Replace 100W Flex with Renogy

MSDVLD

2016 Unity MB 15 Chassis
I have read most of the threads concerning solar panel replacement but haven’t found anything about just simply replacing the flex panels. We have a 2016 UMB with the LTV factory 200W solar option. We rarely camp off grid so are not looking to do a complete upgrade. Can We just replace the flex panels with Renogy 110W 12 volt Monocrystaline Compact Design Panels? Is it as simple as unplugging the old panels and plugging in the new ones or is there something else that needs to be done?
We are also looking at replacing our house batteries. Again not looking to do any serious modifications as the current set up has worked for our use.
These are the panels and brackets I am looking at.
Thank you in advance for your input!
Panels
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monoc...aWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl&th=1
Mounting Brackets
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-RNG-M...8BM2M1HNZM7&psc=1&refRID=TGAWWC6YK8BM2M1HNZM7
 

Klipstr

2018 Wonder FTB
Easy: simply run the new panels over the old ones. You will find that you can screw the new mounting brackets to one side of the existing panel and the other side through the existing panel and into the roof. You can also build a foot using those brackets and stick them to the roof using VHB (very high bond tape). When upgraded my Unity to Renogy I ran them over the top and did not worry about putting new screw holes in the roof. Use the existing cables to connect.

You're going to get a ton of help on batteries and all other stuff but to keep it simple stay on your path of simplicity! If/when you start to wander off that path? Oh my!

Here's a photo of the bracket I built. 3/8" aluminum and stainless steel hardware:

1611073406856.png
 

RV2019

2017 Wonder MB
Well, I would remove the old panels. They may come off very easily. But even if they don’t you’ll be able to clean up the dirt, grime, etc from underneath and remove the remnants of the old adhesive. Took me about an hour for my 2 panels. I don’t like putting screw holes in things that are supposed to be water tight so I made the mounting plates and used vhb tape like klipstr. I have a thread here showing photos of them.
 
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cbaarch

2016 Unity MB
hi
Which battery monitor do you have? Is it the ME-RC ? the latter is easy to change (with the manual) to AGM batteries in the settings.
or there is a version 2.9 of the monitor which is suppose to have a lithium setting for charging according to a friend that bought one last week for an older model LTV; but I have not confirmed yet what else might be needed if that is the case.
If you are In Canada this is the cheapest price I found https://www.cdnsolar.ca/shop-wholesale-solar-products/magnum-energy-remote-control-me-rc50/
and for a good blog on changing to AGM this is a good blog/video to read -
 

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RV2019

2017 Wonder MB
My thread is titled “Solar Panel Install”. Scroll through the pages and you’ll see a photo of the plates.
 

MSDVLD

2016 Unity MB 15 Chassis
Thank your Klipstr for your “simple” reply. I have followed many of your posts and those of several others who seem well versed on this and many other subjects. We have thoroughly enjoyed our coach and it has served our needs. In my younger days I would have enjoyed doing the solar upgrade modification...
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
I used Klipstr's method, and covered mine with Eternabond tape. Anything method other than just screwing the Z mounts to the roof, may require some planning and fabrication. Just screwing the Renogy Compact panel over the top of the existing flex panel is by far the easiest method. If you do just screw down the Renogy Z mounts into your roof put a dob of Dicor in/around the hole and then once screwed down cover the head and edges of the Z mount to seal everything off, https://www.amazon.com/Dicor-501LSW-1-Self-Leveling-Sealant-10-3-Fluid_Ounces/dp/B000BRF7QE/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3UY5HX7KH7JZK&dchild=1&keywords=dicor+self+leveling+lap+sealant&qid=1611143557&sprefix=Dicor,aps,244&sr=8-1. Most find it easier to just liberally apply the Dicor over the entire Z mount.

Another simple "no drill new holes in your roof" method is to use 2" 5952 VHB Tape, https://www.amazon.com/3M-Heavy-Mounting-width-length/dp/B007Y7H63Q/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=1.5"+5952+vhb+tape&qid=1611144484&sr=8-3, on the Z mounts and then cover with Eternabond tape, https://www.amazon.com/White-Eterna...words=3+eternabond+tape&qid=1611144257&sr=8-6, to seal and add a second layer of roof adhesion. Between the VHB tape and Eternabond tape that Renogy glass panel isn't going to move!
 

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DiverBob

2018 Unity TB
Here is a link to my solar installation thread that might be helpful. https://sprinter-source.com/forums/index.php?threads/89497/
In this one I used IronRidge solar standoffs that are held down by 3M VHB tape, 3M Marine Adhesive, and Eternabond Adhesive Tape. The nice thing about this setup is that it allows easier replacement of the panels if needed down the road, especially if you can’t get the same sized panels later.
 

MSDVLD

2016 Unity MB 15 Chassis
New Renogy panels are up and running.
Thank you to all who provided input.
As usual one project leads to another. Resealing all roof penetrations while I am up there...🙃
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
What method did you end up using and do you have any pictures. Your experience will help others.
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
Looks great, the Klipstr method is really pretty easy and straightforward. I'm doing my next 200w expansion installation the very same way. Was your roof damaged at all from the chronic heat exposure from the flex panels or is all that just cosmetic? It's hard to tell from the pictures.
 

MSDVLD

2016 Unity MB 15 Chassis
Looks great, the Klipstr method is really pretty easy and straightforward. I'm doing my next 200w expansion installation the very same way. Was your roof damaged at all from the chronic heat exposure from the flex panels or is all that just cosmetic? It's hard to tell from the pictures.
We did not have any damage to the roof, just discoloration. The old panels came off fairly easy😎
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
Mounting plates are 4”x6”
That's the same size I used, a good amount of surface area mounting plate to roof adhesion for the 5952 VHB tape. Klipstr used a smaller sized aluminum plate (if I recall correctly 3"× 4"), but I up sized mine a bit to 4" x 6". He hasn't had any issues with his either.
 
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TampaSteve

2018/2019 Unity CB
I went with the method that I first saw here on this forum from member @msmolow - XR100 rails. Its probably double or triple the work but the rail method means that when I upgrade panels they don't have to be exactly the same size. Technology changes fast, and I am fairly certain my brand shiny new panels won't outlast my rig. Not because they won't last but because something denser will come along.

I'm on my third iteration of "house Internet" for example. I have pictures of the whole install at https://avoidpitfalls.com/rv-600-watt-solar-install/

And to answer your original question, yes, rigid new panels are plug and play, no need to change solar controller or anything else, although most of us have.

 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
Klipstr method can easily accommodate different sizes later by just creating an adapter piece of thin aluminum bar stock, or just drilling a hole in the different solar panel frame to move its mounting feet, or by drilling different holes in the different solar panel mounting feet to fit into my mounting plate screws. Lots of very inexpensive and easy solutions for adding slightly different sized 100w solar panels down the road.
 
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Klipstr

2018 Wonder FTB
The Klipstr method! I love it! Can I patent it and make you guys pay me $0.05/per mount? I'm gonna be rich! And, yes, the smaller mounts have worked fine for me. I think I can lift the entire rig with one of the panels.

Tampa, I love the look of your kit! Very cool!

OP, what a mess after you pull the dang flex panels off! Oh my. Simple putty knife and lots of elbow grease? I now know for sure that leaving them up there is easier! Though I gotta say I like the look of your roof better than mine (on my old unity when I ran the Renogy right over the top...).
 

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