How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

Hi all,

I thought i would share my method of making MC4 cable extension.

First the ingredients:

1. male and female MC4 connectors and accessories

2. West mountain anderson power pole crimpers.

3. Wire striper and cutter.

4. Regular pliers.

5. One roll of 10awg Thhn electrical wire

It is pretty straight forward, no fancy dies or classes or even a deposit required simple easy to get tools and the important male and female connectors. This process can be achieved on site so one can pull the wire through conduit and then crimp on the MC4 ends.

I have taken pictures in sequence of the process so that the pic speak for them self so no further description is required.

I hope everyone can follow them. My cables have came out perfect every time.

Cheers...
Damani

Comments

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    where would you use those cables? Your wire isn't outdoor or UV rated
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    Hey guppy,

    I would run them through conduit to combiner box.

    Cheers...
    Damani
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    I would nix the MC4's as you have to have a junction box anyways ( no part of that jumper can be exposed ). I clip MC4's in half and use wirenuts to the THTN in the junction box for the home run
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    ok gup,

    I will always heed you advice, thanks. or I would just get uv resistant 10awg wire and dont have to worry about those finer details.

    Cheers...
    Damani
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    I do the same as guppy i buy extension cables with 1 male and 1 female and then cut them in half then install the cut end into the combiner or junction box.
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    1/2,

    my problem is that i dont live around the corner from the store that sells the cables to cut in half. To recieve a shipment from say Miami I need a lead time of about 4-6weeks and even then it is not economical to ship just cables to me in Barbados so it makes sense to me to buy rolls of cable and the connectors and custom make the cables accordingly and they also work out much cheaper since a 100' cable (50' if cut in half) goes for around 80bucks that is before shipping twice and associated taxes and fees to clear from local port. One 100ft cable can end up costing around $120 and then with the nature of the install it might not be long enough and you would need to splice. Therefore being able to custom make lenghts and run the wire in conduit to J-boxes makes for a quicker, cheaper and more convinent install for me down here in the Caribbean. If all the unrated wire is run within conduit I personally dont see any issues arising. Local the same thing is dont when wiring a building externally. The same thnn wire is used withing different sized cable to and from pull boxes, J-boxes what ever you want to call them. That has been going on for decades.



    Cheers...
    Damani
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    Then consider getting a 500ft roll of the 10awg USE2 wire and make your own cables as the need arises
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    thanks gup, i will google that for best prices and ship a few of them to myself.

    THanks again.

    Cheers...
    Damani
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap



    http://www.google.ca/search?q=USE+2+wire&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a


    Can you explain the differences of results 1,2 & 4 wire types? they are all variations on USE 2 wire. Is one the preferred type for Damani's application?

    thanks
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    Not sure I understand your question, I used you search link and its all the same wire, just different gauges ... is that what you meant by 1,2&4 wire type?

    If not post the links and I'll take a look
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,806 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    just curious why you would want to make MC4 connectors? Does it make you warranty compliant?

    Some juction boxes can be opened reguardless of the premade connectors, my NingBo have stress relief nuts (I noticed) I suspect they can be opened, but haven't checked. If not you could cut the connector off and use one of many butt end connectors, cover the whole thing with a marine/sealing type, shrink wrap.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap
    Photowhit wrote: »
    just curious why you would want to make MC4 connectors? Does it make you warranty compliant?

    Some juction boxes can be opened reguardless of the premade connectors, my NingBo have stress relief nuts (I noticed) I suspect they can be opened, but haven't checked. If not you could cut the connector off and use one of many butt end connectors, cover the whole thing with a marine/sealing type, shrink wrap.

    Never a good idea to cut the ends of the panels themselves. I believe it actually voids the warranty on some makes
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    photo

    it should be mentioned as well the the mc4 connectors have small o ring seals in them and a sealing foam donut where the wire goes into the connector that prevents intrusion of moisture and the associate corrosion that sets in after so that a low resistance connection is maintained.

    Cheers...
    Damani
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    SG, I copied the search result : you can see they show different coding under the 'USE 2' type of wire, RHH XhhW -2, etc...

    #
    USE-2 / RHH / RHW-2Copper Conductor600 Volts, 90oC Wet or Dry on ...
    Browse USE-2 / RHH / RHW-2Copper Conductor600 Volts, 90oC Wet or Dry in the American Wire Group catalog including Item #, Size AWG or MCM, NumberofStrands, ...
    buyawg.thomasnet.com/...wire/egories-copper-building-wire-type-use-2-rhhw-rhw-2 - United States - Cached - Similar
    #
    Direct Burial Building Wire Type USE-2 (EPR-HYP), 600V on Custom ...
    Browse Direct Burial Building Wire Type USE-2 (EPR-HYP), 600V in the Custom Cable Corp. catalog including Item #, Item Name, Size (AWG/MCM), Strands, ...
    customcable.thomasnet.com › ... › Building Wire - Cached - Similar
    #
    XHHW-2, RHW-2 / USE-2 wire wire US;14808 products
    Alibaba.com provides XHHW-2, RHW-2 / USE-2 wire, check XHHW-2, RHW-2 / USE-2 wire products detail: 1- XHHW-2#14 Through 1/0 AWGAvailable in Solid and ...

    I hoe this clarifies what I was puzzled about

    thanks
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • pabloesguapopabloesguapo Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Re: How to make MC4 cables on the cheap

    Would using #10awg automotive cable (XLP/XHHW TC) be ok? It's water, oil and heat resistant, but i don,t know about sunlight. So, with or without conduit? If with, can i dispense with the conduit once it is under the shade of the panel?
    27 Kyocera panels, 6,500w
    24 CG2 6v batteries, 48v, 630Ah
    Midnite Classic 150 & Classic 150 Lite in "follow me" mode
    (2) Outback fx3648 inverters
    Generac ecogen 6kw backup generator
    Mate3s
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