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Old 11-22-2017, 11:25 AM   #1
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Mounting Solar panels on a TPO roof

Hi, I am going to install four renogy solar panels on my 2015 Thor Challenger. I am wondering the best way to mount them, if they need to be screwed into the trusses or if it will make a difference if one end misses a truss. I have decor and eternabond tape to seal everything up, but I'm a little nervous about mounting them (I really don't want to donate them to the car behind me going down the road! ).

Down the road I may want to install a tilt kit and I did pickup some channel Aluminum with tilting in mind, that way I could mount the channel every 48" (the trusses are 16" on center) and mount the panels to them, but that would raise the panels about 3" off the roof where they would catch more air going down the road.

Any advice, suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Don
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:34 AM   #2
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As long as you can hit the trusses you’re good to go for security. The roof decking isn’t thick or strong, you need to hit the trusses. Use the self leveling Dicor and you can quit worrying about leaks. Use butyl tape under the mounts to seal the mounting holes then the Dicor around the mounts and bolt heads.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:54 AM   #3
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Question: How do you go about making sure that you find the trusses?
I wouldn't want the roof to start looking like my back yard... (After the moles have had a fun day of digging in it! )
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Question: How do you go about making sure that you find the trusses?
I wouldn't want the roof to start looking like my back yard... (After the moles have had a fun day of digging in it! )
Two ways: Get the diagrams from Thor for your coach and/or use a stud finder.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:58 AM   #5
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Diagrams it is!
If I get a stud-finder: the Missus will use it to find our next gardener!
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:09 PM   #6
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Diagrams it is!
If I get a stud-finder: the Missus will use it to find our next gardener!
Good one
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:24 PM   #7
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If you can start each day with a good belly-laugh: it really helps to keep your enemies guessing!
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:35 PM   #8
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If you can start each day with a good belly-laugh: it really helps to keep your enemies guessing!
Agree!!! If you’re laughing when nobody else is people are really going to wonder what’s going on
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:39 PM   #9
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I've only been a member for about three Months: I think that I'm gonna like it in here!
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Old 11-25-2017, 03:42 PM   #10
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Thor e-mailed me a diagram but it was wrong. I couldn't find um within 6 inches of where they should have been. I used #12 SS screws 1 inch long. The screws were put in using an adhesive sealant. After that had set up used self leveling Dicor over the brackets and screws. No problems so far.
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:11 PM   #11
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Mounting solar panels

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Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
Thor e-mailed me a diagram but it was wrong. I couldn't find um within 6 inches of where they should have been. I used #12 SS screws 1 inch long. The screws were put in using an adhesive sealant. After that had set up used self leveling Dicor over the brackets and screws. No problems so far.
I had them send me the diagrams too, but I will still use a stud finder. I know there is one on each side of the roof vents so I will measure from there. I'm still debating the whole tilting aspect of it. More for being able to lift and inspect than anything but I may be over complicating things a little bit.
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Old 11-25-2017, 06:49 PM   #12
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Typical RV drawings, as designed, and as built are never available.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:53 PM   #13
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But the drawings should at least get you "in the ballpark"; shouldn't they?
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Old 11-26-2017, 09:50 PM   #14
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I had them send me the diagrams too, but I will still use a stud finder. I know there is one on each side of the roof vents so I will measure from there. I'm still debating the whole tilting aspect of it. More for being able to lift and inspect than anything but I may be over complicating things a little bit.
Tried that also as the drawing showed them there, but I was not able to find any. Even took the trim down inside and probed around the vent.
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Old 11-26-2017, 09:52 PM   #15
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But the drawings should at least get you "in the ballpark"; shouldn't they?
For me they did not. I made up brackets 6 inches long and probed at 1/8 inch intervals and found nothing.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:17 PM   #16
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For me they did not. I made up brackets 6 inches long and probed at 1/8 inch intervals and found nothing.
AAaarrrrggghhh.....
They never seem to want to make it easy; do they??
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:48 PM   #17
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I had them send me the diagrams too, but I will still use a stud finder...I'm still debating the whole tilting aspect of it. More for being able to lift and inspect than anything but I may be over complicating things a little bit.
AM Solar, http://www.amsolar.com, attached their mounting brackets with 3M VHB tape to a well prepared roof, buried in Dacor sealant. I don't know if that is still the case as the brackets are sold with 2 SS sheet metal screws now. You could call to see if that's still their procedure. I'm leery myself, but any roof penetration is a potential leak. The trusses are aluminum, right? So magnets don't work.

As to the tilting bars, I'm torn. I doubt that I'd use them except for a long term location or for inspection/cleaning. What to do?
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:48 PM   #18
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I used wellnuts as recommended by Renogy.

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Old 11-29-2017, 08:07 PM   #19
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Yeah, I am bit on the paranoid side about attaching things to the roof. There are a lots of variable stresses applied to anything up there, winds from forward motion, crosswinds, normal road vibrations and on and on. I would not be comfortable with anything up there that was not attached to the trusses.
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Old 11-30-2017, 03:09 AM   #20
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Yeah, I am bit on the paranoid side about attaching things to the roof... I would not be comfortable with anything up there that was not attached to the trusses.
And me too. The well nut looks good but rather than a sheet metal screw it needs a larger hole if you're trying to hit the trusses. I should call Thor for truss dimensions.
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