If you’re planning to install solar panels, you might be wondering what type of connectors they use. Solar panels must be wired. You’ll have to wire the solar panels to each other and to an inverter. By using the right type of connectors, you’ll ensure continuity between these parts while building a more reliable solar panel installation.
In the past, solar panels were wired using MC3 connectors. It’s a single-contact connector that offers a watertight tight. MC3 connectors receive their namesake from their original manufacturer, Multi-Contact.
MC3 connectors come in male and female pairs. There are male Mc3 connectors that feature a 3-millimeter pin, and there are female MC3 connectors that feature a hole.
MC4 is the successor to the MC3 connector type. Like its predecessor, MC4 uses a single-contact connector, and it comes in male and female pairs. But MC4 connectors feature a few key improvements over MC3 connectors.
MC4 connectors have a larger pin. While MC3 connectors have a 3-millimeter pin, MC4 connectors have a 4-millimeter pin. More importantly, perhaps, MC4 connectors feature a positive locking mechanism. This prevents them from accidental disconnection, which could otherwise cause electrical arcing. Most solar panels today are now wired using MC4 connectors instead of MC3 connectors.
There are also T4 connectors with which you can wire solar panels. Produced by Canadian Solar, they feature a similar design as MC4 connectors. T4 connectors come in male and female pairs, the former of which has a conductor pin. And like MC4 connectors, T4 connectors feature a positive locking mechanism. To disconnect T4 connectors, you’ll need to use a special T4-compatible unlocking tool.
T4 connectors boat IP68 rating. As a result, they are waterproof and can be used outdoors without fear of moisture damage. IP68 means T4 connectors are waterproof at a depth of up to 1.5 meters for a period of at least 30 minutes.
Some solar panels are wired using H4 connectors. H4 connectors are used in a wide range of solar panel installations, including thin-film, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. You can even use them to connector combiner boxes and inverters.
When planning a solar panel installation for your home or business, you need to choose the right connectors. Connectors are used to connect photovoltaic (PV) wire. Some of the most common types of connectors for solar panels include MC4, T4 and H4. MC3 is an older connector type that has since become obsolete.