Measuring Computer Protection
What does the IP65 rating mean?
by Barry Barcode
Did you know that for computers in industrial or field environments it is recommended that they have an IP rating of IP65?
Let me back up.
My name is Barry Barcode and I tend to get ahead of myself. I just get so jazzed up about this stuff! An Ingress Protection rating, otherwise known as an IP rating, is the standard by which we in the biz (as I like to call it), rate products in terms of how protected they are from the elements, especially water and other liquids.
It’s pretty simple stuff, the IP rating is a two digit rating like the aforementioned IP65. The first digit (in this case, 6) corresponds to the degree to which a computer is protected against solid, foreign objects. It is rated on a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 meaning no protection from solid objects at all and 6 meaning complete protection from the smallest solids, including dust. Yes, dust – that stuff that gets into your computer’s fan, slows it down and causes your computer to run hotter and subsequently slower. In the example of IP65, the 6 would mean that this computer would have full protection even from dust. Dust tight, as they say.
That second number refers to, you guessed it, the degree to which the computer is protected from liquids, but this number is on a scale from 0 to 8, not 6. A computer with an IP rating of IP65 would be protected from jets of water, but, bump that second digit up to an 8 and that computer has protection from being immersed in water up to 1 meter (that’s 39 inches!).
Something to keep in mind is that protection from liquids doesn’t just mean liquid spills, like your favorite morning coffee, but also environmental liquids, too. I’m talking about humidity, of course. Placing your computer in a humid environment for too long without at least a rating of 5 can cause it serious damage. That’s why in an industrial or field environment, let’s say, the rain forest (unlikely, but possible), you’re going to want to make sure the second digit of your computer’s IP rating is at least a 5.
In a world that is increasingly mobile, with smartphones and tablets, folks that are working in industrial and field environments are looking for computer hardware that keeps them mobile, but that won’t force them to take a risk on valuable hardware.
So, the next time you’re in the market for a rugged computer, tablet or smartphone, make sure to check its Ingress Protection (IP) rating. You may think you’re spending more than you’d like on your device, but in your line of work it could save you hundreds on potential damage.