What plug for solar

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luke.sleeman
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What plug for solar

Post by luke.sleeman » Aug 17th, '17, 09:44

Hey,
I've just bought a new flexible solar panel to go on my Bimini. It comes wired with a MC4 connector. My boat currently has this weird The style solar plug (see image). It has a few problems - it's not positively locking. It isn't water proof. I'm thinking of replacing it with something better. What would people recommend? It looks like the mc4 connector is good (locks in position, water proof) but it may not be suitable for repeated plugging and unplugging. Also do you need to make sure you always get the positive and negative around the right way? Or does it not matter with a panel?

What kind of plug would people recommend?

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INMA
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by INMA » Aug 17th, '17, 10:39

Over the years, I tried them all and unless you want to pay big bucks for something like Deutsch plugs, then nothing survives long in a boat. https://deutschconnectorstore.com/?gcli ... Am0L8P8HAQ

I now use Anderson plugs for everything because they are robust, cheap and available in most places.

They are big and a bit clumsy but I have a large spray proof box in the port locker for the plugs and it has worked so far.

They do from my trailer winch to the outboard electrical connection.
Last edited by INMA on Aug 17th, '17, 10:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Bligh
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by Bligh » Aug 17th, '17, 10:42

I use MC4's and a crimper for them, they can be plugged and unplugged without issues, well, mine have so gar and I use them in a few applications around home such as solar lighting around the farm and campings apps.
You can solder if you don't want to crimp and they are polarised, there is also a MC3 but it does not lock together as well.
If the wire is too thin it can be built up with heat shrink to ensure the seal in the plug makes positive contact to ensure it is waterproof.
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zebedee
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by zebedee » Aug 17th, '17, 11:18

Anderson plugs for me. A plug rated 50 Amps is complete overkill for a solar panel producing a couple of Amps, but they are robust, simple, polarised and genderless. I've got them on both ends of my car for the trailer winch and for jump starting. There's one on my motorcycle, one on the fridge, one on the battery charger.

The only comment I would add; any Anderson plug attached to a battery must have either wiring capable of large currents if intended for winches, jump starting, etc or a fuse or circuit breaker to protect lighter wiring. Otherwise, sooner or later someone will plug in a large load and smoke the light wiring.
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PaulS
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by PaulS » Aug 17th, '17, 11:38

I use Andersons now a lot but having used MC4 in a previous low voltage house wiring exercise they are very good - they are large, robust east to wire (and water proof the wire entrance to the plug) made to pull apart and you can get wall sockets which with a cover would be better than an Anderson tail hanging out of the fibreglass/wood.

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Re: What plug for solar

Post by Bligh » Aug 17th, '17, 11:47

I have seen double MC4's, I made up a couple of 'dummy' connectors to effectively seal the exposed connectors when not in use as this is when they are vulnerable, I just used plastic insulation, wire without the wire, knotted inside the connectors to keep them as a pair, you could just use the plugs without pins and seal the entry points.
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by bachus » Aug 17th, '17, 12:30

I use these from JAYCAR. Yes expensive but have panel mount and covers when not connected and have compression grommets to seal the cable entry. Available in 2 to 6? pin and rated to 10amp per pin.

The hull mounted connection goes to the battery. This is where I plug in the motor charger. The flying lead is for the rear view camera when I can driving.

A solar panel may be capable of 6A in my case so a relevant item to factor in - no issue with Anderson Plugs in this respect.
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luke.sleeman
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by luke.sleeman » Aug 17th, '17, 15:46

bachus wrote:I use these from JAYCAR. Yes expensive but have panel mount and covers when not connected and have compression grommets to seal the cable entry. Available in 2 to 6? pin and rated to 10amp per pin.

The hull mounted connection goes to the battery. This is where I plug in the motor charger. The flying lead is for the rear view camera when I can driving.

A solar panel may be capable of 6A in my case so a relevant item to factor in - no issue with Anderson Plugs in this respect.
They look pretty good. Do they have a name, or do you have a link?

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Re: What plug for solar

Post by PaulS » Aug 17th, '17, 16:08

Jaycar do sell waterproof plugs and sockets (with o rings) I have used them in kayaks.

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Re: What plug for solar

Post by bachus » Aug 17th, '17, 19:12

luke.sleeman wrote:
bachus wrote:I use these from JAYCAR. Yes expensive but have panel mount and covers when not connected and have compression grommets to seal the cable entry. Available in 2 to 6? pin and rated to 10amp per pin.

The hull mounted connection goes to the battery. This is where I plug in the motor charger. The flying lead is for the rear view camera when I can driving.

A solar panel may be capable of 6A in my case so a relevant item to factor in - no issue with Anderson Plugs in this respect.
They look pretty good. Do they have a name, or do you have a link?

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Luke,
Apologies was in a rush this am when I posted this.
Search the Jaycar site for Hirschmann
Make sure you are sitting down first . . . .
Example: https://www.jaycar.com.au/plug-hirschma ... g/p/PP1000
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Bligh
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by Bligh » Aug 17th, '17, 20:04

Ouch!!!!!
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by INMA » Aug 17th, '17, 20:30

Regarding the Hirschmann plugs, its not clear whether the plugs provide a barrier or barriers to stop water capillary action migrating from one wire through the plug into the wire on the other side of the plug.

I've seen water travel over 10 meters along wires in a loom, through the plug connections along the next wire and onto ECU terminals.

The Deutsch do provide separation that stops capillary flow. If the Hirschmann plugs stop water migration, that's a reasonable price for the plugs and sockets.
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by bachus » Aug 17th, '17, 20:49

Yes ouch

The Hirschmann are solid pins - no soldering to them - all are screw connections. So I do not believe water could migrate from the back off the plug to the front. If they were hollow pins with solder connections yes I can see an issue. The point for me was the current rating of the connections and the ability to seal the connectors - both chassis mount and flying lead - when not connected. Time will tell. Mine are two years old now.
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by INMA » Aug 17th, '17, 21:21

The pins (both male and female) on the Deutsch connector are embedded in a silicon seal that seals the pins to the plug body so there are two barriers between the wires in the terminals.

That seals the loom at the back of the plug, the pin where it mounts in the plug, the seal between the plug and socket, the seal on the other pins and the seal on the other looms.
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luke.sleeman
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Re: What plug for solar

Post by luke.sleeman » Aug 18th, '17, 09:06

bachus wrote: Make sure you are sitting down first . . . .
Example: https://www.jaycar.com.au/plug-hirschma ... g/p/PP1000
Actually both those and the Deutsch plugs recommend by imna are cheaper that that t plug I currently use :?

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Re: What plug for solar

Post by Tinggu » Aug 18th, '17, 09:37

Anderson plugs for me. Lots of them. Solar panels, battery charger, 12v power to the back of the car, fridge, watt meters, power into the caravan. A couple of times I've needed to connect to other fittings, like 12v accessory plug and I've used the alligator clips on my watt meter to connect them up.
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