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#148731 - 12/28/02 09:01 PM International Color Codes - 1st draft
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
INTERNATIONAL COLOR CODES FOR CONDUCTORS PER SYSTEM TYPE AND VOLTAGE

Please note: This list has been compiled from multiple sources and is BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, but the data HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED for accuracy per currently used International Color Schemes.

The Members here at ECN have supplied a majority of the information, and I would like to thank them personally for their contributions!!!

If you have questions, comments, or would like to submit additional data to this list, feel free to contact us at ECN.
Either contact me via E-Mail or a posting at the General Discussion area, or contact one of the other Moderators. Alternately, contact the site Webmaster.

Scott Thompson. (Scott35)


Color Codes: United States.

Note: The following Color Codes are in Five (5) separate sections.

-------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------

Section #1: NEC® Specified Color Codes for Conductors:

BASICS:

* GROUNDED SYSTEM CONDUCTOR (Identified Conductor): White, Gray
(includes "Neutrals" or "Commons", along with any other Grounded Conductor.);

* EQUIPMENT GROUNDING CONDUCTOR: Green, Green w/ Yellow Stripes, Bare;

* UNGROUNDED CONDUCTOR(s):


--60 VAC to 600 VAC--
  • Black, Red, Blue, Brown, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple (Violet).


--120/240 V 3Ø 4 Wire Delta "High Leg"--
  • Orange.


2002 NEC® Index - Color Codes:

* Branch Circuits: 210.4(D), 210.5;

* Conductors: 310.12, 504.80(C), 647.4(C);

* Grounded Conductor: 200.6;

* Grounding Conductor: 250.119, 310.12(B), 400.23;

* Heating cables: 424.35;

* Feeders: 215.8;

* Panelboards: 408.3(E);

* Sensitive electronic equipment: 647.4(C);

* Service-entrance conductors: 230.56.

Note: Green with yellow stripe(s) is often used for the Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) that is isolated. The use of a Conductor with 3 continuous White Strips along the entire length, is acceptable for identification of the Grounded Circuit Conductor.

(Thanks To Joe Tedesco for the 2002 NEC® references!)

---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------


Section #2: Trade/In-Field Preferred Specific Color Codes for Conductors:

........................................

60/120 VAC 1 Phase 2 Wire System (Isolated SDS System):
  • Ungrounded Conductors: Black/Red, or Black/Blue;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.
  • Note: This system does not have a Grounded Circuit Conductor.


.............................................

120 VAC 1 Phase 2 Wire:
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Black;
  • Grounded Conductor: White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.
  • Note: If part of a Multiwire circuit, or from a Multiwire system, Ungrounded Conductor takes the "Line" color.


.............................................

120 / 240 VAC 1 Phase 3 Wire:
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Line 1 ("A") = Black;
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Line 2 ("B") = Red;
  • Grounded Conductor: White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

208Y/120 VAC 3 Phase 4 Wire Wye System:
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Phase A = Black;
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Phase B = Red;
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Phase C = Blue;
  • Grounded Conductor: White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

120/240 VAC 3 Phase 4 Wire Delta System:

- At Main Service:
  • Phase A = Black;
  • Phase B = Blue;
  • Phase C = Orange (High Phase To Ground);
  • Grounded Conductor: White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


- Other Panels:
(i.e.: Subpanels, other than main panels):
  • Phase A = Black;
  • Phase B = Orange (High Phase To Ground);
  • Phase C = Blue;
  • Grounded Conductor: White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

480Y/277 VAC 3 Phase 4 Wire Wye System:

*** ---Option 1--- ***
  • Phase A = Brown;
  • Phase B = Orange;
  • Phase C = Yellow;
  • Grounded Conductor: Gray (or White);
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


*** ---Option 2--- ***
  • Phase A = Brown;
  • Phase B = Purple / Violet;
  • Phase C = Yellow;
  • Grounded Conductor: Gray (or White);
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

240, 480 or 600 VAC 3 Phase 3 Wire "Corner" Grounded Delta (w/Phase "C" Grounded):
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Phase A = Black;
  • Ungrounded Conductor: Phase B = Red (or Blue);
  • Grounded Conductor (Phase C): White;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

240, 480 or 600 VAC 3 Phase 3 Wire Ungrounded Delta:
  • Circuit Conductor - Phase A: Black;
  • Circuit Conductor - Phase B: Red;
  • Circuit Conductor - Phase C: Blue;
  • Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.


