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#140516 04/02/04 05:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
The new "harmonized" color code has become part of the IEE Wiring Regulations in the U.K. from April 1.

The IEE is sending out this flyer which summarizes the changes:

An on-line version of an article which has just appeared in the IEE's Wiring Matters newsletter goes into greater detail:

More links and details here:

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 04-02-2004).]

#140517 04/02/04 04:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 39
These changes are bound to cause a lot of confusion to installers even though they are well documented, not too bad if like myself you have worked with German/French companies which have used blue/black and brown-black/black and brown in their three phase flex cables to motors.

Looks like a well run forum, hope i will fit in [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Ever Ready (edited 04-02-2004).]

#140518 04/02/04 04:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Very interesting links, Paul. I'll bet there are a few that may not welcome such a change.

#140519 04/02/04 06:29 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
Looking at page 1 of Paul's second reference one can see just how out of step the UK had become with regards to the rest of Europe.

Change looked inevitible since 1969. At least Switzerland to not have to transpose a phase and neutral colour like the UK has to.

Does anyone know if other countries like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are likely to follow suit?

#140520 04/02/04 07:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Great link Paul. [Linked Image]
I was wondering about this configuration a couple of years ago when using a German-made screened control cable.
I'd be interested to see if this coding is taken on over here.
Eveready, welcome to the Forum!. [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Like you said, this may cause a little confusion to Electricians, but what about Joe Bloggs, installing a few sockets in his home?.
The Authorities want to get the message through to the DIY'er and DIY stores before any wholesale colour changes.

#140521 04/03/04 04:54 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Welcome to the forum Ever Ready.

You might like to check the following thread from last year where we discussed the proposed changes:
New UK colour code

We also had a long discussion about different international color codes in general that might be of interest:
International Wire Colour Codes

My position on this is unchanged from last year. Frankly, I see no need for the U.K. to undergo this change just for the sake of "harmonization." Red and black have been associated with line and neutral here for decades (I'm not sure when they were standardized, but certainly back as far as the 1920s).

We've had brown/blue on flexes since around 1970 (with the attendant conflict of colors), so at least the average DIYer is already familiar with the brown/blue scheme. I've often wondered why the IEE didn't adopt the new European colors for fixed cables at the same time for consistency.

Note that the original proposal was that where old and new cables were to be joined colored ID sleeves should be applied at the terminations, but the final version now calls for alphanumeric tags instead (L1, L2, L3, N).

At least the IEE has specified a warning notice at the main distibution panel where both old and new colors are used within an installation, although it will be superfluous for those already familiar with the new scheme and probably ignored by those most in need of a warning!

#140522 04/03/04 09:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Paul what is the point of Harmonization?.
To my way of thinking, the EU can't even spell properly, its Harmonisation!. [Linked Image]
But what's next, a new set of colours that were just like the old colours?.
The song by the Who comes to mind "Won't get fooled Again". [Linked Image]

#140523 04/03/04 10:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 39
Thanks for the links Paul,I think a lot of electrical problems could be eradicated if the electrical industry went the same way as the gas industry with their Corgi/Acops registration system. I think an awful lot of foul ups and accidents etc could be avioded if the people who think simply being able to wire a 13A plug makes them an electrician were prohibited by law from working on electrical systems.

Thanks for the welcome guys

[This message has been edited by Ever Ready (edited 04-03-2004).]

#140524 04/04/04 06:40 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Ever Ready, sorry to disturb your peace of mind, but do you ever read uk.d-i-y? General consensus there seems to be: "Corgi? Overpaid stupid idiots! Everybody who knows what a piece of copper pipe looks like can pipe his house's gas system!"

#140525 04/04/04 07:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 39
I know what you mean Texas_Ranger, I have had dealings with Corgi gas fitters and some of their work can leave a lot to be desired, I have also worked with several non Corgi gas fitters and they were about the same. I was recently working on an industrial installation and the "plumber" piped high pressure oxygen in a clear plastic pipe with no markings on the pipe or indeed any mechanical protection as the pipe passed through sheet metal bulkheads.

I know that a registration system would not stop all the diy nutcases but hopefully it would weed out a few. In particular a customer I worked for last week who rewired his upstairs lighting system and switched all the neutrals at the single pole light switches

*edited spelling mistakes*

[This message has been edited by Ever Ready (edited 04-04-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Ever Ready (edited 04-04-2004).]

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