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When selecting electronic devices of products, user safety is a key factor. Characteristic markings that can be found on enclosures and packaging enable you to determine the degree of protection and waterproofness of a particular component. To understand it, you need to know what they refer to.
The phrase International Protection Rating refers to the the degree of protection (IP codes) provided by the enclosure of a device against intrusion. As per IEC 60 529 (PN-EN 60 529) standard, it has the form of IP XX, where:
Furthermore, sometimes characteristic digits are followed by a special character, which serves as a supplementary information or marking of the level of protection against access to hazardous parts. According to the adapted character hierarchy, any number contains all the preceding levels of protection.
The first digit indicates the level of protection of the device against the ingress of solid foreign objects, and user protection against contact with hazardous parts.
Fourth level of protection (IP 4X) – protection against solid objects with the diameter of up to 1mm. This level also ensures protection to users touching the hazardous device with a wire.
Fifth level of protection (IP 5X) – protection against dust. It also ensures safety of a person using a wire.
Sixth level of protection (IP 6X) – this is the highest level of protection, as it ensures complete protection of the insides of the device and its components against dust. This level provides full safety of people and parts of the body typically used for operating the device.
The second digit indicates full or partial protection against water, and characterises a device as waterproof or partially waterproof against the determining factor (IP X_).
When there’s no need for indicating the protection level for the factors represented by the first or the second digit, ”X” is used in the notation, e.g. IP6X – this means that the device or product is protected against dust, whereas protection against water does not need to be specified. Furthermore, in special cases the characteristic digits may be followed by additional characters (letters). Letters A, B, C, and D indicate user safety when touching the device:
IP 44 level of protection – protection against solid objects with the diameter of up to 1mm, protection of the user touching the hazardous device with a wire, and protection against water splashing against the enclosure from any direction.
IP 44D level of protection – this is the notation for the IP 44 level of protection, with an additional letter emphasizing the protection of the user touching the device with a wire.
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