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IP Ratings Deciphered

It seems more and more AVL products are coming with IP ratings.....IP54, IP65, IP68,etc. In our world we see ratings on speaker, lights, led tape, and video panels, but these ratings are used on car parts, pumps, marine products, Bluetooth speakers, and medical devices. So what do these numbers (and sometimes letters) really mean?

IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, are a standard classification system used to indicate the level of protection provided by an electrical enclosure against the intrusion of solid objects and liquids. The IP rating consists of two digits, each representing a different type of protection. The first digit indicates the level of protection against solid objects, such as dust and debris, and ranges from 0 to 6. A rating of 0 means no protection, while a rating of 6 indicates complete protection against dust. The second digit represents the level of protection against liquids, such as water, and ranges from 0 to 9. A rating of 0 means no protection, while a rating of 9 indicates protection against high-pressure and high-temperature water jets. For example, an IP65 rating means the enclosure is dust-tight (6) and protected against water jets (5). This rating suggests that the enclosure is suitable for environments where dust or water exposure is a concern. It's important to note that higher IP ratings indicate better protection, but the specific level of protection required will depend on the intended application and environmental conditions.

Some manufacturers are adding additional verbiage to their IP ratings that are based on specific environments or locations where the product might be used. For example, the IP65 rating has long been considered the correct qualifier for a product that can be installed outside permanently. We are now seeing many products being introduced as "Event IP65", meaning that it is an IP65 rated product, but only meant for temporary outdoor use. These products would be suitable for use on a weekend concert stage but not for permanent install on a building. We have also seen IP65 ratings that denote not suitable for use "within three miles of a saltwater body of water".

It can be quite confusing because the product is advertised as IP65, but the disclaimers are usually buried in the user manual. Our best advice is to read through the product documentation and also consult your rep to insure you are getting the right tool for the job!

Here is a link to the IP Rating wiki:

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