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Old 02-14-2020, 09:10 AM   #1
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Solar Panel Unistrut Connection

Iím about to purchase the PV system for my bus. Iím going to be mounting 15/16Ē unistrut to the ribs with 1/4Ē carriage bolts, using these sealing washers I found on McMaster-Carr as shown in the screenshot, and extra sealant on top of the bolt/washer as extra insurance against leaks.

Then to mount the panel to the unistrut I donít know what to do. I could use the Renogy Z clips, but they are too narrow to be compatible with unistrut and they would also add another inch of height and Iím trying to keep them as close to the roof as possible.

I thought about getting some flat stainless steel strip to screw to the back of the panel and then to the face of the unistrut or using some L shaped channel for a little cleaner look.

Please tell me whatís worked for you.

Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:51 AM   #2
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Any pics of the solar panels? Ours have a C-channel frame running around the perimeter with bolt holes on the bottom lip, so the bottom of the frame sits directly on the support (angle iron, in our case). We've got residential panels though, which might be different than yours. Pics might help though.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:08 AM   #3
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Theyíre predrilled on the back and warranty is void if more holes are made. This is the Renogy 100W compact panel.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:13 AM   #4
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They’re predrilled on the back and warranty is void if more holes are made. This is the Renogy 100W compact panel.

I haven't used Unistrut, just remember looking at it in the hardware store but don't they have a Unistrut proprietary bolts and clips (spring clips of some sort IIRC?) that will allow you to bolt directly to the frame through those predrilled holes? Maybe that doesn't allow you enough room to get a wrench and hands under there though, now that I think about it. Ours are a good 3" off the roof.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:35 AM   #5
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The opening on the unistrut is too wide for the Renogy clips and the clips add an inch of height. I’m trying to keep the profile low.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:46 AM   #6
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Hereís the unistrut at the span of the panels
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
The opening on the unistrut is too wide for the Renogy clips and the clips add an inch of height. Iím trying to keep the profile low.
I guess what I was thinking is, using one of these spring bolts and bolt the panel directly to the unistrut. They've got SO MUCH Unistrut proprietary hardware, clips and whatnot, that there's gotta be something that'll work. Hopefully someone else will chime in with what's worked for them. If you haven't seen the Unistrut assembly demonstration video yet you should take a look. They show just about every conceivable connection that can be made.


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Old 02-14-2020, 11:08 AM   #8
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https://www.mcmaster.com/strut-channel-bolts
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:43 AM   #9
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Yeah, Iím overthinking it. I think these might work
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Yeah, Iím overthinking it. I think these might work

I'm also planning to secure my 4 panels with some similar channel...

how would your example of a fastener hold down the panel?

I can see how Drew's example above would but I don't see it in yours...

thanks in advance
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:29 PM   #11
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I used 1/4Ē strut nuts and those saddle washers
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:38 PM   #12
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I used 1/4Ē strut nuts and those saddle washers
Thanks for that. Technically it looks like you would have been able to go without the saddle washers?
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sepudo View Post
Thanks for that. Technically it looks like you would have been able to go without the saddle washers?
That Z brackets themselves are too narrow. I could also be done with the standard square strut washers, but I was worried that they would have a greater chance of drifting off the strut.
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:06 PM   #14
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I see what you mean from your photo. Thanks! How did you end up attaching the channel to your rig?
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:16 PM   #15
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I see what you mean from your photo. Thanks! How did you end up attaching the channel to your rig?
See the description in this thread

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f49/s...ack-30968.html
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Iím about to purchase the PV system for my bus. Iím going to be mounting 15/16Ē unistrut to the ribs with 1/4Ē carriage bolts, using these sealing washers I found on McMaster-Carr as shown in the screenshot, and extra sealant on top of the bolt/washer as extra insurance against leaks.
Somehow I missed your thread when I was planning my install, but just found it. I know we've been planning basically the same type of install. I too like the idea of carriage bolts from the inside. My plan is to drill the holes in the hat channel a little smaller than the diagonal of the square on the bolt, then hammer into place. Did you find anything that may have worked better for you, or is that the typical solution?

Thanks again!

Chris
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by farok View Post
Somehow I missed your thread when I was planning my install, but just found it. I know we've been planning basically the same type of install. I too like the idea of carriage bolts from the inside. My plan is to drill the holes in the hat channel a little smaller than the diagonal of the square on the bolt, then hammer into place. Did you find anything that may have worked better for you, or is that the typical solution?

Thanks again!

Chris
Thatís what I did. You wonít need to hammer. Tightening the nut draws the square into the channel
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:19 AM   #18
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Thatís what I did. You wonít need to hammer. Tightening the nut draws the square into the channel
Excellent - thanks!!

Chris
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