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"Ignition Protected"  What does it mean?

What does the term “Ignition Protected” mean?

An electrical device that has been certified Ignition Protected is suitable for use in marine engine compartments and fuel tank spaces.  There are generally two test standards accepted by the Marine Industry – SAE J1171, External Ignition Protection of Marine Electrical Devices and UL1500, Ignition- Protection Test for Marine Products.

The requirements and test procedures for the two standards are similar.  Essentially, three test results will allow a device to be certified IGNITION-PROTECTED. 

  1. The device or component is constructed so that a defined flammable hydrocarbon mixture surrounding the device will not ignite if a normal electrical arc, spark or heat source ignites the mixture inside the device.
  2. Under the conditions of item 1, the device or component has insufficient energy to ignite the mixture inside the device.
  3. Under the conditions of item 1, the source of ignition is hermetically sealed from the surrounding mixture.

 An Ignition- Protected device is not necessarily Explosion-Proof.   Explosion-Proof devices are as applied to U.S. Coast Guard inspected vessels or as defined by the National Electric Code. 

For further information on UL1500, visit 

For further information on SAE J1171 visit


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