CategoryElectrotechnical

Fiber Optics Bonds Wireless Communications

In communications history, there was a big buzz when analog technology was invented. People were so excited with this new invention that it started the new age of communications. We can now hear our loved ones who are thousands of miles away through the humble analog telephone. Then occurred the advancement of digital technology. Contrary to analog which takes an audio or video message and turns it into electronic pulses, digital breaks the signal into a binary format where the audio or video message is corresponds to a series of “1”s and “0”s.

Since the humble telephone, communications technology has come a long way. Technology is now gearing towards wireless communications, rather than wired technology. Expressed by IEEE standard 8.02.11, wireless refers to the telecommunications technology, in which radio waves and microwaves carry signals to connect communications devices. These devices include pagers, cell phones, portable PCs, computer networks, GPS, satellite systems and handheld personal digtal assistants (PDAs). The idea that a network detached from wire with a transmission scheme that consists of voice and data quickly whizzing through the air from point A to point B is quite something.

The need to develop wireless networks lies in the ease of installation, and the rapidity of its technological advances. Wireless technology permits a network to go practically anywhere without having to set up cables and wires under the streets. On top of this, over-air wireless transmission is free because wireless fiber optics uses the 300 GHz spectrum and above, which includes infrared frequencies, a range that remains unlicensed. The only body that orders these transmission frequencies is the International Electrotechnical Commission or the United States’ FDA. Your wireless signal is good as sent as long as the radiated power cannot exceed the constraints determined by the IEC. It will not be long when the United States is expected to adopt the IEC standard, creating a global wireless transmission standard.

Wireless technology is widespread where local area network (LAN) can’t accommodate wires or cables. This comprises the following: (1) Last-Mile Access: High-speed links that connect end-users with Internet Service Providers or Satellite services, (2) Metropolitan Area Network extensions: Use to connect new networks, their core infrastracture, to complete, (3) Enterprise Connectivity: Use to connect LAN segments.

To maximize the power of wireless technology, it needs a little extra help from fiber optics itself. Fiber optic transceiver modules may be used to connect the Uplink/Downlink equipment to the transmission towers. This greatly adds the distance between the base station and the wireless transmission towers. By incorporating fiber optic links such as Ethernet converters, the system’s EMI sensitivity is greatly reduced while reliability and signal quality is increased.

From analog to digital, these technologies greatly depend on wires and cables to send your message to the other end. It is positive that telecommunications technology really depends on a glass or plastic fiber that sends light along its path, whether wired or wireless. Fiber optics technology is sure to remain valuable in the advancement of how the world will communicate.

The IP56 Enclosure Rating For Outdoor Equipment

IP 56 is a rating for enclosures that are subject to a variety of weather conditions. This is a standard developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is a worldwide standard. In the U.S., the National Electrical Manufacturers ASsociation (NEMA) sets similar standards.

IEC Ingress Protection Standards

The IEC has a published standard 60529, which defines Ingress Protection using a two digit code. This standard has all the information about testing and applications.

The first digit indicates the protection against access to hazardous sections and whether solid objects can get into the encolosure. In other words, how hard is it to stick your finger in there and cause some trouble.

The second digit indicates the amount of protection against water.

Here are the designations for the first digit – Hazardous Parts:

0 – Non-protected
1 – Protected against access with the back of the hand (50mm size object)
2 – Protected against access with jointed finger (12 mm x 80 mm)
3 – Protected against acess with a tool (2.5 mm)
4, 5, 6 – Protected against access with a wire (1.0 mm)

Here are the designations for the first digit – Solid Foreign Objects:

0 – Non-protected
1 – Objects greater than 50mm
2 – Objects greater than 12.5 mm
3 – Objects greater than 2.5
4 – Objects greater than or equal to 1mm
5 – Dust protected
6 – Dust tight

Protection designation for the second digit – Ingress of Liquids

0 – Non-protected
1 – Water dripping vertically
2 – Water dripping, enclosure tilted up to 15d
3 – Spraying water, upt to 60d angle from vertical
4 – Splashing water, any direction
5 – Jetting water, any direction
6 – Powerful jetting water, any direction
7 – Temporary immersion in water
8 – Continuous immersion in water

You can see that an IP56 rated enclosure is protected against dust (and other small particles) and is water tight against jetting water from any direction.

