How To Color Code Power Cables

Colored power cables

If you’re dealing with a lot of power cables – whether it be overhead cables, data cables or power conductor cables, it’s best to have them organized so you could easily figure out which ones you’d need to work with. It will also help prevent accidents – you wouldn’t want to accidentally plug in the wrong cable with another one! One of the ways to organize power cables is by color coding them. The easiest way to color code power cables is by using different-colored electrical tape to wrap around them.

First of all, it’s important that you follow standardized color coding so that everybody could understand what the colors mean. The simplest codes for power cables are the following: red, black and blue for the primary powers (first,  second and third, respectively); white for neutral; and green for ground wires.

Apart from that simplified color coding system, however, there are also specific system regulations that offer more detailed codes. It will also depend on the electrical system that you’re using which colors you will need to use. For example, electric cables following the 480V system uses gray for neutral and yellow, orange and brown for primary powers; while those following the 240V system uses white for neutral and black, blue and red for primary.

The region you’re at can also determine how you color code power cables. In countries in the European Union,     live wires are coded brown, while neutral wires are coded blue; ground wires are yellow and green. In South Africa and Australia, live wires are red, neutral wires are black, and ground wires are green and yellow. Electrical tapes are widely-available at hardware stores, but you could also purchase them online at such sites as

Apart from wrapping your cables with appropriately-colored wiring tape, you could order custom cables (or metal armored cables) sthat already use colored wires, for easy coding. These wires have been premade with colored insulation, which follow international guidelines and regulations.

Do know that there are also different color coding systems for twisted pair cables. These types of cables are mostly used for dealing with telecommunications wires that are situated indoors. The system works this way: there are two groups of colors, one assigned for the first wire and another assigned to the second wire. The first group of colors are white, red, black, yellow and violet, while the second group are blue, orange, green, brown and gray. One color from the first group is combined with another color of the second group (for example: white and blue, white and orange, white and green, and so on; this is the “whites” group. Once the whites group has run out, the second color in the first group – which is red – will be combined with the colors of the  second group). This color coding combination is used to create up to 25 different color codes.

Do remember that when color coding power cables, it is highly important that you learn the more specific and detailed guidelines that your company follows, to avoid any kind of accident or misunderstandings. Good luck!


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