Solar MC4 Connectors tight

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Solar MC4 Connectors tight

Postby TimC » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:23 am

I have two panels mounted on my TD roof. I intend to remove them almost every trip to improve the angle to the sun. The MC4 connectors I have, though all standard MC4, are of different manufacture. Two of them are very difficult to unplug and are in an awkward location on the roof. I'm wondering if I can improve the ease of unplugging by lubing the o-ring on them? MC4s are a great weatherproof plug, however, they are not designed to be repeatedly taken apart.

First I will answer the obvious questions that I'm sure will arise...
Yes, I have the tool to compress the tabs on the MC4 for unplugging. It doesn't help much on two of the four MC4s.
Yes, I know I can change out the MC4s with all the same manufacture MC4s. I don't want to do that at this time.
Yes, I hope to someday change out the roof top plugs to Anderson Powerpoles. As soon as I can find a way to go from two sets of leads to a Y and make it one set going into the camper roof. The SB50 with lugs for 10g wire will not allow two wires into the same lug, thus I have the dilemma of hacking a splice somewhere outside of the plug. That option is not ideal.
Another option would be the 30 amp APPs, but, I don't see any weatherproofing methods for those.

So, back to the subject of this post... has anyone had this problem? What did you do to solve the problem short of replacing all the plugs? Does lubing the o-ring sound like a viable solution? To be clear, I am considering lubing the o-ring, not the electrical connection.

Thanks,
Tim
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Re: Solar MC4 Connectors tight

Postby tony.latham » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:41 am

It surely wouldn't hurt to lube the rings with dielectric grease.

A guy needs a tube of that stuff anywho.

T
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Re: Solar MC4 Connectors tight

Postby H.A. » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:26 pm

If you are convinced its "o"rings too tight, lube will help. You could even swap "o"rings and see if that helps.
You can also shave down the latching barbs just enough so the release tool not required. Get it right, the connector will still 'snap together, But will still pull apart with small effort and no tool needed.
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Re: Solar MC4 Connectors tight

Postby John61CT » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:13 pm

Measure exactly what lengths you need and get http://genuinedealz.com to make up a custom harness to your specs.

Top notch outfit, only charge $1 per crimp, reasonable pricing on marine grade wiring, fittings and supplies.

Measure twice though!
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Re: Solar MC4 Connectors tight

Postby TimC » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:31 pm

I tried the lube on the o-rings and while it helped with some of the connectors there are two that will not release without a struggle. I isolated those two connectors by trying them on other connectors and the splitter I have. I thought maybe the splitter, a non-branded cheapie, was the culprit, but, it is definitely just the two connectors. With all my other connectors I can squeeze the tabs with two fingers and separate them. Those two connectors require a pair of needle nose pliers and the help of another set of hands. I think I will just replace them (I have the crimper and can pick up some replacement MC4s).

Thanks for the suggestions and advice.

Tim
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