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rwynkoop

St. Louis MO

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Posted: 04/11/22 10:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have had to remove mine. I wondered that same thing you did. I used the z mounts, but instead of mounting the solar panel to then, I mounted a square aluminum bar across then, then mounted the panel to the aluminum bar. Every thing is higher off the roof, leaving access to the nuts that secure the panels to the square bars. Been running this way for about 6 years now.


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 04/12/22 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Arctic Fox has a membrane roof. Tape alone is not enough in my opinion. I also don't believe there are any structural members in the roof. I believe its just a big sip (foam bonded to plywood on each side) panel. So based on the size of screws they use to hold everything down, I feel the 8mm should hold. Time will tell.


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HMS Beagle

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Posted: 04/12/22 08:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

deltabravo wrote:

HMS Beagle wrote:

Just VHB tape, on a solid roof, will be stronger than a few #8 screws.


VHB tape attached to rubber roof membrane, with the rubber roof membrane being glued to the underlayment of the roof is a horrible idea.

On any rubber roof RV, the panels need screwed down to the wood under the rubber roof.

I'd agree that on a rubber membrane roof VHB tape is a bad idea. In fact a rubber roof is a bad idea, but that's another subject. That's why I said "on a solid roof".


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 04/12/22 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With the thin luan on the top of my RV it seems picking the best screw can be challenging. Self tapping screws seem bad as they remove material that can be compressed to hold the threads a bit more. I have considered using epoxy in the screw hole after removing to strengthen the fibers. Might be overthinking things but..... The antenna had 4 screws holding it along with dicor. It was solid and I know a few limbs hit it over time.

memilanuk

Dry side of the Cascades

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Posted: 04/12/22 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SoonDockin wrote:

With the thin luan on the top of my RV it seems picking the best screw can be challenging.


Look up 'well nuts'. There is a rubber sleeve with a flange on it, and a metal (brass) insert. You drill a hole big enough for the sleeve to slip into, so it stops on the flange. Then when you screw the bolt in, the threaded insert pulls it towards the head, mushrooming the rubber body and sandwiching the thin wall material (luan, in your case) between the flange and the mushroom. Think of it like a rubber rivet.

Other uses include attaching glass windshields to motorcycles, or providing attachment points on the sides of water craft. They provide a fairly water-resistant connection to begin with, and when utilized underneath a mounting bracket or rail and then covered with additional sealant like Dicor or Sikaflex you shouldn't have any issues with UV degradation either.

I'd double check with the manufacturer (Arctic Fox) about the actual construction of the roof. Adventurer has their 'TCC' i.e. 'true composite core/construction' equivalent, but even that has aluminum frame members, and weirdly enough, three additional random wood cross members. That's in addition to the cheap/light white pine stuff they put around the roof openings for screw holding. I'd be shocked if AF doesn't have *some* kind of structural cross members in the roof.

SoonDockin

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Posted: 04/12/22 03:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

memilanuk wrote:


I'd double check with the manufacturer (Arctic Fox) about the actual construction of the roof. Adventurer has their 'TCC' i.e. 'true composite core/construction' equivalent, but even that has aluminum frame members, and weirdly enough, three additional random wood cross members. That's in addition to the cheap/light white pine stuff they put around the roof openings for screw holding. I'd be shocked if AF doesn't have *some* kind of structural cross members in the roof.


I watched a factory tour done in 2019 by Taylor Dazeman. They show the roof is 100% structual foam with luan laminated on the surfaces. I have replaced two fans and pulled the antenna. Those area are just 4-6" of foam sandwiched with luan.

I might still send them an email as I plan to mount several more solar panels after my next trip.

Geewizard

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Posted: 04/15/22 07:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

memilanuk wrote:

SoonDockin wrote:

With the thin luan on the top of my RV it seems picking the best screw can be challenging.


Look up 'well nuts'. There is a rubber sleeve with a flange on it, and a metal (brass) insert. You drill a hole big enough for the sleeve to slip into, so it stops on the flange. Then when you screw the bolt in, the threaded insert pulls it towards the head, mushrooming the rubber body and sandwiching the thin wall material (luan, in your case) between the flange and the mushroom. Think of it like a rubber rivet.

Other uses include attaching glass windshields to motorcycles, or providing attachment points on the sides of water craft. They provide a fairly water-resistant connection to begin with, and when utilized underneath a mounting bracket or rail and then covered with additional sealant like Dicor or Sikaflex you shouldn't have any issues with UV degradation either.

I'd double check with the manufacturer (Arctic Fox) about the actual construction of the roof. Adventurer has their 'TCC' i.e. 'true composite core/construction' equivalent, but even that has aluminum frame members, and weirdly enough, three additional random wood cross members. That's in addition to the cheap/light white pine stuff they put around the roof openings for screw holding. I'd be shocked if AF doesn't have *some* kind of structural cross members in the roof.


I tried well nuts for my solar panel mount (using Z mounts). They pulled right out. I wouldn't trust them at all.

I used aluminum rivet nuts placed through the rubber roof/luan and into aluminum roof crossbeams. They have held up since 2005 without fail. A healthy coating of sealant was used.....of course.

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3 tons

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Posted: 04/15/22 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

deltabravo wrote:

HMS Beagle wrote:

Just VHB tape, on a solid roof, will be stronger than a few #8 screws.


VHB tape attached to rubber roof membrane, with the rubber roof membrane being glued to the underlayment of the roof is a horrible idea.

On any rubber roof RV, the panels need screwed down to the wood under the rubber roof.


Considering the relatively long life of PV panels, I can imagine the ‘lazy installers’ ezy-tape at some point failing (say overtime do to environmental reasons), and the panel projecting through some other distracted driver’s windshield…I’ve even seen Gorilla tape’s uber strong adhesive fail in such conditions…Some poor soul winning the Darwin Award seems fool’s game to me…

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memilanuk

Dry side of the Cascades

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Posted: 04/15/22 02:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Geewizard wrote:

I tried well nuts for my solar panel mount (using Z mounts). They pulled right out.


Well, 17 years later it's obviously too late to argue about how exactly you did the install... but in my limited experience (putting several of them in last fall/winter), on the first attempt (or two) they *did* pull 'right out'. Turned out it was a mistake on *my* part, and when I went back and did it correctly, they held very solidly.


The metal version aka 'riv-nuts' should work at least as well, with the slight difference of not being inherently water-tight. Since most people are going to cover everything in sight with some kind of sealant, it's debatable whether that's worth it or whether it's better to go with some thing that is mechanically stronger like you did.

Either way works.

jdcellarmod

Maryland

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Posted: 04/15/22 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On my 2020 AF 865 I used the AM Solar L foot rocker foot mounts. I have 2 Zamp 170 watt panels at the rear and 1 70 watt panel in front of the refrigerator vent. The mounts make it easy to remove panels if needed. Their mounts have VHB tape on them. I used the tape along with #8 screws with Dicor all over the base of the mount after they were attached. Take a magnet and run it over the area where you want to place the panel mounts. Northwood places sheet metal in certain places for roof mounted items. I got a roof schematic from Northwood and it showed where all the sheet metal was. 9000 miles later the panels are still in place.

Jeff D

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