Foxbox junction box simplifies assembly of PV panels

Paul Boughton

Manufacturers of solar panel modules can increase their productivity with a new type of junction box from Multi-Contact. Called the Foxbox, the compact box has been designed for use in the automated assembly of polycrystalline photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
The junction box consists of two parts, with interchangeable cables and diodes fitted into the cover. The backplate is mounted on the PV module and the cover simply clips on, with spring pressure ensuring a high-quality, reliable, long-term connection.
As the mounting of the backplate can be monitored using optical sensors, reliability in automated assembly is high. By clipping on the cover at the end of the production line, entanglement of cables is avoided, which can be a problem with fully automated assembly. Note that the units are also suitable for manual assembly, where the clip on design is a major advantage.
As well as enabling the rapid automated manufacture of panel systems, the design makes it simple to unclip and replace components in a single unit during servicing without the need to return the module to the workshop. This is a particular advantage if the panels are located in difficult-to-access areas as can be the case with rooftop installations.
The use of spring pressure to make the electrical contacts means that assembly costs are considerably reduced, as soldering is not required. The high contact forces ensure high reliability throughout the life cycle of the product.
Jointly developed with Spelsberg, the Foxbox is rated for currents up to 10A, with voltage ratings of 1000V (IEC) and 600V (UL). The units are TUV-approved and UL approval is pending. Environmental protection is to IP65.
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