IP rating-important factor of LED lights
What are IP ratings?
IP (ingress protection) ratings are defined in IEC 60529, which classify and provide guidance on the degree of protection of mechanical and electrical enclosures against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water.
IP rating consists of the letters IP followed by two digits, the higher the number, the better the protection effect. It can be seen that the IP level is not only for the waterproof level, but also the protection against dust and other solid matter is also required.
Most indoor lighting fixtures will have an IP20 rating, which is suitable for most interior applications. Ratings between IP44 and IP65 are suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage, providing they are placed in a sheltered area and shielded from the toughest weather conditions.
Video about IP rating
What do two numbers mean?
Each IP code has two numbers to define its protection level. If there is only one level of protection, “x” is used as another number. The European standard EN 60529 outlines the IP rating of “electrical equipment enclosures” as an international classification system, as follows:
- The first digit of the IP code indicates the degree of protection of personnel from contact with moving parts (except smooth rotating shafts, etc.) and the degree of protection of equipment from the intrusion of external solid external objects into the enclosure.
- The second digit indicates the degree of protection of the equipment against all forms of harmful entry of moisture (e.g. dripping, spraying, submersion, etc.) into the inside of the enclosure.
For defining the first ‘IP’ digit for the LED light fitting, we have listed the below table for your quick understanding.
|0||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has no special protection||No protection|
|1||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection from solid objects greater than 50mm, such as the size of a hand|
|2||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against objects greater than 12mm in diameter, such as a finger|
|3||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against objects with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more, such as a screwdriver|
|4||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against objects 1mm in diameter, such as a wire|
|5||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against harmful dust|
|6||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture is totally dust-tight|
Video of IP Level (Ingress of Solid) Test Procedure
For defining the second ‘IP’ digit for the LED light fitting, we have listed the below table for your quick understanding.
|1||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against dripping water|
|2||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from vertical|
|3||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against spray up to 60° from vertical|
|4||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against water spray from all directions|
|5||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against low-pressure water jets (all directions)|
|6||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture has protection against strong water jets|
|7||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture is protected against temporary immersion in water|
|8||The LED street or flood or high bay lighting fixture is protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure|
Download the IP Rating Chart
How IP test is carried out?
IEC International Standard IEC 60529 and European EN 60509 standard are the recognized standard for IP rating tests. They apply to many daily types of equipment such as electronic/electrical consumer goods, which also include LED lamps. Therefore, the IP test method is also mentioned in the standard EN60598 for LED outdoor luminaires. Below we have a detailed description of the IPx5 waterproof test.
- Test Method: Water spray test
- Test equipment: Spray nozzle with an inner diameter of 6.3mm
- Test conditions: The distance between the test sample and the spray nozzle is 2.5m ~ 3m, and the water flow is 12.5L /min (750 L/h). 1 min per square meter (excluding installation area, minimum 3 min) and according to the surface area of the enclosure of the sample should be tested
Determination of test results: after 3 minutes or the time as calculated, if no water enters the enclosure, we can determine that the product passes IP65.
Video of IPX6 test for LED Street Light
Why are IP ratings required for lighting?
Products that need to do IP rating testing include outdoor chassis, distribution boxes, controllers, outdoor lamps and lanterns, signage, water meters, underwater cameras, waterproof cell phones, power equipment, smart wearable devices, etc. Here we focus on the importance of the IP rating of LED luminaires.
When selecting a luminaire for a commercial or industrial building, the IP rating specification should reflect the necessary protection provided by the environmental conditions the luminaire is likely to encounter.
If the luminaire is not protected from dust, then the dust will enter the luminaire’s power supply cavity. This will accelerate the corrosion and damage to the LED’s power supply, making it non-functional and even causing a fire due to leakage. If dust enters the LED module, it will affect the efficiency of the luminaire and lighting results. Moreover, industrial and factory environments will have a very large amount of dust, which causes explosions if they come into contact with the electrically charged parts of LED luminaires.
If the luminaire is not waterproof, then this can lead to harmful liquids (water) entering the interior of the LED luminaire (power supply cavity). This could lead to the possibility of a short circuit in the internal circuit. If it enters the LED light source part, there will also be a short circuit. At the same time, water will affect the light distribution of LED light which finally influences lighting results. Finally, the water enters the interior of the LED lamp, and the LED lamp will corrode more or less, which will affect the service life of the LED lamp.
How to choose LED lights with the right IP ratings for the project?
We introduced the importance of IP rating in the previous section, now let’s briefly talk about how to choose LED lamps with IP rating. The following are the meanings of several common IP ratings.
- IP20 – protection from objects > 12.5mm in size, no protection from rain
- IP54 – significant protection from dust, protection from rain, spraying, and splashing
- IP65 – air-tight, protection from rain, spraying, splashing, and nozzle pressure
- IP66 – air-tight, protection from all rain and sea conditions
- IP67 – air-tight, protection from accidental submersion in water
- IP68 – air-tight, protection from accidental deep submersion in water
In the following table, we have made a one-to-one correspondence with application places, IP ratings, and types of LED lamps encountered in daily life. So we can get a quick understanding of different IP ratings LED lamps for different applications.
|Applications||Required IP rating||LED light category|
|General indoor area||IP20||Downlight, LED strip|
|Bathroom, warehouse||IPx4||LED headlamp|
|Warehouse, factory without much dust||IP54||LED high bay light, LED gas station lighting|
|Dusty factory, workshop||IP65||LED high bay light, ATEX LED canopy light|
|General outdoor area||IP65 or IP66||LED street light, LED flood light|
|Underground||IP67||Wall Lights, LED landscape|
By introducing so much knowledge about IP rating, I hope you have some knowledge in choosing the right IP-rated LED lights. To conclude, before you make a choice, you need to understand the specific installation environment of these lights. According to the different environments, choose the right IP-rated lights. For example, for indoor environments, IP54 can basically meet all requirements. Of course, if it is not a humid and highly dusty environment, IP20 lamps are also no problem. But for some special indoor environments, such as high dust factories, it is recommended to choose the IP65 rating. For outdoor use, you need to consider whether it needs to be installed underwater or underground, if not, IP65 and IP66 LED street lights will be fine for municipal lighting. If underneath, IP67 is recommended, and underwater, IP68 is recommended. Besides IP rating, impact resistance (IK rating) is also an important factor that we should pay attention to, you can check IK rating important factor of LED light to get more informations.