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.
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 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.
- 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.