The importance of IP ratings in determining reliability

ip ratings

Let’s face it, electronics can be expensive. When a purchase is made, one expects longevity from their investment. Longevity can be determined by a number of factors, but often it is the reliability of an instrument or device that determines its usefulness. Many savvy customers rely on the IP (or Ingress Protection) rating system to help them select a unit that is both rugged and reliable.

What is the IP Rating System?

An IP rating consists of two numbers: the first digit refers to how well the hardware is protected from solids, such as dust. The second number is to show what kind of moisture the unit can withstand before failure becomes a possibility. As each number increases, the unit is rated more rugged. The more resistant a product is to external forces, the longer it is likely to last.


Just how important is this rating?

Let’s say a person is taking measurements in a remote area. As they get further away from their vehicle, the weather gets worse and a heavy downpour ensues. If their unit is rated at minimum of 3 or 4 for liquid protection, they can continue working until they have everything they need, thereby saving time and effort. If the unit has a lower rating, or is unprotected, not only do they have to trek back to their vehicle and return later, but they could risk damaging or completely destroying the hardware.

Remember, the IP rating is only as reliable as the hardware it’s based upon. This is why CSDS highly recommends checking dust caps, plugs, screw sealers, gaskets, and similar components on a regular basis and replacing any damaged or missing parts. This way, the original IP rating will be maintained at minimal expense to the end user and help prevent costly repairs.


All Trimble products sold by CSDS, have an IP rating of 54 or more, making them extremely rugged and reliable for outdoor use. Please refer to the chart below for IP ratings on specific products:


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