Explaining The Key Principles of High Voltage Power

There is no one universally agreed definition of what constitutes high voltage, and various industry standards are likely to have different voltage classifications. The International Electrotechnical Commission, which is recognised as a leading international standards organisation define high voltage circuits as those with more than 1000V for alternating current (AC) and at least 1500V for direct current (DC). This is distinguished from low voltage which is generally considered to be 50-1000V AC or 120-1500V DC. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) consider high voltage to be anything above 600V.

Power supplies are constrained by the amount of voltage and current that they can supply. Put simply, a power supply is a device that supplies electrical energy to one or more electric loads, and thus a high voltage power supply converts a lower voltage potential to a higher voltage potential, although as previously established definitions vary. Broadly speaking, typical high voltage power supplies range from 100V to 500kV with output power rating ranges from 1W to 40kW dependent on application, and operate from either DC or AC input voltages. The actual power of the supply is measured in watts, which equals voltage multiplied by current, however they are frequently categorised by their application rather than by their power capability.

Whilst many people remain unaware of the applications and uses of these power supplies, they are often used in equipment in which a consumer may have contact with. This includes baggage scanners at airports, and to assist certain industrial processes, for example deflection plates in Continuous Ink Jet Printers allow date codes and other information to be printed onto food and beverage containers, cosmetics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

High voltage power supplies have also become of fundamental importance across the medical industry and can be found in a variety of equipment including X-ray machinery and other large diagnostic equipment as well as applications used to remove unwanted hair, tattoos and other vascular treatments.

Other key market sectors include: semiconductors, instruments and inspection, scientific analysis and more specialised industrial applications such as electron beam welding, Electrostatic Flocking, Electron Beam Melting, Sputtering and many more.

Given the technical complexities and specific requirements posed by the various industries and pieces of equipment it is often necessary for organisations to consider a custom application in order to meet their specifications.

Make Sure Your Diagnostic Ultrasound Is Operated Safely

Diagnostic ultrasound is an imaging modality that is useful in a wide range of clinical applications, particularly prenatal diagnosis. There is, to date, no evidence that diagnostic ultrasound has produced any harm to humans (including the developing fetus).

Diagnostic ultrasound is generally perceived by users and patients as a safe technique with no adverse effects. Since ultrasound is so widely used in pregnancy, it is essential for all practitioners to ensure that its use remains safe. Ultrasound causes thermal and mechanical effects in tissue which are increased, as the output power is increased.

Most other types of examination are of less concern than are obstetric scans. Specific guidance on a range of non-obstetric examinations (including gynecological, neonatal, ophthalmic, general abdominal, cardiac etc.) can be found in many other sources.

In the last decade, there has been a general trend towards increased output, with the introduction of color-flow imaging, more use of pulsed ‘spectral Doppler’ and higher demands on B-mode imaging. In response to these increases, recommendations for the safe use of ultrasound have been issued by several bodies. In addition, recent regulations have changed the emphasis of responsibility so that more of the obligation is now placed on the operator to ensure that diagnostic ultrasound is used safely.

Despite its apparent excellent safety record, ultrasound imaging involves the deposition of energy in the body, and should only be used for medical diagnosis, with the equipment only being used by people who are fully trained in its safe and proper operation. It is the ultrasound scan operator who is responsible for controlling the output of the ultrasound equipment. This requires a good knowledge of scanner settings, and an understanding of their effect on potential thermal and mechanical bio-effects.

A fundamental approach to the safe use of diagnostic ultrasound is to use the lowest output power and the shortest scan time consistent with acquiring the required diagnostic information. This is the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably achievable). It is acknowledged, that in some situations it is reasonable to use higher output or longer examination times than in others: for example, the risks of missing a fetal anomaly must be weighed against the risk of harm from potential bio effects. Consequently, it is essential for operators of ultrasound scanners to be properly trained and fully informed when making decisions of this nature.

