Does 210.5(c)(1) mean that even switchlegs and travellers need to be the same color as that designated for the phase feeding them? Thus, I may have 5-10 or more conductors of the same color in the same junction boxes of one room. Obviously, it works much better to use, for instance, pinks and purples for travellers and the two remaining phase colors (other than the feed color) as switch legs.
Is this a place served by "more than one nominal voltage system"? If not, this does not apply.
*** Opinion bit on***
Even if it did, I would still use tape to give these conductors supplementary identification.
For example we could have 3p 480 indicated "BOY" and the 3p 208 would be Bk,R,Bl
If I was running a switch loop on the black phase I would use black conductors and put a wrap of pink and purple tape on the travelers if that is your convention. I think we are trying to convey more information identifying conductors, not less. You just have to stay away from green, gray and white on ungrounded conductors.
*** opinion off ***
This is still new to me. Florida is still on the 08 and unless they do something radical for them we won't get the 11 until March of 15
I hope you can continue to use different colors for the travelers, different switches, etc. It sure can make things less confusing.
That said, there's a limit to what you can do with colors. You CANT'T have it ALL! That is, clear wiring, minimal wire, minimal box count, etc. Let's look at two ways to do a 3-way switch arrangement:
A very common way is to have the power feed directly to the box over the fixture, with 'switch legs' going to the two switches. This results in all the wire nuts being in one box. It also means that the white wires going to the switches are used as part of the switch leg. The result can be a pretty crowded box, with all the wires looking the same.
Perhaps it would be better if you ran your power to the first switch, instead of directly to the fixture. Then run a cable with an extra wire to the next switch; there are your travelers. Finally, run wire from the last switch to the fixture box.
(This arrangement makes connections pretty clear in each box, and provides a neutral at each switch as well. IMO, this is the layout the Code is trying to encourage).
"But I don't have 2-circuit cable on the truck." Like I said, you cant have everything.
With the advent of energy codes, and more complex switching arrangements, the problem can get even worse. Let me give an example of a job I did:
A meeting room had twenty 4-bulb fluorescent lights. They were to be controlled by two sets of 3-ways, so as to provide "two levels of lighting." The joker in the deck was that it was not clear exactly HOW they wanted the two levels of lighting achieved.
My plan: A small departure from the usual color coding arrangement. While power to each 'first' switch was from the same blue wire, I used blue and red from the "last" switches to the lights. I used purple (blue) and pink (red) for the travelers. In addition, I used the little lever-type Wago connectors. This allowed for easily changing the switching layout- much easier than using wire nuts.
How did it work out? Well, I made my best guess and powered up the lights. I guessed pretty well; I only had to move two lights from one 'set' to the other.
IMO, any understanding of the Code that would ban this method would be creating a hazard, not eliminating one.
Mandating a color code is not the intention of this code section. It simply suggests colors as one method of identifying voltages . You could just put little tags on all of the wires in your different systems and write "208/120" and "480/277" on them and meet this code requirement. Or you could use all purple wires for one system and all yellow wires for another. That would be a little redonkulous but would satisfy the requirement.
I still see nothing in the code that prevents putting an additional color on the travelers with a ring of tape. The base conductor color would still be compliant and make it clear what phase you were dealing with and the tape would identify each conductor separately.
This code rule is going to make it pretty hard to use a cable wiring method in any building it applies to unless the manufactures add different color combinations to their product line. What are you going to use for whips to troffers on C phase? Have you seen blue/white MC?