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Thread: AC conductor color & identification standards

  1. #1
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    AC conductor color & identification standards

    I have been trained that while it is not required by the NEC the following colors should be used for the line conductors in AC systems:

    L1 - Black (split phase or 208 three phase)
    L2 - Red (split phase or 208 three phase)
    L3 - Blue (208 three phase)


    480/277 L1 - Brown
    480/277 L2 - Orange
    480/277 L3 - Yellow


    It is my understanding that while this is not NEC required it is "industry standard" and should be followed to provide a higher quality of work with easier serviceability.

    Is this truly industry standard that is advisable to follow or is this just a local standard that may differ throughout the country?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunFish View Post
    I have been trained that while it is not required by the NEC the following colors should be used for the line conductors in AC systems:

    L1 - Black (split phase or 208 three phase)
    L2 - Red (split phase or 208 three phase)
    L3 - Blue (208 three phase)


    480/277 L1 - Brown
    480/277 L2 - Orange
    480/277 L3 - Yellow


    It is my understanding that while this is not NEC required it is "industry standard" and should be followed to provide a higher quality of work with easier serviceability.

    Is this truly industry standard that is advisable to follow or is this just a local standard that may differ throughout the country?
    It's local. For example, Austin and San Antonio both have local addenda to the NEC dictating that the hot legs of a split phase 240VAC system be red and black, but they are opposite from each other on which is which.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunFish View Post
    It is my understanding that while this is not NEC required it is "industry standard" and should be followed to provide a higher quality of work with easier serviceability.

    Is this truly industry standard that is advisable to follow or is this just a local standard that may differ throughout the country?
    My opinion is that it is a standard
    [up to 240]~ Black-red-blue..white neutral
    [up to 480]~ Brown-orange-yellow...grey neutral

    I think Southwire makes BX/MC with these colors ...

    This standard goes right out the window when dealing with entities such as a DOT.
    Last edited by celtic; 05-24-12 at 02:16 PM. Reason: re-arranged for readability
    ĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦ
    ««« CELTIC »»»
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    An error on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.8-)


  4. #4
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    So when do I get to use purple? Such a pretty color...
    "Electricity is really just organized lightning." George Carlin


    Derék

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumper View Post
    So when do I get to use purple? Such a pretty color...
    DOT
    ĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦ
    ««« CELTIC »»»
    ĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦĦ
    An error on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.8-)


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumper View Post
    So when do I get to use purple? Such a pretty color...
    I did a project once for a shipyard. All the AC control wires were purple.

    As best I can tell, other than grounded, ground wires, and high legs there is no "standard", except on a place by place basis, and a few localities as someone else mentioned. Which means it is not really standard.
    Bob

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumper View Post
    So when do I get to use purple? Such a pretty color...
    In San Antonio on the A phase of a 480Y/277 system.

  8. #8
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    I made a big wire cart on wheels that holds about 50 rolls of wire depending on the size....as many different colors as I can get. Usually it will end up with three each of several different colors and white and green. It 's a good thing.

    I never could see any point in worrying about what color the wires were.

    Always seemed to me different is better. It's just as easy to pull in a bunch of different colors as a bunch of one color, and then you don't have to fool around with wire markers.... now there's a PITA.
    Last edited by realolman; 05-24-12 at 07:53 PM.
    Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    It's local. For example, Austin and San Antonio both have local addenda to the NEC dictating that the hot legs of a split phase 240VAC system be red and black, but they are opposite from each other on which is which.
    Is that a joke? The part about which is which?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaggedben View Post
    Is that a joke? The part about which is which?
    No, it's not.

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