Sunday, July 31, 2016

An alternative to Anderson Power Poles?

UV- and water-proof
I've been installing my solar panels, charge controller, etc and working for the first time with a new type of DC connector.

MC4 connectors are the industry standard for solar power and they are rated for 20A at 600V. Unlike Anderson Power Poles, MC4 connectors are waterproof and snap together with a pair of barbed inserts.

They are also much easier to install onto wire. I am using 10g stranded copper for the run from the panels on my roof to the indoor charge controller and the connectors have gone together without a hitch - much easier than APP connectors.

Each contains three rubber o-rings: one on each connector-to-wire fitting and another joining the two connectors (male & female) together.

Any time I've ever used APP connectors, it's been because I've had no choice. They have their place and are fine for indoor applications of stationary radios. But for mobile, portable and outdoor use of DC-powered devices, I'm going to give serious consideration to MC4 connectors in the future.

Here's what Wikipedia says about them and here is a video demonstrating their installation:



  1. The problem with these connectors is that they're expensive. The cheapest I've seen them is about $4 a pair and you need 2

    1. I bought 5 pair for $10 at Amazon but yes they are more expensive than APP.

  2. I'm against using MC4 Connectors.

    "But they are not designed for repeated connect/disconnect cycles. And you do not
    want to unplug them with current flowing, which will probably degrade or destroy them in few cycles. They will also tend to corrode if not kept continuously engaged."

    "However, it is very important to never connect or disconnect them under load, even on low-voltage (12-48 V) systems. An electric arc may form which can melt and seriously damage contact materials, resulting in high resistance and subsequent overheating."