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Photovoltaic connectors for harsh environments

The MC4 solar power connector range is now part of the Stäubli Electrical Connectors brand. The high performance PV units, which have become a de facto industry standard, were branded as Multi-Contact before the company's change of name earlier this year.

More than 1 billion photovoltaic connectors in the MC4 family have been installed worldwide over the past 20 years, often operating in the harshest of environments.

The snap-fit MC4 units are suitable for cable cross-sections from 1.5 mm² to 10 mm² and are rated for currents up to 45A. Resistance to UV, ammonia and salt spray enables the IP68 rated devices to operate in harsh environments.

Although only small, they can have a large impact on the bankability of PV plants. Their use of MULTILAM technology, a proprietary contact system that uses spring contact elements to produce multiple contact points, ensures low service cost, low power losses and reduced downtimes.

The latest addition to the MC4 range is the MC4-Evo2, whose high voltage rating of up to 1500V dc means that solar power operators can benefit from longer cable strings when linking solar fields. It has a high current carrying capacity of up to 69A, helped by a streamlined design that improves heat dissipation. 

As the manufacturer of both products, Stäubli Electrical Connectors can guarantee that the Evo2 is fully compatible with the original MC4, a claim that producers of look-alike connectors cannot substantiate.

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