What is DC Combiner Boxes?

09th Jun 2023

DC combiner boxes are an essential component of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. They are used to combine and protect the output of multiple strings of solar panels before feeding the DC power into the inverter. DC combiner boxes typically consist of fuses, disconnect switches, and surge protectors, all housed in a weatherproof enclosure.

DC combiner boxes are necessary for several reasons. Firstly, they minimize the number of cables needed between the solar panels and the inverter, which simplifies the wiring and reduces costs. Secondly, they provide a convenient location to house the protective devices necessary for the safe and reliable operation of the solar system. Finally, they ensure that the DC voltage level remains within a safe range, protecting the inverter and other components from damage.

Components of DC Combiner Boxes

DC combiner boxes typically consist of the following components:

Input circuit breakers or fuses: These are used to protect the wires and components in the DC combiner box from overcurrent.

Surge protection devices: These are used to protect solar panels and other components from voltage surges caused by lightning strikes or other power surges.

DC disconnect switch: This is used to disconnect the solar panels from the rest of the system for maintenance or in case of emergency.

Monitoring equipment: This can include devices such as meters and sensors to monitor the performance of the solar panels and other components.

Wiring and bus bars: These are used to connect the solar panels and other components together.

Enclosure: The components of the DC combiner box are housed in an enclosure that provides protection from the elements and other environmental hazards.

Locking mechanism: A lock is typically used to secure the DC combiner box and prevent unauthorized access.

The specific components of a DC combiner box may vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific application.

Types of DC Combiner Boxes

There are several types of DC combiner boxes available in the market. Some of the most common types include:

Standard DC combiner boxes: These are basic models that are used in small-scale solar panel systems with fewer than ten panels. They usually have a few input strings and one or two output strings.

Fused DC combiner boxes: These models include fuses in each input string, which protects the panels from damage caused by overvoltage or overcurrent. Fused DC combiner boxes are suitable for mid-size solar panel systems with up to 50 panels.

Circuit breaker DC combiner boxes: Instead of fuses, these combiner boxes use circuit breakers to protect the panels from damage. They are suitable for large-scale solar panel systems with more than 50 panels.

Rapid Shutdown DC combiner boxes: These are designed to meet the National Electric Code (NEC) requirements for rapid shutdown in case of emergencies. They use a special switch that rapidly shuts down the system in case of fire or other hazards.

Smart DC combiner boxes: These models include monitoring and communication capabilities that allow users to remotely monitor the system’s performance and detect any faults or issues in real time. 

ZONZEN offers various lock solutions for DC combiner boxes to ensure the safety and security of the components inside. The locks provided by ZONZEN for DC combiner boxes include cam locks, plane locks, and other customized solutions.

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