How to protect the front panel of 1/8 DIN instruments

Digital panel meters, electronic counters, industrial timers and other 1/8 DIN size instruments are typically installed in the door of a sealed metal enclosure. While the enclosure protects its contents, the front panel of the instrument has to face the outside environment, which can be laden with dust, fumes and moisture. In many cases, plant equipment is water cleaned with high-pressure hoses — not so good if the water reaches delicate electronics.

The question is, how do you protect the front panel of the instruments in harsh industrial environments. Laurel Electronics has taken the first step by casketing the bezel of its 1/8 DIN Laureate meterscounters and timers, so that the front panel of the instrument is waterproof to NEMA-4X when the instrument is installed.

Many users desire even more protection and need to protect 1/8 DIN size instruments which do not have a NEMA-4X front panel. To meet this need, Laurel Electronics offers its Model IPC Splashproof Cover. This is a rugged, impact resistant, clear lens that fits over a 1/8 DIN instrument to make it dust and water proof from the front of the panel. Sealing meets NEMA 12 (IP52) standards for water slash and dust protection when the hinged door is simply snapped in place. Sealing meets NEMA 4 (IP67) standards for hose-directed water when the hinged door is further clamped down with a provided plastic locking key.

Model IPC fits all Laurel 1/8 DIN instruments as well as 1/8 DIN instruments by other manufacturers, provided that instrument dimensions in front of the panel do not exceed 48 x 96 x 15 mm (1.89″ x 3.78″ x 0.59″). Model IPC can be purchased as an add-on option for new instruments, or be fitted to existing installations.

The IPC assembly utilizes a clear base and clear door with a cam hinge. The hinge is captive when the base and meter are installed, and allows the door to be opened for easy access to the meter for programming or setpoint adjustment. The base can be sealed against the instrument panel by an O-ring or a self-adhesive neoprene gasket, both provided.

A capillary seal is formed between the door and the base by a tapered recess in the door and a tapered ridge in the base. Capillary action causes a small amount of water to be drawn in between the two surfaces, thereby producing a water-tight film around the sealing area. For applications where fluid residues are unacceptable, such as food processing, apply a light coating of clear silicone grease, or other approved sealant, to the mating grove to prevent any ingress of liquid and enable the cover to withstand steam cleaning.

The door is latched against the base by a locking tab when the door is snapped shut. Positive clamping of the door and protection against opening of the locking tab by hose-directed water are provided by a locking key, which remains in place to provide a much higher clamping force than the tab alone.

Model IPC is easy to install. It utilizes the existing 1/8 DIN panel cutout (45 x 92 mm). No new panel holes are required.