Ultrasound is a mechanical energy in which a pressure wave travels through tissue. Reflection and scattering back to the transducer are used to form the image.

The physical effects of ultrasound are generally categorized as:
* Thermal effects-heating of tissue as ultrasound is absorbed by tissue.
* Heat is produced at the transducer surface.
* Cavitation- the formation of gas bubbles at high negative pressure.
* Other mechanical effects- radiation forces leading to streaming in fluids and stress at tissue interfaces.

The implications of these effects have been determined by in vitro, animal and human epidemiological studies and are briefly summarized below.

The thermal index (TI) and mechanical index (MI) is introduced to provide the operator with an indication of the potential for ultrasound induced bio-effects. TI provides an indication of the relative potential for a tissue temperature rise. MI provides an indication of the relative potential for ultrasound to induce an adverse bio effect by a non-thermal mechanism such as cavitation.

Any potential bio-effects are likely to be of greatest significance in the embryo or fetus. Thus when undertaking obstetric scans restriction to scanning times are recommended these have been formulated on the basis of thermal effects arising from the scan and are therefore based on the thermal index (TI). Obtain diagnostically satisfactory images.

Regulations governing the output of diagnostic ultrasound have been largely set by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is currently in the process of setting internationally agreed-upon standards.

According to the current FDA regulations, the maximum levels for spatial peak time averaged intensity is limited to 720 Mw/cm2. The thermal index is the ratio of the required power used to cause a maximum temperature increase of 1C. A thermal index of 1.0 indicates a power causing a temperature increase of 1C. A thermal index of 2.0 would be twice that power but would not necessarily indicate a peak temperature rise of 2C. The temperature rise is dependent on tissue type and is particularly dependent on the presence of bone.

The mechanical index is an estimate of the maximum amplitude of the pressure pulse in tissue. It gives an indication as to the relative risk of mechanical effects (Streaming and cavitation). The FDA regulations allow a mechanical index of up to 1.9 to be used for all applications except ophthalmic (maximum 0.23).

All current regulations place considerably more responsibility on the user to understand the meaning of the output energy and to apply the lowest usable energy.

MPEG2 and MPEG4

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is a group of experts formed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). Experts from MPEG primarily set standards for audio and video compression and transmission. MPEG has standardized a number of compression and ancillary standards. MPEG2 and MPEG4 are two such standards. MPEG4 is a newer and more advanced version than MPEG2. MPEG4 incorporates a number of new video and audio standards and therefore is more used than MPEG2. This article consists a comparison of these two standards of MPEG:

MPEG2

MPEG4

MPEG2 includes transmission and compression methods of generic coding of over-the-air, cable as well as satellite television.

MPEG4 is an advanced standard of MPEG and includes methods of coding audio-visual objects. MPEG uses advanced coding tools and has higher compression factor than MPEG2. MPEG4 has more coding efficiency than MPEG2.

This is used for transmission of audio and video for quality television broadcasts. It also supports high definition content.

This includes a number of features of MPEG2. It is used for compression of AV data for web, CD distribution, voice and television broadcasts applications.

This compression scheme is used for over-the-air digital television from Dish Network, DirecTV and many other TV services.

This can be used for over-the-air television. However it is not used for the purpose.

This is used for DVD-video. But this standard imposes certain restrictions in terms of dimensions, aspect ratio(4:3, 16:9), audio-video bitrate(max 9 Mbit/s) etc.

This is used on DVD, HD-DVD and works better than the other. It is efficient across a variety of bit-rates ranging from a few kilobits per second to tens of megabits per second.

This can be used on Blue-ray Discs. But MPEG4 is mostly used as it is better than other one.

For HD video and Blue-ray Discs transmission, This standard is predominantly used. DirecTV and Dish Network of United States use MPEG4 standard for the purpose.

It is not used in transmission of 3D video.