.............................................

Grounding Electrode Conductor color:
  • Black.


.............................................

Isolated Grounding Conductors ("IG"):
  • Green w/ Yellow Stripes.


---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------

Section #3: Grounded Conductors between Separately Derived Systems (AKA "SDS"):

* Grounded Conductors on System with the HIGHER Voltage (System which normally feeds the Transformer):
  • Gray.


* Grounded Conductor On the SDS Secondary (output) side:
  • White;
    or
  • White w/ black stripes.


---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------

Section #4: Flexible Cords:

2 Wire Cords:

* Ungrounded Conductor: Black;
* Grounded Conductor: White

.............................................

3 Wire Cords:

* Ungrounded Conductor: Black;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

.............................................

4 Wire Cords:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

.............................................

5 Wire Cords:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red, Blue;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------

Section #5: AC / MC and NMC Cable Conductor Color Codes:

2 Wire Cable:

* Ungrounded Conductor: Black;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

.............................................

2 Wire Cable - w/ IG:

* Ungrounded Conductor: Black;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green;
* Isolated Grounding Conductor: Green w/ Yellow Stripes.

.............................................

3 Wire Cable:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

.............................................

3 Wire Cable - w/ IG:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green;
* Isolated Grounding Conductor: Green w/ Yellow Stripes.

.............................................

4 Wire Cable:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red, Blue;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green.

.............................................

4 Wire Cable - w/ IG:

* Ungrounded Conductors: Black, Red, Blue;
* Grounded Conductor: White;
* Equipment Grounding Conductor: Green;
* Isolated Grounding Conductor: Green w/ Yellow Stripes.

Note: This list of Cables describes the colors found in many commonly used AC / MC and NMC Cables. There are many other color schemes available. Refer to Manufacturers' listings for further information.

--- end of United States information ---
(text edited 01.13.2006 by S.E.T., to include listing bullets and typeset changes)
---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------


Current British standards

Current British standard, fixed cables (A,B,C,N,Gnd):

Red, yellow, blue, black, green/yellow
(Plain green for ground until 1980s.)

Pre-1965 installations:
Red, white, blue, black, green

Flexible cords, current standard:
Brown (all phases), blue, green/yellow

Pre-1970 cords:
1-phase: Red, black, green
3-phase: Red, white, blue, black, green

The green/yellow earth wire has been recognized since the 1960s, although only for the EGC in a cord.

The 1966 IEE Regs. specify only plain green, but the green/yellow was added as an amendment sometime later. The 1970 revised edition specifies green/yellow as being the only acceptable colors for a cord EGC, along with brown & blue in place of the old red & black for line & neutral respectively.

A few appliance cords made probably during late 1969/early-1970 period which actually have red & black along with a green/yellow ground. I'm not sure if these were British-made, or possibly Continental done for the U.K. market.

Thanks to Paul ("PaulUK") for the above information!


Bahamas:

Black,Red,Blue,white 120/208
Brown,Orange,Yellow,white 277/480


Sweden:

Prior to 2002:

(L, N, PE)
Black, Blue, Green/Yellow

(L1, L2, L3)
Black, Brown, White or Black or Black/White or (wires in conduit)
Orange or Grey

Prior to 1973


(L, N, PE)
Black, White, Red

3-phase and light switches
Black, Blue and/or Yellow and/or Grey and/or Green.

Colour of the protective earth conductor.
(For Sweden)

Prior to 1960: No rules
1960: Red for cables; red or g/y for flexes
1968: g/y for both cables and flexes (transition period until 1972)



Denmark:


I think the old (prior to 1973) code was:
(L, N, PE)
White, Black, Red

3-phase or light switch
White, Brown and/or Grey and/or Blue and/or Yellow and/or Green
(Order unknown)

Mains Cords; Europe:
By this we mean flexible appliance wiring or line cords, not the fixed
cable or wiring inside the walls. All colour code combinations are
given in the order L, N, E: In other words line (live), neutral and
earth (ground).

