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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Good enough Wire?

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nvreloader

Western Nevada

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Posted: 03/03/12 10:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

smkettner wrote:

I assume that is 4 x 225w 24v panels. I would skip the combiner box and run 2 parallel, 2 series with branch couplers and just use MC connectors with standard #10 wire to the controller.
Or what panels exactly?

------------------------------------
SMK,
"branch couplers" What are these?

On the 230W panels(like yours), MS calculator said No, too much power.. for 4 panels.

So, I had to do some refiguring, down to Sharp 224w and Can 205w, waiting for the shipping amounts to come back. Trying to find panels around the 37" wide mark, gives me some extra wiggle room in mounting them etc.
Tia,
Don


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nvreloader

Western Nevada

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Posted: 03/03/12 10:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

I guess that wire is fine for your use, but from panel to controller it seems like overkill. Does your controller have lugs big enough for #2?



2Oldman,
The panels to controller will be OEM #10 wiring, from combiner box to contoller would be the heavier wire and to the batteries and for balanded wiring of the 4 batteries etc.
Tia,
Don

smkettner

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Posted: 03/03/12 11:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


http://www.solarblvd.com/Cables-&-Wires-........2143/Solarline-2-MC-Branch-Cable-Coupler
This is MC4, MC3 (older style) is also available.

You can plug the panels directly into the branch connectors to have pairs in parallel. Then run a premade MC connector cable to series the two panel pairs. This makes 2 parallel and two series and should not exceed the controller 150v max. Get a long MC connector cable to pull power down to the controller. All sealed locked connections, no combiner box and fat wire, all plug and play.

BTW the website has popular length MC connector cable but they will custom make them any length on request.


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smkettner

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Posted: 03/04/12 09:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Morningstar says #2 will fit but I found fine stranded #4 was fairly tight. A small challenge to get all strands into the connector. Standed building wire (stiff) might fit better.

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 03/04/12 12:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Myself I would use 10AWG (Not(!) SAE) fine stranded marine wire to the junction. The junction would be an audiophile's car stereo type block that is gold plated for corrosion resistance. From the block to the MPPT, four gauge AWG marine wire.

I would plug all connector points with dielectric silicone grease.

I would then saturate the car stereo junction block with LPS-3 or GM corrosion compound.

Exposed wires would be sheathed in black split loom, specifically high temperature split loom.

renoman69

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Posted: 03/04/12 07:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

smkettner wrote:


http://www.solarblvd.com/Cables-&-Wires-........2143/Solarline-2-MC-Branch-Cable-Coupler
This is MC4, MC3 (older style) is also available.

You can plug the panels directly into the branch connectors to have pairs in parallel. Then run a premade MC connector cable to series the two panel pairs. This makes 2 parallel and two series and should not exceed the controller 150v max. Get a long MC connector cable to pull power down to the controller. All sealed locked connections, no combiner box and fat wire, all plug and play.

BTW the website has popular length MC connector cable but they will custom make them any length on request.


You are on EXACTLY the right track. Use the above connectors on the roof to the combiner box then use the #2 to the controller. That is a very good price and too big is better than too small. The welding cable is super pliable and should not be a problem bending around things. I would think your controller terminals will be big enough. My Blue Sky 3024i has big enough terminals for #2. Parallel/series would be my choice as well.


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smkettner

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Posted: 03/04/12 10:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My three are in series, NO combiner box. I don't think you need a combiner box. I specifically wanted to avoid it. The combiners and MC4 connectors have a tight 0-ring seal that should prove trouble free.

If you use the combiners on the panels you end up with in effect two panels with twice the current. I would put these "two" in series and just pull the wire down. Yes you might have 8 to 15 amps going down through #10 wire. My calculator says you will lose only 2% at 30' using standard #10 with MC connectors at max 15a power. Flat on the roof you will very rarely be at max power if ever. A more realistic 12 amps and 40' is still just 2% drop or about 15w lost. That seems like too small to worry to me as it really is only lost during max current bulk mode.

If testing later proves you want #4 wire then you will not be at a huge loss to just add the box and #4+ wire.

Otherwise if you do use a combiner box I can't imagine the 2' difference is enough to worry about.

nvreloader

Western Nevada

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Posted: 03/04/12 10:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

smkettner wrote:


http://www.solarblvd.com/Cables-&-Wires-........2143/Solarline-2-MC-Branch-Cable-Coupler
This is MC4, MC3 (older style) is also available.

You can plug the panels directly into the branch connectors to have pairs in parallel. Then run a premade MC connector cable to series the two panel pairs. This makes 2 parallel and two series and should not exceed the controller 150v max. Get a long MC connector cable to pull power down to the controller. All sealed locked connections, no combiner box and fat wire, all plug and play.

BTW the website has popular length MC connector cable but they will custom make them any length on request.

----------------------------------------------
SMK,
Thanks for the info, I have never seen those type plugs before.
Questions,
It was suggested to me to balance the wiring of the panels and batteries when possible.

I have figured out by turning the Jct box end of the panels (I had them ALL on the down slope end of the tilt), I could end up with the following Panel wire total lengths to the combiner box:
Panel 1=12'
Panel 2=11'
Panel 3=10'
Panel 4=11'

Would it be acceptable(meaning balanced) to have the extra wire footage needed (panels 2,3,4,) of the Panel wire MC cables stored under neath their panels, so all the panels have the same 12' length before using these branch connectors OR don't worry about this amount for balancing the panels out?

Isn't the combiner box a required part of the wiring system?

Using the branch connetors, I would just figure the distance from the connectors Jct down thru the frig vent to the CC and attach them?

Tia,
Don

nvreloader

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Posted: 03/04/12 10:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mexbungalows wrote:

Myself I would use 10AWG (Not(!) SAE) fine stranded marine wire to the junction. The junction would be an audiophile's car stereo type block that is gold plated for corrosion resistance. From the block to the MPPT, four gauge AWG marine wire.

I would plug all connector points with dielectric silicone grease.

I would then saturate the car stereo junction block with LPS-3 or GM corrosion compound.

Exposed wires would be sheathed in black split loom, specifically high temperature split loom.

-------------------------------------------
Mex,
Is there a reason why not to use 10AWG (Not(!) SAE) fine stranded marine wire? I know very little about solar systems, still learning, reason for the questions.

I was planning on using dielectric silicone grease in/on EVERY break of ALL the wiring in ALL areas of this solar setup, as a precausion against pending problems.

I have found that by doing this to the 20+ Jct boxes on the Honda Rubicon ATV, I don't have the electrical problems that the rest of my riding fiends have with shorts/corroded connections etc, I packed every box full of DS grease before it went off road etc.

Being in a very mineralized area, the very fine wind blown grit causes major problems/headaches with ANY electronic/electrical componets etc, in very short order around here.

Tia,
Don

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 03/04/12 11:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. It has 4% more copper in it than SAE wire. The insulation is better quality hence the 600 volt rating rather than 50. Tin plating on the strands helps to reduce oxidation and corrosion.

Go max on the wire size. You'll gain a lot more than one amp, but let's say you gain 1 amp. Six amps hours a day. Now times that by a 20-day vacation. A hundred and twenty amp hours GAINED. It won't be long before you earn the price of a panel. 10 gauge and 4 gauge. Solder the terminals with 60/40 solder.

I use a "magic" product called "DeOxit" to clean even shiny new terminals before assembly. I use the strongest formulation the one that comes in a squeeze bottle with needle tip. You won't believe what this stuff does for conductivity! It isn't tuner cleaner and there's nothing else like it.

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