It is used for transmission of 3D video. Apart from this, it is effectively used in animation graphics, digital television, World Wide Web and their extensions. DirecTV transmits 3D content using this MPEG standard.

It is not used in Digital Right Management signaling.

It supports Intellectual Property Management and Protection (IPMP), which provides the facility to use proprietary technologies to manage and protect content such as digital right management.

Another thing, this technology does not supports multimedia applications such as Java application.

But this also supports Java application and the like.

In DirecTV, high definition content sent on two digit channel numbers use MPEG2. MPEG2 can transmit HD content but has many restrictions.

In DirecTV, HD channels above 100 and PPVs uses MPEG4 technique. MPEG4 is more effective than MPEG2 in transmission and compression of HD video and audio.

The 3 Things You Can Check Before You Enrol In A Course

Becoming a fully qualified electrician gives you the opportunities to carry out electrical work in domestic, commercial and industrial premises, as well as opportunities for becoming a Maintenance Electrician. You can even work in media organisations, sport, entertainment; plus lots more. Alternatively, you may wish to become a Domestic Electrician working in people’s homes, testing, installing and connecting wiring systems for household electrical appliances.

This article highlights 3 things we recommend you consider before you enrol on a course to become an electrician. They are: the right course, a suitable training provider and the support you might want to receive.

1. The correct course

If you’d like to become a fully qualified electrician, you would originally have had to take this qualification:

  • City & Guilds 2330 Level 2 and 3 / 2356 NVQ Level 3

Now, learners can take the new City & Guilds qualification:

  • City & Guilds Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment (Buildings, Structures and the Environment) (2357)

Alternatively, if you would like to be a Domestic Electrical Installer you should choose a course that leads to these qualifications:

  • EAL Level 2 Certificate for Domestic Electrical Installers inc. Part P
  • City & Guilds 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations (2382-10)
  • City & Guilds Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification (2392-10)

If you decide to become a domestic electrical installer, it may also help if you enrol on a package which includes other qualifications such as PAT testing or renewable energy. This could help enhance your skills and increase your earning potential.

Once you’ve successfully completed the relevant qualification(s), you can call yourself either a fully qualified electrician or a qualified domestic electrical installer.

2. The right training provider

Clearly one of the first things you’ll probably want to check with any potential training provider is that they can offer you a course which leads to the qualification(s) above. Then, you’ll probably want to spend some time finding out how you’ll be trained so you can be sure they’ll suit your needs.

Electrical courses combine practical and theoretic elements. So that you can enjoy training that’s convenient, you’ll want to choose a provider which has centres across the UK. You won’t therefore need to travel a long way or have to spend time far from home in a hotel or B&B. Of course, a provider which has many centres can give you peace of mind to know that they have the scale and size to support you during your electrical course.

With your theory training, it may help significantly if you could find a provider that allows you to train when and where it suits you. This can allow you to fit your training around your existing commitments.

3. Appropriate levels of support

Whether you decide to become a fully qualified electrician or a domestic electrical installer, the support that’s available from your training provider can be very helpful. Consider choosing a provider that has practical tutors who combine on the job experience with tutoring experience. Plus, you’ll want to see that the provider can offer you theory tutor support too. Lastly, it can be helpful to choose a provider that can give you the relevant support from the administration department, so you have someone to turn to should you wish to ask questions, raise queries or offer feedback.

Color Code for Electrical Wiring

Electrical wiring is something that requires foresight, planning, and a certain degree of know-how. Going into electrical wiring without these tools at your disposal can potentially have some pretty frightening consequences! Electricity isn’t something to be toyed with haphazardly. – Having said that, it’s not something that you should necessarily be afraid of either.

There are various codes and rules in place to make electrical wiring as easy and as safe as possible – both for professionals and beginners. Aside from various electrical wiring handbooks, the first and primary tool at your disposal is the color code that has been established to aid in differentiating the various wires. These colors will often vary depending on region, so you’ll have to find out what it is for your area.

