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Ingress Protection: Spraying Water and Splashing Water Certification Testing (IPX3 & IPX4)

Ingress protection testing evaluates the level of protection an enclosure provides against intrusions. Two such sets of ingress protection tests involve exposing the equipment under test (EUT), to spraying water and splashing water. These tests are numbered IPX3 and IPX4.

The first digit, represented by the “X”, ranges from 0 to 6 and specifies the protection from solid particles. The second digit, in the case of spraying water, would always be a 3, and in the case of splashing water, would always be a 4.

Below is a brief description of IPX3 and IPX4 testing as detailed in IEC 60529:

IPX3 Spraying Water Testing:

  • Defined as water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60°.
  • The requirement is that the equipment under test (EUT), shall experience no harmful effects from the water being sprayed against the enclosure from any direction.

IPX4 Splashing Water Testing:

  • Defined as water splashing against the enclosure from any direction.
  • The requirement is that the equipment under test (EUT), shall experience no harmful effects from the water being slashed against the enclosure from any direction.

For a complete list of all of the possible IPX3 and IPX4 ingress protection code combinations from IEC 60529, please see the chart at the bottom of this page.

IPX3 and IPX4 Water Splash and Spray Testing Laboratory Procedures

IPX3 Water Splash Testing

  1. Test Setup: The IPX3 splash test can be done using an oscillating tube or a spray nozzle, depending on the device’s size. Water flow is adjusted with a flow meter. With the oscillating tube setup, water pressure is adjusted for the right flow rate. The tube oscillates 120 degrees (60 degrees each side of vertical) in about 4 seconds for one back-and-forth motion. The entire test takes 5 minutes, and the enclosure is placed at the tube’s center.
  2. Water Application The handheld spray nozzle is used for larger enclosures. Pressure is adjusted to provide 10 liters per minute (50-150 kPa range). The nozzle is held 60 degrees from vertical, and a counterbalance shield is used.
  3. Test Duration: Test duration is one minute per square meter, with a minimum of five minutes.
  4. Evaluation: After the test, the unit is wiped down and inspected for water ingress. Additional units may be tested at the manufacturer’s request for design confidence.

IPX4 Water Spray Testing

  1. Test Setup: IPX4 testing, like IPX3, can use an oscillating tube or handheld spray nozzle. The counterbalance shield is removed for IPX4 with regulated water flow.
  2. Water Application: The tube oscillates almost 360 degrees. The spray distance is 200 mm, with a rate of 0.07 liters/min per hole, tested for 10 mins. The handheld nozzle sprays the enclosure from all angles at 10 liters/min.
  3. Test Time: Test time depends on size, with a minimum of five mins per square meter.
  4. Evaluation: After testing, the unit is wiped down, opened, and assessed for pass/fail. Water should not interfere with the equipment’s designed operation or compromise user safety.

After testing, the unit is wiped down, opened, and assessed for pass/fail. Water ingress is reported to the manufacturer. One unit is usually enough, but more can be tested at the manufacturer’s request for design confidence.

Products That Require IPX3 and IPX4 Certification Testing

IPX3 and IPX4 testing are vital for a wide range of products, including outdoor electronic devices, handheld electronics, and outdoor sporting equipment. These tests provide manufacturers and consumers with the assurance that these products can handle exposure to water without compromising their functionality and safety.

Whether it’s a smartphone, an action camera, or an outdoor security camera, IPX3 and IPX4 testing play a significant role in delivering durable and reliable products for everyday use and outdoor adventures.

  • Electronics Industry: This industry includes manufacturers of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, outdoor security cameras, GPS navigation systems, action cameras, and Bluetooth speakers. IPX3 and IPX4 testing is relevant to assess the water resistance of these devices when exposed to rain, splashes, or other wet conditions.
  • Outdoor and Recreational Equipment: Companies producing outdoor and recreational equipment like ruggedized watches, fitness trackers, portable PA systems, marine electronics, and camping gear require IPX3 and IPX4 testing to ensure their products can withstand water exposure during outdoor activities.
  • Medical Device Manufacturers: Certain medical devices designed for outdoor use, water-resistant medical instruments, waterproof medical wearables, and devices intended for hygienic environments need IPX3 and IPX4 testing to ensure they can handle water exposure without compromising functionality or patient safety.
  • Automotive Industry: Automotive manufacturers and suppliers, particularly those producing exterior lighting systems, side mirrors, and dashboard displays. IPX3 and IPX4 testing to verify water resistance and durability under wet weather conditions.
  • Industrial Equipment and Sensors: Industrial equipment used in outdoor environments, as well as ruggedized handheld terminals and outdoor sensors, may require IPX3 and IPX4 testing to withstand water exposure during various work tasks.

Why is Keystone Compliance the right IP Code lab to complete your ingress testing?

What sets Keystone Compliance’s IPX3 spraying water and IPX4 splashing water testing apart is our experience in helping manufacturers determine ingress points in their products and also identifying potential solutions. Our thorough understanding of the standards allows for a more nuanced evaluation of the test results, providing manufacturers with comprehensive insights into the equipment’s overall performance and compliance.

In the event that the unit requiring testing proves to be immovable due to its size, rest assured, it poses no obstacle for us. We possess extensive expertise in conducting ingress protection testing directly at the customer’s facilities.

Our customers enjoy our short lead times, ability to explain the process and testing requirements, consultative engineering support when failures occur, and affordable pricing. It is what has made us one of the fastest growing companies in the country and most respected test labs in the region.

Contact us to receive a quote for ingress protection testing and see why we are the only ingress protection lab for so many manufacturers from around the country.

 

Below is a list of all of the IPX3 and IPX4 IP Code combinations along with a brief description of each test:

IP RatingDegree of Protection Against Solid Foreign ObjectsDegree of Protection Against Water
IP03Not ProtectedSpraying water
IP13Solid object >50 mmSpraying water
IP23Solid object >12.5 mmSpraying water
IP33Solid object>2.5 mmSpraying water
IP43Solid object>1 mmSpraying water
IP53Dust protectedSpraying water
IP63Dust tightSpraying water
IP04Not ProtectedSplashing water
IP14Solid object >50 mmSplashing water
IP24Solid object >12.5 mmSplashing water
IP34Solid object>2.5 mmSplashing water
IP44Solid object>1 mmSplashing water
IP54Dust protectedSplashing water
IP64Dust tightSplashing water