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Electrical Wiring Color Codes for AC & DC – NEC & IEC

AC Single Phase & Three Phase And DC Wire & Cable Color Codes

Electrical engineers, contractors, traders, manufacturers and especially electricians around the world use different electrical wiring color codes for cable and wire installation and electricity distribution in industrial buildings or residential homes. Some of the power wires and cables color codes are mandatory while others are optional. The proper wiring color codes used in the installations is a best strategy for lines, neutral and ground wire tracing, time-saving, easy maintenance/troubleshooting and protection for those who are working on it.

There are multiple colors used for different wires and cables in different regions for AC (alternating current) Single-Phase , Three-Phase and DC (Direct Current) for design and installation based on the local codes, rules and regulations. Some of the well known are NEC “National Electrical Codes” followed by US and Canada while IEC “International Electrotechnical Commission” codes followed by UK, Most of the European Countries Argentina etc.

In this tutorial, we will discuss the different wiring color codes for AC (Single Phase & Three Phase), DC Power followed by NEC and IEC (Most countries (including Europe) adapted the IEC wiring color codes such as UK, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, KSA, UAE etc.) In addition, we will be showing the wiring color codes used by US, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Japan, India, Pakistan and South Africa.

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Electrical Wiring Color Codes (NEC & IEC) - Single Phase & Three Phase (AC)

NEC Wiring Color Codes for AC – US & Canada

US – NEC AC (Single & Multi-Phase) Wiring Color Codes 

The mandatory colors for power wiring in National Electric Codes (NEC) are Green, Bare or Green/Yellow (Yellow Strip or band on Green) for Protective Ground “PG” and White (alternatively Grey) for Neutral Wire. Any other colors expected the above mentioned can be used for Live (Line or Hot) wires. Meanwhile, the following colors are adapted in the local practice and used for Lines, Neutral and Ground wires are as follows.

Single Phase Wiring Color Codes

Single Phase 120V AC:

  • BLACK = Phase , Hot or Line “L
  • WHITE = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground Conductor (Protective Ground) “PG

Single Phase 240V AC:

This is also known as two phase or split phase AC supply but mostly called single phase supply.

  • BLACK = Phase 1  , Hot 1 or Line 1 “L1”
  • RED = Phase 2  , Hot 2 or Line 2, “L2”
  • White = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground “PG”
Three Phase Wiring Color Codes

Three Phase 208V AC:

  • BLACK = Phase 1  , Hot 1 or Line 1 “L1”
  • RED = Phase 2  , Hot 2 or Line 2 “L2”
  • BLUE = Phase 3  , Hot 3 or Line 3 “L3”
  • White = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground “PG”

Three Phase 277V & 480 V AC:

The following i.e. 277V and 480V AC supplies are used for industrial and high power equipment such as motors and  heaters in factories and production units.

  • BROWN = Phase 1  , Hot 1 or Line 1 “L1”
  • ORANGE = Phase 2  , Hot 2 or Line 2 “L2”
  • YELLOW = Phase 3  , Hot 3 or Line 3 “L3”
  • GRAY = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground “PG”

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US AC Wiring Color Codes (NEC) - Single Phase & Three Phase

Canada – CEC AC (Single & Three-Phase) Wiring Color Codes 

Canadian Electric Code “CEC” wiring color codes are similar in practice with National Electric Code “NEC” expect that White color is used for Neutral Wire and Green or bare conductor is used for protective ground. In some cases, the 1st and 2nd phase (lines) colors are in an inverse position as compared to NEC.

In short, the fowling wiring color codes are practiced in Canada.

Single Phase AC:

Mostly 120V and 240V (there is a second hot or phase wire in 240V single phase AC system).

  • RED or BLACK= Phase , Hot or Line, (In case of two lines) “L1 or L2”
  • WHITE = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground Conductor “PG”

Three Phase AC (Mandatory)

Wire colors used for 208V multiphase powers circuits

  • RED = Phase 1 or Line 1, “L1”
  • BLACK = Phase 2 or Line 2 “L2”
  • BLUE = Phase 3  or Line 3 “L3”
  • White or GRAY = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground “PG”

Three Phase AC (Isolated)

These colors are used for multi-phase 277 & 480V in Canada.

  • ORANGE = Phase 1 or Line 1 “L1”
  • BROWN = Phase 2 or Line 2 “L2”
  • YELLOW = Phase 3  or Line 3 “L3”
  • White or GRAY = Neutral “N”
  • GREEN, BARE or GREEN / YELLOW = Ground “PG”

Related Post: How to Find the Proper Wire and Cable Size for Electrical Wiring Installation – IEC & NEC

Canada Wiring Color Codes - 1 & 3 Phase

IEC Wiring Color Codes for AC – UK , EU & Other Countries

As mentioned above, most of the Europe Union countries and UK, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Israel, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, KSA (Saudi Arabia), UAE (United Arab Emirate) and Malaysia are following the IEC “International Electrotechnical Commission” wiring codes. Keep in mind that some of the above mentioned countries such UK, Russia & China etc were using their own “Old wiring color codes” but now follow the IEC power circuit wire codes.

