Please submit your wire colours for your given country. Please give Phase(Live)+ Neutral and Earth for Single Phase and wire colours for a three phase system. Maybe we can build up a list of colour codes world-wide, so that no Electrician will be confused. Go ahead people!.
Current code: (L1, L2, L3, N, GND): Black/Brown/Grey/Yellow-Green (Hope I don't mix up Brown and black order, fell free to correct me), until 01/01/02 (probably) L2 and L3 both black. Old work (pre 1970ies) Black, blue, pink, grey and red (no idea about phase order, just saw a cable once, never saw one installed, most 3ph work was ungrounded)
#133826 - 10/06/0202:52 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Per the NEC, unless other voltages are specified, for the purposes of computing branch-circuit and feeder loads, nominal system voltages that are used are:
120 volts: Hot legs any color, except that the grounded conductor is, white or gray, and the EGC green, or (when used for isolated EGC to reduce noise) green with yellow stripe
120/240 volts: Hot legs, any color, except the grounded conductor is required to be white, or gray, and the EGC green, or (used for isolated EGC to reduce noise) green with yellow stripe,
208Y/120 volts: Typical Black, Red, Blue, White,
240 volts:, Any color except white or gray or green, etc.
347 volts:, Any color except white or gray or green?
This voltage is used in Canada, does the CEC specify any colors?
480Y/277 volts: Brown, Orange, Yellow White or Gray,
480 volts: any color, except white, gray, green, or green with yellow stripe,
600Y/347 volts:, same as above
600 volts: any color, except white, gray, green, or green with yellow stripe, etc.
2002 NEC Index: Color code
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
Higher voltage to ground
Sensitive electronic equipment, 647.4(C)
Service-entrance conductors, 230.56
PS: Green with yellow is often used for the EGC that is isolated, and the use of a conductor with 3 continuous white strips along the entire length is acceptable for identification of the grounded conductor.
[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited 10-09-2002).]
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
#133827 - 10/06/0203:12 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Trumpy, I'm guessing that you asked for e-mail notification of replies and then followed the link in the e-mail back to this thread. If you look more closely you'll see that Bill has already moved the thread from the general area into the international section (at my suggestion).
By the way, anyone know what the old color code was in France? I've not been able to track that one down.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 10-09-2002).]
#133831 - 10/09/0203:06 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
The green/yellow earth wire has been recognized since the 1960s here as well, 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.
I've seen 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.
#133835 - 11/17/0211:30 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
You shouldn't have "light" and "dark" of the same colour used for different things, as it will result in mistakes. But, you can specify that a colour should be dark or light to avoid confusion with another colour.
Green and Yellow can't be used since they can be confused with earth.
White and light Grey can be confused when the wires age. White OR Grey is a better choice.
If you use pink, red should be slightly dark to avoid confusion.
It's probably best to use light blue to avoid confusion with purple.
This leaves us with: Light Blue, Brown, Black, (Dark) Red, Orange, Pink, Purple, White OR Grey
(8 different colours)
Brown is as far as I can tell used for line everywhere: Thus, it seems like a good choice for first phase.
Purple and Pink are like brown always used for line. Also good choices for line.
Orange can be confused with brown, but it otherwise a good line colour.
Black is used for line in continental Europe and the US, but for neutral in the UK. Therefore, it can't be used for neutral. If used for line it should be second or third phase, since the cable will then contain a brown wire, which warns a UK electrician that it is not to the UK colour code.
Red is used for line in both the US and UK, but not in continental Europe. It was used for earth in Germany and "Germanic" countries (and Japan?). Therefore, it should not be used for neutral or first phase.
Blue is used for line in America and UK, but neutral in international flexible cords. It can't be used for line.
Grey and white are neutral in America but used for line in continental Europe. (The IEC was upset when CENELEC choose light grey for line last year) It seems like it's best to avoid these colours altogether.
The IEC recommend brown and black for line.
This leaves us with:
Line: Brown, Orange, Purple and Pink
Line under certain conditions: Black, Red
It seems best to choose light blue for neutral, despite the risk of confusion with line in America. Since a cable will contain green/yellow earth and brown as line, the electrician is at least warned.
