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Old 05-01-2015, 13:25   #1
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Aitch

While contemplating adding solar panels to my 12M Ocean-rated sloop, a colleague with the same boat added two flexible zip-on 100W panels of European origin. They were neatly mounted on his Bimini and worked beautifully for several months before ....... Sitting at anchor enjoying on a nice sunny day and lunch in PITTWATER, North of Sydney, one of the panels spontaneously ignited.
Quick action with the fire extinguisher saved the situation, but now comes the question ... Should he repair and replace or find another way?
Has this happened to anyone else?
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Old 05-01-2015, 21:46   #2
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Re: Aitch

aitch,

That's actually an interesting question. I know there was a guy touting flexible solar panel at a Cruising Club meeting about 3 maybe 4 yrs. ago now. The product was intriguing because they apparently had very good output, and it was suggested they were appropriate for bimini installation.

So I'd think it would be important to discover precisely what caused one to get on fire, and be really sure that it was an installation error you could avoid, OR go with more tried and true solar technology.

Ann.
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Old 11-01-2015, 13:23   #3
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Re: Aitch

Like anything. There are expensive name brand ones and cheap knock offs.

Flexible panels are becoming common now
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Old 11-01-2015, 13:44   #4
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Re: Aitch

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Like anything. There are expensive name brand ones and cheap knock offs.

Flexible panels are becoming common now
True, but fires with flexible panels are exceeding low.
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Old 11-01-2015, 13:50   #5
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Re: Aitch

I had a solbian blow a diode or something. Bruce was quick to replace it so kudos to him but that's not the only issue I've had with the panels. I had to have someone come and repair a panel after the glue that held the mc4 box to the panel failed and the box came away from the panel. The rest of my solbian panels have also experienced this issue but I just tied them down tight with zip ties and that prevented them from coming completely off.

IMO... The mc4 connection box should be bolted through the panel. Glue in 100 degree florida temps should not melt. I have no doubt this could cause a short and cause a fire.


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Old 11-01-2015, 14:19   #6
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Re: Aitch

I added zip ties to the connectors on my cheap Chinese flex panels too.
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Old 12-01-2015, 08:22   #7
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Re: Aitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I had a solbian blow a diode or something. Bruce was quick to replace it so kudos to him but that's not the only issue I've had with the panels. I had to have someone come and repair a panel after the glue that held the mc4 box to the panel failed and the box came away from the panel. The rest of my solbian panels have also experienced this issue but I just tied them down tight with zip ties and that prevented them from coming completely off.

IMO... The mc4 connection box should be bolted through the panel. Glue in 100 degree florida temps should not melt. I have no doubt this could cause a short and cause a fire.


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YIKES, so you had other JB's (Junction Boxes) move?! That's very strange, as on hundreds of other panels the only other "slipped" JB was one that wasn't stuck on properly to start with. Plenty of panels in hot temps, even hotter than FL. Is there some tension on the pigtail wires, pulling on the JB's? Feel free to PM me or send email....

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Old 12-01-2015, 08:29   #8
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Re: Aitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by aitch View Post
While contemplating adding solar panels to my 12M Ocean-rated sloop, a colleague with the same boat added two flexible zip-on 100W panels of European origin. They were neatly mounted on his Bimini and worked beautifully for several months before ....... Sitting at anchor enjoying on a nice sunny day and lunch in PITTWATER, North of Sydney, one of the panels spontaneously ignited.
Quick action with the fire extinguisher saved the situation, but now comes the question ... Should he repair and replace or find another way?
Has this happened to anyone else?
Note that some fires have occurred with flexible panels (which are better referred to as "semi-flexible") when they were bent enough to crack the cells. We've seen this on an installation where the panels were installed over cross bars in the bimini without a backing panel to spread out the bend/curve. See attached for some pointers....
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Solbian to Canvas Guidelines2014.pdf (474.1 KB, 25 views)
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