Understanding the IP Rating for Devices You Use

Engineering, IP Rating
Image of IP 65 rating sticker

This IP, what does this IP rating mean? Understanding the IP rating is key to making good decisions with regards to the choices of equipment and fittings.

Many a time people have bought lights with IP rating mark on it.

It usually reads IP with two numbers after it. It may appear as a sticker on to the electrical fitting, mechanical equipment or some sort of device.

Engineering, IP Rating

This is all well and good but this sounds like jargon. What does it mean to the layman?

Through the good people at DNG limited we have the following infographic.

Engineering, IP Rating, IP rating chart picture, IP rating chart image
Engineering, IP Rating, IP rating chart picture, IP rating chart image

The first digit

The first digit refers to the level of protection against solid items. This shows that 6 is the highest rating, where not even dust can enter. It is important to bear in mind that this rating is rated at the factory. This means that if the fitting or light needs to be opened for any reason e.g to fit a bulb it should be done by an expert. In some instances specialized equipment is required. An allen key or a torque wrench will come in handy. Use of the wrong equipment may mean that the rating is not valid.

The second digit

The second digit refers to the level of protection against liquid. Where 8 is the highest rating. IP rating uses water as the liquid. In some instances such as level 7, if the liquid exerts more pressure than water the IP rating may not be accurate. As with the first digit the rating is based at the factory. One is likely to find a rubber lining at the opening of the light. This rubber lining is very important for the protection against water.

This a key factor in choosing what type of lights you would like to use. (Next time we will look at the light fittings that one can choose).

These means that if you are doing a swimming pool lighting design you need to consider the following:

The depth of the fitting: If the light fitting is more than 1 meter it’s best to use an IP68 fitting. If less than 1 meter one can use an IP67 fitting. Furthermore if the fitting is outside the swimming pool and being near the wet area one should use an IP65 fitting.

This is why for instance with solar equipment the different items are rated according to their use. The tank is rated for outdoor use and so are the sensors, however the controller is likely to be used indoors. This could be a reason though rare, why your solar water heating system is not working. For more reasons on why it is not working please click this link Top reasons why your solar water heater is not working.

All the best and God bless!

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Using technology to improve lives. George Warutere wa Thinwa a.k.a Warutere wa Thitima is a budding electrical engineer who has wide experience in matters construction, project management, illumination design and automation. He holds a Bsc from JKUAT and a Certificate in Contracts and Contracts Management from Harvard University He spends his free time with his family and friends enjoying the simple things in life.