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Old 03-23-2021, 01:18 PM   #21
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
If your ceiling is well-insulated, the snow up top might stick around a lot longer than you think. We had a few snow storms this winter that left 4-6" of packed snow and ice on my roof. I assumed it would come off the first time I hit a bump but it stuck on there like a hairpiece on a personal injury lawyer. It stayed up there for days even though I was heating up the bus inside to 60° to 70° every day. I finally had to knock it all off with a snow shovel wielded from a ladder since I wasn't going to go out on the roof. I definitely need to build something like what Iceni John suggests, a small walkway of sorts on the roof that I can safely use to knock snow off.



Water hose, if you have water available?

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Old 03-23-2021, 01:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Truffles View Post
So it seems like the general consensus us that snow can be a problem for both solar panels and other drivers on the road. I am not sure that tilting the solar panels would solve the problem of having a ton of snow stuck up top, intermingled into the brackets that the solar is mounted to.

Since it will be relatively inexpensive to just add a zone to an already planned hydronic heating system, it seems like that is going to be the direction I go. That way, I can make the pipes run between the roof and the insulation intended for the ceiling. My wabasto diesel heater that came with the bus isn’t going to flench at melting snow, and to be able to keep the solar panels clearer than they otherwise would be, it’s worth it.

Now, what would be the best way to get the pipes to transfer heat to the roof? Should I run them front to back, between the framing boards? That would mean it would really only contact the roof at the ribs. Maybe it would be better to have it zig zag back and forth along the corner of the roof and the rib.

Decisions decisions.
If you are thinking of running water lines overhead, you may want to consider what you are going to do when they leak. or bust, which seems likely, especially if you run them between the insulation and the roof metal and the lines freeze because the heat is not turned on.


Besides, it is overly complicated. KISS


Seems to me that a better use of that diesel is to drive further south.
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Old 03-23-2021, 01:33 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
If you're serious about maximizing solar harvest in the winter, the panels need to be tiltable to face the sun as best as possible. This means they need to raise to about 45 degrees, or more in higher latitudes, to have any chance of producing meaningful output. At that angle most snow will slide off them. And as for cleaning them, something that most folk don't incorporate into their PV installation, it's prudent to build a walkway on the roof so you don't fall off while washing them, and then it's easy to also add one or two water outlets on the roof to plug a washdown brush into, making the monthly panel cleaning a simple and safe 5-minute job.

John

My thought, is that if your bus has any type of cold weather problem. then you are too far north.
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Old 03-23-2021, 01:39 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Whiskey.Wilderness View Post
We are going with flexible panels so we can curve them to the roof shape- we spent winter here in Colorado with the bus already and found that the snow falls off of its curved roof pretty readily so panels curved to it shouldn’t be a problem once we install them and I’m also gonna keep a layer of rainx on em to help in the future too helps keep snow/ice from sticking to em

rainx sounds like a good idea
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Old 03-23-2021, 01:44 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
I feel this issue is mute unless you know you are going to be using your bus a LOT in areas of snow/ice during that season. If this is simply a "oh, what if we get caught in a snow storm" kind of thing, then I'd just deal with that when it happens. You don't buy a snow thrower to clear your driveway twice a year.

If you are going to be traveling in snow country during the snow season, than my suggestion for dealing with it are:

Using the broom part of a push broom, MacGyvered a handle to be able to reach up and over to the middle of your bus from the sides. Pull the snow from the center of the bus off the roof.

Use 70% Isopropyl alcohol in a 50/50 mixture with water. It melts ice right off windshields, so it should work the same for solar panels and roofs. That's basically what they put in the winterized windshield wiper solution.

Use a framework of wire with a 12v current running through it to loosen the snow so it comes off easier. Look at your back window of your car, that's what they use to defrost the back window. Amazingly effective. It's also similar to wrapping outside water pipes with electric cords to keep the pipes from freezing.

Use a combination of any of these to address your situation.

Best of luck.