Here's my suggestion:
(L1/A, L2/B, L3/C, Neutral, Earth)
Brown, Orange, Purple, Light Blue, Green/Yellow.
If you more than three lines, next colours in line are: Black, Pink, Red
[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 11-18-2002).]
#133837 - 11/18/0203:21 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I would suggest dark brown, so any confusion with orange is pretty unlikely. Red as line lets the hairs of any central european electrician stand straight up, because it was used as ground, and has been completely outlawed in the early 70ies. You can't buy red wire here, even if you want! If I ever get to Britain (before standardization catches) I'll sure enough return with at least 300m red 1.5 mm2 wire, just for nostalgia.
#133838 - 11/18/0203:38 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
One aspect of the green/yellow earth which seems to have changed over the years (at least in the U.K.) is the proportions of the colors. Look at the early use of this system here and the insulation is predominantly green with a yellow stripe, or at worst, 50/50. The proportions seem to have shifted so that now we have mostly yellow with just a thin green stripe. (I believe there is an IEC specification which says that one color must be no less than 30%, but this seems to be ignored frequently.)
The yellow/green sleeving used on fixed wiring here has the green stripe lengthways, so if the sleeve is turned at certain positions it can look as though it's plain yellow. It's only a minor point and it soon becomes obvious as to which wire is earth, but it's annoying to see this in a packed box where plain yellow is also used as a line color.
A similar change seems to have taken place with the neutral in appliance cords here. The original specification called for light blue, but the shade of blue used by many manufacturers seems to have become much darker in recent years.
C-H, You mentioned the possible difficulty in disguishing between some colors, but I would also add that black and brown (particularly if dark brown) can sometimes be hard to tell apart as well. We already have 4-core flexible cords used for wiring heater controls and the like, and these are generally brown, black, blue, green/yellow. I've often been in dark corner and had to get some extra light to distinguish the two line colors.
#133839 - 11/18/0203:43 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
In Austria grounds used to be yellow with several thin green stripes, nowadays cheap wires is often 50:50. One hals´f green, one yellow. Especially nice withold systems where both yellow and green have been used as a ground wire. Personally I prefer dark colors. For example in our remodel we had white and light grey, and they were sometimes almost impossible to distinguish. Dark grey is much better here. Plus the dark colors look much nicer. Just think of the old grounds! I have some that are a wonderful deep bordeaux!
#133841 - 11/19/0212:12 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Color confusion is one of the reasons I like the US color code. White and black are not easily confused! (Although you would be surpirsed sometimes at what people do! And the other colors we use, like red, and blue, are easy to tell apart as well.
Personally, I don't like the Euro brown/blue/green-yellow system. I don't think it would ever catch on here. Just MHO though.
#133842 - 11/21/0211:07 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Oops CTwireman, it's found in the US too. "For jacketed cords furnished with appliances, one conductor having its insulation colored light blue..." from 99NEC 400-22c. IIRC, this is to allow for the brown-blue-green/yellow scheme.
#133844 - 11/21/0210:21 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I agree with CTWireman. Except that I don't mind the ground conductor being green/yellow. In fact, I think it makes a very good contrast with the black and the white conductors for use in flexible cords. Isn't there a whole colorblindness issue where there are some people who can't distinguish green versus red? Since I have numerous things that weren't made for the US market, I'm probably one of the few Americans now comfortable with the European "harmonized" scheme.
I've noticed that the harmonized cordage is ever so slowly catching on in the USA (brown live, blue neutral and green/yellow ground), particularly in imported cords (like some Chinese computer cord-sets I've dissected). Same holds true with the wiring inside some computer power supplies.
Next time you find a computer in the garbage, take the power supply apart and you'll see that most of the times the wires connected to the power inlet follow the European color coding.
#133845 - 11/21/0210:57 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
"Huh?!? Why does a North American cord with a 5-15 plug have Euro colors?"
The reason is simple. Manufacturers feel that it's easier to have one common colour code for all countries. The international g/y, blue, brown can be used in any country, but the NA white, black, green can only be used in a limited number of countries.
