Jump to content

Solar panel cleaning


Recommended Posts

I do not full time... Because they are mounted dead horizontal, rain or wash water pools and evaporates instead of draining, and the raised lip around the perimeter does not help. I tilted mine down one hole in the left brackets so they will drain a little better. After washing, I climb on a ladder and blast them dry with a leaf blower, followed by cotton towels to prevent hard water spots.

Besides being very ugly and unaerodynamic, it is a stupid design for on top of an RV roof. I still love having them, but wish they were not there at other times.

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 2
  • Love 1

"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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I wash the Oliver - usually 2- 4 times a year about half the time I do a full wash top to bottom - I hate it - have to get out the ladders - and brush with extension - crawl around up in the air - I am getting cranky as I see more birthdays...... but I hate waxing even more - it is an RV after all - why do I feel the need to have it shine like a concourse level collectable. Yes you guessed right - I just washed Ollie and am about half way through the wax job.🤕

RB

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
1 hour ago, BackofBeyond said:

Yes you guessed right - I just washed Ollie and am about half way through the wax job.

Can I assume that you have close to zero interest in waxing mine when you are done with yours?

Actually I don't really mine waxing the lower 2/3 but doing the roof is a real pain when the driveway is fairly sloped.

As far as the solar panels are concerned - I really wouldn't think that full timing or not makes a bunch of difference.  I've never seen much difference in the performance of the panels even though I'm sure that they do perform better when squeaky clean.  During my longest trip every year - about two months - I travel some very dusty roads.  But, it seems that the rain takes care of most of the "dirt" problem such that I have never even tried to clean them while on these trips.

Bill

  • Like 2

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

have to get out the ladders - and brush with extension

B.O.B.

Will the roof support my weight (170) if I have to get up there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Yes.

But, given the amount of room to walk around and the smoothness of the fiberglass it is certainly not all that safe to be walking around up there.  I am virtually always on my hands and knees with some sort of pad under my knees.  This pad serves two purposes - 1 - makes it a bit more comfortable on the knees and -2- it helps distribute the weight (165 pounds) over a larger area.

Bill

  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

Yes.

But, given the amount of room to walk around and the smoothness of the fiberglass it is certainly not all that safe to be walking around up there.  I am virtually always on my hands and knees with some sort of pad under my knees.  This pad serves two purposes - 1 - makes it a bit more comfortable on the knees and -2- it helps distribute the weight (165 pounds) over a larger area.

Bill

Bill,

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of the roof panel install vs only carrying around the 230w portable and charging through the solar port.  I'm now leaning toward the roof mounted option and carrying around a smaller 170w portable, just wanted to know the problems with the care of the roof panels.  For sure I like the idea of spreading out my weight and use of some grippy knee pads, no walking around up there 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, johnwen said:

Bill,

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of the roof panel install vs only carrying around the 230w portable and charging through the solar port.  I'm now leaning toward the roof mounted option and carrying around a smaller 170w portable, just wanted to know the problems with the care of the roof panels.  For sure I like the idea of spreading out my weight and use of some grippy knee pads, no walking around up there 🙂

 

Buy a Coleman eggcrate pad, cut it in half lengthwise.

2DDDE4A8-F716-470C-85DE-0BE2A610DE2A.jpeg.a72f0fdc4ad52aa5396dd6e8d025e3d4.jpeg

 

Lay it along the inside of the awning, it gives you a very secure place to crawl around and do stuff. These arms REALLY help:

129083A7-2EEB-4092-AE8D-32104D5BB383.thumb.jpeg.3cf73aa8d525323e53d7e23ec2d3b806.jpeg

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2791-how-to-solar-panel-extension-arms/

Secure your ladder with an old towel for padding, use rope or a couple of bungee cords to tie it to the awning so it doesn’t fall over and leave you alone and stranded without a phone on the roof !!!!! If you really clean the gelcoat, with solvent and a clay bar, followed by wax, it is slicker than snot, but the foam is grippy and makes it safe enough.

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 2

"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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks John 🙂

3 hours ago, topgun2 said:

Yes.

But, given the amount of room to walk around and the smoothness of the fiberglass it is certainly not all that safe to be walking around up there.  I am virtually always on my hands and knees with some sort of pad under my knees.  This pad serves two purposes - 1 - makes it a bit more comfortable on the knees and -2- it helps distribute the weight (165 pounds) over a larger area.

Bill

Bill,

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of the roof panel install vs only carrying around the 230w portable and charging through the solar port.  I'm now leaning toward the roof mounted option and carrying around a smaller 170w portable, just wanted to know the problems with the care of the roof panels.  For sure I like the idea of spreading out my weight and use of some grippy knee pads, no walking around up there 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, johnwen said:

Bill,

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of the roof panel install vs only carrying around the 230w portable and charging through the solar port.  I'm now leaning toward the roof mounted option and carrying around a smaller 170w portable, just wanted to know the problems with the care of the roof panels.  For sure I like the idea of spreading out my weight and use of some grippy knee pads, no walking around up there 🙂

The roof has no problem supporting my lard behind. I try to spread out the load have used pads before, but mostly just kind of lean out onto the roof, and also kneel where needed.

