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An Overview of the IP66 Rating
The IP or Ingress Protection Rating is the classification that tells you how much protection the camera has against dust and moisture or liquids in its environment. Security cameras require protection against environmental dust and moisture to keep them working properly. Ingress of dust particles and moisture can damage the sensitive internal circuitry or fog the lens of the camera, degrading its performance until it finally fails.
If you plan to install outdoor surveillance, the security cameras should have an IP rating that makes the camera enclosure water-resistant, or even waterproof, and it should have maximum dust protection. You cannot control an outdoor environment so it is best that the security cameras have maximum protection against the intrusion of dust particles and water.
The first number in the IP rating refers to the level of protection against solid particles and dust, with 6 as the highest rating. Thus, the IP66 rating gives the highest possible protection against the incursion of very fine dust particles that can impair the quality of the video that the camera produces. Lower ratings mean the enclosure that houses the camera can be penetrated by dust, for example the 5 rating means that the camera is protected against harmful dust deposits, but fine dust can find its way in, while a 4 rating allows the ingress of particles more than one millimeter in size.
The second number in the IP rating refers to the level of protection against moisture, such as water and other liquids that the home security cameras get in contact with. The highest rating for the second digit is 8, which means the camera remains protected even when the system becomes immersed underwater for long periods. The 6 rating provides protection against strong jets of water, for example, water coming out of the pressurized hose you use to clean your car. Lower ratings like 5 protects the camera against low pressure jets, while a 4 rating gives ample protection against water sprays such as those coming from a lawn sprinkler system.
Thus, the IP66 rated security camera has maximum protection against dust and can be installed even in the dustiest areas, for example along the perimeter fence of your property or your lawn, and it can withstand weather conditions like heavy rain and snow without impairing the system. If there is danger of flooding and you plan to install a camera close to the ground, you should consider a system with a higher rating, for example, an IP67 or an IP68 that provides protection to the camera even when it is immersed or submerged in water.
Home security cameras that will be installed outside, but is not exposed to harsh weather conditions can have lower liquid ingress protection, for example an IP65 or IP64.
Getting a camera system with the higher IP ratings simplifies your choice, but you have to consider the cost of these surveillance systems. Camera systems with higher IP ratings cost more, but you are assured of longer service even these systems are subjected to the harshest environmental conditions. However, if you plan to install several units outdoors, the cost difference can be quite substantial. You have to make an informed choice about the IP rating of the security camera, in the same manner that you have to make decisions whether to install a DVR or an NVR security system.
Indoor Security Cameras and Lower IP Ratings
The home security camera system that you install indoors or along the perimeter of your house can have lower than IP66 rating because these units will be in an environment that is less exposed to dust and moisture. The lower IP ratings are appropriate for indoor installations, will cost less, and will provide the same quality of surveillance videos. For reference, you can use the IP Rating guide as defined by international standards.
Dust Protection Ratings (First Digit)
Liquid Protection Ratings (Second Digit)
If you have mapped out the possible locations of the cameras for your home security system, you can specify the IP rating of each according to location. You can install security cameras with lower IP settings indoors, and choose those with higher ratings outdoors. The cost of surveillance protection can be much lower if you will get actively involved in designing the security system for your home.
Security cameras should continuously function even when these are exposed to harsh environmental conditions. You can install a cost effective indoor and outdoor home security camera system using IP66 rated cameras or units with lower ratings if you have a well-designed installation plan that allows you to choose security cameras with the appropriate IP rating.