Or, you can express it this way:
11/7/2002 -- UL 1950 to require green/yellow color code for ground wire of powercords All new submissions under UL 1950 will require the grounding wire of powercords to be green with a yellow stripe. All products previously listed under UL1950 will have until April 1, 2005 to change to the new grounding color for power cords. With an eye to the future, MEGA suggests customers consider changing to the international standard of blue, brown, green/yellow for conductor codes. This eliminates the need for separate wiring instructions when manufacturing for domestic and international shipping.
[Cut and paste from Mega Electronics.]
[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 11-22-2002).]
#133847 - 11/22/0210:40 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
U.S./Canada: White or gray U.K.: Blue or black Rest of Europe, depending upon country and age of wiring: Blue, black, white, red, gray, or who knows what else????
I say we recommend a new international standard neutral color of pink with yellow polkadots!
Scott, I just looked back at the thread -- I'm going to post a query about the old French system in the group that was mentioned. Maybe if I can get a reply on that question we'll have then covered the main systems in Europe, past and present.
#133851 - 11/23/0209:44 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Flexes only. As you don't ship buildings around the world, it really doesn't matter what colour code you use in the fixed wiring. As long as all electricians in the area use the same, that is. The US is a continent, more or less, and you don't have electricians coming over from Europe (or vice versa).
#133853 - 11/24/0207:47 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Tex: Below I have reposted the information. (From the Austria 220/440V thread) ------ The text below is a slightly edited and shorted version of the following NG posting. Although it claims to apply to mains cords only, it seem to be valid for fixed wiring too. ----- Andrew Emmerson (email@example.com) Safety or heresy rec.antiques.radio+phono 1995/10/17 ------ Mains Cords 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: Usually Grey, Black, Red. Great Britain: Red, Black, Green. Netherlands: Any colour but grey or red, Red, Grey. Russia: Red, Grey, Black. Switzerland: Red, Grey, Yellow or yellow/red. USA, Canada: Black, White, Green.
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, grey in the Netherlands and Poland, yellow in Switzerland and green in Britain and North America. Three cheers for standardisation!
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.
#133855 - 11/24/0211:44 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Does that entry for Germany have the black and gray the wrong way around?
I thought Ranger told us that it was black for line, gray for neutral.
Re the old French colors, I posted a question in the fr.rec.bricolage group, and we have started to get some answers:
Phase 1: Vert Phase 2: Jaune Phase 3: Marron Neutre: Gris terre: Blanc Facile à se rappeler: printemps, été, automne, hiver, neige. C'était les anciennes couleurs, mais, en quelle année ont-elles été changées? Là j'ai un petit creux.
Another country that used green as a phase! I like the little aid to memory using the seasons. We could do with someone now who can remember when the new scheme was introduced into France.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 11-24-2002).]
#133856 - 11/24/0212:53 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I've been given this link , which contains information somewhat at odds with that posted previously.
According to this reference, the old French color code was used up until 1970 and was:
Phase = Green Neutral = Red Earth = White or Gray
That sounds very much like the old Dutch system.
Navette de phase entre interrupteurs
Not sure what "navette" means, but from the "between switches" part I assume this is referring to what we would call travelers on a 3-way switching arrangement.
P.S. It was bugging me, so I had to go find my French-English dictionary to check on navette -- It means shuttle. I guess that "Shuttle of phase between switches" is as close to travelers as we'll get!
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 11-25-2002).]
#133860 - 11/25/0208:06 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I'm not exactly sure if the information on the DIY page is trustworthy. It seems strange that the old neutral color (red) is now used as a phase. I can't really say, but something is strange with that website, and I doesn't exactly believe into what it's saying. Furthermore I recall endless discussions about the accuracy of DIY sites, so why should we trust this one?
#133863 - 11/26/0212:37 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Ok, I finally found some decent info on the 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!
#133864 - 11/26/0212:41 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
This reminds me pretty much of the current US 120/208 color coding, except for the neutral being grey instead of white. I suppose phase order was the following: L1 (R): black L2 (S): red L3 (T): blue or black-blue-black with 5 wire
#133865 - 11/26/0205:16 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Good point T-R. Something about that site didn't sit quite right in my mind either, although I couldn't put my finger on it at first.
