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What is IP rating, and why is it important?

Todd Thompson

Todd Thompson

Todd Thompson - Construction Manager - 2M CCTV

Electronics are essential to the functioning of the world as we know it.  Something as basic as a standard traffic light requires a circuit board which channels electrical charges to change a light from green to yellow to red.  Whether if triggered by a timer, or by a motion detection device embedded in the traffic light casing, the function of changing the lights does not happen, if the circuitry is burned up or destroyed by moisture.

"Ingress Protection"

IP Ratings - Ingress ProtectionThe IP rating found in electronic data sheets or specifications (read about how to scan a cctv spec sheet) was designed to give the consumer reliable standards for rating the suitability of enclosures for conditions such as rain and dust.  Technically, IP (not to be confused with IP address, which stands for internet protocol address), the term stands for Ingress Protection rating according to ISO.

 

First IP Digit - Protection from Solids

IP Ratings - 1st DigitThe rating consists of numeric values.  The first digit is a number (0-6) which indicates the size of the particles for which the enclosure is rated.  A rating of 5 means it is protected against dust though there can be a nominal amount of dust that might intrude the enclosure, but a 6 means it is an enclosure that eliminates all dust.  CCTV camera enclosures should always come with a rating of 6, dust-free.

 

Second IP Digit - Protection from Liquids

IP Ratings - 2nd DigitThe second digit of the rating is a number (0-8) which describes the potential for intrusion by water.  A number of 4 means that splashing water from any side will not have a harmful effect on the protected mechanical or electrical component encased.  An 8 means that the enclosure can be continuously immersed in water over one meter in depth.  A 7 means it can protect internal devices in an immersed condition up to one meter in depth, but it is approved for this rating by testing for only thirty minutes.

An IP rating of IP 67 means that it is an enclosure that can be considered as dust-free and it can withstand submersion in water for no longer than thirty minutes and not over one meter in depth.

When applying the IP rating to security surveillance cameras, consumers should be aware that the threshold for indoor versus outdoor applications (when not protected by an overhang) should be at minimum an IP 64 (see our selection of IP66 or higher outdoor cameras).  This rating accomplishes protection of the security camera circuitry against all dust and splashing water from any direction.

 

Here is an IP (Ingress Protection) Chart demonstrating each digit with illustrated examples of enclosure protection

IP Rating

Ingress Protection (IP) Chart for Electrical Enclosures

 

The protective casings on surveillance cameras are an important design consideration.  Like everything else, the consumer gets what he pays for.  The IP rating is just one component to consider when purchasing any electrical or mechanical equipment.  The need for proper placement and evaluation of the real conditions is critical.

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