View Full Version : IP Rating - What is it?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-01-2010, 08:13 PM
I thought I would post up a good explanation of Ingress Protection Ratings (IP Rating).

Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are developed by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization (CENELEC) (NEMA IEC 60529 Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures - IP Code), specifying the environmental protection the enclosure provides.

The IP rating normally has two (or three) numbers:

1. Protection from solid objects or materials
2. Protection from liquids (water)
3. Protection against mechanical impacts (commonly omitted, the third number is not a part of IEC 60529)

Example - IP Rating

With the IP rating IP 54, 5 describes the level of protection from solid objects and 4 describes the level of protection from liquids.

An "X" can used for one of the digits if there is only one class of protection, i.e. IPX1 which addresses protection against vertically falling drops of water e.g. condensation..
IP First number - Protection against solid objects
0 No special protection
1 Protected against solid objects up to 50 mm, e.g. accidental touch by persons hands.
2 Protected against solid objects up to 12 mm, e.g. persons fingers.
3 Protected against solid objects over 2.5 mm (tools and wires).
4 Protected against solid objects over 1 mm (tools, wires, and small wires).
5 Protected against dust limited ingress (no harmful deposit).
6 Totally protected against dust.

IP Second number - Protection against liquids
0 No protection.
1 Protection against vertically falling drops of water e.g. condensation.
2 Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15o from the vertical.
3 Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60o from the vertical.
4 Protection against water sprayed from all directions - limited ingress permitted.
5 Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions - limited ingress.
6 Protected against temporary flooding of water, e.g. for use on ship decks - limited ingress permitted.
7 Protected against the effect of immersion between 15 cm and 1 m.
8 Protects against long periods of immersion under pressure.

In my experience, most fixture failures are due to moisture and insects getting inside the body of the fixture. Moisture, even small amounts of condensation, wreak havoc on internal wire connections, sockets, and lamps. And we have all found ants, and other bugs making their home inside fixtures. By designing and building fixtures that have a high IP rating, we do away with all of this and have fixtures that stand the test of time.

Obviously a lot more engineering has to go into a fixture that obtains an IP68 rating (the highest level of ingress protection) but I think this is a direction that the industry must move towards. Does it result in a more expensive product? Sure it does, but I have always maintained that one of the best ways to make more money in your operations is to install better, more expensive products.

David Gretzmier
05-01-2010, 09:19 PM
lots of good info james. the question I have on the ratings is the water ingress level on a fixture. it makes sense up to level 7 and 8.

level 7 seems to makes sense for land based fixtures, as this seems to be very water resistant, dunkable, from 6 inches to 3 feet of water, which would be sufficient for even some water features.

but level 8 seems like it should have levels as well. you mentioned pressure, just deeper than 3 feet or tops out at 50 feet underwater? I have not done much diving, but I know the pressure on my body at 3 foot is way different than the pressure at 50 foot. and below that where I have not gone, I know the pressure on scuba divers goes up exponentially.

since you are shooting for ip68 on the fixtures you are showing on the other threads, how deep does level 8 really go?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-01-2010, 09:56 PM
I am pretty sure level 8 is good to 15 feet for one hour. There was no significant cost incremental between building them between ip 6 and 8.
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05-03-2010, 01:19 PM
Is there a reason why LED's can't be made to resist water damage?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-03-2010, 03:00 PM
It is possible and work is being done on that now. IP rated fixtures provide all forms of lamps and sockets protection from moisture and insect intrusion so this is a better solution.
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05-16-2010, 05:00 PM
Is there a reason why LED's can't be made to resist water damage?

Vista was showing one of their standard LED bullets in an aquarium at Lightfair. Looked like it worked pretty good, but no word on if the fish got electrocuted.

David Gretzmier
05-18-2010, 09:27 PM
Thought I'd chime in and thank James for this tutorial, I am looking at a trail lighting bid for one of the cities near me, and the knowledge in this thread helped me not be lost when the bid specc'ed at least IP 66 ingress.

for the record, they are looking at 32 10 foot tall light pole with an IP 67 rated LED bulb from dynamic lighting as a bid spec. So led's can be ip 67 rated, at least.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-18-2010, 11:35 PM
Dynamic Lighting as in Phillips? If the spec. calls for Phillips LED lamps (PAR, MR, etc) I would watch your numbers very closely. I have reviewed the Phillips LED lamp offerings and found them to be lackluster and quite sub-par. See if you can substitute fixtures/lamps on the bid and if so go with an IP rated fixture and another, much better performing LED lamp. wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

David Gretzmier
05-19-2010, 08:31 PM
sorry, dynamic lighting as in dynamiclighting.com, which builds street lamps and also has a few led modules they have developed for street lamps. The city bid specifically asks for bids on providing pricing using only the fixtures and led modules listed. I would do it far differently, with better lighting, less watts, less glare, more lumens, etc. and less cost than 32 $4500-6000 buck pole light every 40 feet, about 1/4 mile of lighting, tons of trees and moonlighting/uplighting possibilities, but they are not open to ideas. sad really, the city spends 125k-150k on lighting a bike/running trail, and my hands are tied. I could make it look awesome, and safe to a power of 10 for half that.