IEC NEW & OLD AC WIRING COLOR CODES - UK & EU NEW

UK & EU: IEC AC (Single & Three-Phase) Wiring Color Codes

UK New (IEC) Wire Color Codes

Single Phase AC 230V

  • BROWN = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC 415+ V

  • BROWN = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • BLACK= Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • GRAY= Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

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UK & EU AC Wiring Color Codes (IEC) - Single Phase & Three Phase

UK Old Wiring Color Codes

Prior to March 2004, the UK were following their own wiring color codes. These old wiring color codes are still used in the subcontinents including India, Pakistan and South Africa.

Single Phase AC 230V

  • RED = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC 415+ V

  • RED= Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • YELLOW = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • BLUE = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

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UK Old & New IEC Wiring Color Codes

China & Russia Wiring Color Codes

China PRC & Russia (Old) Wiring Color Codes

Single Phase AC

  • YELLOW = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • SKY BLUE or BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

China Three Phase AC

  • YELLOW = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • GREEN = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • RED = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • LIGHT BLUE or BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Related Post: Types of Electrical Wires and Cables

China PRC Wiring Color Codes for Single Phase and Three Phase

Russia New Wiring Color Codes

Russia was following the same wiring color codes as China before but they adapted the IEC with little bit changes i.e. in a three phase system, they may use purple or gray color instead of gray in IEC. As things are little bit changed in Russia, so one must follow the tester before going in the mess.

Single Phase AC

  • BROWN= Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC

  • BROWN = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • BLACK = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • GRAY or PURPLE = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • LIGHT BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Related Post: A Complete Guide About Solar Panel Installation. Step by Step Procedure with Calculation & Diagrams

Russia Wiring Color Codes - Old & New

Australia & New Zealand Wiring Color Codes

Both Aussies and Kiwis are using the same wiring color codes for single phase and three phase power circuits.

Single Phase AC

  • RED or BROWN = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLACK or SKY BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN or GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC

  • RED or BROWN = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • WHITE = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • BLUE = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • BLACK or LIGHT BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN or GREEN / YELLOW = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE).

Australia & New Zealand Wiring Color Codes - Single & Three Phase

Japan Wiring Color Codes

As the name suggests, Japan always does weird things. The single phase supply is 100V (Line to Neutral) and Three Phase supply is 200V (3 Lines, No Neutral). For wow reaction, Check the common neutral and 3rd Phase colors. They are the same i.e. white (Read the following note after the three phase codes for explanation).

Single Phase AC

  • BLACK or RED= Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • WHITE = Neutral (N)
  • GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC

  • BLACK = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • RED= Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • WHITE = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • WHITE = Common Neutral (N) (Used in Two Lines System Only)
  • GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Japan Wiring Color Codes for 100 & 200V

Keep in mind that in case of three phase supply, there is no need for neutral wire here in Japan. So don’t panic with the “3rd Line” in three phases and the common Neutral as a White color.

India, Pakistan & South Africa Wiring Color Codes

India and Pakistan including the other subcontinent countries and South Africa AKA “Proteas” (They adapted the IEC now) follow the old UK wiring color codes i.e RYB (Red, Yellow and Blue for Three phase) and Red & Black for Phase and Neutral respectively.

India & Pakistan Wiring Color Codes - Single Phase & Three Phase

Single Phase 230V AC

  • RED= Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLACK = Neutral (N)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase 415+ AC

  • RED = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • YELLOW = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2)
  • BLUE = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • BLACK = Common Neutral (N) (Used in Two Lines System Only)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

South Africa Wiring Color Codes - Single & Three Phase

Israel Wiring Color Codes

Some countries adapted the IEC wring codes with little bit modifications. Israel follow the IEC codes with while the local practice wiring are as follow

Single Phase 230V AC

  • BROWN = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase 415+ AC

  • BROWN (Or L1 Marking Sleeve) = Phase 1 or Line, (L1)
  • BROWN (ORANGE STRIP) (Or L2 Marking Sleeve) = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2) (Or L2 Marking Sleeve) 
  • BROWN (BLACK STRIP) (Or L3 Marking Sleeve) = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3)
  • BLUE = Common Neutral (N)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective Earth” (PE)

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Indonesia Wiring Color Codes

Single Phase AC Supply

  • RED or BLACK = Phase , Hot or Line, (L)
  • BLUE = Neutral (N)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective earth” (PE)

Three Phase AC Supply

  • RED = Phase 1 or Line, (L1 or R)
  • YELLOW = Phase 2 or Line 2, (L2 or S) 
  • BLACK = Phase 3 or Line 3, (L3 or T)
  • BLUE = Common Neutral (N)
  • YELLOW/GREEN = Earth Conductor “Protective Earth” (PE)

NEC Wiring Color Codes for DC – US & Canada

There are some differences between AC and DC, so wire color codes for DC are a little bit different than that of AC wire color codes in both NEC and IEC. These DC color codes applied on solar power, batteries & vehicles and other DC powered equipment like computer data centers wiring installation etc.

