Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A bold bolt

Soon the Combiner Box of AM Solar may arrive.
This means that all the solar panels have to come off their brackets.
To take off the current wires to replace them with new wires leading all to the Combiner Box.

Today a very adventurous initiative was performed.
In order to learn more how exactly the brackets of the solar panels were bolted to the roof of the Fuso Szulc, the silicone was peeled off carefully of one bolt.
Next, with an adjustable wrench, the bolt was taken out.

It was a piece of cake.
The bolt is of the self-tapping type and easy to get out.

Once the Combiner Box arrives, it will be a job taking time, to unbolt all the solar panels, but technically exactly on the level of the protagonist.



Anonymous said...

Michel,those are called TEK screws they are self tapping and will actually drill their own hole. I suspect the screw that is going into the side of the panel is also TEK type screws,which means, there is no reason to remove the ones holding the brackets to the roof.you will be able to remove the panels by removing only the screws in the panel and not the roof. this job is done with a cordless drill and a 3/8" chuck

luvglass said...

While you're up there, you might want to replace the rusting regular steel bolts with stainless steel.

Robert said...

Michel, I will return to my home Thursday morning and arrange shipping. Can you think of anything else you might need to complete the job? Robert

mike said...

There is a list of metals at:

About half way down the page is the list of metals in the relative order of reactivity, magnesium at the top being most reactive and gold at the bottom, being least reactive. Aluminum is labeled as "Al" in various alloys.

The usefulness of this chart is that if two metals are selected from this chart and placed in contact with each other, the metal higher up on the chart will corrode at a high rate in a salty moist air marine environment. What is done in a salty environment is to insulate the two metals from direct contact with each other with a plastic sleeve through the hole and plastic washers on both sides of a bolt and nut. For practical purposes the bolt and nuts and the aluminum surface can be cleaned real well with a wire brush and the sealed from the salty air with a silicone seal material where fastened. It may be useful to spray the electrical connections once made, with a plastic type electrical sealer.

What is formed when two metals are fastened together in a salty environment is a shorted battery with the metal higher up on that list being consumed, which in your case would be the aluminum unless sealed at the fastener junction. In a place like southern Arizona where it is dry an rarely would there be road salt this corrosion would not be a problem.

Robert said...

Michel, I also suspected that a TEK screw was also used into the side of the panel as your first anonymous commenter pointed out. A quick check of this would save time and effort and no need to remove the screws from the roof as he stated. Robert