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scottjk
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject: Solar Wiring Connectors? Reply with quote

I'm looking for some type of waterproof 10/2 wire connectors for my solar setup. I'd like to mount some type of pigtail setup in the water input panel on the outside of the van to plug the panels in.

Also, I'm still looking for a good solar/electric supplier on the net.

Thanks

Scott
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use marine grade wiring products for this type of thing.

Not really "waterproof", per se.. but can get wet and will not turn to green dust the next day.
Use tinned wire.
Ancor products are some of the best I've used.

Online, check out:
Jamestown Distributors
Defendor.com
and
West Marine

marine grade wiring is not cheap.. but it pays for itself in longevity

There are various plugs that can be used.. they get expensive real fast. but one of the most cost effectve are simple two wire connectors, similar to those used for trailer harness connectors.

For a small panel I've used this:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servle...sNum=10615

Go bigger than, say, a 5-10 watt panel (trickle) you'll want something a little more robust.

Keep in mind that much of your voltage drop over a run will happen at connectors.
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those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here's one of the better quality
"conventional" 12 volt receptacle.

[url]
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=4309&googleaffiliate=[/url]

I have never been really happy with the stuff available for 12 volt "outlets" and plugs.

They are mostly of the adapter/cigarette lighter variety. Lesser expensive ones flop around.. complete garbage.. and not at all weather-proof.

Perko, I beleive, makes a polarized plug type.. But they are small and difficult to grab with adult-sized hands. ..especially when cold and/or wet.

If anyone has any ideas or can point to a better mousetrap.. I am most surely interested in a better way.
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"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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scottjk
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Connectors Reply with quote

I found these today. Too bad they are so spendy.

Scott

http://store.jbn-duraline.com/duraline_multipin_plugsandconnectors_2wire.htm
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Search for MC3 or MC4 connectors.

http://store.solar-electric.com/incaforsoelp.html
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How often do you plan on removing the panel from your van?

For me the answer is "almost never" so I soldered and shrink wrapped all the connections, if I ever take the panel off I'll just cut the wire and re-solder it that way I have the least possible loss from my connections.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MC's are designed for solar use, high conductivity, watertight and UV-resistant, easy to work by hand:

http://www.affordable-solar.com/mc.connectors.htm
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scottjk
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Moving Panels Reply with quote

I'll be moving the panels almost everytime I use them. I can't mount them on top due to using a rocketbox and having boards strapped to the other side.

I removed the upper bed for more storage room. I'm planning on storing 2x60 watt panels up there when I'm not parked. I generally try to park in shade so it will be nice to put the panels out in the sun and adjust them as necessary.

Thanks for the solar links.

Scott
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
MC's are designed for solar use, high conductivity, watertight and UV-resistant, easy to work by hand:

http://www.affordable-solar.com/mc.connectors.htm

Gonna order a couple of these to check them out.

Thanks 10cent and PDX!


I wonder why the marine folks don't have them listed/inventory? An entire untapped market for MC4s.
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-89 GL Westy, still humming along under the power of a used "WBXer of mystery"
-57 pan f/g buggy with a 67 pancake Type 3 "S"

"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the MC3 connectors and really like the way they work. I haven't seen or used the MC4's yet. The MC3's push together and pull apart easily.
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westynova
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am ready to start hooking up my panel. When I explained what I was going to do with it to the supplier he explained that if I was going to run a 20-30 foot extension cord to the panel that I should be using 12-14 gauge wire similar to a regular 120V extension cord.

Does this make sense?

If so, I thought that I would make all my wiring and connector using 14 gauge extension cords that already come with connections. I am going to use an old construction site trick for water tightness, electrical tape the F/M connector, for the amount of times I am going to disassemble it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:51 am    Post subject: Wire AWG Reply with quote

Sounds reasonable. Check out this site for wire sizing.

http://www.freesunpower.com/wire_calc.php
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:15 am    Post subject: th Reply with quote

i found these connectors and i used them with 10/3 zip cord.

http://www.newark.com/tyco-electronics/5-1394462-5/plug-socket-connector/dp/67K2422?Ntt=67k2422

http://www.newark.com/tyco-electronics/6-1394461-5/plug-socket-connector/dp/53M0361?Ntt=53m0361
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am looking to make some MC4 cables to allow placement of my panel away from the van. I was thinking of buying some marine grade cable and installing the MC4 connectors myself. I took a look at a link provided earlier in this post and it shows the crimpers for these cables are almost $1k! Is this special crimper really necessary?