Same as for AC, the mandatory colors for Grounded Neutral is White or Gray , The protective ground wire color should be  Green, bare conductor or Yellow/Green (yellow strip on green color). Any other colors can be used for hot (phase) wires. These codes apply on both AC and DC power circuits.

The local practice in the US follows and uses the Black color for Phase 1 (Hot 1) or Line 1 (L1) and Red for Phase 2 (Hot 2) or Line 1 (L2). In addition, the following wiring color codes are used in the US and Canada for Two-Wire Grounded, Two-Wire ungrounded and Three Wire grounded DC power systems.

Two Wire Ungrounded DC Supply

  • RED = +Ve (L+)
  • BLACK = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN, BARE CONDUCTOR or GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Ground “PG”.

Two Wire Grounded DC Supply

  • RED = +Ve of a -Ve Grounded Circuit (L+)
  • WHITE = -Ve of a -Ve Grounded Circuit (N)
  • WHITE = +Ve of a +Ve Grounded Circuit (N)
  • BLACK = -Ve of a +Ve Grounded Circuit (L-)
  • GREEN, BARE CONDUCTOR or GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Ground “PG”.

Three Wire Grounded DC Supply

  • RED = +Ve (L+)
  • WHITE = Mid-Wire as Center Tapped (N)
  • BLACK = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN, BARE CONDUCTOR or GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Ground “PG”.

* These colors (For Hot Wires) are not mentioned in the NEC but recommended and used by electricians as general practice.

NEC - US & Canada DC Power Wiring Color Codes

IEC Wiring Color Codes for DC – UK  & EU

The IEC DC wiring color codes are adapted  from IEC AC wiring color codes. These rules are applicable in the UK, EU and all other countries who follow the new IEC color codes instead of local and regional codes. The following IEC DC wiring color codes are used for Two-Wire Grounded, Two-Wire ungrounded and Three Wire grounded DC power systems.

IEC - DC POWER WIRING COLOR CODES - UK & EU

Two Wire Ungrounded DC Supply

  • BROWN = +Ve (L+)
  • GRAY = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

Two Wire Grounded DC Supply

  • BROWN = +Ve of a -Ve Grounded Circuit (L+)
  • BLUE = -Ve of a -Ve Grounded Circuit (M)
  • BLUE = +Ve of a +Ve Grounded Circuit (M)
  • GRAY = -Ve of a +Ve Grounded Circuit (L-)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

Three Wire Grounded DC Supply

  • BROWN = +Ve (L+)
  • BLUE = Mid-Wire as Center Tapped (N)
  • GRAY = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

The following tables shows the comparisons of different wire and cable color codes used in DC power circuits used by IEC and NEC.

NEC & IEC WIRING COLOR CODES FOR DC POWER

DC Wiring Color Codes in Other Countries

Australia & New Zealand

  • RED or BROWN= +Ve (L+)
  • BLACK or Light BLUE = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN or GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

India, Pakistan & South Africa*:

  • RED = +Ve (L+)
  • BLACK = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

* South Africa now follows IEC rules.

Israel:

  • BROWN = +Ve (L+)
  • BLUE = -Ve (L-)
  • GREEN / YELLOW = Protective Earth “PE”.

Other Countries like China, Russia, KSA and UAE now follow the IEC Cable color codes for DC. But don’t trust the cable insulation colors in these areas as electricians use old as well as new color codes for both AC and DC. So one must test with a tester to confirm the phase and neutral as well as positive and negative wires.

Final Words: All you have learnt the wiring color codes for both DC and AC (1 & 3-Phase Circuits) in IEC & NEC and other regional relations. If you want to add your own country / region (or saw some weird) wiring color codes, let us know in the comment box below and we will be able to add them to this post. Thanks

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10 Comments

  1. James*Online says:

    Three phase power in Canada 600vac and 208vac is red black blue per Canadian Electrical Code. There are no brown orange yellow colour standards in Canada.

  2. K.REDDY HEMANTH says:

    Pls upload the husky machine input and output electrical devices

  3. Bonifacio O. Butacan says:

    This is interesting!

  4. There’s no such thing as 480v 😂😂
    Usa and canada are 600v. Black, red, blue.

      1. Terry cooke says:

        Some manufacturers use a step down transformer and use 460 volt fan motors and step down again to 24v for controls

  5. Canada also uses 347/600V

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