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European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 9:07 AM

Ok so can someone please explain to me why the latest iee 17th edition shows mains cable to be. Brown = live. Blue = neutral and Green yellow = Earth. (These latest colour changes are for European compliance) Yet I come to Portugal with my newly gained latest 17th edition electrical certificates and the first thing they tell me is Black is live!! brown is only for switched live, ie downstream of switched or stair switches for lighting circuits! (neutral/earth are the same) Have I missed a fundamental part of my training??

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#1

Re: European Cable colours

06/17/2010 9:42 AM

Ok, So here goes, In a three phase system, you have Black, Brown and gray, with Blue as Neutral and yellow/green as the earth conductor! With single phase stuff you can use Black, Brown or Gray as the phase conductor for identification of different power circuits, ie sockets, water heater, etc with Blue as the neutral, but with lighting systems, the norm is to use the Black as the permanent live with Brown as the switch live! Where strappers are used for two way switching, gray is normally used! Now wait for it, you can use gray for switch live and brown for strappers too! Most electricians also us gray for Emergency light feeds! If multiple lighting circuits (on different breakers) are in an installation, you can start to use Brown and Gray as permanent feeds but care must be taken to ensure you don't mix up strappers for feeds or switch wires!

Hope that clears a few things up for you! Anyway, welcome to CR4 and enjoy the site!

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: European Cable colours

06/17/2010 10:59 AM

Yes. Thanks It all makes sense now. Seems like there may have been a hole in my studies Or I must have been asleep when I was supposed to learn that bit! Maybe I just got too used to installing single phase twin and earth! There's none of that out here, it's all singles in conduit.

Thanks Again (not so bright spark)

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: European Cable colours

06/17/2010 4:04 PM

You will find after a few installations, that the English way of wiring (twin 'n' earth style capped in the walls or ran through holes in the floor joists and stud walls) is quite antiquated compared with the EU system of throwing the tubes in first (first fix) followed by pulling in the singles then second fixing! The system is very adaptable and if you want to change a socket into a light switch or what ever, it is only a case of pulling the old cables out and pulling in some new cables making all the connections in the connection box! It is so easy to fault find and to rewire a house is not a case of pulling up the floor boards or fishing with a bit of YT2! Good luck Bright Spark but be careful of the old houses, they have some strange ways of wiring with no regard for cable size or colour, come to think of, sometimes, the don't even have insulation, just something that looks like it until you touch it and get thrown! Use a volt stick on everything!

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#19
In reply to #2

Re: European Cable colours

06/23/2010 3:53 PM

There maybe no holes in your study but if you do not check other peoples work then you definitely have missed something.

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: European Cable colours

06/18/2010 8:00 AM

You seem to be on top of these color codes. So, can you tell a dumb Yankee, why is it that amongst the AC colors are Brown and Blue, and most DC circuits from Europe come with a Brown wire for the positive and a Blue wire for the common? Isn't this a bit on the dangerous side?

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: European Cable colours

06/18/2010 12:38 PM

What about US standards where Black is ground for DC, hot for AC?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: European Cable colours

06/18/2010 1:03 PM

Most electrical specifications from our customers, at least in the pharmaceutical industry, ask for Blue for DC positive and Blue w/White for common. Red and Black are never used on DC anymore, at least not in this industry in this country. Last time I tried that, I had to rewire all DC circuits. Red is usually used for AC control wiring as well as a phase of 208VAC, and Black is also a 208VAC phase, as well as a general AC wire where colored wires can not easily be purchased. Just throw on a colored tape. So, no doubt about what is 24VDC in an American pharmaceutical panel.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: European Cable colours

06/18/2010 1:20 PM

So the Pharmaceutical industry goes off on their own color standards, adding more confusion to the already muddied waters...

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#3

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 3:47 PM

I live in Portugal also.

I think maybe you are from UK possibly.

In UK and Portugal there is laws and standards but European as opposed to UK wires are different colours and there is some issues as you mention.

