marA Power 12v Smart Bluetooth Battery Charger Review
Now when it comes to trickle chargers, they’ve all been much of a muchness for decades. The advent of ‘smart’ models allows battery conditioning and can even give the kiss of life to batteries you’d have otherwise given up hope on.
But none are truly connected, or that smart. Until now.
We got our hands on the marA Power 12v smart battery charger to see how it differs from the rest.
What is it?
A mains powered, fully automatic, 7 stage trickle charger with Bluetooth for smartphone management.
It can charge motorcycle, car, AGM and even Lithium-Ion batteries, charging the former in temperatures below 0 degrees C.
Thanks to the multitude of batteries it can charge, literally anything you can think of is covered, jet skis, ATV’s, boats, golf carts etc
Fitted inside an IP65 water and dust resistance polycarbonate housing, the clever tech inside looks after your battery in 7 stages from start to finish.
- Diagnostic Pre Charge
- Constant Current
- Constant Voltage
It will then go into an ‘M’ mode, which is the last step; here it will maintain the battery at full capacity.
There are numerous safety features built-in too; it’s spark-free, has high and low voltage protection, over-temperature and short circuit protection as well as reverse polarity safety.
The charger can also be used in temperatures as low as -20 and to 50 degrees C.
Total power output can be 65 watts, and it will charge batteries with a capacity as low as 1.6Ah all the way up to 110 Ah.
But the real clever bit is the Bluetooth connection to see how much your battery is charged, time left until a full charge and what stage of the cycle it’s at. You can also remotely switch it on and off via your Android or Apple smartphone.
What’s it like?
Our SCC-84B065 model felt well built; it has a nice weight to it and feels solid. Even though it’s IP65 rated, it says on the side ‘for indoor use only’ which is a tad odd. Having left it sitting in my engine bay and fixed to a wall in the garage for days on end seems to have caused no issue though.
In the box, you get a set of crocodile clips, circular connectors for a permanent hook up and a storage bag – very handy.
From the plug to the unit cable length measures 1.75m, from the charger to the clips is 1.4m.
Getting it set up is ridiculously easy, plug it in, press the little ‘Mode’ button on the unit to set the desired type of vehicle you’re charging. Connect it to your car battery, and you’re done.
Oh, while you’re under the bonnet, make a note of your batteries. Ah rating, you’ll need this later.
Now the Bluetooth side of things is a little trickier. You search for it on your phone and connect; there’s no passphrase, it just connects. But on my phone it doesn’t say ‘connected’, it just sat there.
Downloading and opening the imarA SCC app you just get a blank 0% screen with none of the info appearing. Odd. I thought it wasn’t working.
It turns out you have to go into the ‘Settings’ cog in the app, then to ‘Bluetooth Pairing’. Turn the pairing slider to on and find the device once again in there. At first, it didn’t show anything, so wait 30 mins or so from plugging it in to then try and add it in the app.
Once it appears, press the chain link icon, and it will now connect and show you the status of the charge.
Go back into the settings and click on ‘Rename’, here you can name the current battery, and also change its Ah size. You’ll need to do this so that the app reports the status correctly.
Whenever you open the app and re-link via the settings option, it will ask you which battery you have connected.
Attaching it to the trusty 207 the app read somewhere around 50%, then it sat at 84% for hours on end while charging, with the time left jumping around rapidly as it must have been trickle charging the last part. But after a day or so it finally got to 100%.
The app isn’t that well designed, it looks like a half-finished project, and it hasn’t been updated in years. It could be so much slicker in appearance.
It also doesn’t give a true % reading, just jumping to what seems like pre-defined points, 50%, 84%, 95% etc, it would be more helpful if it were a true representation that went up a per cent at a time.
Overall, it does what it needs too, though, and being able to remotely turn it on and off saves the hassle of going to the garage and switching it manually.
It’s incredibly handy to have a charger that can juice up lithium batteries too; many motorcycles are switching to this type of power due to their lightweight nature. But charging them with a standard battery or trickle charger can lead to fiery explosions, not so with the marA charger.
Where can I get one?
Currently, you can only get them direct from the manufacturer via Amazon for an incredibly respectable £75.00.
They do list several different chargers, not all are Bluetooth, nor can they charge lithium, so read carefully if you need those functions. It also comes with a three-year warranty for peace of mind.