Outdoor Digital Signage – NEMA 4 Explained

Posted by: Richard Williams | Posted on: | 0 Comments

Selecting LCD screens to operate in an outdoor location isn’t easy. Outdoor locations are not the type of area most LCD type monitors – including commercial grade screens – are designed to operate in.

Protection is vital for outdoor digital signage otherwise rain or other elements will get inside the LCD enclosure and cause a permanent outage this will mean you will have to replace the screen and diminish the return on your investment.

A NEMA 4 LCD enclosure

Choosing Protection

As protection is so vital for outdoor locations a formal standard issued by the National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA) is issued to guide consumers on the type of enclosure required.

For outdoor digital signage there is really only one standard worth knowing about: NEMA 4:


NEMA standards are issued in relation to the protection they offer. They range from NEMA 1 which offers the minimum of protection against ingress -A NEMA 1 enclosure which will offer protection from falling dirt and prevent users from accidentally contacting the enclosed device – all the way to NEMA 13.

Many of these standards are for specialist areas, however NEMA 4 governs enclosures designed for outdoor use that will “protect against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow, windblown dust, splashing water, and hose-directed water; and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure (https://www.nema.org/Products/Pages/Enclosures.aspx

Outdoor Digital Signage

For outdoor digital signage, NEMA 4 is the standard that to look out for. There are two choices for using a screen in a NEMA 4 location (outside) use a NEMA 4 grade outdoor TV; or use a commercial grade screen and house it in a NEMA 4 LCD enclosure.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. However, as one of the biggest factors in many business is cost, many outdoor digital signage systems use commercial grade screens in a NEMA 4 enclosure.

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