Would the best option be to just buy a pre-made cable that is twice the length I want and cut it in half? Do these cables usually come with a male connection on one end and a female on the other? Most of these pre-made cables seem to be stranded 10GA. Is this generally sufficient?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:34 pm    Post subject: MC3 for portable? Reply with quote

It seems like Tyco / MC3 are the best for a portable solution.

I'm trying to find Tyco / MC3 male/female leads (connector on one end bare wire on other) for connecting to the charge controller.

Except everything I see is an extension with M/M, F/F, or M/F cables.

I searched online for leads, but I didn't find a source.

Is this normally something people buy the crimper / wire / connectors themselves then go to the controller?

Also, what are your practices for adding panels in parallel? Do you add multiple leads to the controller bat pv + / - for multiple panels, or do you use one connector out of the controller and then a Y of some sort?

Thanks for any insight, this aspect is a bit vague on my research.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: MC3 for portable? Reply with quote

You just buy an M/F extension cable and cut it in half.

Mark

rotaecho wrote:
.....
I'm trying to find Tyco / MC3 male/female leads (connector on one end bare wire on other) for connecting to the charge controller.

Except everything I see is an extension with M/M, F/F, or M/F cables.

I searched online for leads, but I didn't find a source.

Is this normally something people buy the crimper / wire / connectors themselves then go to the controller? .....
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
I have the MC3 connectors and really like the way they work. I haven't seen or used the MC4's yet. The MC3's push together and pull apart easily.


I've got Mc4's ...they get to be a pain with the double fasteners on each side. But..they do work.kinda wished I went with the mc3's
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rotaecho
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: MC3 for portable? Reply with quote

Okay that's simple enough Mark. I was curious about something. I saw this:

http://www.zampsolar.com/index.php?m=66&s=641&c=&id=1387&page=1

I was thinking of connecting this to the charge controller and make that the PV input to the unit. but I can't find information on it or others similar if it's MC3/4/tyco connector. That way the PV input is somewhat flush with the charge controller instead of wires dangling out of the box.

Thoughts?

crazyvwvanman wrote:
You just buy an M/F extension cable and cut it in half.

Mark

rotaecho wrote:
.....
I'm trying to find Tyco / MC3 male/female leads (connector on one end bare wire on other) for connecting to the charge controller.

Except everything I see is an extension with M/M, F/F, or M/F cables.

I searched online for leads, but I didn't find a source.

Is this normally something people buy the crimper / wire / connectors themselves then go to the controller? .....

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thatvwbusguy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The RV roof connector is basically just a standard 2 circuit SAE connector with a mounting flange on it. It will work fine for a low wattage system, but the wire on the one you link to above is probably only 16AWG based on the 150W maximum rating.

There are 12AWG versions of this connector available as well: http://www.solarseller.com/low_voltage_dc_pumps__lvm__teel__accessories__plugs_and_extensions.htm

I would definitely recommend MC3 or MC4 connectors as a superior alternative to the SAE connectors. They make a significantly more positive connection and make a nice weather resistant seal onto high quality solar wire. The use of a branch tee with these connectors makes it simple to add an additional panel if you decide you need more power later on http://www.amazon.com/HQRP-T-branch-Connector-Photovoltaic-Coaster/dp/B004N725UE

Crimpers for MC3 or MC4 connectors don't have to cost hundreds of dollars. A quick search on amazon or ebay will bring up several options for decent quality ratcheting crimpers for $50.00-$60.00.

People looking for a high quality, affordable crimp tool with interchangeable crimping dies should check out the Pro'sKit (Eclipse) CrimPro: http://smile.amazon.com/CrimPro-Crimper-Open-Barre...it+crimper

Dies for all sorts of connectors including MC3 (CP-5S1D) and MC4 (CP-5S2D) are available for about $25.00ea.

I have done thousands of crimps with my CrimPro. It works as well or better than several other crimp tools I have that cost significantly more.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to use 2 100w panels, 1perm on top & -2nd mobile 4 parking in shade & 1 panel in sun. I did abit of overkill on my 40ft wire 4 cable, 10 guage dual strand. I measured resistance of the full spool 1st so mysectionwill do fine. New frig might be a good xmas present, have to start bouncing that idea around to see it flies.Cant find a suitable outside quick connector to go in the 'external water feed 'place, gonna stop at a couple marine stores & Rv place.
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