Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a California electrical contrator license for two years, I had a lot of theory but not a lot of application. I was in Naperville, Ill last week helping my son on electrical work on his new house. The house about fourty years old. There weren't no romax wiring in the house. Every wires ran in EMT, which was great. But there were all colors of wires, black, red, white, blue, grey, Tan, pink, brown, green. I figured they were used for different branch circuit.
Can any one educate me on this?
Thanks
Louis
 

·
DGR,IABD
Joined
·
9,683 Posts
You were working in near Chicago, apparently.

Naturally, the code requires that the ground be green or bare, and that the neutral be white or grey. Other than that, you can use whatever pleases you.

In residential, guys often use the black and red for phase conductors in the feed, and something oddball for travelers and switch legs like purple, blue, tan, pink or whatever. Each installer has his own color codes that he can remember. It shouldn't take too much head scratching to figure out what they used for what (unless they were using up ends of rolls on your lucky house!). Other than green for ground and white for neutral, everything else is up to you.

Other than the white or green, these things are safe to say (generally):
If it's black, it's hot at all times on an A phase circuit
If it's red, it's hot at al times on a B phase circuit
If it's another solid color (other than green, white, black, or red), and it is the only conductor of that color in the pipe, it is a switched hot (switch leg).
If it's another solid color (other than green, white, black, or red), and there are two of that color in the same pipe, then it's traveler conductors for a 3way or 4way.

Mind you, in commercial work there are a few other code required colors, such as orange for the high leg of a delta high leg system. I geared my response to resi, since that's what you had there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,603 Posts
Other than the white or green, these things are safe to say (generally):


Like md says "generally". I've run into a couple of schools where they used the green for a hot and I have not seen a green ground, (or copper), in a 40 year old building, (unless it has ben updated). I think 40 years ago the pipe was the only ground, at least in my area. Also if i saw a grey in residential i would suspect that it would be something other than neutral. <P>

But Louis, How do you get a contractor's license in California with no practical experience? I thought the West coast was tougher and I'm struggling to get my journeyman's ticket after 5 years in the field. RT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
mdshunk said:
You were working in near Chicago, apparently.

Naturally, the code requires that the ground be green or bare, and that the neutral be white or grey. Other than that, you can use whatever pleases you.

In residential, guys often use the black and red for phase conductors in the feed, and something oddball for travelers and switch legs like purple, blue, tan, pink or whatever. Each installer has his own color codes that he can remember. It shouldn't take too much head scratching to figure out what they used for what (unless they were using up ends of rolls on your lucky house!). Other than green for ground and white for neutral, everything else is up to you.

Other than the white or green, these things are safe to say (generally):
If it's black, it's hot at all times on an A phase circuit
If it's red, it's hot at al times on a B phase circuit
If it's another solid color (other than green, white, black, or red), and it is the only conductor of that color in the pipe, it is a switched hot (switch leg).
If it's another solid color (other than green, white, black, or red), and there are two of that color in the same pipe, then it's traveler conductors for a 3way or 4way.

Mind you, in commercial work there are a few other code required colors, such as orange for the high leg of a delta high leg system. I geared my response to resi, since that's what you had there.
Thank you for your information.
Louis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rob 53 said:
Other than the white or green, these things are safe to say (generally):


Like md says "generally". I've run into a couple of schools where they used the green for a hot and I have not seen a green ground, (or copper), in a 40 year old building, (unless it has ben updated). I think 40 years ago the pipe was the only ground, at least in my area. Also if i saw a grey in residential i would suspect that it would be something other than neutral. <P>

But Louis, How do you get a contractor's license in California with no practical experience? I thought the West coast was tougher and I'm struggling to get my journeyman's ticket after 5 years in the field. RT.
Rob, I had an electrical engineer degree and many years in high voltage amplifier arena. But not a whole lot of years in Residential.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,603 Posts
louis bugaj said:
Rob, I had an electrical engineer degree and many years in high voltage amplifier arena. But not a whole lot of years in Residential.

I've seen some shows on working high voltage. My hat's off to you. RT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
louis bugaj said:
Rob, I had an electrical engineer degree and many years in high voltage amplifier arena. But not a whole lot of years in Residential.
Wait. You were able to get an electricians license because you had an EE degree? Is this normal?
 

·
DGR,IABD
Joined
·
9,683 Posts
Big E said:
Wait. You were able to get an electricians license because you had an EE degree? Is this normal?
I don't know about Cali, but in my area an EE or PE is your ticket to sit for the test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
mdshunk said:
I don't know about Cali, but in my area an EE or PE is your ticket to sit for the test.
Seriously? For a master electrician's license? That seems bizarre. I should know, I have an EE degree. Understanding Fourier transforms, autocorrelation functions, and the physics of semiconductors doesn't seem that useful for wiring up a house.
 

·
DGR,IABD
Joined
·
9,683 Posts
Big E said:
Seriously? For a master electrician's license? That seems bizarre. I should know, I have an EE degree. Understanding Fourier transforms, autocorrelation functions, and the physics of semiconductors doesn't seem that useful for wiring up a house.
Therein lies the problem.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top