Understanding a Gadget’s Resilience to Water

Understanding the nuances in waterproofing jargon might help protect your electronic gadgets from its number one nemesis – water.

Understanding a Gadget's Resilience to Water
Waterproofing your electronic gadgets

As the monsoon season dawns upon us, we bring out our umbrellas and raincoats in an attempt to survive the heavy downpour. The summer accessories gets replaced by synthetic pieces of clothing whose main purpose is to keep us dry by weening of unwarranted water. Of course, in the digital age, keeping our bodies dry is simply not enough. We also have to protect our precious electronic gadgets from getting soaked, or in the worst case, falling down into a puddle. Many electronic devices today comes with an appropriate rating that informs the customer of its ability to withstand water. However, understanding these ratings is important, and they could imply varying degrees of water resistance.

The standard measure in quantifying the resilience of a gadget to water is determined by the Ingress Protection rating, or the IP scale. Numerous electronic gadgets, including ubiquitous smartphones comes along with this rating on its list of specifications. The scale was designed by the International Electrotechnical Commission, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The rating comes in the format of IPxy, with the x representing a number from 1-6 which determines the protection against solid particles from getting in. The y is the waterproofing rating, and is either 7 or 8. What this entails, is that a gadget with IPx7 rating can usually survive 30 minutes submerged in a meter of water without any liquid getting inside. The more variable IPx8 rating usually accompanies itself with a specific depth and duration after which water can cause damage to its inside.

However, many electronics also comes with specifications like “splash-proof”, “weather-proof”, and “water-resistant”. A common mistake that users make after reading these specifications is assume that the gadget can be dipped in water as well. These rating usually indicates that the device can withstand small spays of jet and getting soaked in your pocket during rain. Submerging these gadgets in water can result in you having to buy a replacement within the blink of an eye.

The current iPhone comes with the tag of ‘waterproof’, with its IP67 rating indicates that it’s sealed off from dust and can withstand the pressure of shallow waters. However, if you decide to take your iPhone along to the bottom of the pool, chances are that water might enter its inside and cause disruptions in its performance. The new wireless speakers, “Xtreme3”, from the manufacturing company JBL, comes with a IPx7 rating that ensures that it can play music underwater up to a meter of so.

As smartphones and tablets become an indispensable part of our lives, it’s inevitable that it encounters the force of water sooner or later. In case it happens and your device stops working, it’s advisable to open it as soon as possible and wipe off the water using a clean piece of cloth. Other options include soaking it in a bowl of rice or other grains that can soak up the water from the device. While these methods seldom work, it’s always an option that one can use in case of an accident. The other more sensible option is to treat your gadget with respect and ensure that it doesn’t come in contact with its nemesis, just like protecting yourself from the monsoon rains.


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