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How tough is your equipment? IP ratings explained

How tough is your equipment? IP ratings explained
What does the IP rating mean? what other ratings should you look at? what's important to know when choosing an IP camera
Advances in electronics make security equiment as IP cameras, NVRs and other components more and more delicate, therefore one should evaluate if it can withstand working in a harsh environment. A harsh environment doesn't have to mean Mars-like desert landscape. Even common environments like industrial estates or outdoor parks can be rough on electronic components. Dust, humidity, rain or even insects crawling into a camera housing can all cause damage.

To find out how strong a product is against water or particles, it is better not to rely on generalized terms such as “waterproof” or “dustproof.”  These marketing terms can be misleading, it is better for the user to refer to the product’s Ingress Protection (also known as International Protection) rating, for example IP55, IP67 and IP69K.

These ratings, as defined in international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989), dictate the level of waterproof protection, in terms of depth of immersion, exposure to water jets and temperature.

Breaking down IP codes

IP codes consist of two primary components: solid particle protection (first number, 0-6) and liquid ingress protection (second number, 0-9).
The higher the number, the more protected is the device.

The first digit indicates solid particle protection :
0: No protection
1: >50mm; protection from solid objects
2: >12.5mm; fingers or similar objects
3: >2.5mm; tools, wires
4: >1mm; wires, screws, large ants
5: Dust Protected; thorough but incomplete protection from dust
6: Dust Tight; complete protection from dust and contact

The second digit indicates liquid ingress protection: 
0: No protection
1: Protection from dripping water
2: Protection from vertically dripping water, tilted at 15 degrees
3: Protection from spraying water up to 60 degrees
4: Protection from splashing water, all angles
5: Protection from water jets, projected by a 6.3mm nozzle, all angles
6: Protection from powerful water jets, projected by a 12.5mm nozzle, all angles
7: Immersion up to 3 feet
8: Immersion beyond 3 feet (hermetically sealed)
9K: Protection from close-range pressure and high temperatures

Some IP ratings can also have a last letter indicating a specific protection. F stands for oil resistance, H for high voltage, M for device moving during tests, S for device standing during tests, and W for weather conditions. The above descriptions can help users gain a better understanding of the strength of their products.

For example, IP67, one of the most common IP ratings, means that the unit is completely protected from dust and may be immersed in water up to three feet or one meter. IP68 simply extends the immersion features of IP67, allowing for deeper immersion beyond three feet or one meter. The highest rating one could possibly achieve is IP69K. This IP rating suggests complete protection from dust and protection from steam-jet cleaning and water temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius. 
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