The current general standard is Brown, Blue, Yellow/Green striped
and this is mandatory in most European countries and on items
intended for sale in those countries. The colours were chosen not
for their association (otherwise brown would be earth!) for reasons
set up below.

Elsewhere in the world and also in Europe in previous times, these
colour codings vary widely. The following combinations can be
encountered. Again the order is L, N, E and the list is not intended
to be exhaustive.

Belgium: Red, yellow or blue, Grey, Black.
Germany: (L, N, Gnd): Black, Gray, Red.
Great Britain: Red, Black, Green.
Netherlands: Any colour but Gray or Red.
Russia: Red, Grey, Black.
Switzerland: Red, Grey, Yellow or yellow/red.

The foregoing should make it clear why a unified colour coding of
wires was necessary. Green is by no means the obvious colour for
earth either:
before standard colours were adopted, earth was red in Austria,
Finland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden; black in Belgium and Russia,
Gray in the Netherlands and Poland, yellow in Switzerland and green
in Britain and North America. Three cheers for standardization!

The choice of colours for the world-wide system was not arbitrary
either; earth (ground) had to be distinguished and making it striped
was an inspired choice. The other two colours had to be clearly
distinguishable, even by people who suffer colour-blindness, and
blue and brown were judged the most clearly different shades by experts in this field.

France:
(Old System)

Phase 1: Green (Vert),
Phase 2: Yellow (Jaune),
Phase 3: Brown (Marron),
Neutral: Grey (Gris),
Earth: White (Blanc)

According to a reference, the old French color code used up until 1970 and was:

Phase = Green
Neutral = Red
Earth = White or Gray

Current French Standard:

Phase A: Black (Noir),
Phase B: Red (Rouge),
Phase C: Brown (Marron),
Neurtal: Blue (Bleu),
Ground: Green / Yellow (Vert/Jaune)

Please refer to discussion thread in Non-US Electrical Systems titled:
International Wire Colour Codes
and refer to posts by Moderator and Members referring to discussions in French Newsgroups regarding the color codes.

Old German / Austrian Color Coding:

flexes:
P: black
N: grey (can be connected to ground terminal of receptacle with
jumper to neutral, TN-C)
G: red
L2, L3: black, blue
fixed wiring: single phase: see flexes
2 switches in one box: feeder black, switch loops grey and red
3 ph: 4w
R,S,T: black, blue, red, neutral (usually only ground) grey, red one
can be pink as well, was also commonly used for flexes, this was the
most common wiring arrangement.
5w (pretty rare): see flexes.
As you see this system was rather inconsequent, and this is one
reason why it was phased out.
However, 4w 3ph systems still have black, brown, blue for phases
and y/g for ground.

Anyway, this color code is definitely NOT reliable, even electricians
usually took whatever wire color was just handy!

Current Austrian Color Code:

(L1, L2, L3, N, GND): Black/Brown/Grey/Yellow-Green.

Until 01/01/02 (probably) L2 and L3 both black.

Old work (pre 1970) Black, blue, pink, grey and red (no idea about phase order)


----------end as of 12.28.2002-------------

Feel free to contribute to this list!

Scott s.e.t.
M. post: 12.28.02 20:53:00 PST

Revision #1: 01.05.03
Additional items posted as replies:
#1: 01.05.03

edit refers to revisions.

P.S. once this list becomes completed and correct, I will repost the completed compiled list under a new topic heading within this forum.

Scott.

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 01-05-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 01-13-2006).]

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#148732 - 01/05/03 05:56 AM Re: International Color Codes - 1st draft
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Addendum lists per color codes:

>MAINS CORDS, EUROPE:
>Germany: Usually Grey, Black, Red.

We decided that this must have been a typo in the original document, as every other source and our combined
experience with foreign appliances indicates that the old German system was (L, N, Gnd): Black, gray, red.
(Listed correctly in another part of the post.)