Looking at their "new" colors, I've realized that for line they say brown or red. I know for a fact that black is certainly used as line in France (as in practically all of Western Europe now, excluding the British Isles). But they only list black as being for 3-way travelers.
I agree... Something there doesn't add up.
#133866 - 11/29/0206:41 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Well, I've received a few more posts from the French newsgroup.
It seems that before adoption of the new color code around 1970 that France used a variety of schemes, more or less depending upon the person installing the wiring. Somebody mentioned that he's even seen red used for ground, German-style. (Perhaps in eastern France? I don't know.)
However, it seems as though the modern standard for phase colors is black, red, brown, and that they often use orange for 3-way switch travelers.
#133867 - 01/16/0309:28 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I found a new color code. It is either from Czechoslovakia or Italy. I bought a used photo print drying press, made in Czechoslovakia. However, the Schuko plug and cord switch are "Made in Italy", hence the confusion. It is phase red, neutral green and ground yellow. Once again, completely different from all other color codings.
#133868 - 01/16/0301:11 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Well, it seems to be an old system. (the device is 70ies or even earlier). Does anyone knows something about old or recent japanese color codes? I tried a google search and found absolutely nothing. I feel that this is still missing in our list. GDR and Hungary go like old German/Austrian colors. BTW, is cubrilo, our member from former Yugoslavia still around? I'd really like to know more about old yugoslavian wiring.
#133870 - 01/16/0304:05 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Somewhere I remember reading that Japanese flex color codes were the same as North American codes (black=live, white=neutral, green=earth).
In fact, yes! I remember where I read it! It was in a catalog for some company that supplies "International" power cords (Panel Components Corporation). The flex that this company sells for the Japanese market is North American color-coded.
Although considering how the USA is supposed to be switching to harmonized cordage, maybe Japan will do the same thing eventually (when we're all dead?)
Ragnar, I'd suggest replacing that power cord with a modern one...if only to prevent confusion for any future owners hooking the green conductor to earth....
#133871 - 01/17/0303:02 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Pretty unlikely... rather the red one. In fact, green and yellow were both used as line and neutral colors before harmonization, but red was never used for anything but ground (and phase in a 3ph 4w delta w/o neutral but with ground, in this case ground was grey like otherwise the neutral would be, quite confusing) Anyway, I don't think I'll replace it, I don't like replacing cords that are still in perfect shape.
#133872 - 02/13/0312:37 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
paul uk yeah the colour code did indeed changed in 1970 in france to due the safty reason and it was a mess that time and now they really improve the safty on colour codes wise simuar to american system now yeah orange is for travller switches they still do that but in usa for trallver switches it is mixed bag as long it is indentify where it goes (for thhn's i use purple or brown depend what the situation)but the french 3 phase colour code is corret for 220/415 volts system for other voltages i will check with them see what i can come up
Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)
#133873 - 02/15/0310:22 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
You're right! We don't seem to have included the "down under" color codes.
Aren't your colors pretty much the same as the British? I seem to recall that the only differences are that you didn't adopt the brown/blue "Euro" colors until later and that maybe you kept white for phase B instead of changing to yellow.
I have been known to be wrong, though!
By all means post whatever comments you wish and we'll get Scott to add them to the "master list" is the tech. reference area.
#133876 - 02/16/0312:12 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Paul, Thanks for your reply, Here it is though: Aus/NZ: Flex:Single Phase: Phase=Brown Neutral: Blue Earth: Green/Yellow Flex:3Phase:Phase1=Brown Phase2=White Phase3=Black Earth=Green/Yellow Neutral(if required)= Blue In flexes for VSD equipment, there are two ECC's and a Screen (Drain)
[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 02-20-2003).]
#133877 - 02/21/0309:49 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Australian fixed wiring colour code is as follows: Single phase: Red = Line/Active/Phase/Hot Black = Neutral Green/yellow = Earth/ground
3 Phase: Red = L1 White = L2 Blue = L3 Black = Neutral Green/yellow = Earth
I assume the same code applies in NZ, but you would need to check with Trumpy.
