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The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided.
A rating of X for one or more of the protection criteria can be erroneously misinterpreted as “no protection.” To illustrate, a piece of electronic equipment rated IPX7 will almost certainly demonstrate a robust resistance to the ingress of particles, even though a rating for ingress of solids hasn’t been formally assigned. Hence, an X designation shouldn’t be automatically misconstrued as a lack of protection.
For example, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water. For example a particular cellular phone rated at IP58 is “dust resistant” and can be “immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes”. IP22 or 2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use.
The ratings for water ingress are not cumulative beyond IPX6. A device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. A device which meets both tests is indicated by listing both tests separated by a slash, e.g. IPX5/IPX7.
There are no hyphens in a genuine IP code. IPX-8 (for example) is thus a false IP code.