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Your Guide to NEMA and IP66 Enclosure Ratings!!

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Our waterproof component box used with our color changing LED lights for pond fountains, and our color changing LED lighting for lake aerators has a rating of: IP66, NEMA 3

NEMA 3: It protects against windblown dust, rain, sleet, and snow and will be undamaged by ice forming on the enclosure.

IP66: Able to protect against powerful water jets. Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.

Terms like waterproof, sealed, dust tight and the like are used to describe electrical and electronic enclosures. Unfortunately, these terms are inherently ambiguous. Is the enclosure merely rain-proof or is it fully submersible? Is it sealed so that no air will transfer, or is it sealed against intrusion by objects? To clarify this situation with a clear set of standards, there are several rating systems that have been developed and several testing agencies that verify these results. Among them, the two best known are NEMA and IP. This blog will deal only with the Nema and IP rating system.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association developed NEMA ratings. The ratings make it easy to specify enclosures with the right level of protection, however they can also be confusing. What that means: National Electrical Manufacturers Association NEMA is a common term used in the manufacturing industry, it stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association. NEMA was formed in 1926 to set the standards for companies producing electrical products, equipment, or any wiring in industrial facilities

For example, NEMA 4 offers more stringent protection than NEMA 12. Many times engineers specify the wrong level of protection, either overspending or risking equipment damage. This guide will help you select the just-right NEMA rating for your application, like Goldilocks: neither too much nor too little. NEMA 1: For indoor use. Protects users against contact with hazardous components and protects the components from the ingress of solid objects, such as fingers and falling dirt. NEMA 2: For indoor use. Same as NEMA 1 but adds protection against the ingress of dipping and light splashing water. NEMA 3S: Same as NEMA 3 but adds the provision that external mechanism remain operable when ice laden. NEMA 3X, NEMA 3RX, NEMA 3SX: the X signifies the addition of corrosion protection. NEMA 4: Same as NEMA 3 but adds protection against hose directed water. NEMA 4X: Same as NEMA 4 but adds protection against corrosion. NEMA 6: For indoor or outdoor use. Protects against the ingress of objects, fingers, and falling dirt, hose directed water and is undamaged by ice formation. What’s more, it protects against occasional temporary submersion to a limited depth. NEMA 6P: Same as NEMA 6 but adds protection of prolonged submersion to a limited depth and adds corrosion protection. NEMA 12: Protects against the ingress of objects, fingers, falling dirt, settling dust and drips. It is similar to NEMA 3 but it is for indoor use, so instead of protecting against windblown dust it protects against settling airborne dust, lint, fibers, and flyings. It will not protect against rain, sleet, and snow, but it does protect against seeping oil and coolant as well as dripping and light splashing water. Despite the large number it is a basic level of protection. It may be helpful to think of it as NEMA 1.2 rather than NEMA 12. NEMA 13: Same as NEMA 12 but adds protection against oil and coolant splashing and spraying.  

IP66 Rated Enclosures: It is often confusing for an engineer to know what type of rating they need to look for when they desire to have a waterproof enclosure. Much like with watches or other sensitive mechanics, there is a big difference between waterproof, water resistant, and other types of descriptive but not specific labels. For outdoor enclosures, the typical waterproof IP ratings are IP67, IP66 and IP65 enclosures. The information below gives the specifics of what these ratings mean and how they are measured. Able to protect against 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: at least 3 minutes Water volume: 100 litres per minute Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m  


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