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Thread: Solar Panel Question

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    Solar Panel Question

    I recently purchased a home with solar panels. At my first attempt to use the system there were multiple pinhole leaks in one of the panels.

    This particular panel brand (Vortex) can not be plugged, and is considered a "throw away" panel once damaged. I find it hard to believe there is no other way to plug the leaks, so I was hoping someone could help. I have read other posts regarding this matter, and there isn't that much info out there. There are several threads about epoxy failure. Some have recommended a plastic welder, but that is a little above and beyond what I can accomplish.

    I read something about drilling screws into the panel, but I'm not exactly sure what that meant or how that would seal the leak. Any insight into that or any other methods would be truly appreciated.

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    If you had a screw with a soft rubber foam type washer, you could screw in where the hole is and it would seal around that screw. At least that's the theory. They are used in constructing greenhouses with that corrugated clear plastic for roofing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    An idea how old they are? Warrantied for 10 years.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Welcome to TFP!

    The easiest solution might be to buy a replacement panel as those panels are very difficult to repair.

    As Bob said, check to see if they still have a warranty.
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ping View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    The easiest solution might be to buy a replacement panel as those panels are very difficult to repair.

    As Bob said, check to see if they still have a warranty.
    Yes if it comes to that, that is what I'll do. The only good thing about an off brand like Vortex is the panels are only 225 each (as opposed to 500 for Fafco).

    I guess I'm just a little baffled that a pinhole leak can take down an entire panel with no solution. I'm a new pool owner, so if that's what it is that's what it is.

    ..and to the previous question...I bought my house from a corporate relocation company with ZERO info about the house. It was an "As is" situation which explains why I didn't really test it out too much before hand. I called a local solar company and they said they serviced my panels in 2005...the house was built in 1994...they may be 20 years old for all I know...oh and Vortex's warranty is not transferable.

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    I used small metal screws on mine but it was fafco.

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Did you use stainless screws?


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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    The Vortex panels are private label version of the Techno Solis panels which just happen to be made in Tampa, as to patching them multiple people have had success on here using plastic welding techniques using a bit of material from one sacrificial panel to fill in for the missing material. Being In Tampa you might even be able to get a bit of scrap material or a damaged panel from the manufacturer.

    see these threads on the topic
    Solar Panel repair

    First Solar Panel Leak After 6 years

    Ike
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    I'm not discounting the weld method...I just don't have the equipment or knowledge. With the screws are you talking about screwing them directly through the panel itself? Will that still work if Vortex are square tubes instead of round? Did you coat the screw in liquid nails or caulk? Or are you talking about bypassing the tube by screwing into the header?

    Thanks

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    It's an old plastic pipe trick. You use a short, small screw with a large flat head, (not tapered). Just screw it in right into the pin hole. Assuming that the leak is just a pinhole or so in size. You use the screw to plug the leak not the whole line.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    For metal roofing they sell screws that have a rubber grommet on the under side of the head. Wonder if you put some silicone caulk on the screw and then carefully tighten it. Would that stop the leak?


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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    I would use a "not to big" stainless steel screw coated with silicone. Give it 24 hours to cure.
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Sorry for being so confused about everything, but let's say the screw did stop the leak...what happens to the water? If I'm screwing the screw all the way through the panel aren't I blocking that particular tube? Does the pressure of the water still let it pass, or does it redirect through other tubes? Sorry if that's a stupid question

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    No, the screw is only like 1/8" or maybe 3/16" long Not anywhere near the width of the panel. We are talking pinhole repair here. Not big holes. Big holes are a whole different beast.

    Just through the thickness of the individual tube.

    screw.jpg
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    I went to Lowes today and the shortest screw they had was 1/4". I bought a pack anyway, but after eyeballing realized they were too long. I'll have to buy online, or maybe Ace Hardware.

    ...what are the thoughts on trying this method without silicone? The only reason I ask is because I have several pinholes, and it is close to impossible to mark the exact spot and expect the mark to be there after drying. Is the screw enough or is it all about the silicone?

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    I Tried hot glue first with no luck. Like you, I didn't want to plug the tube like manufactures kit does. I used screw from old broken glasses that hold nose pad on. It may have been stainless. I'm talking about a very small pin hole. Hope that helps.
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Ps, I didn't use silicone. It held for couple years before wind storm ripped entire panel of my roof. I think those little screws Walmart sells for eyeglass repair kits are stainless
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Ok...got some small screws...turned the pressure back on to the panels to mark the leaks...and more pinholes than before. One new one is pretty impressive at the seam. And now the 2nd panel has a pinhole leak. I appreciate everyone's advice, but I'm guessing these panels are toast. You guys think I should replace them myself (seems easy enough), or pay a company to replace them? Also, should I replace the broken panels, or just bite the bullet and replace all 6?

    I contacted Solar Direct, which seems to be the only company that stocks Vortex, and I can buy 6 panels for 1350 and do it myself, or 2700 for them (probably a sub contractor) to install. The other option is go FAFCO with a different local company, but I know they charge about 500 for each panel...

    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Since you are in Tampa I would suggest calling Techno-Solis direct and see if you can get a good price buying them and picking them up at the factory to avoid crating and shipping charges. They are the exact same panels, Solar Direct buys the Vortex panels from Techno-Solis and sells them under the private label Vortex name which lets Solar Direct have their own warranty terms, etc. This is fairly common practice in the pool solar panel industry, and lets the same panel be sold through different distribution systems with dealer installs, DIY, etc. at different price points with different levels of support and warranty coverage. In the case of the Solar Direct Vortex panels, they are limited to certain sizes, and I think only have the 1.5 inch header option, where you can also buy the Techno-Solis with 2 inch headers and even in custom lengths.

    Ike

    p.s. correction they are made across the bay in St. Petersburg

    301 20th St. South
    St. Petersburg, FL 33712
    United States

    Phone: 727.823.6766
    888.99 SOLAR
    Fax: 727.823.6768

    info@techno-solis.com
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    They haven't updated the website for many years (techno-solis). Fafco seems to to be.
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    Re: Solar Panel Question

    Banditig, So? The page info shows it was last updated in 2011
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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