IP Protection Rating Explained
Today it is common to see consumer electronic products labeled as dustproof and waterproof, and this is most commonly done via the IP Rating standard, which include ratings such as IP68, IP57, IPX7, IP5X and more. But what is the IP Rating standard? What are the differences between each of the ratings? Let us clear up the confusion for you.
Why are electronic devices afraid of water?
Water contains ions and other substances and thus is able to conduct electricity. Therefore, when water comes in contact with the circuit board of an electronic device, it can cause components to short circuit, and even smolder. Even if not completely immersed in water, the ions in the water can corrode electronic components, leading to unreliable electronic signaling and reduced product performance. If your device encounters liquids such as sweat, rain, or even strong corrosive liquids, these are even more likely to cause product failure.
IP Ratings and What They Mean
IP ratings, or ingress protection, were developed by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). They are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies, including dust and moisture.
The numbers that follow IP each have a specific meaning. The first indicates the degree of protection of the enclosed equipment from foreign bodies. The second defines the protection level that the enclosure enjoys from various forms of moisture. The tables below will help you make sense of it all - the higher the values, the higher the level of protection.
The higher the values, the higher the level of protection.
IP68 means that its dustproof is IP6x protection level, and waterproof is IPx8 protection level.
What does IP68 mean?
● Don’t need to worry about the device falling on sand
● Don’t need to worry about ants entering the device to build a nest
● Dust will not infiltrate the connector to cause connectiviy issues
● Don’t need to worry about device falling in water
● Don’t need to worry about spilling tea onto device
● Don’t need to worry about humid conditions caused by rain or sweat
But IP68 does not mean invincible
However, IP68 does not mean a device has full protection!
This is because protection levels are separately certified using different testing methods. From the levels marked in the figure, test certification is performed by dripping, splashing, spraying, and immersion.
An IPx8 tested product is immersed underwater for 1 hour and protected from water for 1 hour. But sprayed water is not used during testing!
IPx5 devices are tested against a low-pressure water from a 6.3 mm nozzle, spraying 12.5 L / min. of water at a pressure of 30kPa, for 3 minutes. However the testing does not include water immersion.
Moreover, the IP waterproof testing is conducted with pure water, so does not factor in water contaminated with dust and other substances, for example seawater.
Do not use a hair dryer to dry any part of the device. High temperatures may deform the waterproof rubber components to cause premature aging and loss of sealability. Also to note is this type of damage is not covered by your warranty!
The protective cover must be closed to ensure optimal protection.