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#46633 12/29/04 12:01 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1
Junior Member
Could someone please explain when to use brown, orange, yellow and blue,red, black? Orange is supposed to be for the wild leg, correct? I mostly do residential but I am getting into 3 phase. Where does the wild leg come in and if a phase is orange does that mean it is a wild leg? Please help.

#46634 12/29/04 12:31 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527

#46635 12/29/04 09:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 335
After you check out all the threads keep this in mind ... we (the electricians) invented BK/RD/BL, not the NEC. Nothing in the NEC says you can't use pink, purple and mauve.
Yes, the orange is mandated for a hi leg.

#46636 12/29/04 10:30 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 201
Actually Steve, almost any color may be used for the high Ø. The verbiage says “orange in color or by other effective means”, the other effective means may be purple, blue, red, or almost any other color as long as it’s the same throughout the plant. [Linked Image]

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Charlie Eldridge, Indianapolis, Utility Power Guy

Charlie Eldridge, Indianapolis Utility Power Guy
#46637 12/29/04 01:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 599
JBD Offline
If there is a high leg it must be "orange".
But, orange can be used for any phase if a high leg is not present.

For the most part (yes, isolated and hospital systems are special) the only colors with restricted uses are green and white. I am not sure if grey is now restricted to grounded conductors.

#46638 12/29/04 01:49 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
JBD, look at Charlies post, his quote is from article 230.56, it is also in 215.8 but with a few more words, “orange in color or by tagging or other effective means".

Grey is now reserved for a grounded conductor.


#46639 12/29/04 02:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 201
A word of caution. Gray was used as a phase conductor until this cycle, “natural gray” was reserved for the grounded conductor. Just because it is gray doesn’t automatically mean that it is a grounded conductor and it is at ground potential.

Along those same lines, red has been used in this area for the high Ø in a lot of buildings. Additionally, other colors may be used for that particular identification.

The bottom line for both of these statements, “don’t assume!" Use the proper testing procedures along with the lock out, tag out procedures. Remember, go home in the same shape that you went to work in so your kids will recognize you. [Linked Image]

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Charlie Eldridge, Indianapolis, Utility Power Guy

[This message has been edited by CharlieE (edited 12-29-2004).]

Charlie Eldridge, Indianapolis Utility Power Guy
#46640 12/29/04 06:18 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 335
As per 230.56 ... I stand corrected

#46641 12/30/04 04:48 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
As Charlie mentioned, ya gotta be wary of color codes.... San Fran' CA high legs are Purple, in direct contradiction to NEC. But I often find RED "B", and BLUE "Hi-C"(Which seemed to live a short life in the 60's), and of course ORANGE from "Out-of-towners", and PURPLE. On occasion all of the above. So every 3 phase panel to me is in question, and gets the meter. Then it gets the giant magic marker on the panel cover, with whatever leg is high in a big triangle. Lets me know I've been there....

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#46642 12/30/04 07:55 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
Where can I get a copy of the San Francisco Code? I've heard so many claims about their "special" requirements that I'd really like to see how they think they comply with the State's requirements.

Try this link:

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