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British Line and Netural Conventions?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Ira Rubinson, May 13, 2007.

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  1. Ira Rubinson

    Ira Rubinson Guest

    I live in the US and am re-wiring a 30 year old Logitek lapping machine
    which was built in England. If I plug it in to a receptacle in the US, as it
    is presently wired, then the limit switches carry 0V and the neutral is
    fused. I don't think this is correct because a short to chassis in the limit
    switch circuit will defeat the limit switch function. Are English wall
    receptacles reversed with respect to US receptacles?

    Thanks -Ira
  2. English wall receptacles are completely different from US ones. Someone must
    have fitted a US plug on the machine (wrongly) before you got it. Call in an
    qualified electrician. Check the voltage settings as well and also see if
    the change in frequency from 50Hz to 60Hz could give you a problem (motors,

    Graham H
  3. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    In that era, live was red (for warning) and neutral was black. If you've wired
    black (UK) to black (US) there's your problem.

  4. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    The US convention is "white is life, black is death."

    The other phases are red and blue. Quite patriotic wiring!

    I got bit by a loose black wire yesterday, working on our old
    hydraulic elevator. 120 nips a bit, but I bet 240 is a lot worse.

    What colors do you use now?

  5. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    The dull Euro-norm brown = live and blue = neutral. I think it came about by having
    to be different to anything anyone used before !

    The phase colours used to be red, blue and yellow. They've changed now to brown
    something and something.

  6. Gary Tait

    Gary Tait Guest

    Funny though, in automotive, black is usually ground, and I've seen people
    used to one wireing sceme crew up the other, usually someome used to
    automotive electrics mucking up AC wiring.
  7. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Just look at the colour coding on every multimeter's test leads.

    The old UK wiring colours were the best.

  8. Jeff L

    Jeff L Guest

    Same colors here in Canada. Your low voltage 3 phase option is strange in
    the USA (the 120V, 220V offset 3 phase thing). Here we have the more
    standard 120V 208 3 Phase. We have a fairly odd 600V 3 phase that is often
    coming into most commercial / industrial buildings with more then a 72 kVA
    service. 480v seems more common around the world, and is used in the USA.

    Europe uses a few odd voltages for 3 phase, like 380V.

    One thing to note: white wires can be hot - eg the drop to a switch from a
    light fixture.
    If your dry, and not grounded overly well, you may not even feel 120V AC.
    Wet is another story. I tried to remove the fresh spattered wet drywall
    compound from around an outlet once when I was a kid - bad mistake it was
    touching the hot terminal, and apparently all the acidicness of the compound
    makes a good electrolyte.
    Most of Europe seems to have the brown blue thing, with a green ground with
    a yellow stripe.Very strange industrial plugs, and weird wire. I like the
    covers that pop over the receptacle used for the huge 3 prong plugs - almost
    impossible to electrocute yourself by sticking something in the plugs or
    touching the prongs as you insert them. The plugs themselves are a little
    too huge for my tastes, but old people must like them.

    Japan seemed to have blue, brown and IIRC black for 3 phase, at lest that
    was how some machines we have were wired. They have 100V over there instead
    of 120V, and one half of the country is 60Hz, the other is 50Hz. I think one
    of their 3 phase voltages is 200V.
  9. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Black ground is the electronic convention. Green is filament power,
    red is B+. I forget the rest.

  10. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Hell, we have everything here. 120/208, split 240 stinger, all sorts
    of stuff. 480 l-l for the bigger stuff. And electricians never leave
    schematics behind.

  11. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    Yellow is 5V filament.


    Phil Hobbs
  12. Jeff L

    Jeff L Guest

    Or the darker wire. I've seen green used on street bikes, along with black.
    Black on many motorcycles (including off road - eg dirt and motocross) is
    the ign kill wire. Older snowmobiles used black for the ign kill wire also.
  13. On a used boat I just bought, apparently some DC wiring was done by an
    AC electrician - he used Black/White pair wire, with white as ground
    and black as +12 (but I think there's also some with black as ground -
    lots of odd electrical things: there were two 12 volt batteries
    apparently in parallel as the house bank - when I replaced them, I
    found that the ground lead for one battery was not grounded! Must
    have been that way since 2001, when the batteries were last replaced -
    or perhaps much longer!)

    Peter Bennett, VE7CEI
    peterbb4 (at)
    new newsgroup users info :
    GPS and NMEA info:
    Vancouver Power Squadron:
  14. Hmm. Brown is ground in an old Porsche. Red is B+ and other (switched)
    circuits are everything else.
  15. 380V is just the line to line voltage of a 220V line to neutral star
    service. That's pretty standard (either a single phase or three phase
    throughout Europe).
    That's for electricians benefit to run a single NM (Romex) from the
    light to the switch. They are stuck with one white wire for a hot. Safe
    practice is to hook the white in the switch leg to the incoming hot from
    the branch circuit (in the fixture) so when somebody sees a black and
    white connected together, they'll stop and think (What the $%@&#! is
    going on?). If you are pulling wire into conduit, white (gray) is for
    neutral only.
  16. In N America, the outlets are wired backwards; and black is 'hot'.

    In Europe and many other countries, the left hand pin of a power outlet is
    hot. Also black (or blue) is always 'cold' (neutral) and red, brown or
    another color is hot.
  17. Also ground/earth was green and is now green/yellow striped.

  18. Some inspectors won't sign that off, without either phase tape or a
    piece of colored heatshrink tubing on the switched white wire. Phase
    tape is a lot cheaper than a coffin.

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  19. In Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries there is
    one voltage in the range of 220 to 250 volts (actual value depends on the
    country) single phase to neutral and a three phase supply based on that (*
    square root of 3). The next voltage used is 11 kV 3 phase or similar used
    for huge motors with special precautions.

    In N America they use every voltage under the sun - hell they even used
    multiple frequencies up until recently! It's very odd. You can even see two
    switch boards in commercial buildings each with a different voltage.
  20. Code now outside of N America may require you to sleeve the wrong color wire
    to the correct color, i.e. black to red.
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