IP AND NEMA RATINGS OF CCTV PRODUCTS


Security equipment is not just for retail showrooms and back offices anymore. It's all over the place and just as likely to be outdoors as it is indoors. There are two commonly used rating systems to indicate how well an electronic product will withstand environment factors. The "IP" rating system officially stands for "Ingress Protection". (Don't confuse this with the acronym for "Internet Protocol" which is something entirely different.) The IP rating is specifically used to rate particle (dust) protection and water protection. The "NEMA" rating system was created by the United States "National Electrical Manufacturers Association". This rating system is similar to the IP system but also rates the degree of protection against corrosion, gasket aging, and construction practices.

 

IPNM RATING


The first digit (n) refers to the "Solid Particle Protection". All electrical components are at least a '2' which means that fingers cannot be inserted into the component. For outdoor electronics the rubber meets the road at a 5 or 6 which indicates how well the enclosure protects against dust. A '5' means that it has some dust protection. The highest level is '6' which means that it is dust proof. The second digit (m) refers to the enclosure's protection against the harmful ingress of water, or how waterproof the item is. Numbers range from 0 (no water protection) to 8 (can go in deep water) with no ill effect. The most commonly used IP ratings for CCTV are:

The first '5' in 'IP55' means that the product is 'dust protected'. More specifically: "Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact". The second '5' means that the product is protected against 'jets' of water. More specifically: "Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects."
The first '6' means that the product is 'dust proof'. More specifically: "No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact". The second '6' means that the product is protected against 'powerful jets' of water. More specifically: "Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects".
The '6' means the same as above: 'dust protected. The '7' means that the product is protected in water immersed up to 1 meter. More specifically: "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 1m of submersion)."

NEMA RATING


The United States National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) also publishes protection ratings for enclosures similar to the IP rating system. However, it also dictates other product features not addressed by IP codes, such as corrosion resistance, gasket aging, and construction practices. The most common NEMA ratings for CCTV are below. Anything above a 4 is for fully submersible applications or hazardous materials.

Weather-resistant. Protects against weather hazards such as rain and sleet; used outdoors on ship docks, in construction work, and in tunnels and subways. 3X includes corrosions.
Intended for outdoor use. Provides a degree of protection against falling rain and ice formation. Meets rod entry, rain, external icing, and rust-resistance design tests. In our experience, 3R provides protection against rain falling vertically but does not protect well in circumstances where water is spraying horizontally as with sprinklers or in windstorms.
Watertight. Must exclude at least 65 GPM of water from 1-in. nozzle delivered from a distance not less than 10 ft for 5 min. Used outdoors on ship docks, in dairies, and in breweries. The 4X model has corrosion resistance.
 

CONCLUSIONS

  • In general, if you don't see a NEMA or IP rating on an electronic part then you should be careful where you use it. Keep it inside, and away from moisture, water and excessive dust. If you don't see a rating on one of Optiview's products, please call us for more information. A product may be suitable for some environments even though it's not officially rated.
  • If you are going to use a product indoors however it's in an area that could be splashed or has excessive dust, look for an IP rating of IP55 or better, or a NEMA rating of at least 3.
  • If you are going to use a camera outside but in a fairly protected environment (under an eave or in a barn for example) then use IP55 or better, or a NEMA rating of at least 3.
  • A camera that is outdoors exposed to the elements should have an IP rating of IP66 or a NEMA rating of at least 3R. This is another situation where you might want to contact a manufacturer because a product may be rated at IP55 but do perfectly well in harsh environments.
  • Unless you plan on swimming or snorkeling with the equipment, anything over IP66 or NEMA 4 is probably overkill.

REFERENCES

 
 
Last Modified: Jun 1, 2013