Monday, December 5, 2011

What is a Power Supply’s IP Rating?

The popularity of outdoor electronics has brought the subject of a power supply’s IP rating from almost obscurity to an everyday question.  I frequently get asked about it by our sales people now, so I thought it would be nice subject to cover in our blog. In researching this blog article I even discovered something new myself.

IP is the acronym for Ingress Protection and for power supplies the IP Rating Code consists of the letters “IP” and two numbers as defined below.

The first number indicates the power supply’s protection level against the ingress of solid objects or dust.

First Number for Solids or Dust

LevelSize of ObjectType of Object
XTest not madeTest not made
0N/ANo protection
150mm or largerLarge body surfaces*
212.5mm or largerFingers
32.5mm or largerSmall tools
41mm or largerScrews
5Dust protected-
6Dust tight-
* Does not include deliberate body part contact

The second number indicates the power supply’s protection against the ingress of water or other liquids.

Second Number for Liquids

LevelProtected against
XTest not made
0No protection
1Water dripping vertically
2Water dripping at an angle
3Spray water up to 60° from vertical
4Splashing water from any angle
5Low pressure water jets
6Strong spray jets, heavy seas (ship decks)
7Temporary immersion (up to 1m)
8Permanent immersion (deeper than 1m)

Most recently LED power supplies, or drivers as they are often referred to, have ratings of IP66 or higher.  Referring to the charts above, an IP66 rating means the unit has ingress protection from Dust and Strong Jet Sprays of Water.

These IP ratings also apply to the end system of course, and many of our customers utilize a NEMA enclosure to make their products meet a higher rating.

The IP rating is usually stated in the Safety Certification reports and the installation manual

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