In older 3 phase Australian installations L2 is coloured yellow (like current UK standard), I don't know when the change to white was made. Also green was used as earth on older installations. Hope this is of help.
#133881 - 02/23/0301:37 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I have posted this information before but for the record South African fixed wiring is exactly as described for Australia by Dave.
Flex for single phase is the brown (live), blue (neutral), green/yellow (earth). As for three phase flex, I am not sure.
A note on conduit wiring. Black is always neutral and earth is either green or bare. Red is usually phase but I have seen brown used. For switched feeds and travellers, I have seen used brown, blue, white, yellow and pink.
#133882 - 02/24/0312:01 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
One more addition to this endless thread: I got some info from a Swiss sparky on their color coding. Current Swiss color coding: Phases: all colors but blue and yellow-green Neutral: Blue Ground: Yellow-green. Old colors: Phases: all colors but yellow and yellow-red Neutral: Yellow Ground: Yellow-red Swiss, is that correct?
Old Italian color coding: Whatever you feel like. Think a pink phase with blue polka dots is beautiful? Go for it! Common agreement seems to be: L red, N green, Ground yellow.
#133884 - 05/07/0309:28 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
I got another, more detailed information on swiss color coding. Until about 1970 Phases red (R), green (S) and dark blue (T). N yellow. PE yellow-red until the 1950ies, later yellow-green. Phase after fuse often red. Switched phase often blue or green. Got you the following colors to a light fixture: Green, yellow-green and yellow. 3way travelers often white. In the ca. 90ies introduction of blue neutral, ban of blue phase. Yellow seems to have died out. Phases red, black and white, after fuse often black. Switched neutral whatever, for example green, travelers green as well.
#133886 - 05/09/0305:55 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Our - at lleast questionable - old table offers Russia: Red, Grey, Black (L, N, G) as the old color coding. To me it sounds fatally like the old Austrian coding completely mixed up (hot and ground swapped over). I remember reading somewher, that Russia didn't have any grounded receptacles in residential.
I'd say common sense and a phase probe are the most important thing when dealing with old wiring anywhere. Back when we had our 127/220V wye system electricians used virtually _any_ color for the 2 hots. I've seen 2 greens, 2 blacks, 2 yellows, 2 reds(!), 2 purples, 2 grays, 2 whites,... Where cable was used red was liberally used as a phase conductor (e.g. 2 individually switched phases to a light fixture were black and red, or a switched and an unswitched phase). Even 3ph systems can have the weirdest colors. I recently saw a 1957 main fuse box that had various combinations of 4 yellows, 4 whites, 4 purples and IIRC even 4 reds for the individual apartments. So _never_ trust a red wire to be a ground!
#133891 - 07/24/0305:53 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
The ETCI (Electrotechnical Council of Ireland) and the electrical contractors groups have gotten really strict about one colour coding issue here.
All new properties are required to have interlinked smoke alarms that are non-battery powered, i.e. if one smoke alarm gets triggered it has to sound all of the others. A lot of electricians have been using 3 core cable the brown and blue carrying the power and the earth to signal the other alarms (totally illegal)
A minimum of 2 are legally required in houses but it's standard practice to install a lot more.
If it was a commercial premisis it would have to be a full fire alarm system complete with fire resistant cabling etc.
On another point:
Are there any colour codes in Europe for SELV (12/24 V) circuits?
Low voltage halogen lighting's becoming very common as are other SELV appliences like in-shower fans etc.. meaning that attic spaces are often criss-crossed with cable carrying 12V or 24V. It would be handy if these cable could be quickly identified as non-230V.
It could prevent accidental connection of 230V to 12V or visa versa in a dodgy DIY job!
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 07-24-2003).]
#133892 - 07/25/0305:56 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Paul, The same still applies as far as I am aware, as long as there is an Electricity supply in the house, somewhere. Other side of the coin though, I would not have my own house without smoke detectors, neither should anyone else! But, I see that there are 12/24/48V smoke detectors out these days and they run on both AC and DC.