>Netherlands: Any colour but Gray or Red.

We seem to have lost part of this entry. Should be:
L: Any color buy gray or red
N Red
E: Gray

A couple of references indicate that for appliance cords the line was usually green.

>France:
>Phase 1: Green (Vert),
>Phase 2: Yellow (Jaune),
>Phase 3: Brown (Marron),
>Neutral: Grey (Gris),
>Earth: White (Blanc)

These should be indicated as an old system. It might be worth adding a note following my conversations in a
French forum. There was a general concensus that there was more than one system in use in France in the past,
and that in many cases it appeared that the colors chosen were at the discretion of the electrician. (And
possibly influenced by region, bearing in mind that France has borders with many other European countries all of
which seemed to have different color codes!).

>According to a reference, the old French color code used up until 1970 and >was:
>Phase = Green
>Neutral = Red
>Earth = White or Gray

It might be an idea to add a note that this reference is particularly suspect. In fact, the colors look more like the
old Dutch standard for appliance cords. (This being Europe, of course, it's quite likely that such cords were used
in France on imported equipment).

The current French standard also seems to have been missed out:
Phase A: Black (Noir)
Phase B: Red (Rouge)
Phase C: Brown (Marron)
Neutral: Blue (Bleu)
Ground: Green/yellow (Vert/Jaune)

Possible variations in the phase colors, and I've also been informed that orange is commonly used for 3-way
switch travelers.

Modern cords follow the common European system: Brown, blue, green/yellow.

New regs are now in place and standardise fixed cable in Ireland as follows:

Earth - Green & Yellow Striped
Neutral - Blue
Ph 1 - Brown
Ph 2 - Grey
Ph 3 - Black

With thanks to DJK in the Irish Republic for the following info.

The standing Irish colours are as follows:

Earth - Green & Yellow striped.
Neutral: Blue
L1 : Brown
L2 : Red
L3 : Yellow

As part of a Europe-wide CENELEC harmonisation and the phases are :

Earth: Green/Yellow
Neutral: Blue
Phases: Brown (L1) Black (L2) Grey (L3) (First Phase will be Brown)

This has just been approved and will phase in over the comming years as yet is not the norm.Old domestic wiring
would have been the same as the UK [Green (E), Black (N), Red (L1) ] 3 phase was extremely rare in domestic
installations and I'm not 100% familar with what was the industrial norm in the past.


In Canada:

Section #4 Canadian Electrical Code

Rule 4-036 Colour of Conductors
(1) Insulated grounding or bonding conductors shall:
(a) Have a continuous outer finish that is either green or green with one or more yellow stripes; or
(b) If larger than No. 2 AWG, be permitted to be suitably labelled or marked in a permanent manner with a green colour or green with one
or more yellow stripes at each end and at each point where the conductor is accessible.

(2) Conductors coloured or marked in accordance with Subrule (1) shall only be used as grounding or bonding conductors.

D (3) Where colour coded circuits are required, the following colour coding shall be used, except in the case of service-entrance cable and
insofar as Rules 4-030, 4-032, and 6-308 may modify these requirements:

1 phase ac or dc (2-wire) — 1 black and 1 red
or
1 black and 1 white*† (where identified conductor is required);
1 phase ac or dc (3-wire) — 1 black, 1 red, and 1 white*†;
3 phase ac — 1 red (phase A),
1 black (phase B),
1 blue (phase C), and
1 white* (where neutral is required)
*Or natural grey;
†Or white with coloured stripe (see Subrule 4-034).

Thanks to:
Tony Moscioni
Electrical Inspector
Electrical Safety Authority
For the Canada Information!

------end addendum #1------

posted 01.05.2003 by Scott35 (S.E.T.)
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#148733 - 09/04/03 01:19 PM Re: International Color Codes - 1st draft
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Amendment from C-H in Sweden:

 Quote:

I learnt the other day that I had gotten the Swedish phase order backwards.

'Old' cables L1/2/3=black/brown/black with white stripe but newer cables had L1/2/3=white/brown/black.

