IP ratings for LED Lighting Systems
What is an IP rating?
IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are defined in international standard EN 60529. They are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures such as luminaires against intrusion from foreign bodies (tools, dirt, dust) and moisture.
All Color Kinetics products have an IP rating ranging from IP20 to IP68.
IP rating numbers
The numbers that follow IP each have a specific meaning. The first numeral indicates the degree of protection to user, from moving parts, as well as the protection of enclosed equipment from foreign bodies (tools, dirt, dust). The second numeral defines the protection level that the enclosure has from various forms of moisture (drips, sprays, submersion etc). An important note, the IP66 rating does not mean the product is waterproof or submersible so care should be taken to ensure proper installation to avoid those conditions.
Color Kinetics products with IP66 rating are intended to function when subjected to the elements that they are likely to be exposed to in outdoor locations, such as dirt, dust and water from rain, pressurized hoses or sprinklers. The first digit in IP66 refers to protection from dust particles less than 4 microns, and the second digit refers to protection from water projected from a powerful nozzle.
What is the difference between IP66 and Damp Locations?
The difference between IP66 and damp locations is related to the level of exposure to moisture. IP66 rated products are suitable for outdoor locations where the product is subjected to saturation by rain or pressurized water. Damp Locations, as defined in the US National Electrical Code refers to, “Locations protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but subject to moderate degrees of moisture.” Damp location products should not be installed outdoors or in areas where excessive moisture is present.
What is the difference between IP66 and Wet Locations?
The difference is related to the level of exposure to moisture and the physical location of the product. IP66 rated products are suitable for outdoor locations where the product is subjected to saturation by rain or pressurized water. Wet Locations, as defined in the US National Electrical Code, “Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas; and in unprotected locations exposed to weather.” In both definitions submersion in water is not applicable, but saturation with water from rain or pressurized sources is likely. The standard test methods for Wet Location applies a sprinkler head method to saturate the product, where IP66 tests subject the product to higher pressure water sources which is a more severe test. So, an IP66 rated product would meet Wet Location requirements, while a Wet Location rated product may not meet IP66 requirements.
- When installing Color Kinetics IP66 products, ensure that the entire system is suitable for IP66 outdoor locations. This includes cables, junction boxes, power/data supplies and other accessories. It is recommended that junction boxes used for outdoor locations be rated for outdoor use, installed with all gaskets provided by the manufacturer in place and all gaps sealed using outdoor rated RTV silicon sealant. Do not allow debris inside the electrical connector.
- All electrical connections must be covered and termination caps must be kept in place until the product is ready to be connected to avoid allowing dirt, sand or moisture from damaging and contaminating the electrical contacts. For in-line luminaires, the termination cap must be installed on the last open connector.
- Avoid installing IP66 rated products where water can collect and pool on the luminaire as this can combine with dirt and harsh chemicals which may result in damage to the sealing gaskets.
- Do not install IP66 products in standing water locations, such as in gutters, pools, fountains or other water effects.
- IP66 rated products are not waterproof, but can be installed where periodic water spray occurs, such as water from sprinklers.
- Most Color Kinetics IP66 products are equipped with semi-permeable venting membrane that allow the interior of the sealed housing to atmospherically equalize with the outside environment to limit internal condensation. These vents should never be removed, punctured, blocked during installation or allowed to fill with debris. Note that condensation may form on the lens in some product designs with IP66 rating when subjected to specific environmental conditions through water vapor transferring through the semipermeable vent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I install my Color Kinetics IP66 rated product in a location where it is subject to water spray or rain?
Yes, IP66 rating ensures the product is designed to prevent ingress of moisture from a periodic pressurized water streams, rain or splashing water that does not submerge the product.
Can I install my Color Kinetics IP66 rated product in a high dust environment?
Yes, provided it has been installed in accordance with the installation instructions, the product has been designed to prevent dust from entering the product. Please note that IP66 rating does not mean the product can be installed in a hazardous location where explosive dusts are present. Also, the venting component should be protected from debris collecting and blocking in them. All protective covers must be installed on electrical connectors per the installation instructions.
Can I clean my IP66 rated product using a high-pressure water spray?
Yes, IP66 rating covers exposure to high-pressure water spray. Please refer to the installation instructions for individual product care. Typically, a low-pressure water spray or a damp cloth is enough to keep the product clean. Proper maintenance practices should include periodic cleaning to extend the life of the fixture.
Can I install my IP66 rated product under water?
No, IP66 rating does not allow for submersion in water for any period of time. IP66 does not mean the product is waterproof or submersible.
Can I install my IP66 rated product in a location that will be submerged in water for a short period of time, like in a stream, near the water line of a pier or under a waterfall?
No, IP66 rating does not allow for submersion in water for any period of time.
Can I install my Color Kinetics IP66 rated product near a swimming pool?
No, IP66 rating does not take into consideration the effects of chemicals that are prevalent in and around swimming pools.