#133894 - 07/26/0309:24 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
There are practically no houses "off grid" over here. The ESB, since the days of rural electrification has a universal service obligation that means it has to connect remote homes. The usual scenario is that the ESB, homeowner and in some cases the government/local athority split the cost of running the line to a remote property.
Rural Ireland, unlike most of the rest of Europe, has a very strange population distribution. Lots of individual one off houses in the middle of the countryside varying from small traditional farmhouses to the now traditional US Style sprawling ranch sytle houses (they were very popular in the 60s). People also like to paint them very bright colours like flourecent pink, bright yellow or a nice electric blue etc. Amazingly enough it actually looks quite picturesque in most cases.
Because of this very low density distribution the ESB's rural electrification projects (1930-1950s) had to provide a very "omnipresent" network. So there are 10kV lines crisscrossing the countryside to tie into all of these scattered homes and farmhouses. If you drive around Ireland you will actually notice that there are quite a lot of quaint looking wooden pole powerlines running cross country (in comparision to the rest of Europe anyway) They're all wooden and generally quite sympathetic to the environment.
(In the northwest there are even 110kV & 220kV transmission lines on wooden poles! [installed recently wood was choosen for visual impact reasons])
Typically each home would be fed with 10kV up to the property's boundry and a pole mounted can transformer would step it back down to 220V or 380V. (nominally 230V/400V these days, but in reality it's still 220V/380V even on new installations.
The use of 10kV distribution with 38kV transmission over medium distances in the rural networks actually gives a really rubust supply that's very free from voltage fluctuations. (I've spent time in Spain and know that the rural network there wiped out my laptop power supply! We used to get flickering lights quite a lot)
#133895 - 07/28/0306:44 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
People also like to paint them very bright colours like flourecent pink, bright yellow or a nice electric blue etc
Yep -- I remember seeing places in Ireland painted in a combination of purple and lime green!
It's 5 years since I was over there, but I can't honesty remember noticing there being that many more HV power lines around the countryside than here. I suppose that's proof enough that they do blend it pretty well with the environment.
#133896 - 09/04/0312:23 AMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
(Old thread, but…) The North American continent may not be 100% metric, but there is at least one east-of-the-pond custom catching on. Omaha, NB Public Power District requires installers to “identify the phase conductors per the following colors: 120/208V, 3Ph, 4W: Black, Red, and Blue; or Red, Yellow, and Blue.” Earlier this week, I noticed some new local utility riser poles [transition from overhead to underground 12,470Y/7200V] with open, plainly visible phase designations of R-Y-B.]
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.
This is the problem with being the only member from a country. There's nobody to tell you "No, stupid, it's like this..."
#133898 - 09/04/0304:26 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Scott, Interesting on the red/yellow/blue phase identification. Those colors have been standard here since the mid-1960s. Prior to that phase B was white instead of yellow. I'm still not sure why the change was made, although it's interesting that some other British-influenced countries still use red/white/blue.
By the way, we seemed to have a minor glitch in this thread this morning (9/4/03). If anyone posted but doesn't see his message here now, please try again.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-04-2003).]
#133899 - 10/21/0512:03 PMRe: International Wire Colour Codes
Local Switching Black - common Gray - switching live Brown - Live
I take it this is with reference to a 2-way (=U.S. 3-way) switching arrangement using the "extension" method? (i.e. supply to L1 of switch, lamp to L2, and a 3-core linking L1-L1, L2-L2, and Com-Com on the other switch).
I can't say I've noticed an emerging preference for this yet, but then I don't think there was ever really an established convention as such under the old red/yellow/blue colors either.
When wiring that method I would use red for supply (L1), since that seemed logical given that on a regular switch drop red would be the feed. Then I would usually use blue for lamp (L2), and yellow to link the commons.
Transposing red/yellow/blue to brown/black/gray respectively does result in brown for supply (L1), gray for lamp (L2) and black for switch commons as per your list, but I can't say that I've seen that established as a real convention yet, anymore than my use of yellow/blue was the only method employed under the old system. If I found 2-ways wired "extension" method with blue for the common and yellow for the lamp, then I'd wire mine the same way for consistency.
