fitted has failed inside 12 months, the problem seems to be that they overheat and the soft solder connections melt and move, and the panel fails.The ones with airflow all round usually have feet that need to be screwed to something and this can cause water ingress problems. He says a suitcase style unit that you can put in the windscreen ( to stop it being nicked) seems best, and needs to be rated above 70 Watts. Ant is THE expert on Romahomes, so I'm not going to bother with a Solar Panel.

                Ian
                Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jayjay View Post
                  When I went to a THS site without EHU, a number of campers in caravans had the little suitcase types, at around 60w. I went over to speak to one of them, as I had believed, from what I had read on the subject, that these were practically useless, didn't generate enough power, blah blah, waste of money. So it was surprising to hear that these actually worked very well, although the proviso was to buy one that charged with daylight, rather than sunlight. And those who had them, recommended them!
                  Jayjay when we were at Lligwy Beach this year the warden lent us a 20W panel! We thought it would be useless - but actually it did help, it gave us an extra day or so on site. We disconnected it at night because it was very basic and we did not want it draining power back out.
                  Mary

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by BrianTheSnail View Post
                    I'm interested at how you arrived at 120W as the ideal size for your panel.
                    I was at the NEC show and there was a start-up company doing deals, so I just bought a big panel trusting that it would do the job. We have TV, auto satellite dish, Truma blown air heating and electric pump, so there are a few demands on the system. By chance our setup seems to be about right for our needs and style of travel ... We prefer to travel rather than arrive so our batteries tend to get a daily top-up from the alternator, but on a recent trip to Ireland when we found ourselves grounded by foul weather we watched TV for a good part of the day and only at the very last did it show signs of weakening. We only have an 85 amp/hr battery.

                    Our charge controller has a heat sink on it which, I suppose, dumps excess energy as heat... I'd guess that if your needs are less then a smaller panel would do you just fine but don't lose sight of the fact that they only produce their stated output in ideal conditions, in UK the conditions are seldom ideal so you will only rarely see the full output of the panel.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Our solar panel is a suitcase type, 100w and easily provided for us for a fortnight with it facing in a roughly southerly direct in Northumberland over the summer. That was running water pump, TV, radio, lights, moth trap, charging cameras, phones, tablets etc etc.
                      Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re Ian's/Ant's comments on stick on panels - I too have heard of problems with the new very flat ones that stick direct to rooves, due to overheating; however, what a lot of self-builders do is to use Sikaflex, as suggested by Maddy, to stick on the brackets - which then support a proper panel, thus allowing airflow. I am assured that they don't blow off in the wind/at motorway speeds etc.

                        Mine is 80 watts - a figure arrived at by the technician who fitted it because:

                        a) He said you should match the watts as closely as possible to the aph of the battery/ies and I have an 85aph battery.

                        b) There was only enough space on the roof for an 80 watt one.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Caz View Post
                          Re Ian's/Ant's comments on stick on panels - I too have heard of problems with the new very flat ones that stick direct to rooves, due to overheating; however, what a lot of self-builders do is to use Sikaflex, as suggested by Maddy, to stick on the brackets - which then support a proper panel, thus allowing airflow. I am assured that they don't blow off in the wind/at motorway speeds etc.

                          Mine is 80 watts - a figure arrived at by the technician who fitted it because:

                          a) He said you should match the watts as closely as possible to the aph of the battery/ies and I have an 85aph battery.

                          b) There was only enough space on the roof for an 80 watt one.

                          We might be able to use your technician, will have a chat a KL
                          Mary

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I also wouldn't have a stick-on one. Mine came with six hefty polycarbonate brackets, four for the corners and two for the sides. They raise the panel about an inch above the roof line for cooling. No drilling needed, no overheating.
                            If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mark ch3 v24

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Flexible Solar panels reliability

                              I can only give my own experience. I have 2 flexible panels stuck on the roof . One for 2 years and one 1 year. I have had no problems what so ever . Certainly better than faffing around with something propped up on the windscreen! I have 150 watts and power tv lights fridge etc etc indefinitely through the spring summer and early autumn. No ehu at all. Best investment i ever made even IF they need replacing in 5 years . A search of the Internet reveals very little actual evidence of premature failure of these panels. I stand to be corrected if anyone can find more than hearsay.

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