Reputable manufacturers of power devices like LED drivers and transformers prioritize safety and longevity in the design phase because low voltage does not necessarily mean low risk. Safety classifications such as UL, Class 2 and Class P (discussed in our previous blog) are important to consider, but what about enclosure ratings for lighting systems installed in outdoor settings? This is where NEMA 3R and IP ratings can be an installer’s best friend.
What LED Driver Ratings Are Important for Outdoor Installations?
While Magnitude LED drivers rated for outdoor settings can also be installed indoors, the same is not true in reverse. This is because our outdoor power solutions, including single and multi-channel Class 2 LED and magnetic drivers, are certified for either NEMA 3R, IP65, IP66 or IP67 which means they have been tested under various conditions.
What Is NEMA 3R?
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) sets the standards for enclosures sold in the United States using a 1 through 13 system. As shown in the charts below, each number classifies the level of protection against things like dust, water and dirt. For instance, a driver installed in an enclosed patio may only require NEMA 1 or NEMA 2 levels that protect from falling dirt and limited exposure to water. A driver installed in a fully exposed outdoor landscape may require at least NEMA 3R protection against rain, sleet, wind-blown dust and ice. Many Magnitude drivers are rated for damp and dry locations, but some, like our LinDrive, E-Series Listed, CCT and SR Series, include NEMA 3R.
What’s the Difference between IP and NEMA 3R?
Magnitude’s Solidrive Series is rated for IP66, and our E Series Recognized is rated for IP67. Designated by Underwriters Laboratories, IP is an international standard that uses a 2-digit numbering system, and if you look at the above charts, you’ll see the comparable ratings of NEMA vs, IP. Like NEMA 3R, IP66 and IP67 protect against rain, sleet and snow but also airborne dust, heavy splashes and even temporary submersion on IP67. Knowing the environment your lighting installation will be exposed to is important to determine whether you need NEMA 3R or the higher level of protection that IP66 and IP67 offer.