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The Australian electrical wire colour code is a standard for identifying conductors in an electrical wiring system. These wire colour codes ensure your safety and avoid confusion in residential and commercial wiring systems.
As per current Australian Standard, for most electrical installations, the electrical wiring colours used are brown for active, blue for a neutral, green or yellow-green for an Earth (ground).
What is the Australian Electrical Wiring Colours Coding Standard?
The wiring colours coding standard was initially made in 1894 and were a voluntary code, which only members of an authorised organisation could use. However, in 2000 the codes were made an officially regulated code. Australian electrical wiring colour codes have evolved over the last 100 years with the inclusion of colour coding.
This can give power users an instant understanding of the wiring for their home or business. The Australian Standard for the wiring in a residential home is AV1. These Australian electrical wiring codes don't go into depth about either insulation or bonding but are somewhat restricted to the core electrical wiring in a residential dwelling.
There are only three wires in the wiring system in a typical Australian home: Live, Sub (ground), and Ether. Each wire must be located at least one meter away from the ground wires. On the outside of a home, the live wires are usually located in the roof to receive incoming and outgoing power.
Three wires inside the house can transmit power to the power plug on the wall: the inner two wires (power) and the neutral wire (ground). The grounding wires in an Australian home are provided by some variant of an electrical conductor called an earth wire. This is the primary negative terminal wire that connects the homeowner to the Australian electrical system.
How to Use the Wire Colour Code Standard
The following sections are not technical and are meant only to provide basic information. Never work on your home's electrical system, and always call a professional, licensed electrician should you need to work on your home's electrical system.
The wiring colour codes are standard guidelines used by professional electricians and not to be followed by anyone attempting DIY electrical work. In short- NEVER WORK ON ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS IF YOU AREN'T QUALIFIED. Construction workers installing wires and connections for a room installation should be familiar with the colour codes.
It is crucial to have a safe and reliable electrical circuit in your home. To ensure that your home is safe, the Australian Standards require that all wiring in your house should be labelled, and it must be easy for anyone working on the system in the future to understand. The Australian wire colour codes are based on a strategic plan designed to reduce electrical fire risk when using electricity at home.
The idea is this: if there's an electrical fault, it's much easier for a professional electrician to fix the problem with just one glance if all of the wires are colour-coded. Wiring colour codes are a way for electricians to identify the type of wire and its function.
The colours of the wires are commonly used to differentiate between electrical current carrying power, signal, and grounding wires. The following is a list of current Australian Standard wire colours and their meanings:
• Green & Yellow: Earth
• Brown: Active
• Blue: Neutral
Current Three Phase Wiring in Australia:
• Blue: Neutral
• Green & Yellow: Earth
• Brown: Phase 1
• Black: Phase 2
• Grey: Phase 3
Australian electrical wire colours are used as a standard for wiring of electrical circuits in Australia. This system is designed to make it easy to identify the function of each wire, which helps in understanding the circuit.
The colour code is not very complicated, and it consists of two parts: a number or letter, followed by one or two colours. These first two digits show the wire's size, while the second part tells you what type of wire it is. By following these simple rules, you will always know which wires are live and which ones are neutral.
What Does Each Wire Colour Mean?
Colour codes have been developed with care for your safety and endorsed by the Australian Standards Association (ASA). The colours listed below are current standards and MAY NOT BE THE SAME AS IN YOUR HOME (always consult an electrician).
Brown is commonly used as live wire conductors. Red may also be used for live conductors that carry a voltage when connected to a socket but not when grounded. Depending on when your house was built will determine the colour used in your home. NEVER ATTEMPT TO WORK ON YOUR WIRING YOURSELF!!! Call an electrician to come and take a look. They will not give you advice over the phone, as it is illegal to work on your house wiring by yourself- Do Not Do IT!!!
Ground and Neutral Wires
The ground wire is almost always green or green & yellow. It is marked with a single coat of paint or a pair of wires connected in parallel with another neutral wire. The neutral wire is usually stud style, with studs coming out of each end, one at each stud rail. For underground installations, neutral and earth wires are generally in a grounded style.
Signal wire connects a point to the primary grid. If the system is grounded, it also needs to be connected to the primary grid. As such, it will have a different colour code from the other wiring systems. Designers must ensure that the signal wire colour code is applied to the wiring system being designed in a colour that both workers and residents will see.
Original Purpose of the Electrical Wiring Colour Codes
The use of different electrical wire colour codes for the different conductors was originally to indicate their "lifespan." For example, the colour yellow meant a conductor that would reach a specified wire length and then be connected to an earth wire. The colour red would indicate a conductor intended to continue its journey beyond that length and had the opportunity to connect to a signal wire.
In practice, this system has not been successfully used. It has led to several issues such as misinterpretation, multiple colour coding violations, and a shortage of necessary colour spots on the ground wire. Therefore, a new system was created by the Australian government in 2002 to improve the functionality of the Australian system.
The wiring colour code regulations stipulate that specific signals may not be split. If they are, it has to be controlled. Connections that are permanently connected are most likely to experience a problem. The first rule of thumb is to use only one terminator colour.
Most commonly, it is red. In all other cases, one terminator colour will suffice. Be aware of your lighting system and ensure that all the working points are protected. Avoid using white (untraceable) wire in large electrical boxes. For homes low voltage colouring is used for the neutral section of the feeder and distribution wire.
Wire Colour Coding and Your Electrical System
The Australian Wiring Rules are a good starting point for professional electricians to maintain and install a sound electrical system. They are easy to follow and easy to remember. It is important to remember that as the standards are a demanding and exacting practice designed to be used by professionals installing electrical systems into homes and buildings.
It's essential to keep in mind that the responsibility of these wiring codes fall on the electrician. If you are having issues or are simply curious about your home wiring system, you'll need to call a certified electrician to ensure that any wiring done in the house is done safely and correctly. Working on your home's wiring system could be potentially harmful and fatal. The risk of electric shock if you don't know what you are doing is very real and dangerous. Always consult a professional.