There are some fundamental differences between the color code in Europe and that of the western hemisphere, such as Canada and the US. These regions are not the only places that variations exist, but I’ll assume the majority of those reading this article are from these areas. Please confirm all color codes with a second local professional source before commencing construction.

Standard Electrical Color Code in most of Europe (IEC – International Electrotechnical Commission)

  • Ground or Earth: green-yellow.
  • Neutral: blue.
  • Hot: brown, black, and grey for 3-phase. Single phase is brown.

Standard Electrical Color Code in the US and Canada

  • Ground or Earth: bare, green, or green-yellow.
  • Neutral: white.
  • Hot: black, red, and blue, for 3-phase. Single phase is black, and red if there’s a second active.

Once the power has reached your breaker, it is then typically divided throughout your home to your various wall sockets, lights, and appliances. This is where you will probably benefit from knowing the color code as you’ll know which is hot, which is neutral and so forth. As you can see from the above data, the “color trend” for electrical wiring seems to be black or brown for hot, and white or blue for the neutral.

Again, you should get confirmation for your particular country and region for good measure! Another way to find this out is to go to your breaker and examine where the individual wires come out. If there are any labels telling what is hot and what is neutral, this will serve as proof. And yet another way is to pull a light switch out of the wall (temporarily) and see which color wire is being “switched”.

If your home has been wired correctly, the hot wire should be running through the switch, with the neutral bypassing the switch and going straight to the light fixture. If any of these double-checks result in conflicting patterns, you should probably contact a local certified electrician explaining the situation and request advice. There’s a possibility that the prior landowner did some tamperin’ of his own.

A Quick Introduction to PAT Testing

The term PAT Testing is commonly used to refer to the process of checking the performance and safety of electrical appliances and systems in the workplace. The term itself acts as an (tautological) abbreviation of the term Portable Appliance Testing although the process is more generally termed In-service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment.

Before looking at how PAT testing is actually performed it is worth considering the purpose behind it and the requirements that drive it. The key purpose is to ensure the safety of electrical equipment but to this end it is also important that records are kept of the safety of individual electrical items and, following an assessment, when they are going to require follow up inspections.

There are many regulations that require the implementation of PAT testing, but the main piece of legislation is the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which demands that employers ensure electrical equipment is maintained sufficiently to prevent danger. More specific guidelines on assessing when and how often an appliance requires testing are provided by both the Health & Safety Executive and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Initial Checks
The first steps in ensuring the safety of an electrical appliance should ideally be performed by the users of that appliance who should be prompted to carry out basic visual checks whenever they use it. Faults like frayed or loose wires can be identified (and remedied) at any stage by anyone, without specific training and should not therefore remain a danger until the next scheduled PAT test.

Before carrying out a specific PAT test a trained tester should also, using their expertise, first perform a visual check of the appliance to look for external evidence which will be present for the vast majority of faults. Once a formal visual check is complete a PAT test should be performed, again by a trained individual, using the appropriate testing tools (see below).

Who performs PAT Testing
The actual PAT testing can be carried out by anyone with sufficient training and/or who is deemed competent. This may therefore constitute a member of staff in the workplace who has received training such as a City & Guilds qualification (although there is no one recognised qualification that testers require), or an external organisation.

There are obvious benefits to both; using internal staff may bring cheaper labour costs and greater flexibility however using specialist PAT Testing companies would bring benefit from a greater level of expertise – gained through the experience of performing tests day-in day-out – as well as negating the need to buy in the required testing equipment separately. As PAT testing is a task which relies, to a significant extent, on the judgement of the tester, the latter option may ultimately be preferable.

Classes of Electrical Items
The level of testing that each electrical appliance will warrant or require will depend on which class it falls under – as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). One of the key elements of PAT testing is knowing how to identify the class of a certain appliance and the testing it then requires.

Class 1 items refer to those with wires which have insulation only one layer thick and they therefore need to be checked as being earthed. Class 2 items however have wire insulation with two layers and as a consequence do not need to be tested for an earth. Class 3 items, which should come with a labelled transformer, are appliances with a low voltage supply that has to be below 50V. They are often referred to as being supplied with Separated Extra Low Voltage.

