The IP Code, International Protection Marking, IEC standard 60529, sometimes interpreted as Ingress Protection Marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent European standard is EN 60529.
The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided.
A rating of X for one or more of the protection criteria can be erroneously misinterpreted as "no protection". To illustrate, a piece of electronic equipment rated IPX7 will almost certainly demonstrate a robust resistance to the ingress of particles, even though a rating for ingress of solids hasn't been formally assigned. Hence, an X designation shouldn't be automatically misconstrued as a lack of protection.
For example, a cellular phone rated at IP58 is "dust resistant" and can be "immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes". Similarly, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water. IP22 or 2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use.
The ratings for water ingress are not cumulative beyond IPX6. A device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. A device which meets both tests is indicated by listing both tests separated by a slash, e.g. IPX5/IPX7.
There are no hyphens in a genuine IP code. IPX-8 (for example) is thus a false IP code.
IP codes with the letter "K" are from ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles-Degrees of protection (IP code), which states that it is in accordance with IEC 60529 except for the "K" tests, which describe special requirements for road vehicles. ISO 20653 has replaced DIN 40050-9. By 2013, IEC/EN 60529 was updated to include the IPX9 water ingress test. This test appears to be identical to the IP69K test from ISO 20653.
This page contains a combination of IEC 60529 (also EN 60529) and other standards, such as ISO 20653. The original documents are available for purchase, and have important and specific requirements that cannot be fully reprinted due to copyright restrictions. This often includes drawings specifying the required test equipment, such as the shape of water nozzles used for water jet testing. Additional standards are often referenced that may contain important information. It's important to refer to the latest revision of the required standard when conducting tests for agency certification.
This table shows what each digit or part of the IP code represents.
|IP indication||Solid particle protection||Liquid ingress protection||Mechanical impact resistance||Other protections|
|IP||Single numeral: 0–6||Single numeral: 0–9||Single numeral: 0–9||Single letter|
|Mandatory||Mandatory||Mandatory||No longer used||Optional|
The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (e.g., electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.
|Level sized||Effective against||Description|
|0||—||No protection against contact and ingress of objects|
|1||>50 mm||Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part|
|2||>12.5 mm||Fingers or similar objects|
|3||>2.5 mm||Tools, thick wires, etc.|
|4||>1 mm||Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.|
|5||Dust protected||Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.|
|6||Dust tight||No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.|
The second digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against harmful ingress of water.
|Level||Protection against||Effective against||Details|
|1||Dripping water||Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect on the specimen when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.||Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1 mm rainfall per minute
|2||Dripping water when tilted at 15°||Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.||Test duration: 2.5 minutes for every direction of tilt (10 minutes total)
Water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute
|3||Spraying water||Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield.
Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
|For a Spray Nozzle:
Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 5 minutes
For an oscillating tube:
Test duration: 10 minutes
Water Volume: 0.07 l/min per hole
|4||Splashing of water||Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield.
Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
|Oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes, or spray nozzle (same as IPX3 spray nozzle with the shield removed)|
|5||Water jets||Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute
|6||Powerful water jets||Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 litres per minute
|6K||Powerful water jets with increased pressure||Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.||Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 75 litres per minute
|7||Immersion, up to 1 m depth||Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).||Test duration: 30 minutes - ref IEC 60529, table 8.
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1000 mm below the surface of the water, or the highest point 150 mm below the surface, whichever is deeper.
|8||Immersion, 1 m or more depth||The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and/or duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.||Test duration: Agreement with Manufacturer
Depth specified by manufacturer, generally up to 3 m
|9K||Powerful high temperature water jets||Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted upright, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at distance of 0.15–0.2 m.
There are specific requirements for the nozzle used for the testing.
This test is identified as IPx9 in IEC 60529.
|Test duration: 30 seconds in each of 4 angles (2 minutes total)
Water volume: 14–16 litres per minute
(All tests with the letter "K" are defined by ISO 20653 (replacing DIN 40050-9) and are not found in IEC 60529, except for IPx9 which is the same as the IP69K water test.)
Further letters can be appended to provide additional information related to the protection of the device:
|H||High voltage device|
|M||Device moving during water test|
|S||Device standing still during water test|
The letter K is specified in DIN 40050-9, and not in IEC 60529.
An additional number has sometimes been used to specify the resistance of equipment to mechanical impact. This mechanical impact is identified by the energy needed to qualify a specified resistance level, which is measured in joules (J). This has now been superseded by the separate IK code specified in EN 62262.
