Mc4 connectors are commonly used in solar panel installations. The successor to MC3 connectors, they are single-contact electrical connectors that feature a plug-and-socket design. If you’re planning to install solar panels for your home or business, you may want to use MC4 connectors. MC4 connectors, however, require the use of a crimping tool.
The Basics of Mc4 Connectors
With their plug-and-socket design, you can connect MC4 connectors by pushing them together. There are plug-style M4 connectors, and there are socket-style MC4 connectors. Pushing a plug-style MC4 connector into a socket-style MC4 connector will join them.
MC4 connectors feature locking tabs on the side. When pushing the two styles together, the locking tabs will slide together. You won’t be able to disconnect the MC4 connectors after engaging the locking tabs — at least not by pulling them apart. Rather, you’ll be to use a disconnect tool.
Why MC4 Connectors Require Crimping
They may feature a plug-and-socket design, but MC4 connectors still require crimping. You’ll need to secure them to the wires in your solar panel installation.
Crimping will allow you to secure the MC4 connectors to the photovoltaic (PV) wires. It will partially deform them so that the MC4 connectors stay joined to the PV wires with which they are used.
How to Crimp MC4 Connectors
You can crimp MC4 connectors using a crimping tool. There are crimping tools designed specifically for Mc4 connectors.
Start by stripping the ends of the wires on which you want to install the MC4 connectors. You can then place the metal pin over the exposed, stripped wire. Using the MC4 crimping tool, go ahead and crimp the metal pin in place.
Now you can install the socket-style MC4 connector onto the pin-crimped wire. The socket-style MC4 connector should have a cap on the end. Unscrewing this cap will reveal an opening in which you can insert the pin-crimped wire.
Keep in mind that the male pin should only be used in conjunction with the female or socket-style MC4 connector. You can then use the female pin for the male or plug-style MC4 connector.
After crimping the MC4 connectors, you can use them to connect your solar panels together. There are different ways to connect solar panels, such as series or parallel, but they all require the use of connectors. MC4 connectors are a popular choice because of their safe, reliable design. If you’re planning to use MC4 connectors, though, you’ll need to crimp them.