Quit thinking, you are hurting my head.
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Old 03-30-2021, 09:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
If you are thinking of running water lines overhead, you may want to consider what you are going to do when they leak. or bust, which seems likely, especially if you run them between the insulation and the roof metal and the lines freeze because the heat is not turned on.


Besides, it is overly complicated. KISS


Seems to me that a better use of that diesel is to drive further south.
I have been trying to find the most low maintenance solution to this approach to avoid leaks and prevent freezing. So far I have settled on a pex line with no connector. Just a solid tube so that there is nothing to leak unless I puncture it or it freezes. To prevent it from freezing, I was considering a high concentration of ethylene in the piping. Honestly, I sort of expect this to be a consideration for the hydronic pipes running to anywhere in the bus because there will surely be times when the bus loses power/heating for an extended period and even the insulated areas drop below freezing. A 50% ethylene glycol mixture is supposed to be good for temperatures down to -37 F, which should be low enough.

That being said, I’m from Texas and have exactly zero experience with this Hydronic Heating stuff. So if I’m not thinking correctly, I’m all ears.

One area that the bus will probably see a lot of cold weather will be on some RV parks on the ski slopes. I hope to be able to park it in some very inexpensive areas without need for a grid connection, and spend a season snowboarding the slopes. That being said, the bus will probably remain parked during the stay and leave this system useless. But it’s pretty inexpensive to install now, so I’ll probably give it a shot. If it turns out to be a terrible idea, I can always just cap the lines to that zone and cut my losses.
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Old 03-30-2021, 09:50 PM   #27
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Staying parked? Having the solar tilt at a very steep angle in the winter is ideal for the optimal electricity generation. That'll shed snow pretty well.

A strategic fold out table that supports your weight on the bus side is a great platform to get up there and sweep snow.

Otherwise, I'd think the electric route best and simple.

Anyway, it's all labor and parts.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:10 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by rgjarrell View Post
Staying parked? Having the solar tilt at a very steep angle in the winter is ideal for the optimal electricity generation. That'll shed snow pretty well.

A strategic fold out table that supports your weight on the bus side is a great platform to get up there and sweep snow.

Otherwise, I'd think the electric route best and simple.

Anyway, it's all labor and parts.
Yep, I will definitely be making use of that little fact. My main concern is really the giant chunks of ice that will find their way to the roof, which may come of when I decide to drive. I am not sure I will have the ability to clean those off once they are integrated with solar mounting/roof rack hardware.

For the electric route, I assume that I will be in a bit of an electricity shortage for a lot of the same time when snow is a problem. I will have a generator, but I'm concerned with using it as a primary option.
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Old 04-02-2021, 05:43 PM   #29
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Depending on the type of snow a leaf blower yields very high success in blowing snow away. Stuck on ice? It will need to be melted!

Traditionally salt will melt ice. Put some road salt in several nylon sock. Throw it up on the roof in a couple of places. Wait a day.

Look up gutter cleaning extension for leaf blower. There are quite a few options and those will put the air right up on the roof. If the snow is dry enough it will work. $50 for the leaf blower gutter extension kits.
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:54 PM   #30
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Salt on your bus? For all the trouble of getting and keeping a rust free bus this seems a bit counter productive
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:03 PM   #31
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If there's snow on the ground, there better be salt on the road!

So a little bit of salt and some socks on your roof is not going to be too much different than the amount of salt you encounter by driving the bus on snowy roads that have been treated. I wouldn't suggest this unless manually removing the snow or ice is ineffective.

To recap from cheapest and easiest to most aggressive:.
Put salt on the roof.
Use a leaf blower with a gutter cleaning kit that extends the blowing tube.
Use electric wire
Embed hydronic year under the bus roof metal.

Alternatively, find ways to make manual removal easier through a ladder, a platform, a pickup truck, or whatever you can do to physically get up next to the snow.

Also, tilting the solar panels could help and might be necessary in the winter.

All the options are possible and each had their drawbacks and might not be that effective in some conditions.
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