MC4 or not to (use) MC4

MC4 Solar Connectors

It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t mix and match solar panel connectors.

And by following this rule there is less likely to be a fire caused through arcing, the second most common major fire risk. (DC isolators present the greatest fire risk).

In the UK it’s recently become a regulation that you can’t mix and match connectors from different manufacturers, but in Ireland there’s always been an underlying requirement that you can’t do this..

However, some confusion has arisen about the MC4 connector, what is compatible and what isn’t. Here we get to the bottom of this, once and for all!

Background info:
Solar panels come with a plug and socket attached to flying leads that enable one panel to be connected to the next creating the electrical circuit that we call the string. The plug and socket are commonly known as an MC4 but can only officially be called this if they are manufactured by Stäubli – the Swiss mechatronics company responsible for inventing the MC4 in 1996.

MC4 – Multi-Contact, 4mm plug

There are plenty of other brands of connectors on the market, including the solar panel brands own make – like  the JK03 from JinkoSolar, while others are T4, H/QC4, Amphenol and Phoenix. These non-Staubli MC4 connectors can, but shouldn’t be mixed and matched.

Another note, Segen always requests Staubli MC4 connectors but sometimes, due to demand and market limitations, the panel manufacturer is not able to provide.

And finally…

Now you know the ins and outs of connectors the only thing to clear up is the confusion over the EVO2 connector – which is the newest version of Staubli’s MC4. So, you can buy the EVO2 (officially called the MC4 EVO2) with confidence that you’re fulfilling best practice and lessening the chance of the likelihood of electrical arcing.

The original MC4
Mitigate power loss, downtimes, service hours, and risk of fire by using Original MC4 connectors. The unique MULTILAM contact technology guarantees excellent long-term reliability and a low contact resistance over the entire product life.

The MC4 EVO 2
The MC4-Evo 2 guarantees high performance even in harsh environments. Furthermore it combines best-in-class features for DC PV connectors such as:
• DC 1500 V certified (TUV / UL / JET)
• Maximum current rating 69A
• Salt mist spray test & ammonia resistant

The original MC4 male and female ends with manufacturer Staubli logo
The MC4 EVO 2 solar connector, shown both male and female ends with Staubli (manufacturer) logo

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