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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have reluctantly accepted that a lightly used tethered cable cannot be expected to last more than 3.5 years and am looking to replace my Zappi cable with a third party product. However when I look at these cables from reputable suppliers I see that most are only rated as IP54, which is not waterproof against anything above light spray. EV Cables web site states that they should not be used in the rain and go on to say that letting the connectors get wet may result in corrosion that would not be covered by their 2 year warranty.
Eco Harmony do not give an IP rating but reference UL50, which means nothing to me and a quick google search did not help.

Surely most charging cables will often be used outside and, despite recent experience, it is enevitable that in the UK the cables will regularly experience rain. I have seen one or two cables rated at IP55, which would be ok, but they are untethered and am not familiar with the companies.

Why are cables designed and manufactured that should not be used in the rain?

Why are connectors used that corrode if they get wet, even if dried out before use?

I have never experience an actual problem, are supplies just trying to cover themselves? Maybe I am expecting too much from these cheap and cheerful EV things.
 

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Not had a problem in 7 years of uk weather Including some torrential downpours. My chargepoint is untethered, type 1 car, will change To type2 eventually. The Charging cable is left plugged in 24 /7 to the chargepoint.

Failed cable, yes broken cp line not water ingress.
 

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I always thought that IP54 was just fine in rain. We installed lots of outdoor stuff on sites that was IP54 rated I am sure and I cannot remember it being an issue at all and we had some pretty rigorous inspectors checking on stuff before sign off.
 

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IPx4 should be fine in rain.

IPx5 means waterproof when exposed to a low pressure hose from every angle. There are no seals evident between the type 2 plug and socket into my GTE, so it is not going to be rated to IPx5. I assume this is standard for all cars - certainly the untethered destination charge points I have used are all the same.
 

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They should be fine. There's no "seals" as such but relies on the design which means water essentially can't go uphill into where the conductors are unless you almost submerge it. The cable entry into the plug is sealed with a gland and also relies on water going uphill to get inside it.

You could also probably leave the plug exposed in a puddle outside and there wouldn't be any danger as it won't turn on the supply voltage until there's communication with the vehicle. Not that I'd recommend storing it that way, but it's safe non the less should the plug holder fail and it fell out without knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I said, I have not had a problem. It is evcables that are explicit and insistent that their IP54 cable should not be used in the rain. Take a look at their web site.
 

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These connections are designed to be usable in the rain. That said, tehre have been cases where Vauxhall Ampera (=Chevy Volt Mk1) sockets on the car shorted out internally due to damp getting in at the back. GM fixed this by applying sealant round the back of the pins. There's always the possibility of a plug getting impacted/hit accidentally, and the whole thing's bound to flex, ever so slightly, so when it's raining I simply clip a stout plastic bag to form a tent over the chargeport ares. Can't do any harm, and may do some good!
Hood Automotive design Automotive tire Automotive wheel system Automotive exterior
 

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As I said, I have not had a problem. It is evcables that are explicit and insistent that their IP54 cable should not be used in the rain. Take a look at their web site.
This smacks of lawyers ensuring they can't be sued if someone fails to charge with a cable that's been in a swimming pool for weeks, rather than an actual problem.

For the same reason, I'd expect the vast majority of IP54 rated cables to exceed the specification.
 

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FYI The J1772 spec of 2001 (sorry I don't have the latest, but unlikely to be lower requirements surely?) states:

When coupled, the vehicle inlet shall have an effective sealing system for outdoor use to provide a degree of protection against corrosion, windblown dust and rain, splashing water, hose-directed water, and external ice formation per UL 50, type 3S: Standards for Enclosures for Electrical Equipment as specified in UL 2251: Plugs, Receptacles, and Couplers for Electric Vehicles.

The vehicle inlet shall provide for the egress of fluids.


So you'l see a small drain-hole at the lowest point of the car's socket, if you look closely.
 

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FYI The J1772 spec of 2001 (sorry I don't have the latest, but unlikely to be lower requirements surely?) states:

When coupled, the vehicle inlet shall have an effective sealing system for outdoor use to provide a degree of protection against corrosion, windblown dust and rain, splashing water, hose-directed water, and external ice formation per UL 50, type 3S: Standards for Enclosures for Electrical Equipment as specified in UL 2251: Plugs, Receptacles, and Couplers for Electric Vehicles.

The vehicle inlet shall provide for the egress of fluids.


So you'l see a small drain-hole at the lowest point of the car's socket, if you look closely.
They are not an exact match (different standards never are) but UL50 3S is generally considered to be equivalent to EN 60529 IP54.
 

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We had our brand new Zappi v2 unit fitted this week. I do worry a little bit already, about the tension on the very bottom of the cable underneath the Zappi, as the tethered cable wraps around the Zappi itself. It sits at an awkward angle/bend when the cable is wrapped. Is this what happened with yours?
 