Although dropped from the 3rd edition of IEC 60529 onwards, and not present in the EN version, older enclosure specifications will sometimes be seen with an optional third IP digit denoting impact resistance. Newer products are likely to be given an IK rating instead. However, there is not an exact correspondence of values between the old and new standards.
|01||0.15||200 g dropped through 7.5 cm|
|1||0.225||150 g dropped through 15 cm||02||0.2||200 g dropped through 10 cm|
|2||0.375||250 g dropped through 15 cm||03||0.35||200 g dropped through 17.5 cm|
|3||0.5||250 g dropped through 20 cm||04||0.5||200 g dropped through 25 cm|
|05||0.7||200 g dropped through 35 cm|
|06||1||500 g dropped through 20 cm|
|5[dubious ]||2||500 g dropped through 40 cm||07||2||500 g dropped through 40 cm|
|7[dubious ]||6||1.5 kg dropped through 40 cm||08||5||1.7 kg dropped through 29.5 cm|
|09||10||5 kg dropped through 20 cm|
|9[dubious ]||20||5.0 kg dropped through 40 cm||10||20||5 kg dropped through 40 cm|
German standard DIN 40050-9 extended the older IEC 60529 rating system with an IP69K rating for high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications. DIN 40050-9 has been replaced by ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles-Degrees of protection (IP code). Such enclosures must not only be dust-tight (IP6X), but it must also be able to withstand high-pressure and steam cleaning. By 2013 IEC 60529 added level 9 water ingress testing, with IPx9 being essentially the same spray test as IP69K, also adding a drawing of a fixture to verify the water pressure.
The test specifies a spray nozzle that is fed with 80 °C water at 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) and a flow rate of 14–16 L/min. The nozzle is held 10–15 cm from the tested device at angles of 0°, 30°, 60° and 90° for 30 seconds each. The test device sits on a turntable that completes a rotation once every 12 seconds (5 rpm). The IPx9 specification in IEC 60529 has details for testing larger specimens that will not fit on a turntable test fixture (see table above).
The IP69K test specification was initially developed for road vehicles, especially those that need regular intensive cleaning (dump trucks, cement mixers, etc.), but it also finds use in other areas (for example, the food industry and car wash centers).
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association defines NEMA enclosure types in NEMA standard number 250. The following table outlines which IEC 60529 IP code each respective NEMA rating meets. Ratings between the two standards are not directly equivalent: NEMA ratings also require additional product features and tests (such as functionality under icing conditions, enclosures for hazardous areas, knock-outs for cable connections and others) not addressed by IP ratings.
|NEMA enclosure||IP Code|
|3, 3X, 3S, 3SX||IP55|
|12, 12K, 13||IP54|
The inclusion of an Ingress Protection rating has become increasingly common for use in the consumer electronics market with devices such as mobile phones, tablet computers and cameras now being sold as water resistant, waterproof and dustproof.
With more than 1 billion mobile devices shipped worldwide from 2013, mobile phones are being carried daily into various environments where water, dust and finer microparticles are a threat to the continued usage of electronic devices.
Manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, Motorola and later Apple, have now started to market handsets that offer IP ratings in their Xperia Z series, Sony Xperia X Performance and the new Sony Xperia XZ, Galaxy S series, Galaxy Note series, and Galaxy A series, Moto G (3rd generation) and iPhone 7 respectively, aimed at consumers who are concerned about their handsets getting submerged in liquids or getting covered in dust.
While various ranges of smartphones do offer protection against the elements, they aren't always protected against drops and can still break easily when dropped onto hard surfaces. Due to this, the need for ruggedised mobile phones has also increased significantly with specialist manufacturers like Bullitt Group offering devices that combine both Ingress Protection ratings and MIL-STD 810G standards which protect against a range of environmental conditions such as Low Pressure (altitude), High and Low Temperature Variations, Contamination by Fluids, Solar Radiation (Ultraviolet and direct exposure to sunlight), Humidity, Salt Fog, Sand and Dust.
The combination of both Ingress Protection ratings and MIL-STD 810 has provided the ruggedised consumer market an extra dimension to consider when marketing products towards those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports as well as manual workers in skilled trades.
Digital photography is another area that has seen an increase in the number of devices offering protection against water and dust as well as protection against drops, shocks, vibrations and temperature variations. Popular devices like the Nikon 1 AW1, Sony Cyber-shot T-series and the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 offer high-spec photography with the added protection that IP and MIL-STD standards provide.
Photographers, both professional and amateur, can make good use of ruggedized photography equipment in environments where conditions are unpredictable, and where the device/camera may require added protection against the elements.
With the availability of portable devices, and the desire to get outside with active lifestyles, portable speakers have become popular with the rugged consumer market for those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports as well.
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