So in the last article we talked about water proof ratings and what to look for on the spec sheets of rugged devices, but to many that’s still confusing so today we’re going to give you some of our experience of water and rugged PDA’s and give you some rough guidelines and tips to follow.
What level of water proofing do I need?
Basically don’t let anyone else fool you, to be fully rugged you need a rugged device with an IP rating of at least IP54. IP54 has been the standard benchmark for rugged kit for years and years, however these days, with better, cheaper manufacturing we’re probably seeing IP65 become the new standard. IP54 will be good enough for working outside in the rain.
How do I find the IP rating.
The IP rating of any rugged device is on the spec sheet. Usually under an “Environmental” section but it is always clearly marked on the spec sheet along with all the other elements of ruggedness the device has. If there’s no IP rating then it probably isn’t rugged.
The golden rule of thumb for us in terms of the water IP rating you need is generally if you have decent users that will actively protect the devices being used then IP54 rated device will be fine. We have customers who use Dotel H300S’s or Motorola MC55’s outdoor, all day in dusty and all wet weather condition which are both IP54 rated and they’re fine. I would say that 50%+ solutions we install to normal field based customers are in this category.
If devices might spend prolonged periods of time outside and there is potential for exposure to water that’s harder than normal rain then this is where perhaps IP65, is needed. So we have customers near spray hoses, or who feel that the devices will be used in torrential downpours or near finer or stringer spray-like water conditions near rivers, lakes or even on boats would benefit from this.
IP67 or IP68 is where immersion in water might be an issue. What many people don’t realise is that immersion in just 0.5M of water requires way better sealing than heavy jets of spray as the pressure form even this shallow depth of water is immense. IP65 devices can be dropped in water or can swill about in watery conditions, but if you think you really are going to drop the device under water or there is risk of that then you need something IP67 or IP68.
Remember though water resistance is not the whole story. The drop spec is also very important and how the device is built is too so if you need a device that won;t crack, or compromise the water-proofing ability of the device if dropped or man-handled then be aware of the raft of new rugged smartphones coming on to the market. Always make sure you get the right IP rating and drop spec to match your needs.
Next up is the weekly Q&A, so make sure you read it to find answers to the top questions we get this week.