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  1. #16
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    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    What a saga.
    I donít like your chances of pulling the roof up but hopefully Iím wrong. Does it flex much if you push up on it from the inside?
    If itís just the join in the middle thatís an issue, it might be better/easier to just create a well sealed cap for that.

    I hope that it will pull up Steve, and am reasonably hopeful as with the roof clipped down, and in a semi crouching position I can push it up about 25 mm with my fore arms. That figure corresponded pretty well with the measured droop from the top. That top measurement though was hard to make as the flex solar panels had started to lift slightly around the inner edges in particular. At the time I did not have the plank you see in one of the photos to stand on, and as the roof is not able to handle anything heavy on it, all measurements were taken from the tops of ladders etc. I also have the option of having enough Unistrut rails to lift the ceiling, or rather to optimise the rails to lift the ceiling, rather than just hold the new panels in the most economical way.

    One of the things Iím always conscious of is being able to maintain/troubleshoot things when away from mainstream facilities.

    Good thinking, I agree and should have pored over the wiring to get a handle on sooner than I did.

    From that aspect a fully bonded on solar panel is a of a design. Iíd also be suss about their performance from a thermal perspective. Solar panel performance reduces with temperature increase, so unless that bonding material is thermally conductive thereís no way it can get rid of heat on a hot day.

    All good points, also from what I have seen, they just don't have anything like the same electrical performance, or the same reliability, and if you ever have to change them, they are a nightmare if bonded directly onto the structure. They might have a place in some sort of disaster package, where you might have a tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, water purification system, L.E.D. lighting and phone charging setups, but I don't see them as useful for generating baseload power for individual homes, camper vans or caravans etc.
    Sadly the designers of our van did not take the opportunity to utilise the light channel running right down the centreline if the van to stiffen the roof structure. They have made it a 2 part structure whereas if it was one single part, it would have made a significant contribution to roof strength. I am investigating modifying this with a folded insert, with corresponding cutouts to the present channel, and pop riveting the insert into the present structure. I will need to cut out the folded flange where the 2 halved are pop riveted together, but that shouldn't present too much difficulty.

    Traditional panels usually allow airflow to the back of the panel.
    It also allows airflow over the now shaded roof, helping to lower the internal temperatures. Like the old LandRovers fitted with a tropical roof.

    Steve

    Light Channel.jpg
    The light channel showing the general arrangement with the centre join of the two sections
    light channel flange.jpg
    The centre flange joint. This will need removing to fit a one piece strengthening insert, which I am considering. The insert would be riveted to the present structure.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
    Age
    55
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    Yes, pity the manufacturer used that construction method - basically creating a complete weak join line right trough yhe roof.
    I probably wouldnít bother putting a one piece beam in there, and would just jack it into position (maybe slightly above where you want it to end up) then fit a 2mm?? doubler on the bottom with bolts in interference holes or some proper structural fasteners (which hollow aluminum rivets arenít).

    Steve

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    That would certainly be easier than my idea of removing the light channel sections, cutting out the internal flange joint and fabricating a "U" shaped insert, faithfully duplicating all the cutouts, fitting it to the present light channel sections and then riveting it all back together again. My only concern is that the light channel is aluminium as far as I am aware, and probably not anything particularly strong either. I wonder if it would be strong enough. I might get in touch with the manufacturers to see what it is made from. It measures 1.9 mmĪ with powder coat on both sides, so probably only 1.5 mm BMT.
    Rob

  4. #19
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    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
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    Just looked at the photos again and rather than just a flat doubler across the bottom a longer angle piece along the lower corners would probably be better.
    Reason being is the middle bit at the join is only about 30mm each side of the join - with 1.5mm original material I think it would be better to get a bit more material either side of the join.
    You could still do a doubler in between the angles on that lower face if you wanted. Nicer still would be a bent piece that went across the bottom ad up each side - cut to the same shape as the existing cutouts.

    Steve

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonl View Post
    Hi Rob,

    I hope your repair plans work out well for your roof.

    I agree with idea about having enough panels to charge even with overcast conditions. It can become stressful worrying about your energy requirements in remote areas with not enough sun etc.

    I assume your Victron can tell you your energy usage and solar input for the day?

    Perhaps some real world measurements with your camper set up in the backyard with the fridge running over a few days with and without solar input?

    Wrt solar efficiency and ambient temp, I have noticed a marked difference in output on a hot day just by cascading a bucket of water over the panel. Obviously if drinking water is scarce you wouldn't waste it doing that but if near a water source it's worthwhile.

    Keep us updated on the roof. I'm hoping you get it sorted.

    Simon



    Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
    G'day Simon,
    I missed this post of yours earlier thank you for the good wishes for a positive outcome, I'm hoping for it too! Yes the 600 series Victron BMS has most of the features of the later variants, but is not bluetooth enabled, so no ability to monitor on Victrons' Ap. The Ap is definitely more user friendly, but the info is there on our older model, just not so easily accessible. I am pretty sure that most of our problems have been due to the degraded panels, but made worse by the roof failure. With the droop of the roof and the bonded on solar panels, meant that any moisture from a rain shower or even the evening dew would pool and attract any dust to make a thin layer of mud on the panels. I don't carry a long ladder when travelling only a 2 step folding stepladder, and that is not tall enough to reach the roof. We also generally travel the outback, so water is precious, and the opportunity to hose down the panels is infrequent. Even if I get to clean them, it usually only takes a couple of days to get back to square 1. Perhaps I need to carry a taller ladder, but I can't take everything.
    I hope that with having a lot of excess generating capacity, and having it distributed so that we can have the ute in the sun for power, without making ourselves uncomfortable in the process, will put an end to these hassles we have had, and it would be really nice to be able to leave the Honda EU20i at home. It would save a fair bit of weight, and petrol smell in the storage compartment, and of course the irritation for those not enthralled with the hummin Honda.
    The manufacturers of our van are excellent people, and while I do not expect a new roof, they give freely of their expertise and I can run my ideas past them for any repair proposals I may have. I'm sure that it will work out in the end and I will certainly report in with any news at the work progresses.
    Rob

  6. #21
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    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Just looked at the photos again and rather than just a flat doubler across the bottom a longer angle piece along the lower corners would probably be better.
    Reason being is the middle bit at the join is only about 30mm each side of the join - with 1.5mm original material I think it would be better to get a bit more material either side of the join.
    You could still do a doubler in between the angles on that lower face if you wanted. Nicer still would be a bent piece that went across the bottom ad up each side - cut to the same shape as the existing cutouts.

    Steve
    Yes Steve, I was originally thinking of a U Shaped piece fitted internally, with the cutouts duplicated, but much easier to fit to the outside, as I think you are suggesting, just need a bit more care with the cutouts to make them tickety boo. Thanks for all your suggestions, I will run them past the manufacturers Service Support, they are most helpful and a good sounding board for any ideas. Cheers,
    Rob.

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