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These connections are designed to be usable in the rain. That said, tehre have been cases where Vauxhall Ampera (=Chevy Volt Mk1) sockets on the car shorted out internally due to damp getting in at the back. GM fixed this by applying sealant round the back of the pins. There's always the possibility of a plug getting impacted/hit accidentally, and the whole thing's bound to flex, ever so slightly, so when it's raining I simply clip a stout plastic bag to form a tent over the chargeport ares. Can't do any harm, and may do some good!
I'd be more worried about those type of clamps than rain, I had one randomly break once and hit me on the side of the head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I quote

“The IP54 (Ingress Protection Rating) means our cables will operate in dusty conditions and will resist splashes of water while mated. However, the charging process is not fully water sealed and the cables should not be submerged in water or operated in the rain.”

“Why can't we charge in the rain?
Water can still get into the plug and charging socket during the inserting and removing of the plug from the car. In fact, as soon as you open the charge port or unplug your car, the rain will get onto the pins and stay there until the next time you charge.”

This is from a cable manufacturer who probably knows a bit more than I do, and may even know a tiny bit more than other forum members? I can read the requirement for IP54, but cannot say for sure whether rain is equivalent to splashes or more equivalent to a weak jet. It may well depend on how heavy the rain and how strong the wind.

I also remember seeing a warning on a rapid charger at a motorway services that said do not use in the rain, or words to that affect.

I can see 2 possibilities.

1. There is no real problem and some suppliers are covering their backs and creating a get out from warranty claims. Not likely with reputable manufacturers I would hope.

2. There is a genuine potential problem, but most car and cable manufacturers are not making it clear. Maybe because 9 times out of 10, or more, we get away with it.

I repeat, I have never had a problem but, my personal opinion is that EVs should be expected to need charging during all weather conditions and therefore cables and connectors should be specified to cope.
 

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I quote

“The IP54 (Ingress Protection Rating) means our cables will operate in dusty conditions and will resist splashes of water while mated. However, the charging process is not fully water sealed and the cables should not be submerged in water or operated in the rain.”

“Why can't we charge in the rain?
Water can still get into the plug and charging socket during the inserting and removing of the plug from the car. In fact, as soon as you open the charge port or unplug your car, the rain will get onto the pins and stay there until the next time you charge.”

This is from a cable manufacturer who probably knows a bit more than I do, and may even know a tiny bit more than other forum members?
EN 60529 lists all the test procedures for the different IP ratings. Whilst it is not free to read most of the information from it is available on the web.

The tests in EN 60529 are designed to mimic real world scenarios: the IPx4 test is specifically designed to mimic rain.

The section of text you quote above is saying EVs should not be charged in the rain (it references the charge port on the car, not just the cable). I think if that was the case someone might have flagged it up previously, along with all the caravan hook ups which are also IPx4.
 

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As I said, I have not had a problem. It is evcables that are explicit and insistent that their IP54 cable should not be used in the rain. Take a look at their web site.
Good way of selling your product, might as well go somewhere else. If they’re saying they can’t be used in rain it must be crappy.
 

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As someone mentioned earlier in this thread this has the hallmark of being lawyer-speak that is only there to reduce or remove the liability of the company in the event of something happening whilst the car is being charged in the rain.

IP54 is an outdoor rating for sure and outdoors means being able to work and be used in normal weather so this does mean rain proof. It is no good against something like a hosepipe or pressure washer though as that could blast water upwards and I think that IP54 only gives protection from water that is mostly coming downwards or from the side and not underneath.
 

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IP54 is an outdoor rating for sure and outdoors means being able to work and be used in normal weather so this does mean rain proof. It is no good against something like a hosepipe or pressure washer though as that could blast water upwards and I think that IP54 only gives protection from water that is mostly coming downwards or from the side and not underneath.
From IP - Ingress Protection Ratings

3Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60° from the vertical
4Protection against water sprayed from all directions - limited ingress permitted
5Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions - limited ingress
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I have been looking at IP ratings and testing. IP44 lights have the same water resistance and to quote

“IP44 outdoor lights are not completely waterproof and must therefore not be installed outdoors without protection.
At least IP65 rated lights are required for path lights or as garden spotlights. But lights with protection covering can be used in the garden.”

CCTV cameras are often IP54 apparently and the recommendation is to mount them under the eaves to give some added protection. Same comment also given for IP44 outdoor house light.

It is also pointed out that the time of the test is 15 minutes, not hours, and products should be tested for their application and not just rely on IP rating.

For weather protection ther is an additional category ie IPW. So IPW55 includes rain and wet weather.

My amateur interpretation is

IP54 is okay for light rain for limited periods, or heavier rain if there is added protection such as a car port.

IPW55 should be okay for heavy rain and strong winds without any additional protection.

Like others, I have not had a problem, so far, 🤞but I have not had to charge in heavy wind and rain. I have seen reports of people suffering corroded conectors, which implies that water ingress has occured.

I think that EVcables are probably technically correct, IP54 is not intended for use in heavy rain or exposed positions for long periods, but we get away with it due to a combination of luck, the cables being better than the quoted rating and the charge ports being recessed and therefore somewhat sheltered. I do however think that IPW55 would have been a more appropriate standard.
 
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