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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
A silly little question which popped into my head. Thinking back on the dozens of photos posted here, it seems to me that the majority of singles pulled in for feeds and sub-feeds are black with appropriate ID colors applied at the terminations, taking advantage of the NEC rule about conductors larger than #6.

So when pulling feeders such as #2 and larger, how many of you keep stocks of all appropriate phase & neutral colors and how many just stock black and mark the terminations?

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
For me, anything larger than #6 is always black, using phasing tape along the entire visible portion of the wire within the panel. It's a lot easier to carry assorted colors of tape than to carry expensive and heavy rolls of wire.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
I used to always specify colored cable whenever possible. Many suppliers are getting away from stocking multiple colors, so I'm pretty much stuck using marking tape now.

I do like Southwire's new "SimPull" line of products though. They will provide just about any size in any color and it looks nice.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Originally Posted by Zapped
along the entire visible portion of the wire within the panel

I guess that poses a sub-question for others too: Tape the entire exposed length, or just a few turns at the lug?

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 32
Junior Member
I've never seen wire tapped along the entire visible portion within the panel. If it is done so, wouldn't that be concealing the factory marked wire size and insulation type which is supposed to be visible on the wire?
We use black #8 and 6 and phase mark them a good inch or two. A few years back using phase colored wire for 6 and under was rumored to have become required by the local inspectors, but I never saw it enforced or even brought up.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Technically, at least for the neutral wire, we are required to mark it wherever it is visible. In practice, though, you'll almost never find the marking at your conduit bodies (pulling points) and boxes - unless there is a splice.

For the "hot" wires, the requirements are not as stringent.

Paul, it's a fair question you ask, as I know your side of the pond marks using three bands of color around the wire. Here. besides covering the exposed length with colored tape, it is also common to see the tape used to make a 'candy cane' stripe as it goes around the wire.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
There's really no reason to candy cane stripe with an identification. I personally think it looks tacky, like an ill fitting suit.

I single wrap my conductors, identified with 1 band of tape at the termination.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,722
Broom Pusher and
A few years back, Supply Houses would keep spools of wire in stock, with Insulation colors beyond the "typical" Black, occasional White & Green - in sizes >#6 (even saw 500 MCM in more than just basic Black!)

Colors were:
Black (of course!), Red, Blue, White, Green,
Green w/ Yellow Stripes,
Brown, Orange, Yellow, Gray.

That "Fad" lasted at most 1.5 Years, and now things are back to "Normal" (specific colors are special order).

Afterwards, there were a few occasions where I had some difficulty obtaining #8 White, #6 White and #6 Green!

I do admit it's very nice to have the Conductors already color coded! Not too easy making a mistake when tagging the ends of Feeders pre-pull when no tagging is needed.

If the wire was available within a few days - and without any order related extra costs, it would be more desirable to go that route.

Since witnessing a Neutrino react with a certain liquid is likely to occur sooner than full stock, multiple colored insulation via will-call, I tend to remain with Black Insulation, and tagging the ends with one or two wraps of colored tape.

On the subject of Color Coding, sometimes when viewed under High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Light, Gray Colored Insulation looks anything but Gray!
Might be Brown?, Blue?, Yellow?, even Green?!

Seen different Colors reflected from Gray Insulation in different environments, when HPS Lamps were involved.

Anyone else observe this scenario?


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 300
The problem I see with pre-colored wires is that I will need an extra 30 feet of brown and all I have left is a small coil of orange. If it's all black, I can make it any color I want.

And to answer the original poster's question: roughly 3-4" of solid colored tape within an inch or so of the wire termination and another similar wrap of tape 18" to 2' away if it's in a place where it's likely I'll be tracing wires again such as within any controls for motor starters, lighting contactors, etc.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
I will admit that if it is a small job, like a small sub panel, I will tape the entire length or just strip down a piece of Romex. Other than that, I've had to resort to doing the same as the general consensus here: A discrete marking near the terminations that is uniform.

Just like everything else, good-quality tape isn't cheap anymore. I've never been a fan of "candy-cane" striping. Insane copper prices are prohibiting supply houses from stocking multiple colors, so we have to do the best that we can do.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
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