IP testing: The whole portable power board and nothing but the power board

Ancient Aristotle must have known a little about power boards.

His well-known proverb, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is the approach needed when ingress testing on electrical equipment.

Every component on a power board could be tested and found to be impervious to water and dust invasion, but this means nothing unless the entire assembled board is tested as an entire unit.

Some manufacturers use the IP rating of the switchgear to mask the fact their boards as entire units are not tested. Considering most portable power boards are used outdoors this is a concerning compromise.

The minimum ingress protection (IP) rating for powerboards is IP43 – meaning the unit is built for protection from a direct moisture spray at angles up to 60◦ off the vertical.

Powersafe use top quality IP66 switchgear and then send each standard model off for independent certification to IP66 by a certified CNAS lab.

You can ask for this certificate when purchasing a Powersafe board.

Powersafe boards are rated to IP66 – as an entire unit – to withstand harsh conditions, over and above the IP43 required.

For those interested in what the Australian standard says regarding testing the full unit:
 AS34939.4-1995

7.2 Enclosure and degree of protection

7.2.1.1 The degree of protection provided by an ACS against contact with live parts, ingress of solid foreign bodies and liquid is indicated by the designation IP …. according to IEC529. The degree of protection of all parts of the ACS shall be at least IP43, with all doors closed and all removable panels and cover plates fitted.

7.2.1.3 Unless otherwise specified, the degree of protection indicated by the manufacturer applies to the complete ACS, when it is installed in a working position in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.