I - and probably a lot of people - simply assumed that the colours had the same meaning in all cables. I have no idea why they did like this: The 3 and 4 wire cables were identical.

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#148734 - 01/12/06 11:31 PM Re: International Color Codes - 1st draft
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Addendum #2 ----- New Zealand
(posted in behalf of ECN Member "RODALCO")

---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------

In New Zealand, the colour coding of cables is:

Single Ø TPS cable.

  • Red: Phase;
  • Black: Neutral;
  • Green: Earth.
    ( older pre 1970 TPS had a bare earth wire in between the conductors. After ± yr 2000, new TPS has a Yellow/Green striped earth).


---------------------------------------------

Three Ø TPS cable.

  • Red: Phase L1;
  • Yellow: Phase L2;
  • Blue: Phase L3;
  • Green: Earth;
  • Black: Neutral.
    ( note! this neutral wire was run with the TPS as a double insulated single core wire in case it was needed for control circuits like 230V relays ).


I have not seen 5 core TPS in New Zealand, only as round 5 core flex.

---------------------------------------------

TPS past ± yr 2000 has the following colours.

  • Red: Phase L1;
  • White: Phase L2;
  • Blue: Phase L3;
  • Yel/Grn: Earth.


---------------------------------------------

Flex cables for appliances.

  • Red: Phase;
  • Black: Neutral;
  • Green: Earth.
  • New colour coding:
  • Brown: Phase;
  • Light Blue: Neutral;
  • Yel/Grn: Earth.


---------------------------------------------

For 3 phase flex cables (I have mainly dealt with 5 core):

  • Red: Phase L1;
  • Yellow ( white ): Phase L2;
  • Blue: Phase L3;
  • Black: Neutral;
  • Green(yel/grn): Earth.
  • Some hard drawn OH cables have:
  • Brown: Phase L1;
  • Yellow: Phase L2;
  • Violet: Phase L3;
  • Bare Screen: Neutral.




I think Australia has the same colours but it's better to get it confirmed by an Australian member.

---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------

Thanks, Rodalco, for the submitted information.

p.s.: I edited the originally submitted / pasted text, to include list bullets and typeset enhancements (bold text and italics).
Just need to verify if my tags work like I intended!
(If this message has an edit note, something went wrong!)

Scott35 posted 01.12.2006 - 23:31:00 pst
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#148735 - 05/13/06 07:37 AM Re: International Color Codes - 1st draft
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Scott,
 Quote:
Section #1: NEC® Specified Color Codes for Conductors: ...

* UNGROUNDED CONDUCTOR(s):

--60 VAC to 600 VAC--

Black, Red, Blue, Brown, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple (Violet).

This seems to imply that you are required to use specific colors, but that is not in the code.
Don
_________________________
Don(resqcapt19)

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#148736 - 01/26/07 10:30 AM Re: International Color Codes - 1st draft
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
U.K. REVISION

As from April 2006, British Standard 7671 (the "IEE Wiring Regulations") stipulates that fixed wiring should follow the new "harmonized" European color coding system (already nicknamed "The Killer Colors" in some quarters due to the conflicts with the old system).

Old British system for reference:

Phase A = red
Phase B = yellow
Phase C = blue
Neutral = black

New system, allowed permissively from April 2004 and mandatory
[*] from April 2006:

Phase A = brown
Phase B = black
Phase C = gray
Neutral = blue

Alternatively, all three phase conductors may be brown and identified by labels L1, L2, L3.

Single-phase circuits are to use brown for the phase conductor, no matter from which phase it is derived.

The new system specifies the following for d.c. installations.

3-wire grounded circuit:

Positive = brown
Neutral = blue
Negative = gray

For a 2-wire grounded d.c. circuit, the grounded side should be blue, no matter which polarity, with the positive or negative "hot" being brown or gray as appropriate, according to the above standard.

For a 2-wire ungrounded d.c. circuit:
Positive = brown
Negative = gray

Protective earth/ground conductors are to be green/yellow in all cases.


[*] Note that "mandatory" in this sense means mandatory according to the Wiring Regs./British Standard, which does not necessaily imply compulsion in the legal sense.

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