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Old 12-12-2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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Trying to prove a point


Hey guys!! Hope all is well. Me and my coworker came across a small disagreement and I'm trying to prove him wrong so I need a little help. I'm trying to explain to him that there is no " Written Law" on using high voltage colors (brown, orange, yellow) when running wires for high voltage lighting. We all do it as electricians, but it isn't law. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys

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Old 12-12-2011, 01:44 PM   #2
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Trying to prove a point


My understanding is indirectly, from this forum and others. I understand the NEC DOES specify certain colors: green is ground, white is neutral (grounded conductor). All other colors are unspecified, but assumed to be "hot". Whether it is "law" is dependent on one's local jurisdiction.

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Old 12-12-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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My understanding is indirectly, from this forum and others. I understand the NEC DOES specify certain colors: green is ground, white is neutral (grounded conductor). All other colors are unspecified, but assumed to be "hot". Whether it is "law" is dependent on one's local jurisdiction.
Thanks!!! And I believe grey is also specified.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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The only code-mandated colors are: ground must always be green or bare and those colors can never be used for anything else, neutral must always be identified gray or white and those colors can never be used for anything else, the high leg on a midpoint-grounded delta service must be identified orange. Everything else is optional.

But there's no need to take our word for it - you guys have code books. Tell him to show you where in the NEC it says you must use certain colors for 277 versus 120.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:50 PM   #5
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Exactly, poulton, it would have to be written down as a section if it were to be a code to abide by. I have yet to have a spec that required it as well.

Some tough inspector could fight that it falls under neat and "workman" like...
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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The only code-mandated colors are: ground must always be green or bare and those colors can never be used for anything else, neutral must always be identified gray or white and those colors can never be used for anything else, the high leg on a midpoint-grounded delta service must be identified orange. Everything else is optional.

But there's no need to take our word for it - you guys have code books. Tell him to show you where in the NEC it says you must use certain colors for 277 versus 120.
So does that mean that active or hot colors are not mandated ?
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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So does that mean that active or hot colors are not mandated ?
They are not mandated. We just try to keep it tradition. But it's not mandated
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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The only code-mandated colors are: ground must always be green or bare and those colors can never be used for anything else, neutral must always be identified gray or white and those colors can never be used for anything else

For people who are lurking and read this, white can also be a hot in a 240V circuit or a switch loop, so if you see a white don't assume it is a neutral. Yes your suppose to change the colour but that doesn't always happen.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:05 PM   #9
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For people who are lurking and read this, white can also be a hot in a 240V circuit or a switch loop, so if you see a white don't assume it is a neutral. Yes your suppose to change the colour but that doesn't always happen.
But it's a violation if they don't reidentify the white as a hot. So technically we aren "Allowed to use the white as a hot
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:13 PM   #10
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i work commercial HVAC in NYC always seen B-O-Y on 3 phase 240/480 into the disconnect and then to the units...never saw different
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:33 PM   #11
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For people who are lurking and read this, white can also be a hot in a 240V circuit or a switch loop, so if you see a white don't assume it is a neutral. Yes your suppose to change the colour but that doesn't always happen.
You can use white or gray conductors, but they must be re-identified as something other than white or gray. Any color can be re-identified as any other color, with the exception of green.
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:21 AM   #12
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You can use white or gray conductors, but they must be re-identified as something other than white or gray. Any color can be re-identified as any other color, with the exception of green.
You are correct, but when using # 8 or larger, we must use the right colors. We are not allowed to reidentfy wires that large
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:53 AM   #13
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You are correct, but when using # 8 or larger, we must use the right colors. We are not allowed to reidentfy wires that large
Actually Sunny thatís not quite correct.

Ungrounded conductors of any size, in any wiring method, can be re-identified to indicate its use as an ungrounded conductors of a different color, except white or green.

For the grounds or neutralsin conduit: You can re-identify wires #4 and larger with white or green. #6 and smaller you must use the correct colors (white or green).

For cables: Whites of any size can be re-identified to indicate its use as an ungrounded conductors. Equipment grounding conductors can be made from a non-green wire only when the conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation (usually only done in industrial), otherwise the cable must contain a green or bare conductor (which most cables do).

See 200.6, 200.7, 250.119, 310.12, 210.5, 215.12
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:08 PM   #14
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Hey guys!! Hope all is well. Me and my coworker came across a small disagreement and I'm trying to prove him wrong so I need a little help. I'm trying to explain to him that there is no " Written Law" on using high voltage colors (brown, orange, yellow) when running wires for high voltage lighting. We all do it as electricians, but it isn't law. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys
Keep in mind, we as residential, commercial and industrial electricians rarely ever work on "High Voltage". I never have in 35 years.
Anything below 600 volts is considered low voltage. Then we go to medium voltage after 600 volts. I am not sure where high voltage starts. I assume its over 4160. Just FYI.

If you are in the trade you should come to the professional forum. You are welcomed and invited.
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:09 PM   #15
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Anything below 600 volts is considered low voltage. Then we go to medium voltage after 600 volts. I am not sure where high voltage starts. I assume its over 4160.
MV covers either 1000-35,000V or 600-69,000V depending on whether you use the ANSI/IEEE standard or the NECA/NEMA standard. "High voltage" really only covers long-distance transmission voltages. Of course, in the electronics industry anything above line voltage is considered "high voltage". It's all a matter of context.

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