Sure Top gun, bring it over - oh wait I may not be here..... I'll leave the materials out  - just in case.

Roof panels are NO problem. I have never regretted the roof panels or the solar set up. And now that I i have the smaller gen set - bring it on - seems most of this summers trips will be hook up free anyways. 

 

JD - is that a speck of dirt I see on that roof? Nah, probably just the skid marks of some bug that though it could hang..... no chance on that surface.

RB

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
1 hour ago, BackofBeyond said:

Sure Top gun, bring it over - oh wait I may not be here..... I'll leave the materials out  - just in case.

GREAT! - I can wait for your return and I assume that the beverages in the fridge are cold? 😂

  • Haha 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

In between washing the trailer, I usually let the rain take care of cleaning the panels. 

Last week, we had a lot of maple whirlybird seeds flying, so I'd get on a step stool, take my cheap light string mop and lightly  brush those off the panels. (I wouldn't use anything coarse or stiff that could scratch them) The seeds, like leaves,  can shade the cells, of course. 

  • Thanks 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
  • Moderators

Some tiny seeds are falling this week, and light rain pretty much every night.

Two mornings in a row, I've cleaned the two x 100 watt portable panels with a soft cloth, and doubled my (very small) output from 1.6 to 3.3 amps. Somewhat surprising what a difference some tiny seeds and small raindrops can make.

Guess I'll go down to the barn and get a stepstool and the string mop, and clean the fixed panels while I'm at it. 

  • Like 3

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/6/2021 at 5:24 AM, johnwen said:

For all you full-timers, how often do you clean your solar panels?  I've seen comments, elsewhere, from every couple of months to twice a year.

John

Hi John, I'm a full-timer.  I try to wash mine a minimum every two months, this seems to be plenty for me.  Naturally, if under trees, etc. there's going to be more debris.  I find it easy to do from my multi-function ladder and using an extension brush with my 2050 psi pressure washer, that I have with me all the time.

NR

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

Las Vegas, NV | 2020 LE II #612 | 2020 Ford F-150 Platinum FX4 EcoBoost Max Tow

spacer.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Nicky Ray said:

Hi John, I'm a full-timer.  I try to wash mine a minimum every two months, this seems to be plenty for me.  Naturally, if under trees, etc. there's going to be more debris.  I find it easy to do from my multi-function ladder and using an extension brush with my 2050 psi pressure washer, that I have with me all the time.

NR

Thank you NR 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lately I have been using the glass cleaner available from the Glass Doctor which is by far the best glass cleaner I've ever used. Makes windex obsolete by a huge margin. The GD cleaner seems to polish as well as clean the glass, then a coat or two of Rain-X and done. However not sure I've ever noticed much if any difference with a dirty solar panel vs clean. The batteries seem to always be completely charged by mid morning at the latest no matter. 

As others have stated it is a major PITA to get up there and clean. Have thought about investing in scaffolds but even that only gets one as high as a 6 foot step ladder albeit with a noticeable amount more stability than a ladder alone. 

  • Thanks 1

Legacy Elite II #70

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/6/2021 at 8:44 AM, johnwen said:

Bill,

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of the roof panel install vs only carrying around the 230w portable and charging through the solar port.  I'm now leaning toward the roof mounted option and carrying around a smaller 170w portable, just wanted to know the problems with the care of the roof panels.  For sure I like the idea of spreading out my weight and use of some grippy knee pads, no walking around up there 🙂

A big advantage to having roof mounted panels is that they charge the batteries when you are on the road; a remote panel will not (unless you devise a clever method of towing it along with the Oliver 😀

I find it odd that the solar option comes with no use or maintenance instructions.  One could reach out to Zamp, but that shouldn't be necessary.

  • Thanks 1

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, routlaw said:

Lately I have been using the glass cleaner available from the Glass Doctor which is by far the best glass cleaner I've ever used. Makes windex obsolete by a huge margin. The GD cleaner seems to polish as well as clean the glass, then a coat or two of Rain-X and done. However not sure I've ever noticed much if any difference with a dirty solar panel vs clean. The batteries seem to always be completely charged by mid morning at the latest no matter. 

As others have stated it is a major PITA to get up there and clean. Have thought about investing in scaffolds but even that only gets one as high as a 6 foot step ladder albeit with a noticeable amount more stability than a ladder alone. 

I've thought about parking the trailer under an upper story window and working from there 😁  My best solution has been to park our flatbed truck along side the trailer.  This eliminates the need to move a ladder every three feet.  But then, not everyone has a flatbed truck!

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...