Amphenol makes me need Alcohol

New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
I have a midnite solar combiner box.  It was expensive for what it is, but I bought it based on perceived quality.  I had a couple strings temporarily connected while doing some testing.  When I went to remove the MC4 connections from the panels to make a prettier permanent connection, I realized it has these HORRIBLE little Amphenol connectors.  The pic is before I had attached anything.  If you look closely, you'll see that there are little plastic bars that block the release tabs.  Ok, so I grab my MC4 tool, which I've never used, because my fingers always work fine.  Doesn't fit.  I do a little research, realize I need a special Amphenol tool.  Really??  How annoying.  I order the special tool.  Ten buck for 3 cents worth of plastic.  It doesn't work.  The dang thing just would not come apart.  In the process of trying, I break one of the female ends loose because they are mounted to the inside of a 2 piece knockout!  Really midnite??  I literally had to cut the thing apart with snips to get it disconnected.  Now I've ordered a full set of normal MC4s to replace these little bastards, and to replace the male end from a panel that got pretty well mangled in the process. 

I contacted midnite, and their response was that they aren't meant to be quick disconnects.  Huh?  They sent me a bag of strain reliefs that in no way addressed the problem.  I asked them how that would help and no reply.

Does anyone have experience with these?  Is there a simple way to disconnect them that I'm just missing?  Before I began surgery, I tried everything I could think of, even sticking little screwdrivers in each side while using another to try to pry them apart.

Comments

  • MichaelKMichaelK Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Will the colors of your wiring pass an inspection?  You're using white wire for the solar negatives and black wire for the combined positives?  I've had to help neighbors before with solar problems, and dealing with wrong-colored wiring gets nightmarish.  I've recycled wiring before for a certain application, but I ALWAYS color code the wire terminals when I make some kind of connection.  If I'm using a black wire for a positive, I always wrap red-in-color electrical tape.  You never know when someone unfamilar with your work will have to deal with it in the future.
    System 1) 15 Renogy 300w + 4 250W Astronergy panels,  Midnight 200 CC, 8 Trojan L16 bat., Schneider XW6848 NA inverter, AC-Delco 6000w gen.
    System 2) 8 YingLi 250W panels, Midnight 200CC, three 8V Rolls batteries, Schneider Conext 4024 inverter (workshop)
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    No inspections, and they are color coded with tape, just not in this picture because it was mid-install.
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    The box is also labeled positive and negative.
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    Also, this was a prewired box.  Midnite chose the white wires, I only added the black wires that go through the wall.
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    Here's a current picture.  Did you have any advice on the Amphenols?

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Every array problem I've had so far has been related to MC4 connectors, I've removed them in favor of crimp with heat shrink then self vulcanizing tape. Yes I am aware of warranty violations but I need things to work, they seem to be a one time use connection. especially on the lower end panels.I've had them physically break on more than one occasion. Others may have had better results so it's an opinion, none the less.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    Good idea.  Maybe I'll do that.  
  • MichaelKMichaelK Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    I think that would make an inspector happy.  I have nothing to say about the amphenol connectors.  I've never used them before.
    System 1) 15 Renogy 300w + 4 250W Astronergy panels,  Midnight 200 CC, 8 Trojan L16 bat., Schneider XW6848 NA inverter, AC-Delco 6000w gen.
    System 2) 8 YingLi 250W panels, Midnight 200CC, three 8V Rolls batteries, Schneider Conext 4024 inverter (workshop)
  • New_Mexico_WillNew_Mexico_Will Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭
    Where I live (very rural New Mexico), I couldn't get an inspection if I wanted one.  That's a good and a bad thing I suppose.  The closest I'm going to get is to post everything here once I have it all buttoned up.
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