If wiring a 2-way the traditional method, either to junction boxes above or by splicing the feed or lamp return in the back of a switch, then I would normally use red for the feed and the lamp return, with yellow and blue for the travelers (a.k.a. "strappers" in the U.K.). Transposing that to the new colors results in brown for feed and lamp return with black and gray for travelers.
If using a 3-core for individual 2-gang switching, then I think it's much more obvious. Red (now brown) for feed, yellow (now black) and blue (now gray) for the two switch returns.
Of course, under BS7671 the yellow and blue conductors were supposed to be sleeved red at terminations anyway, and now black and gray should be sleeved brown at terminations when used in single-phase wiring.
Also related to this is the reidentification of conductors when using a 3-core cable to phase colors for a single-phase live/neutral/earth feed (as is common here with SWA).
Under the old system just about everybody did it the same way: Red left as it was for live, blue sleeved black for neutral, yellow sleeved green/yellow for earth.
With the new colors it's fairly obvious that brown stays as is for live, but I've seen the black and gray used both ways round for neutral and earth. The recommended method though is for black to be sleeved green/yellow for earth and gray to be sleeved blue for neutral. The idea is to break the association of "black = neutral" which would persist if black were sleeved blue for use as a neutral.
In Gemany sleeving is rare, PE is either g/y or red (before 1971) We may not use any other wire. In case of non-existance you're supposed to add a separate, paralleled PE cable.
The only accepted and mandatory(?) sleeving is blue on a g/y wire to mark a PEN. Blue PENs with g/y sleeving are not accepted either.
Interesting to see that I wire the same way what we call "wire saving 2way switching": brown = L, black = traveller (here "communicator"), gray for the lamp. But there is absolutely no rule here, except for this one: "Everything but g/y can be live".
The Regs. here basically allow any conductor to be sleeved at its termination points, except that a green/yellow wire may not be re-identified and used for any purpose other than earth.
So you can take a blue, black, gray, etc. wire, sleeve it green/yellow at its ends and use for an earth, but you cannot take a green/yellow wire and sleeve it blue, brown etc. for use as a phase or neutral.
The reasoning is that if somebody comes along later and cuts into an existing cable, he might assume that the Gn/Yw is earth if he doesn't check the ends and see that it's been reidentified.
Of course, with our "T&E" PVC-insulated cables commonly used in residential and light commercial wiring the earth wire is bare inside the sheath, and may not be used for any other purpose except an earth anyway.
The Regs. here basically allow any conductor to be sleeved at its termination points, except that a green/yellow wire may not be re-identified and used for any purpose other than earth.
The other way round it's illegal here too - a grounding conductor has to be permanently identified yellow/green along its entire length. However, cables without a yellow/green conductor are virtually non-existant except for large cross sections commonly used for services and other main line work. Those however, don't contain a ground wire, they're solely intended for TT systems ahead of the main grounding point (typically the local ground wire goes into the breaker panel, so any wiring between PoCo service box and main panel does not have a ground).
The only legal sleeving in Austria is re-identifying a grey conductor blue in a 4xxxmm2 cable (colors brown, black, grey, yellow/green) where a neutral is needed. 4x1,5mm2 and the like is highly uncommon anyway, so it does not happen that often - since it's so rare 5x1,5mm2 is usually cheaper just due to the great quantities sold.
Most conductors have more than one acceptable use. Black, white and blue are always phases.
Red is ground. Where no ground is/was required, red can be a phase conductor, switched phase or traveler.
Grey can be neutral (TT and TN-C-S systems), phase (TT or TN-C-S in 3ph circuits without neutral) or PEN. In conduit, phases can be any color, but if there is a ground in the conduit there must be no other red wire. Ground has to be red.
Since existing runs can be re-used and even re-purposed it is still important to know the old codes. As far as I know the new harmonised colors were introduced in 1967 with a transitional period until 1972.