I have seen houses wired with all conductors made from yellow and green (ground / Earth.)

Yes it is true....some people just buy cable because it is cheap and they know what is happening but they make no plans or diagrams they just do it.

Congratulations on your new 17th edition I am sure it was a good move but some people just do not care use your knowledge to check the wiring.

Hope to have been a help.

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#5

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 5:04 PM

Hi. Yes I'm originally from the uk. I've been doing electrical work in Portugal for about a year now and I've seen a lot of bad wiring already. I've also had a couple of 'reminders' that electricity can hurt!! Colours & cable size and general bad layouts being the main problems. 1mm conductors to sockets is quite common here in older houses. But generally the more modern places are ok. I do like the conduit wiring system here, as already mentioned it's easily adapted and re-wired. Many houses here only have a 15A supply so put a kettle and a washing machine on and.. click! out goes the breaker!

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 6:32 PM

Has Portugal adopted some of the more strange regs,Some of my local regs are the meter box has to have a metal door! Sounds normal enough until you find out that the meter box when installed with enough space to close the metal door tends to make the meter box stick out the other side of the wall! Or in some parts of Spain, the local regs say the size of the tube going from a man hole to a meter box has to be 120mm dia and there has to be two of them! Again, the two tubes are bigger than the box itself, and all that so you can pull in a couple of 16mm up to 35mm cables in a domestic situation! Other ones that bend the mind include, and this is in the countryside,Your meter has to be on the edge of your land going directly to the limiter (ICP) without passing any man holes. Now if your farm is a few hundred meters away from the edge of your land, try pulling a few hundred meters of cable with unknown amounts of bends and curves to a little box half way up a wall! Unfortunatly, the people who make the local regs have no idea about electrical installations and just put them in force without thinking! Never mind, there will always be jobworths throwing spanners in the works!

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: European Cable Colours

06/23/2010 3:47 PM

Yes electricity is fast and can hurt.

Bad wiring is the norm in Portugal.

All wiring should be in conduit ??

The main electricity company in Portugal gives up to 3.45KV and I have noticed that if you increase your amount of payment you can get more KV.

Maybe you should check out this.

912 680 295

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#6

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 6:22 PM

European Cable Color

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: European Cable Colours

06/18/2010 2:12 AM

I believe this is the standard for multicore cables! Reason they chose brown as the phase colour is because it is assumed there will be some kind of switching device before the multicore cable! So the Brown is a switched live! I will ask around today to see what other electricians say on the subject of Black or Brown in a singles situation!

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#20
In reply to #6

Re: European Cable Colours

06/23/2010 4:29 PM

Do not believe everything you read on the internet.

I have a friend who knows someone who makes yellow and green wire like ground/earth wire so all conductors in his house are this colour and there is no ground/earth ??

Just check all wires it is safest.

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#7

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 6:31 PM

Hameedullah Ekhlas

All those years of instruction I gave you are starting to show up. GA.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 6:36 PM

I could not understand, please can you gave some explaination. Please your name ?

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 8:24 PM
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#11

Re: European Cable Colours

06/17/2010 10:44 PM

Be thankful you are not dealing with Panama wiring standards, which I shall call the "Rainbow" standard. Any color of wire can be used for anything. It is assumed that the electrician always checks the line with a meter before touching it... To connect to the mains (which are often bare overhead wires), one simply throws a conductor over the exposed wire...There is a daily morning clean-up detail that goes through town sweeping up the charred remains- it is assumed that the victims were most likely copper thieves...

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#18
In reply to #11

Re: European Cable Colours

06/23/2010 3:49 PM

maybe you should see :

http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/12769#comment581977

funny !

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#21

Re: European Cable Colours

06/23/2010 4:46 PM

And you are worried about cable colors?

Or this:

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#22

Re: European Cable Colours

03/03/2018 5:19 PM

Hi I'm new on this forum,

Can anyone tell me if the 2 way lighting switch strappers are black & brown? I should mention that I'm in Spain

Thanks in advance

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