The acronym IP in this case means Ingress Protection. So IP Ratings / Codes are an index of a level of protection the device has. If we look at the word “ingress” we find the definition that's number one on Google is “the action or fact of going in or entering”.
When this is put all together it is a rating stating the protection level of something entering the device. For the most common cases its two “somethings” and they are dust/dirt and moisture/water. The rating can get more complicated to include items like oil based liquids or protection from voltage. However for our common explanation used repeatedly in consumer electronics like Bluetooth speakers it is mostly the two factors of dust and moisture.
In the IP code you will notice numbers. IPXX where X is commonly replaced with a number.
Lets review the first number.
This first number is the level indicator for solid particle protection. This is your dust and dirt type items. The rating is from 0 to 6.
Level sized Effective against Description
0: No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1: >50 mm
Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2: >12.5 mm
Fingers or similar objects
3: >2.5 mm
Tools, thick wires, etc.
4: >1 mm
Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
5: Dust protected
Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6: Dust tight
No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.
Now onto the second number.
This number is normally the most important to a buyer. The reason why it because it shows the level of liquid ingress protection, and people are often more worried about “how wet” they can get something then if it get dusty. As water normally will cause much more damage quickly to electronics then some dust or dirt.
The rating is from 0 to 9.
1: Dripping water
Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect on the specimen when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.
Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1 mm rainfall per minute
2: Dripping water when tilted at 15°
Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.
Test duration: 2.5 minutes for every direction of tilt (10 minutes total)
Water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute
3: Spraying water
Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield.
Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test.
Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
For a Spray Nozzle:
Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 5 minutes
Water volume: 10 litres per minute
Pressure: 50–150 kPa
For an oscillating tube:
Test duration: 10 minutes
Water Volume: 0.07 l/min per hole
4: Splashing of water
Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield.
Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes.
Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
Oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes, or spray nozzle (same as IPX3 spray nozzle with the shield removed)
5: Water jets
Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 15 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3 m
6: Powerful water jets
Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 litres per minute
Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m
6K: Powerful water jets with increased pressure
Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.
Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 75 litres per minute
Pressure: 1000 kPa at distance of 3 m
7: Immersion, up to 1 m depth
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 1 m of submersion).
Test duration: 30 minutes - ref IEC 60529, table 8.
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1000 mm below the surface of the water, or the highest point 150 mm below the surface, whichever is deeper.
8: Immersion, 1 m or more depth
The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.
Test duration: Agreement with Manufacturer
Depth specified by manufacturer, generally up to 3 m
9K: Powerful high temperature water jets
Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted upright, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at distance of 0.15–0.2 m.
There are specific requirements for the nozzle used for the testing.
This test is identified as IPx9 in IEC 60529.
Test duration: 30 seconds in each of 4 angles (2 minutes total)
Water volume: 14–16 litres per minute
Pressure: 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) at distance of 0.10–0.15 m
Water temperature: 80 °C
Now we come to the honest truth.
Many many people will try to sell consumer electronics like Bluetooth speakers saying they are waterproof with the an IPX6 rating. This is a flat out lie.
IPX6 is Splash Proof NOT Waterproof. Waterproof starts at IPX7.
So while an IPX6 rated item may be completely fine to put into the shower on the wall or hanging under the shower head it is NOT submersible. It can get splashed and be completely fine and suffer no damage.
However if you want a truly waterproof Bluetooth speaker then you need to look for something that is IPX7 or higher.
For instance one of the best Bluetooth waterproof speakers out there is the Hat Trick 2.0 from Malektronic. The speaker can be dropped into the pool or bathtub and sustain no damage from being submerged in water.
So if you want a Bluetooth speaker that always Sounds Perfect then you best check out Malektronic Bluetooth Speakers & Headphones.
Source: IP Code / Rating information from wikipedia.org
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