Waterproof onboard marine battery chargers are an essential piece of equipment for serious boater or outdoors man. But how do you go about assessing what best meets your needs? There are fully submersible chargers, water resistant only versions, multi-output units, 12V vs. 24V, 110-220 volt machines and chargers with varying amperage ranges. Multiply that list by the likes of Pro Charging Systems (Dual Pro), Marineco Guest, Noco Genius, Minn Kota, Pro Mariner and a host of other manufacturers. With so many options it can quickly become overwhelming!
Not every marine charger will be waterproof. Some are simply designed to withstand the harsh environment up to certain limits while others will still operate while completely submersed in water. A marine grade charger will be assigned an Ingress Protection Rating between 61 and 68. In most bass boat applications you need no less less than an weatherproof IP64 rating. By far the most popular style and reliable is one of the 2 bank waterproof chargers by Dual Pro or Genius.
IP65 vs IP67 vs IP68
First we should provide a basic definition of what the Ingress Protection Rating is. In short it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of dust and water. The first number refers to solids like dust and dirt. The second number refers to water intrusion. Generally speaking the highest number for solids is 6, while the second digit goes as high as eight.
IP68 is the highest rating you will encounter when searching for a water proof charger (There is a special steam-jet rating of IP69K, but unless you plan to power wash with steam then you need not worry about this rating). This means the equipment can be immersed to a depth defined by the manufacturer exceeding 1 meter and is probably hermetically sealed.
IP67 is the second highest rating and can be immersed in water up to a depth of about 1 meter.
IP66 is the third highest rating. This unit is NOT cleared to be used under water. It can withstand a jet of water from a 12.5mm nozzle in any direction.
IP65 is the fourth highest setting. It can withstand a jet of water from a 6.3mm nozzle in any direction.
IP64 is the fifth highest metric and it states that water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
IP61, IP62 and IP63 offer minimal protection from dripping water and light spray up to 60 degrees from vertical. These ARE NOT considered water proof and should be referred to as water resistant.
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