Like every other electric or electronic component, LCD monitors and displays can be significantly affected by the type of environment they operate in. Their performance may dip, functionality may suffer, or they may get damaged if the environmental conditions to which they’re exposed to are not right.
To prevent this from happening and to ensure a LCD monitor or display is used in a safe-to-operate environment, LCD manufacturers assign protection ratings to these displays.
The protection ratings tell product designers about a LCD display’s ability to withstand certain environmental conditions and thus the type of environment it can operate in. This then helps them decide whether the display unit can safely be used as a component in their product or not.
There are two types of LCD display protection rating systems commonly in use today: IP protection rating system and NEMA protection rating system.
IP protection rating system is designed and maintained by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is mostly used by LCD manufacturers in Europe. However, U.S manufacturers have also increasingly started using it.
NEMA protection rating system is drafted and maintained by the National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA). It’s the standard protection system used for rating LCD enclosures manufactured in the U.S.
Both systems specify certain criteria for their individual protection rating categories to help testing laboratories and LCD manufacturers determine the type of protection rating a LCD display should receive.
NEMA is more robust in defining its criteria where it includes ingress protection against both solid and liquid as well as other specifics such as construction and corrosion details. In comparison, IP protection rating system is less robust as it only deals with specifics concerned with ingress protection against solids and liquids.
The coding scheme used for representing the protection rating categories in each protection rating system also differs.
IP protection rating system uses two-digit coding scheme to represent its different protection rating categories. For example, IP 10, IP 32, IP 52, IP 68 etc. The first digit in the IP code specifies a LCD display’s solid ingress rating, while the second digit refers to its liquid ingress rating.
On the other hand, NEMA protection rating system employs a single-character numeric coding scheme as well as a two-character alpha-numeric coding scheme to denote its different rating categories. For example, NEMA 2, NEMA 3, NEMA 6P, NEMA 4X etc.
Next, let’s take a look at some common protection ratings for LCD monitors and what each of them signify.
NEMA 1 (IP Equivalent – IP10)
These LCDs are designed for indoor use only and provide a degree of protection against failing dirt and incidental contact. They do not provide any protection against water ingress.
NEMA 2 (IP Equivalent – IP11)
These LCDs are also designed for indoor use only and provide limited protection against falling dirt, incidental contact and dripping water equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute.
NEMA 3 (IP Equivalent – IP54)
These LCDs can be used indoors as well as outdoors and provide a degree of protection against falling and windblown dirt, incidental contact, rain sleet and ice formation.
NEMA 3R (IP Equivalent – IP14)
These LCDs can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications and provide limited protection against falling dirt, windblown dust, incidental contact and ingress of water. It’s superior to NEMA 3 LCDs in terms of offered degree of protection against solid ingress.
NEMA 3S (IP Equivalent – IP54)
These LCDs offer pretty much the same protection features as NEMA 3. The only exception is they remain operable even when laden with ice.
NEMA 4 (IP Equivalent – IP66)
These LCDs can be used indoors as well as outdoors and provide complete protection against falling and windblown dirt, limited protection against incidental contact and adequate protection against ice and falling and hosed water.
NEMA 4X (IP Equivalent – IP66)
These LCDs offer the same level of protection as NEMA 4 LCDs. In addition, they also provide protection against corrosion.
Besides these, there are also some other protection ratings that are worth a mention, including NEMA 6, NEMA 6P, NEMA 12 and NEMA 12K.
If you have any more questions about LCD protection rating systems or the rating categories, feel free to contact us; we’ll be happy to help you.
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