Class 2 & 3 items should be labelled as such and therefore appliances without a label should be treated as Class 1. There are some other classes to be aware of which use two core cables: Classes 0 (non-earthed) and 01 (earthed) but these were banned in 1975.

PAT Testing Equipment
There are a variety of tools that can be employed to carry out PAT testing depending on the particular requirements of the job at hand and the capabilities of the PAT tester.

The most basic testing devices that are generally used by staff working as in-house testers within an organisation, are Pass/Fail devices, which, as the name suggests simply give the user a pass or fail reading. These devices are used by in-house testers because of their simplicity and the fact that they therefore do not need the user to have advanced skills and training. The devices themselves will fundamentally test for pass/fail against the criteria of earth continuity, insulation resistance and a wiring check. Some, however, also have accompanying functionality, such as the ability to print the results on labels, which can be tagged to the appliance being tested, and the option of being battery powered to allow the user to move around between appliances more freely. Whilst they may be able to perform tagging the testers won’t store the results and they will therefore need to be logged elsewhere.

For those PAT Testers who are more experienced or highly trained, usually at specialist PAT testing companies, there are more advanced PAT devices available which provide more in depth testing metrics and more advanced functionality to handle those results. For example, testing devices can perform checks such as fuse, lead polarity and RCD tests in addition to the basic functionality and then display and record the more complex readings. Latterly, computerised PAT testers have allowed users to actually store, analyse and compare these results on the device itself rather than transfer them to another computer for analysis.

Cell Phone Safety

Cell phone safety is a topic widely debated around the world. Millions of dollars is being spent ever year to find out the dangers in using cell phones “if any” The research is to determine whether or not there is a dangerous exposure to radiofrequency energy which could result in cancer.

You may have heard some cell phone manufacturers playing down the exposure as minimal and that the traces of radiofrequency energy exposed from cell phones could not be proven as a health hazard. You will also have heard some cancer research or pharmaceutical companies campaigning for all cell phone manufacturers to issue a warning to all cell phone users regarding the dangerous levels of radiofrequency. We see this type of warning on cigarette boxes.

As cell phones are relatively new we will know exactly how much if any damage they are causing as the years go by, however it is agreed by all that cell phones do give of exposure to radiofrequency and for that reason alone you should take some precautions.

You can eliminate the exposure to your body at a very inexpensive cost. Wearing an earpiece has become very popular and using car kits will reduce the time the cell phone is against your ear. The car kit is also essential for safe driving and in many states and other countries it is against the law to drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time.

Cell phones and children

Apart from the expense aspect children should have limited access to cellular phones. While the debate is going back and forth from cell phone manufacturers and cancer research groups it is best to play it safe. Some countries such as the United Kingdom have recommended that children be limited in using cell phones but this is advertised as a precaution only with no medical evidence supporting the case for cancerous side affects. Children’s brains are still growing and now many countries have advertised precaution only.

The IEC (The International Electrotechnical Commission) in Switzerland has issued guidelines for cell phone manufacturers to measure the amount of radiation that their individual phones release. Medical conventions are held ever year all over the world to try and establish a healthy outcome to all the debates.

Are the cell phone manufacturers making changes?

The cell manufacturers are certainly spending millions on research to provide evidence that radiation levels from cell phones are not harmful. They are bringing out phones that limit radiation but the fact remains that all cell phones currently on the market today omit some radiations. Let’s face it, no cell phone manufacturer is going to come out and tell you that their product may be harmful. If there is no harmful side affects why are cell phone manufacturers constantly trying to bring out new cell phones that omit less radiation? Come to your own conclusion.

Overview:

Radiation from cellular phones is harmful if enough is administered into the body but the debate remains on how much is omitted from the cell phone and if that level is a danger. What is evident is the fact that since the introduction of cell phones tumor related cancerous diseases have increased. Neurologists in Ireland have expressed concerns over the growing number of neurological patients treated there since the spread of mobiles.

