When it comes to choosing the right LED light strips for your indoor or outdoor lighting projects, there are several factors to consider. Brightness, color options, and control features often take center stage in the decision-making process.
However, there’s another crucial aspect that should not be overlooked: IP rating. IP rating, or Ingress Protection rating, is a standardized measure that provides valuable information about the durability and performance of LED light strips in different environments.
In this article, we’ll delve into what IP rating is and why it holds a pivotal role when it comes to LED light strips. Understanding IP ratings can help you make informed decisions, ensuring that your lighting solution not only looks great but also stands the test of time in the face of various environmental challenges.
What is IP rating?
Electric and electronic devices are susceptible to deterioration and malfunction when exposed to water or dust infiltration. To address this concern, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has introduced Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, which serve as a standardized system for evaluating the enclosure’s resistance to the ingress of dust and liquids. These IP ratings have gained widespread acceptance across various industries.
In recent years, consumers have shown a growing interest in smartphone features that tout resistance to dust and liquid. However, deciphering the true meaning of terms like “waterproof” or “water-resistant” in marketing materials can be challenging.
To provide clarity and consistency in evaluating the protective capabilities of enclosures for electric and electronic devices, the IEC developed the IEC 60529 standard. This standard, formulated by the IEC Technical Committee 70, employs the IP code to assess the level of protection offered by enclosures of electrical equipment, particularly those with a rated voltage of up to 72.5 kV.
Furthermore, the standard outlines specific tests that must be conducted to confirm compliance with these requirements and assess the accessibility of potentially hazardous components within the enclosure.
The Significance of the Two Digits in an IP Rating
First Digit (Intrusion Protection):
0. (X – as described below): No specialized protection; no specific rating provided for protection against this type of intrusion.
1. Protection against intrusion by large objects, like a hand (excluding protection from deliberate access), or protection from solid objects with a diameter greater than 50mm.
2. Shielding against fingers or objects not exceeding 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter (accidental finger contact).
3. Safeguarded against the entry of tools, wires, etc., with a diameter of 2.5mm or more.
4. Protects against dirt larger than 1mm in size (e.g., wires, nails, screws, larger insects, and other potentially intrusive small objects such as small tools, etc.).
5. Partial protection against dust that could potentially harm the equipment.
6. Completely dust-tight, offering full protection against dust and other particulates, even creating a vacuum seal, tested under conditions of continuous airflow.
Second Digit (Moisture Protection):
0. (X – as described below): No protection specified.
1. Protection against vertically falling droplets, such as condensation, ensuring no damage or interrupted operation of components when the item is upright.
2. Protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from the vertical.
3. Guarded against spray up to 60° from the vertical.
4. Protected from water splashes originating from all directions. Tested for a minimum of 10 minutes with an oscillating spray (limited ingress allowed with no detrimental effects).
5. Protects the product against low pressure water spray (6.3mm) of directed water from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no detrimental effects).
6. Protects product against direct high-pressure water jets.
7. Safeguarded against full immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15cm and 1 meter (limited ingress allowed with no detrimental effects).
8. Protection against prolonged immersion under higher pressure conditions (e.g., greater depths). Precise test parameters will be specified and disclosed by the manufacturer and may include additional factors such as temperature fluctuations and flow rates, depending on the type of equipment.
9. (K): Protection against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays, wash-downs, or steam-cleaning procedures. This rating is most commonly observed in specific road vehicle applications and adheres to the ISO 20653:2013 standard for road vehicles’ degrees of protection.
The Importance of IP Rating for LED Light Strips
Ingress Protection (IP) ratings serve as a measure of the level of safeguarding provided by electrical products, including waterproof LED lights, against dust and moisture. The greater the assigned IP value, the more robust the protection your waterproof LED strips deliver.
An IP65 Rating signifies that a product offers top-tier dust protection and is capable of enduring low-pressure water jets from all directions.
IP65 rated lighting finds versatile applications in both residential and commercial environments. Its remarkable durability and ability to withstand challenging weather conditions make it an excellent choice for various areas on your property, both indoors and outdoors.
Primarily, outdoor lighting fixtures like IP65 Wall Lights and LED Flood Lights are favored for their extended lifespan and high-quality illumination, ensuring consistent performance throughout the year, no matter the prevailing weather conditions.
What is IP66? IP66 is part of the Ingress Protection Rating system, signifies that a product is both dust-tight and capable of withstanding powerful waterjets.
The Ingress Protection Rating, commonly referred to as an IP code or IP rating, is an internationally recognized standard that indicates how effectively a mechanical housing can seal against the intrusion of water and dust.
If you plan to install LED strip lights for extended outdoor use, particularly in areas where they might be exposed to water, an IP67 rating is crucial. An IP67 rating ensures a high level of protection, primarily due to its exceptional resistance to water and dust infiltration.
The first digit in the IP67 rating (6) represents the highest level of safeguard against solid particles, including fine airborne materials that are virtually invisible to the naked eye, such as windblown dirt. Coupled with the second digit (7) indicating strong resistance to water infiltration, IP67-rated enclosures are built to withstand water hose sprays and jet streams.
They can even endure temporary submersion in water at depths ranging from 150mm to 1000mm for up to a maximum of 30 minutes. Consequently, IP67-rated enclosures are guaranteed to perform reliably in various settings, including indoor, outdoor, as well as demanding industrial and commercial environments.
An IP68 rating, designed to safeguard your LED lights from environmental factors, goes beyond being a mere jumble of characters and digits in the realm of modern technology. It serves as the key to shielding your device against intrusion from dust, dirt, and water, following a standardized code.
So, what exactly does IP68 waterproof signify? The “IP” acronym stands for Ingress Protection, while the accompanying numbers provide crucial insights into the level of protection offered.
The digit “6” signifies complete defense against dust particles, ensuring that your device’s intricate components remain immaculate. The pivotal “8” is the standout here, signifying that the gadget can endure submersion in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters.
The IP69 rating provides an exceptionally high level of protection against not only dust but also high-pressure liquids and steam cleaning. The “6” in the first digit signifies the same robust dust protection found in an IP68 rating. Meanwhile, the “9” in the second digit indicates the device’s impressive capability to endure close-range exposure to high-pressure, high-temperature water jets, typically ranging from 80 to 100 bar, as well as rigorous steam cleaning procedures.
To attain an IP69 rating, outdoor lights must undergo more extensive and rigorous testing compared to IP68. The high-pressure water jet test involves subjecting the device to forceful streams of water from various angles and distances.
The enclosure of the equipment, which may take the form of a NEMA enclosure, must effectively prevent water from infiltrating, ensuring the internal components remain safeguarded. In addition, the steam cleaning test simulates demanding cleaning conditions, guaranteeing that the device remains waterproof even when exposed to high temperatures.
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