In NZ it is illegal (against AS/NZS 5033) regulations to mix two brands of solar connectors.
So if you are looking for MC4 connectors, you could get caught out!
There is a problem with people selling solar connectors from counterfeit suppliers and advertising them as MC4 connectors. If you google “MC4 Connector New Zealand”, a heap of suppliers pop up which are not original MC4 connectors. Also on their websites some of them don’t even say what brand they really offering you.
If you mix between different brands of connector you are breeching the rules of AS/NZS 5033. The electrical inspector will have every right to ask you to change the connectors, and if they miss spotting the error, then your company will be liable for any problems or fires resulting from using counterfeit connectors. For a savings of maybe 50c, we don’t think it’s worth it.
Why are Multi-Contact connectors so popular?
Multi-Contact are the creators of MC4 connectors (multi-contact 4 series). When someone says an "original MC4" connector, they mean a Multi-Contact MC4 connector. The reason why most manufacturers around the world use original MC4 connectors on their panels is because of the high quality of the contact the original MC4’s offer.
MC4 all use a special contact with contacts MULTILAM technology. This adds spring tension to the contact and even through many hot/cold cycles and high moisture environments it ensures the contact area is perfectly maintained. Below is an image showing what the MULTILAM contact looks like inside.
Why is it a problem mixing brands of connectors?
There have been a number of fires recorded overseas due to mixing MC4 connectors. This has led to most leading markets (including Australia and New Zealand) banning installations from mixing brands of solar connectors. This also includes panel mount connectors and branch (Y) connectors, all must be from the same manufacturer.
The problem occurs because these are a high performance connector and even the smallest variance between how the contacts mate can lead to higher resistance and heat. Below is an example of testing done by Multi-Contact showing original MC4 connectors paired with counterfeit solar connectors.
And the result in the real world can often look like the below. Luckily this time the connector was caught before it caused a fire.
How can I tell what connector I have?
Copies of our MC4 connectors keep on appearing on the market. From the outside they can be hard to distinguish from the original but there are a few identifiers…
1. They should have a MC logo on the side (Multi-Contact)
2. The should always have a black O-Ring (many counterfeits use Red O-Rings)
And if you are ever in doubt, then choose ECS to purchase from and you know you will always receive a 100% original MC4 connector.
Available from ECS
PHONE (0800 849 2211)
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