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Thread: NEC Color Code

  1. #1
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    NEC Color Code

    Where do I find the color code for 3 phase feeder in the NEC. What is the Article Number?

  2. #2
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    The NEC does not specify.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparky7022 View Post
    Where do I find the color code for 3 phase feeder in the NEC. What is the Article Number?
    As Bob mentioned NEC is silent. Check with local AHJ....example here in DC one must use industy standard colors BRBW for 208/120 and BOYG for 480/277....Just a local amendment.
    Greg

    Electrical Inspector in our Nations Capital

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    Ungrounded conductors are not listed (although in very specific cases they may be). But overall, for general use, only the grounded (neutral) is addressed in 200.6.

  5. #5
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    It's another one of those myths that certain colors are required for certain voltages (other than a high leg).

    As the others of said and while it may have been a long held trade practice, the NEC is silent on it.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
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  6. #6
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    The NEC does not require any particular color code for feeders, there are certain colors that are restricted in various ways:
    White or Gray - Grounded conductor
    Orange - high leg delta
    Blue - IS systems (Art 504)
    Green - Equipment ground

    But what the NEC does says is you have to pick colors, post those colors, if there is more than one nominal voltage system:
    215.12
    (C) Ungrounded Conductors. Where the premises wiring system has feeders supplied from more than one nominal voltage system, each ungrounded conductor of a feeder shall be identified by phase or line and system at all termination, connection, and splice points. The means of identification shall be permitted to be by separate color coding, marking tape, tagging, or other approved means. The method utilized for conductors originating within each feeder panelboard or similar feeder distribution equipment shall be documented in a manner that is readily available or shall be permanently posted at each feeder panelboard or similar feeder distribution equipment.
    Moderator-Washington State
    Ancora Imparo

  7. #7
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    There is also 517.160(A)(5) which requires Orange, Brown, and Yellow

    (5) Conductor Identification. The isolated circuit conductors shall be identified as follows:

    (1) Isolated Conductor No. 1Orange with a distinctive colored stripe other than white, green, or gray

    (2) Isolated Conductor No. 2Brown with a distinctive colored stripe other than white, green, or gray

    For 3-phase systems, the third conductor shall be identified as yellow with a distinctive colored stripe other than white, green, or gray. Where isolated circuit conductors supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles, the striped orange conductor(s) shall be connected to the terminal(s) on the receptacles that are identified in accordance with 200.10(B) for connection to the grounded circuit conductor.

    Roger
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyjwc View Post
    It's another one of those myths that certain colors are required for certain voltages (other than a high leg).

    As the others of said and while it may have been a long held trade practice, the NEC is silent on it.
    It is certainly true that it is not Code. But it was (color codes in general, not different voltages), so the old-timers suffered through it, even though it is gone now :smile:. From at least 1937 until 1968, color codes were required for various branch circuits, depending on multi-wire or not, mostly.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volta View Post
    It is certainly true that it is not Code. But it was (color codes in general, not different voltages), so the old-timers suffered through it, even though it is gone now :smile:. From at least 1937 until 1968, color codes were required for various branch circuits, depending on multi-wire or not, mostly.
    Language addressing the colors of ungrounded conductors continued until 1975, which basically stated "Don't use the colors of the grounded or grounding!" Similar language continued until 1996, when the title of Art. 210-5 was "Color Code for Branch Circuits".
    Last edited by 480sparky; 07-16-09 at 10:23 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volta View Post
    It is certainly true that it is not Code. But it was (color codes in general, not different voltages), so the old-timers suffered through it, even though it is gone now :smile:. From at least 1937 until 1968, color codes were required for various branch circuits, depending on multi-wire or not, mostly.
    Well what I was getting at, was believing that B/O/Y with a gray neutral was 277v or the B/R/B with a white neutral was 120V could get you in trouble. It was only a trade practice for years.

    And the only one on the site that might remember back to 1937 is Bob.:grin:
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

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