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John E Davies

How to: install safeties on the solar panel mount knobs. IMPORTANT!!!

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Three days after we took delivery of Mouse, I climbed up my ladder for a check of the roof. Everything looked fine, except for the solar panels.

 

Three knobs were slightly loose, perhaps a 1/16th of a turn. One was a full half turn loose. This is dangerous since a loose or lost knob could wreck the panel and possibly the vent and AC unit behind it, especially if you are towing into a stiff and gusting headwind.

 

I got out my Dewalt driver drill and modified the knobs so that I could secure them tight.

 

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I can't recall the hole size, probably 1/4 inch, big enough for a standard sized nylon wire tie.

 

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This is just like safety wiring a bolt using steel wire, but the advantage is that the big white ties are highly visible from the ground, so you can include a visual check of all four as you do your final walk around before leaving. You must route the tie so that all the forces are acting to tighten the knob.

 

I think this should be done at the factory, but in the meantime I strongly recommend that everyone with panels on the roof secure the knobs.

 

A better fix would be to drill out the threaded inserts and install through bolts with self locking nuts, but this would make it very hard to reposition the panels for cleaning the roof underneath....

 

Here is a question: have you ever checked them? If not, then please do so before your next trip. They may be loose.... Be safe.

 

Here is my Werner convertible ladder in action. It is good to have access to your roof, always.

 

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John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Can't speak to your install, but we've towed 80k miles with our panels, without issue . We check regularly. No zipties needed.

I will check ours in the fall,again, when we tow home to the South.

Thanks for the heads up.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Yup, I check mine each time that I clean the solar panels. I ended up tilting my panels down as far as they can go in the bottom holes to the street side to keep the water from pooling on them in the rain. Plus I prefer to park with the sun off of that side when we are boondocking. All of my adjustment bolts have been tight every time but I may use some loctite if needed in the future. I go up every couple of weeks to dust them off and remove the small cedar cones that get blown down on them. So far, having them tilted has stopped the pooling and associated dirt or dust rings left on the panels after it rains.

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Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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John, did yours have lock washers on them, when I made braces to angle the panels, I found mine had lock washers in place and were tight.


Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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Since they can't tilt I wonder why Oliver doesn't just use a regular bolt and lock nuts.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Should I bring a ladder with me when I pick up my new Trailer? I'll have solar. It will be about a weeklong trip getting back to MA. Thanks


June

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Should I bring a ladder with me when I pick up my new Trailer? I’ll have solar. It will be about a weeklong trip getting back to MA. Thanks

Yes, always ALWAYS bring at least a slim fold up RV ladder if you don't have room for something bigger and sturdier. Every trip.

 

You never know when you might have to fix something or clear a stuck branch.

 

It is not polite to go borrowing ladders..... IMHO.

 

BTW, all the lock washers and flat washers were in place, the knobs just were not tight enough.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Good Catch John,

 

Most of ours were slightly loose to loose. I thought about using a lock nut behind the attachment flange but there is no room for a wrench in that space. So I used  the nylon safeties after drilling the handles. I drilled one 1/4" hole thru the flat end and fed the safeties thru the bracket , then thru the handle hole and secured it. I was able to tighten each of the 4 knobs to the vertical orientation a seen. It should keep it from rotating, but I will continue to check them. While I was up there, I noticed that, at the junction box,  there is a spare input receiver with a cap on it. Can this be used for an "add on"?

 

Cheers,

 

Terry

 

 

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Legacy Elite I

#240

ALCTDEFLGAKYMEMDMANHNYNCPARISCTNVTVAWVxl

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Since they can’t tilt I wonder why Oliver doesn’t just use a regular bolt and lock nuts.

 

What do you mean they can't tilt? Mine tilt fine. Have they changed the mount configuration?


Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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After picking ours up, we went south and poked around for a month or so. We went up some rough ' goat paths' , camped on mountain tops, traveled a lot of dirt rough roads, and even traveled rougher paved highways. For lack of initial load up room we left our collapsible ladder home. And then headed home to Maine. Turns out we never needed it. Checked our knobs at home and they are still tight. We could always back up the tow vehicle and use that for a ladder I guess if we ever needed it. We have left the ladder home since and have never regretted it. Have a safe trip home to Ma. and may the roughest part of your trip be paying the tolls for the extra two axles...

 

P.S. I have found that if you really need a ladder, and fellow campers happen to have one, they are more than happy to lend it. They also will give you a helping hand. You can meet some wonderful people on the road and share some interesting stories around a campfire or picnic table. All they need is a friendly smile and a handshake...

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Since they can’t tilt I wonder why Oliver doesn’t just use a regular bolt and lock nuts.

What do you mean they can’t tilt? Mine tilt fine. Have they changed the mount configuration?

The way they mount them may have changed back but for a while you could technically tilt them but the lower end would hit the curb so that you could only get a few degrees of tilt.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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You might find this product useful, not as much fun as safety wire or tie wraps

Vibra-tite VC-3 threadmate

Adjustable and reuseable

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Got on the ladder this afternoon to clean our solar panels before heading to NM tomorrow. Three knobs were tight. One moved about a quarter of an inch. All four have lock washers. I'll be checking every time I'm up on the ladder.


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | The Lone Star Oliver #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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One or two of our solar panel mounting knobs were loose last November when we put our Ollie away for the winter... just 3 nights camping from factory pickup. Checked them all and put it away with sufficiently tight nobs for the winter. We've maybe put a couple of thousand miles on it so far this season, and there were 2 knobs loose again. Not sure if it was the same 2 knobs as before or not. All knobs had a lock washer installed, but they were compressed between the metal bracket and the plastic knob so not sure if they were able to fully achieve the intended effect.

 

I added a stainless flat washer to each knob, and implemented John Davies' locking solution described above (thanks, John!). Easy, cheap and effective.

 

On a side note pertaining to tilting the solar panels to facilitate water runoff, that does not appear to be possible on our 2018 Elite I as the box holding the connectors is located right underneath the panel and is so tall that there is insufficient clearance to drop down either side of the panel a notch in the bracket. However, when the trailer is level (as determined by the bubble on the tongue jack/stabilizer) there is a slight forward tilt to the solar panels due to a slight slope in the top ridge of the roofline. When level and at rest, water flows forward and off of the panel's top surface.

 

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Tom


2018 Oliver Legacy Elite #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed


 

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