The harmonised colors introduced the distinction between cables with a yellow/green conductor (-J types in both Austrian and German national designations) and without (-O types), I think in the harmonised scheme it's G or X (e.g. H05VV-F 3G1.5 or 3X1.5). -J: yellow/green black - yellow/green black - blue - yellow/green black - blue - brown - yellow/green black - blue - brown - black - yellow/green
-O black black - blue black - brown - blue black - brown - black - blue black - brown - black - black - blue
All cables with more than 5 conductors (including the yellow/green) have a yellow/green conductor and 5 or more numbered black conductors, one of which can be re-identified blue for the neutral but does not have to (it can be left black).
Thanks for your message, Texas Ranger! as far as i know , china and russia were using the same standard,and this standard has been in use for many years. But personally , I prefer white ,green, red for phase A,B,C and black for earth.
Hello Tjia, nice to have a member from china! is black a common color for earth in china? Or do you mean PEN (combined neutral and ground)? We sometimes deliver machines to china. We use black for phase A, B, C in the control cabinet and green-yellow for ground. I wonder if somebody might mistake our phases for ground.
Sweden, pre-1970: no fixed standard for live and neutral, rather local customs. In some regions white was live and black neutral, in others just the opposite. Other common phase colours were green and yellow. Red - as in Germany - could serve a variety of functions, e.g. earth, traveller, switched phase etc.
Hungary: same as Germany until about 1960 when neutral became blue instead of grey, around ten years later earth was changed from red to yellow/green too.
Germany: seriously confusing. Grey has been neutral/PEN since the 1920s or even longer. Red, however, was only introduced in 1958 for earth in fixed wiring (and various other purposes) and already abandoned again in 1965 in favour of yellow/green. In reality, red was also frequently used as a PEN in some regions.
Separate earth conductors in fixed wiring did not exist in the VDE regulations prior to 1958, those in flexible cords were red.
Hi, andey. Over here in china,Including all the single phase and three phase electrical equipment and appliance, yellow/green is the specified color for protective earthing! At about more than 10 years ago, in some area, black was used for earth ,but has been banned! For the imported machines from germany, I think the user must read the instructions carefully to avoid mistake .
Two other notes I forgot yesterday: France seems to favour red for L1 in domestic conduit installs, you can even buy "pre-mixed" rolls of three 1.5 or 2.5 mm2 conduit singles (H07V-U) - red, blue and yellow/green at DIY stores.
And Russia and Ukraine seem to like white as a phase conductor, I keep seeing cables with white, blue and yellow/green in pictures and Youtube videos.
The Russians also seem to use pink yellow green for 3 phase work also blue brown for single phase flexible same as in UK and europe also older wiring uses black and white for flexible I don't think they believe in earthing. Apparently the rumanians have a real aversion to earthing
Red rather than pink according to what Tjia posted above. And yes, isolated rooms seem to be rather common in a few countries, ignoring the fact that it's almost impossible to have a room without exposed earth potential these days (radiators, satellite TV wiring shields, network cables etc. etc.).
The basic idea was that in a room without exposed earth potential it's impossible to receive a fatal shock even if something becomes live at 230 V. Therefore, class-0 appliances are legal (devices containing single-insulated live conductors and other parts, not earthed) and class-1 appliances simply become class-0. The concept existed in Austria and Germany until 1958 but continued to be used much longer, e.g. in Sweden (1995) and is still in use in some countries, e.g. France, the Netherlands and Morocco. Not sure about Romania and Russia.
Another atrocity you never had in the UK is TN-C, i.e. a PEN in the entire installation with neutral/earth jumpers at every socket and light. Factor in 2.5 mm2 Al wiring and things get REALLY nasty! This method was banned in the 70s in most countries west of the Iron Curtain but used much longer on the eastern side.
I still think thorough earthing is a good idea I know that if your on dry carpet upstairs the chance of shocks are minimal but it only takes a finger or toe to brush against something and suddenly your exposed to the full 240 volts not nice. Its strange how many unsafe practices are allowed by people who should know better
In my opinion, earthing is your primary protection against electric shock, however, using 30mA RCD's as a form of protection on any sub-circuits against direct/indirect contact with live conductors, is the best means of effecting safety in any installation.