Combiner box breakers vs fuses

D. Abineri

New Member
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Jun 25, 2021
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I am trying to figure out a way to make an inexpensive 6 circuit combiner box. Does anyone have any experience with the Dinkle fuse blocks or the Geya breakers?


Any advice on a diy combiner box would be welcome.
 

OffGridInTheCity

Solar Addict
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May 23, 2021
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To me (for traditional Panels with a DC + and - ) - a combiner box is a place to parallel incoming PV strings. It typically:
1) Has a buss-bar to combine the negatives for power distribution out to the charge controller(s)
2) A series of circuit-breakers (or fuses) for each positive - and then to a buss for power distribution out to the charge controller(s)
3) Optional - Lightning arrestor(s).
-------------
4) Offers a way to meet quick-disconnect requirements by many jurisdictions - which might include external handles, locks, labels etc.

I used the Midnite Classic combiner boxs + circuit breakers + lightning arrestors for all the above as they are UL/ETL as required by my jurisdiction. But functionally - there is no magic - it can be any box that holds bus-bars and breakers(fuses) :)
 

D. Abineri

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Jun 25, 2021
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Thanks for the reply. The Midnite equipment is not cheap which is why I am asking about alternatives.

Thanks again.
 

OffGridInTheCity

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Thanks for the reply. The Midnite equipment is not cheap which is why I am asking about alternatives.

Thanks again.
I hear you but after 3 years of operations, I've reconciled that doing UL/ETL solar just isn't cheap - which is why I mentioned doing your own if you have a way to save $. It really can be just a couple of bus-bars and fuses. :)
 

boondox

Chief Engineer, RedNeckTech Industries
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Mar 1, 2020
Messages
670
You don't want to go cheap on safety gear.

Back in the day (20 years ago) I had fuses instead of breaker. Back then array voltages were low and so the danger of shock was minimal. But when pulling a fuse to work on equipment arcing was a problem. I came to dislike fuses. So I switched to breakers but DC breakers weren't widely available and I was more ignorant then so I used AC breakers. After having to yank one out after trying to turn it off and having it sustain an arc, I switched to proper DC breakers.

I use the Midnite stuff now. Not cheap but it is designed well, is easy to use and functions as expected. Well worth it.
 

D. Abineri

New Member
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Jun 25, 2021
Messages
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Yes, I agree but that's why I am asking about the Geya DC breakers to see if anyone has experienec with them. They seem to be reasonably priced and a diy box using these and a couple of buss bars might be a good, safe alternative.

Thanks.
 

OffGridInTheCity

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Messages
545
Location
Southern Oregon
Yes, I agree but that's why I am asking about the Geya DC breakers to see if anyone has experienec with them. They seem to be reasonably priced and a diy box using these and a couple of buss bars might be a good, safe alternative.

Thanks.
I searched Geya DC breaker but didn't find prices very easily. A typical breaker would be 15a or 20a (depending on parallization of PV array).
A 15a Nidnite Solar is about $25 - https://www.amazon.com/MidNite-Solar-MNEPV15-Midnite-Solar-MNEPV15/dp/B007IAAGPE/ref=sr_1_5.
A 20a Midnite Solar is similar - https://www.amazon.com/MidNite-Solar-Photovoltaic-Circuit-Breaker/dp/B004EQK8SA/ref=sr_1_1
These snap to standard DIN rail - https://www.amazon.com/Pieces-Slotted-Aluminum-Inches-7-5mm/dp/B079TX7WDQ/ref=sr_1_9

Maybe compare the above to Geya DC 15a / boxes etc. Not pushing Midnite, they are just well-known/high-quality/UL as a reference to help the conversation. It could be it's 'the box' price that is really setting you back rather than breakers :)
 

D. Abineri

New Member
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Jun 25, 2021
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Are two breakers about $6.50 which seems like a good price but I am asking if such breakers are owned by anyone who can advise me on these choices.

Thanks.
 

boondox

Chief Engineer, RedNeckTech Industries
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
670
The first is an AC breaker, not suitable. The second has no data sheet linked and so to me is a pig in a poke. No way to tell if it is suitable or not.
 

D. Abineri

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
50
I searched Geya DC breaker but didn't find prices very easily. A typical breaker would be 15a or 20a (depending on parallization of PV array).
A 15a Nidnite Solar is about $25 - https://www.amazon.com/MidNite-Solar-MNEPV15-Midnite-Solar-MNEPV15/dp/B007IAAGPE/ref=sr_1_5.
A 20a Midnite Solar is similar - https://www.amazon.com/MidNite-Solar-Photovoltaic-Circuit-Breaker/dp/B004EQK8SA/ref=sr_1_1
These snap to standard DIN rail - https://www.amazon.com/Pieces-Slotted-Aluminum-Inches-7-5mm/dp/B079TX7WDQ/ref=sr_1_9

Maybe compare the above to Geya DC 15a / boxes etc. Not pushing Midnite, they are just well-known/high-quality/UL as a reference to help the conversation. It could be it's 'the box' price that is really setting you back rather than breakers :)
Here you go: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...0.l1313&_nkw=geya+dc+circuit+breaker&_sacat=0
 
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