AFTER THREE YEARS on my RV one of my 100W flexible solar panels FAILED. Here’s what I did to troubleshoot the problem and try and fix it. What would I change next time? Did it get too hot? Was it cracked? Did the diode go bad?
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(UPDATE) HERE’S a FOLLOW UP VIDEO – TAKING APART THIS FLEX PANEL
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Three years ago (in 2016) I added three 100 watt monocrystalline semi flexible solar panels to my existing RV solar system. One of the three solar panels recently failed. The other two panels still function properly, but the PET top surface is showing some wear.
How did I know there was a problem?
I have two separate solar arrays on my roof. The array with the three 100 watt flex panels was not generating any current. It was, however, generating voltage. The three panels are connected in series, so I suspected that one or more of the panels (or connections) was not working. I disconnected each panel from the array and tested each one. The failed panel was not generating any current (amps) but was still showing voltage. I swapped the bad panel out with a 100 watt spare flex panel and the array came back online.
Removing the failed panel?
In order to replace the failed flex panel I had to first remove it. This was one of the first 100 watt flexible solar panels I installed. It was screwed in to the roof and had a bead of Dicor lap sealant around it. So removing was not a quick task.
I started by removing the six screws and then went to work on the Dicor. Dicor can be very difficult to remove, so I tried a new technique I’d read about. Using a propane torch, I heated a putty knife and used the hot knife to cut through the Dicor. It cut through the Dicor like butter, but also cut into the rubber roof membrane if I wasn’t careful.
With the Dicor removed, I removed the solar panel and cleaned up the remaining rubber roof surface with mineral spirits. I then covered the screw holes with Eternabond tape.
Trying to repair the panel
Not knowing why the panel failed, I wasn’t sure if I could fix it. I couldn’t see any visible signs of internal or external damage to the panel. So the only way I could maybe repair the panel was if the bypass diode in the junction box was shorted.
I don’t want to spoil the video ending, so I’ll leave you now to watch the video and see how it turned out.
#rvwithtito #rvlife #vanlife #rvdiy
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