Continuing our “Ruggedness” vibe this week we’re talking about dust!!
I bet you didn’t know that those tiny particles, largely made up of our own skin and the dreaded fluff from a couriers pocket, can be a right pain when it comes to your mobile device!
So just what is being dust proof about?
Dust can come in all shapes and sizes, you could work on a building site for example where brick dust or plaster is a threat, you could be in sandy conditions, windy ones or even need a device that doesn’t pick up dust due to being in some kind of clean environment. Or perhaps you could be an engineer on the road where you could enter customers sites with all kinds of different scenarios. In any event you’ll pick up dust everywhere you go and it can play havoc with your mobile computer.
Dust can get in the way of the LCD making the device hard to use, it can get under keys making them sticky and hard to press and it can also get inside a device and short out the main board in the worst cases. If you don’t take dust seriously then you’re not being rugged!!
How the “IP” Rating helps
We already explained the IP rating in last weeks post about being waterproof and is actually used to measure both the water and dust-proof-ness of electronic equipment. Whilst the 2nd digit in the rating aligns to the water element, the fist one is all about dust and how resilient a mobile device is to it.
What to spot on the spec sheets
Like water, we’re only actually interested in IP5x and IP6x. OK you see the odd IP4X being mentioned but this isn’t really about dust, rather about not being able to poke about in an electronic device, so always look for an IP5X + device where rugged starts.
Now IP 54 used to be the standard for Ruggedness, but IP54 devices are not strictly dust proof. All this means is the device might not be totally dust tight but it won’t let dust alter the way it works. This means that’s the LCD will be dust tight but perhaps the keypad is designed in such a way that it might let dust pass underneath it. IP6X devices are totally dust tight though and dust simply should not get it at all.
We’re seeing a shift now in IP65 being the new standard as manufacturing cases is a lot cheaper and easier to do to attain the highest ratings these days.
So in the next article we’ll be talking about dust a lot more, who’d have thought that dust could be such an interesting topic!!?