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IP Ratings of DC Motors

The IP Code of a product is a two-digit number that rates how well the enclosure is protected from the ingression of solid objects and liquids. The first digit relates to the level of protection from solids and the second digit relates to liquids.

For protection against solids, there are 7 different categories, split by the size of the object that cannot enter the enclosure. The first level is 0, meaning there is no protection. Level 1 states a protection from objects larger than 50mm. The maximum level of protection is Level 6 which classifies the product as dust-tight.

LevelProtect from objects…Examples
IP0XNoneNo protection
IP1Xlarger than 50mmYour hand (not fingers), almost no electronic components
IP2Xlarger than 12.5mmLarger fingers/thumbs,
IP3Xlarger than 2.5mmThick wires, soldering irons, larger capacitors, resistors, chips
IP4Xlarger than 1mmThinner wires, screws, most electronics chips / discrete components
IP5XDust protectedNo physical objects, dust may enter but won’t affect performance
IP6XDust-tightDust won’t enter at all

Water is used to test liquid ingression. The categories range from 0 to 8, with the tests increasing in water volume and pressure.

LevelProtect from objects…Examples
IPX0NoneNo protection
IPX1Dripping waterVertically falling drops, 10 min test equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute
IPX2Dripping water with unit at 15° angleVertically falling drops, 10 min test equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute
IPX3Spraying water (any angle up to 60°)5 minute test at 0.7 liters / min and 80 – 100 kPa
IPX4Splashing of water5 minute test at 10 litres/ min and 80 – 100 kPa
IPX5Water jets (distance of 3m)3 minute test at 12.5 litres/ min and 30 kPa
IPX6Powerful water jets (distance of 3m)3 minute test at 100 litres/ min and 100 kPa
IPX7Immersion up to 1mMeasured to bottom of the product, minimum of 15cm depth to the top of the product
IPX8Immersion beyond 1mContinuous immersion at a specified depth

It is worth noting that even with a rating of IPX8 liquid may still enter, as long as it does not affect the performance.

Protection From Solids

While we do not state the IP rating for our products, from visual inspection we can see that all of our motors have a minimum rating of IP10 – 50mm is bigger than any motor case in our product line!

Also, our smallest motors are only 3.2mm in diameter, with the only possible entry points being the gap between the shaft and casing or at the rear between the casing and end cap. This would be IP4X and possibly even IP5X or IP6X.

However, for vibration motors and gearmotors, it is not solids entering the casing that is the biggest issue. It’s ensuring that the shaft and load (e.g. the eccentric mass) have enough space to freely rotate – which is not a concern of the IP code.

Protection From Liquids

We commonly question on two topics:

Waterproof motors

As we have not tested the motors for liquid ingression we cannot state the motors are waterproof. If you are interested in this topic we recommend reading our Application Bulletin on over moulding encapsulated motors.

The easiest method for waterproofing a motor is to mount it inside an existing waterproof unit.

Post solder wash for SMT vibration motors

We have not received feedback from customers whose motors have failed following a post solder wash. However, we recommend either soldering the motor after the wash or testing a small quantity before ramping up for large volumes.

Other issues

Given the information above, it is important to be careful when using adhesives to mount the motor. We have spoken in the past about using low-blooming glues, and we also mention it in Application Bulletins 6 (mounting to PCBs) and 7 (mounting to bulkheads).

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