You need to be sensible and limit your exposure. As mentioned before headsets, earpiece and car kits are all ways to avoid dangerous exposure to radiation. It may take many years to come before we see the real results of cell radiation exposure. Look after your children now and do not regret what could be evident in ten or twenty years. Encourage children to send SMS text instead of constantly chatting on the phone.

We all use cell phones and some more than others, they are reliable, convenient and a technological master piece but with all master pieces “handle with care”.

Declan Tobin is a successful freelance writer providing advice for consumers on purchasing a variety of Cell phone plans [http://www.no1-in-cell-phones.com] which includes Cell prepaid plans [http://www.no1-in-cell-phones.com/cell-prepaid-plans.html], Carriers [http://www.no1-in-cell-phones.com/cell-phone-carriers.html], and more! His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource of interesting and relevant information for all of your phone interests and needs.

The IP Rating System Explained

IP stands for Ingress Protection. What is ingress protection, I hear you say.
Ingress protection is the degree to which an electrical device can prevent
itself from being invaded by solids or liquids. That is to say, the degree to
which it can protect itself from ingress.

This can be particularly important as any outside interference from solids or
liquids could have cause an electrical device to malfunction, or worse, could
cause it to be dangerous. Many liquids can act as a conductor of electricity as
can fine dust particles. Solids larger than dust can also pose a threat to the
workings of an electrical device. Obviously, if we picked up a metal object and
managed to poke it into an electrical device, it could give us a nasty shock!
For these reasons, the IP rating is very important.

The IP rating is an internationally recognized standard, and is endorsed by
the International Electrotechnical Commission. Most countries around the
world have adopted this standard. This uniform standard saves companies and
organizations a great deal of time as all they need to do is refer to a device’s
IP rating rather than having to produce a detailed specification each time they
wish to describe how well it is protected from ingress.

Each IP rating comprises two numbers. The first number is a measure of how
well the object can withstand invasion by solids, ranging from no special
protection at all to protection against dust particles. The second number is a
measure of how well it can withstand liquids, ranging from no special protection
at all to watertight under water. Incidentally, this rating is not necessarily a
measure of how watertight a sub-marine vessel may be under water (although it
could be): the test is meant for objects that may be submersed, but only to a
depth specified by the manufacturer, although it could be valid for appliances
being used on a ship, for instance, where heavy seas could cause excessive
splashing.

Taking the first digit, which is for protection against solid objects, the
range is as follows:

0 – No protection against ingress from solid objects

1 – Protects against any object over 50mm

2 – Protects against any object over 12.5mm

3 – Protects against any object over 2.5mm

4 – Protects against any object over 1mm

5 – Protected from most dust ingress, enough to allow normal operation

6 – Complete protection from dust ingress

The second digit concerns protection from liquids:

0 – No protection against ingress from liquids

1 – Protected against vertically falling water drops

2 – Protected against vertically falling water drops when the enclosure is
tilted up to 15 degrees

3 – Protected against spraying water

4 – Protected against splashing water

5 – Protected against water jets

6 – Protected against powerful water jets/heavy seas

7 – Protected against temporary immersion in water

8 – Protected against continuous immersion in water

The above list may require further clarification from the manufacturer of the
specific device, especially for 7 and 8. For instance, the depth of the water
and the duration of continuous would need to be defined. The reason is
that some oceans are so deep that virtually no object could withstand the
pressure, and would collapse. Also, continuous may mean eternally
to some people – and no-one could guarantee anything forever!

To give you an example of how the system works, take the Insectocutor IND65
Fly Killer Machine from Arkay Hygiene. Its IP rating is 65 (hence the name). The
6 means that it is fully protected from dust. The 5 means that it is protected
against water jets, but not as powerful as may be experienced in heavy seas. The
IP65 rating means that the IND65 can be used in facilities where there may be a
lot of dust in the air or where occasional jets of water are experienced. The
IND65 has in fact been recently been re-named as the IP65 as a recognition of
this rating.

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