Solar Panel fixing with Sikaflex, surface preparation question

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Allanm, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,044
    Likes Received:
    4,112
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    I am about to fit a new larger solar panel on the roof of my van. I am using Sikaflex to fix the "aerodynamic" brackets to the roof, but wondered about how to prepare the surface.
    The roof is GRP and has not been polished, just cleaned a few times with Meguirs car wash shampoo.
    Whats the best surface cleaner to use before applying the Sikaflex?
    Allan
     
  2. nomadic

    nomadic Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Shropshire based
    If you search "Techno100" threads I'm sure he has put up a thread on installing solar panels, and will answer your question.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,251
    Likes Received:
    5,047
    Location:
    West Sussex
    Sika do a surface cleaner/primer, but all I have ever done is clean with meths and lightly abrade he contact area. Not had one fall off yet.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. nomadic

    nomadic Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Shropshire based
    Fitting a Solar Panel to an 07 Autotrail Cheyenne through Sargent EC325 Power Supply Unit

    Can't find Techno 100's thread, but this may help.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Moodybrook

    Moodybrook Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    628
    Location:
    Dumfries
    It Is called "Aktivator", seems fairly similar to "thinners" but I am assured it has more essential contents ?

    Like Lenny I lightly abraded the contact points too, some say you don't need to with Sika but it is just something I have always done. :)

    Remember to get some 3mm plastic tile spacers as you need that amount of Sikaflex as a bed
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    13,859
    Likes Received:
    14,509
    Location:
    Leeds the one up North
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
    • Like Like x 3
  7. musson

    musson Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    grantham
    Hi use alcohol wipes that leave no residue works ok.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,044
    Likes Received:
    4,112
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Thanks all, as the roof is very clean anyway, I think I will use Lenny's tip and use meths and rough the surface up a bit, don't see the point of using the Sika Activator at £14 odd a tin.
    The panel will be screwed to 2 x 900mm mounts and both these will be Sikaflexed the whole length. I don't fancy putting screws through the roof like the original 30W panel ( I'm leaving that one on and connecting both together) All the connectors and brackets should be here tomorrow, hope the wind drops a bit.....
    Allan
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    13,859
    Likes Received:
    14,509
    Location:
    Leeds the one up North
    Description
    Sika Cleaner-205 is an alcoholic solution containing a bond- activating substance for cleaning and activating bond faces prior to bonding and sealing with Sikaflex products. ®

    Sika Cleaner-205 is manufactured in accordance with ISO 9001/14001 quality assurance system and with the responsible care program.

    Yes there are alternatives but my answer most accurately answers your specific question "best"
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    13,859
    Likes Received:
    14,509
    Location:
    Leeds the one up North
    When using a premium product like Sikaflex it becomes a bit self defeating to not follow the instructions. Aside from the recommended correct cleaner Aktivator you should also pay attention to the minimum required temperature throughout the setting period. You may find that the next couple of days at least are not suitable.
    The end of the week onwards is forecast to be far more Spring like.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Moodybrook

    Moodybrook Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    628
    Location:
    Dumfries
    The 3mm spacers (Tiles R Us ) to ensure that depth of bed is pretty essential can photo you them or if you PM me with your address I can post you a handful I bought a big bag :rolleyes: , you're welcome.

    DSC_3760.JPG


    You may notice that because of the type of roof construction of my van, I BOLTED THE BEGGAR DOWN.
    A 165watt Bimble solar special, 20 watt mppt controller, with the additional meter for additional entertainment. Better than Fleastenders any day. Punching the air, she asks whats up ? 8 bloody ripping amps, get in there !!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Neckender

    Neckender Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    975
    Likes Received:
    1,192
    Location:
    Stoke on Trent or Benidorm
    Hi Alan same as Lenny, I placed my panel with brackets fitted on roof marked around them with marker pen, cleaned with meths and abraded inside the marks made.

    John.
     
  13. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    13,859
    Likes Received:
    14,509
    Location:
    Leeds the one up North
    The base of the plastic aero brackets is where you must concentrate your effort with course abrasive.
    If left smooth even with Aktivator the adhesive is not a blood sweat and tears job to separate. I prefer alloy brackets personally but my own van came with four aero plastic to start with.
    Have fun!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. sweetie

    sweetie Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Cromer norfolk
    Thank you for your useful information Andy. My previous motorhome I was able to fix solar panel to existing roof bars.
    I have purchased the plastic aero brackets to fit panel to current van. After roughing up underside of them do you apply Aktivator as well. I have also purchased Sikaflex 512 is that ok.

    Steve
     
  15. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    13,859
    Likes Received:
    14,509
    Location:
    Leeds the one up North
    Yes use aktivator on all surfaces after cleaning. Allow to dry as instructions before applying adhesive
    Temperature must be no lower than 5C through the following 24hrs
     
  16. sweetie

    sweetie Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Cromer norfolk
    Thank you Andy
     
  17. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,044
    Likes Received:
    4,112
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Ok, you convinced me to get the Activator. These aero brackets are pretty substantial too! Should be a bit warmer here in a day or two, everything is ready to go, I'll get some 3mm spacers too.
    Allan
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Moodybrook

    Moodybrook Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    628
    Location:
    Dumfries
    Remember your fuses, one close to your connection to the Battery bank, good idea to have one on the pos feed to your controller (remove fuse to isolate the panel so that you can work safely on the controller and or the batts.)

    Look on Bimble they are selling 12v 20amp contact breakers. Lot easier than messing about with fuses ! That's what I used.
    On another theme I also used one for my feed from solar to vehicle batt, When not on hook up and van is parked up. Can explain better if required, good luck
     
  19. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,044
    Likes Received:
    4,112
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    The van is fitted with circuit breakers and fuses all over the place. The solar controller is fused too before it goes into the control unit, so I don't see the point of fitting extra fuses. All I have done is expand the solar panel capacity.
    So, I fitted the brackets and bolted the panel to it. Spliced the new cable to the old wiring and then connected the new panel wiring.
    I shut down the whole system with the master switch and covered the panels while I worked on the cabling and everything worked when I turned it on again.
    With the 30w panel fitted, I can't remember it ever producing more than about 1.5 amps on a really sunny day. Now, with the 2 panels fitted, it was generating 2.5 amps first thing this morning with a light cloudy sky and the sun poking through trees. I expect it generate far more than that when the sun rises a bit more and the clouds disappear.
    All in all, a successful day.
    Allan
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. colinw

    colinw Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    306
    Location:
    Bolton , Lancs.
    My panel says " do not disconnect under load " , what is the correct procedure to isolate solar panel ? . I have fuses protecting solar controller and fuses on the battery positive connection .
     
Loading...

Share This Page