Uncoupling Panel Connections (both MC4 & Tyco)

SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 347 ✭✭
Quick question:
I have a combination of MC4 and Tyco connected panels in my array. If I need to remove these panels from my roof - relatively quickly- in the unlikely event of a windstorm, are there any special tools I would need to undo these MC4 and Tyco connections?

Do I have to be careful about anything (I've never had to undo a connector)?

I would prefer to be able to use the same connectors after the storm has passed.

Thoughts appreciated!
SP
Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, no genny, 100% off grid.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    MC4 have a pair of tools that make taking them apart easier:

    Disconnect Tool for MC4 Connectors
    Amphenol H4 Wrench and Disconnect Tool (I think this is the Tyco tool)

    Ideally, you may need 2x tools to put them back together (two wrenches to reattach).

    As always, the warning that you should turn off power to the charge controller or cover panels so that there is no current flow when making or breaking connections. They are not designed to be opened under load:



    And these connectors are not designed for many make/break cycles--I cannot find the information at the momment--But I would suggest no more than 25x make/break cycles (the spec. may be 25, 100, 250 cycles, I do not recall). The gold is not very thick and the contact pressure is high (for reliable connections).

    Can you mount the panels more firmly to your roof and withstand the winds? Of course, if you have blowing debris and lawn chairs, bolting to the roof better really does not help.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 347 ✭✭
    edited September 26 #3
    Great post BB,
    Thanks for the relevant info.  So, the MC4 tool looks good.  I will order one for my 3 panels with those connectors. 

    After more research I now see that the Tyco connectors on my older panels (I have 9 of these) may not need a "tool."  Per the below video, cued up at the right spot, the Tycos come with an inbuilt locking 'collar'. https://youtu.be/TaSqsKBzEPQ?t=35

    Seems like they only last 5 uncouplings though.  So, I better save these moments for the big one.

    My installation is pretty rock solid, but after seeing what Maria and Irma did in some places I think all bets are off if there was ever a big one.

    So, perhaps now I need a MC4 tool and a flathead screwdriver.


    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, no genny, 100% off grid.
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