milko January 26, 2020
connector

A MC4 connector to battery component is used to join solar panels – usually large ones. This article demystifies them and the process of using them.

 

What they are, exactly

Standing for Multi-Contact, 4mm diameter pin, they consist of a single-contact electrical cable. They are used to create strings of solar panels, made by plugging each one together using a special tool. This tool ensures that they don’t come apart if pulled. These cables have been used universally since around 2011, and come at a maximum rating of 1500V.

 

History

Smaller panels don’t tend to need a MC4 connector to battery component, but bigger ones do. Initially, people would simply open the back of their solar panel and use a crude wire to attach it to the terminals. The problem with this was that they were limited to a mere 50V, and risked issues like corrosion, water damage and mechanical stress.

To combat this, researchers introduced slightly better wires which were able to be legally linked by any person. And in 2008, an update to the United States’ National Electrical Code meant that solar panel linkages needed what is called “positive locking”, which means that they should be able to be separated later after the initial linking via a tool. This inspired the invention of the MC4 connector to battery component. But one of the biggest manufacturers at the time, Radox, refused to meet these specifications, and as a result ended up falling out of the market. Tyco emerged as a market leader for the new cables, but eventually got pushed out of the market because of poor design choices.

This is when the Multi-Contact brand thrived, by introducing their now-esteemed MC4 connector to battery component, which is still used worldwide today. Their success was largely due to providing customers with products which were cross-compatible with a range of vendors.

 

How it works

The cable system uses a socket and plug design. These components are located inside a male and a female plastic shell. The female part consists of two plastic prongs which must be pressed into the central probe’s holes where the male part is. Upon linking them together, they reach a small gap in the male part’s side, which then clicks together and becomes locked.

In order to maintain a good fit and effective seal, the MC4 connector to battery component needs to be used – ideally by an electrician – with a cable which is the proper diameter. This cable should be double-insulated and sun-resistant in order to protect it from the elements. They are usually attached using soldering or crimping techniques.

 

Safety guidelines

A MC4 connector to battery component should have solid low-contact resistance thanks to the ongoing spring pressure. It is essential to never adjust or remove them while they are under load, no matter if it is a low or high-voltage system. If you do this, an electric arc could appear and melt and damage the component, leading to overheating. This occurs in part due to the DC arcing while the AC turns itself off. Be wary of using generic brand manufacturer’s products, which may say that they are compatible but mightn’t conform to safety guidelines and requirements in order to possess stability and safety.

So there you have it – a MC4 connector to battery component is an important part of any small solar panel linking project. Ensure that you purchase a high-quality, authentic product and read the instruction manual before using it. This will help you stay safe and uphold the integrity of the product and its materials.