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#137671 - 07/22/03 06:03 PM Color codes again
CTwireman Offline
Member

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I've been following the discussion here about color codes with great interest. It occured to me that we take our color code for granted here in North America.

We don't have to face any push to "unify" (re: change) our color codes as you do in Europe. (IMHO, any attempt to change our system would be met with massive resistance.) Nor do we have to grapple with mating two color code systems as in the UK and elsewhere (ie. blue used as both a phase and neutral color)

I can certainly see the benefits of a uniform color code in a perfect world. However, it just seems like more effort than it's worth to change what works just fine in the numerous countries that have well established color codes and methods.

Just MHO.
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#137672 - 07/23/03 12:23 AM Re: Color codes again
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
CTwireman,
I think that it would take more of a change of people's mindsets, than just purely changing the wire colours in the US(or anywhere, for that matter).
But, having said that, the first thing that should happen, is the fact that EVERYBODY, should be informed of the changes, right down to Joe Public, who does the occassional bit of wiring around the house, these are the people that are most likely to muck things up, dangerously sometimes!.
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#137673 - 07/23/03 03:01 AM Re: Color codes again
djk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
The reality in Europe is that until recently electricians generally worked in their own countries so the whole issue of different colour codes in different countries never really arrose.

Within any given country the colour codes are normally very uniform and well established.

The only safety issue was pre-1970s when different countries had different colour codes on domestic appliences, hence the European change to brown (L) and blue (N) with yellow and green stripes.(E/G)

The harmonisation of fixed cabling systems is desirable for a number of reasons:

Electricans are more mobile than ever before and need to be able to easily work across boarders.

If there is one European standard for cable and accessories it will reduce costs and increase economies of scale. (The European system is also likely to be adopted by other countries using European based electrical systems (i.e. all the countries on 230V 50hz)

I would also like to see some EU directives governing adaptors. There are far too many very scary UK-Schuko, Schuko-Italian, Schuko-Swiss/Danish adaptors out there that are needlessly dangerous.
The most obvious sollution to me would be to make the 4 main plug types in Europe official European standards; Schuko, BS1363, Italian and Danish ... (Not sure if the Swiss fall into the EN system) Then make the adaptors comply with European standards.

The Italian, Danish and Swiss systems are only used within their countries but Schuko and BS1363 are much more widespread.

In Europe:
BS1363: UK, Republic of Ireland, Malta & Cyprus

Schuko:
Most of the rest.

It would also be interesting to see if there are a large number of shocks/fires caused by faulty/poor quality adaptors. Statistics would be useful!

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#137674 - 07/23/03 05:36 AM Re: Color codes again
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
{Rant mode on}

Harmonising colour codes never was a big problem in Europe: Prior to the common green/yellow, blue, brown and black in ca 1970 there was little standard even within countries. Most countries changed to the common standard in the years that followed. Except the UK.

Today, when the British standard is well worked in and the number of installations enormous, the Brits decide to change. It will bring few benefits, as the bulk of installations will have the old colour code for fifty or more years to come. One can't help seeing this as an(other) attempt to turn the Brits against the other Europeans: By introducing things like the metric system late it gets a lot more work and creates the impression that something is being forced upon the country. If we had stuck to Swedish miles, while the Germans had stuck to German miles, the French to French miles and so on, we would all have equal. Now, there are two systems in the world: The American/British and the metric.

{Rant mode off}

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#137675 - 07/23/03 05:43 AM Re: Color codes again
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
To BS1363 and Schuko must be added the French-style plugs. They're used not only in France and Belgium, but also in some of the Eastern European countries which are likely to be joining the EU within the next few years. At least with those, however, we already have dual-plugs on many European appliances which will fit both Schuko & French receptacles.

I honestly can't see any common standard specified by an EU directive including BS1363 plugs. Malta & Cyprus may use them, but these two countries are not part of the EU, so as far as many EU committees are concerned, they don't exist!

That just leaves the U.K. and Ireland, and with Schuko being so dominant elsewhere I can see this being pushed as the only "reasonable" future European standard. I'd bet that the Danish plugs would be firmly rejected as well.

I agree with you on the color codes Peter. There is certainly no need for anyone to push for the U.S. to be "harmonized" with the rest of the world, although that probably won't stop some people from trying (e.g. there have been calls for the U.S. telephone network to change the IDDD prefix from 011 to 00 to "make it easier for foreign visitors").

This whole business within Europe of having to harmonize everything to make it easier for people to work in other countries is really getting too much. Yes, maybe electricians are moving around more these days within Europe, but if they can cope with everything being in a different language, what's the problem with accepting a different color code?

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#137676 - 07/23/03 06:18 AM Re: Color codes again
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Looks like we we're both typing away at the same time there, C-H. O.K., I'll climb on my soapbox now......

You've made an excellent point there about the well-established British color code. Most of us here simply do not see any need to change a well-established system which has served us well for decades. So our homes and buildings have different color wires to other European countries. Most people just respond with "So what?"

The same goes for enforced metric measurements. It has been perfectly legal to use metric in this country for well over a century, but many people here just naturally "think" in the English units they grew up with and see no reason why they should not continue to express themselves in these units. That doesn't stop us using metric when we need to deal with exports.

But when metric is forced upon us by Draconian legislation that turns people into criminals for simply using the units with which they are familiar, it's hardly surprising that they'll be turned against those they see as imposing it upon them.

We have the "I hate all foreigners" group here, I'm afraid, but most people are sensible enough to reserve their animosity for the bureaucrats, not the normal decent people of some other European nation, be it France, Germany, or wherever.

 Quote:
Now, there are two systems in the world: The American/British and the metric

That's actually three systems. There are more subtle differences between the American and British measurement systems than you might think.



[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-23-2003).]

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#137677 - 07/23/03 11:35 AM Re: Color codes again
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
 Quote:

I honestly can't see any common standard specified by an EU directive including BS1363 plugs. Malta & Cyprus may use them, but these two countries are not part of the EU, so as far as many EU committees are concerned, they don't exist!


The current members of EU's electrical body, CENELEC are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (!), United Kingdom.

23 in all. Five more are to join in the next nine months: Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. Next in line are most likely Romania and Bulgaria, followed by Turkey.

Thus, the Maltese opinion already counts.

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#137678 - 07/23/03 01:12 PM Re: Color codes again
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I stand corrected. I hadn't realized that Malta was included in CENELEC.

But I'm still doubtful about BS1363 veing accepted as an EN standard.

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#137679 - 07/23/03 02:36 PM Re: Color codes again
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Does anyone know if the photo of a black-plastic cord cap with a molded-in "ring" of approvals is still at the E-C.net site? [I can't remember a keyword to search.]

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#137680 - 07/24/03 02:13 AM Re: Color codes again
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Is this the one you mean?



From C-H:
 Quote:

Starting from top left, going counter- clockwise:

GOST - Russia *
IMG - Italy
CEBEC - Belgium
ÖVE - Austria
Semko - Sweden
Nemko - Norway
Demko - Denmark (owned by UL!) **
Fimko - Finland
NF - France
VDE - Germany

Between the pins:
Kema-Keur - Holland

* There has been a myth around that plugs intended for Russia must have thinner pins than for other countries. Seems to be untrue, but several manufacturers make such plugs. It's likely that they are not safe if used in other countries.

** The Demko mark is possibly faked, since this plug presents a risk of both fire and electrocution if used in a Danish socket.



[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-24-2003).]

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