Old/New Panel Cable Connector Types?

paulstamserpaulstamser Solar Expert Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
I'm shopping for one more solar panel to enlarge my small stand alone system. I will post more about it later but have a simple question first.

Looking at panels, I see some references to "MC4 (Solarline2) latching type MC cable connectors." Could someone please explain what these are and how to incorporate them into an earlier junction box system with regular screw terminals? I have the old system now that uses car type wire terminal/connector ends and that's what I'd like to stick with.

Do all new panels use a new and different system of connectors?

Can I use the old style car type wire terminal with the new style panel? Somehow adapt the new to the old?

There is a wide range of panels out there but I'm not seeing much about the connector type they use. Things have changed since I last added a panel around 1998-99.

Thanks!

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: Old/New Panel Cable Connector Types?

    In North America (at least)--The code now requires locking connectors for NEC / Building Code approved installations. The MC-4's...

    For a few panels, general you just purchase some Male/Female cables and cut them in 1/2 to wire in MC-4 connectors from your new panels to your existing system. Also, you may need the Disconnect Tool for MC4 Connectors (set of 2).

    It is possible that if you cut the MC-4 off your solar panels, the mfg. may void your warranty.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paulstamserpaulstamser Solar Expert Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    Re: Old/New Panel Cable Connector Types?
    BB. wrote: »
    In North America (at least)--The code now requires locking connectors for NEC / Building Code approved installations. The MC-4's...

    For a few panels, general you just purchase some Male/Female cables and cut them in 1/2 to wire in MC-4 connectors from your new panels to your existing system. Also, you may need the Disconnect Tool for MC4 Connectors (set of 2).

    It is possible that if you cut the MC-4 off your solar panels, the mfg. may void your warranty.

    -Bill

    Thanks much.

    I think I get it. The new style panels have "MC-4" male & female "plugs" on the pos. and neg. terminals where the junction box used to be.

    So, if I get a 3 foot "MC-4" extender cable and cut it in half, I can use the male/female plug ends to connect to the panel terminals and then use the cut ends of the cable to splice (solder) into the cable/wire going into my house and to the charge controller.

    Plus I need a special tool to attach/disconnect the MC-4 plugs.

    Do I have that right???
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