Wire colors - Black vs Yellow in DC - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 05-31-2010
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Wire colors - Black vs Yellow in DC

I have a Cal 24-2. The electrical isn't currently hooked up -- the wires are there, but they end at the switch panel.
The duplex wires are yellow and black. I thought black should be negative, but the blacks were wired for the positive, meaning that they were attached at the end to a terminal that fit over positive battery terminal (the positive terminal is bigger than the negative) and the whites were attached to a smaller terminal that only fit over the negative battery terminal. And in reading Don Caseys book, it says:
Quote:
"The best choice for most 12-volt wiring projects is duplex safety wire, where the twin conductors are red (positive) and yellow (ground). Making the ground wire yellow rather than black reduces the likelihood of confusing a DC ground wire with an AC hot wire-also black."
But since I'm in a DC circuit that confuses me. Should I make the black positive or negative?

Last edited by 99miles; 05-31-2010 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 05-31-2010
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I use blk for ground.My boat is factory wired with yel for hot for steaming light & one other circuit(forget for what).marc
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Old 05-31-2010
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The correct colors in DC circuits are as Casey says....Red for positive, Black or Yellow for negative.

It is standard practice if you don't have the right color wire to put a band of tape at both ends, showing the correct color.

In your case, I'd use the yellow for negative, the black for positive and put a red band around each end to identify it as DC positive. In addition, a label wouldn't hurt.

Bill
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Old 05-31-2010
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If the wire is old it is probably corroded. It is not tinned marine wire because marine tinned wire is not available in a yellow/black combination as far as I know. I'd check the wire for corrosion, number of strands (there should be many fine strands not a few thicker ones) and stiffness which indicates age. It is not that expensive to replace and if you do so the proper colors can be used.
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Old 06-01-2010
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
If the wire is old it is probably corroded. It is not tinned marine wire because marine tinned wire is not available in a yellow/black combination as far as I know. I'd check the wire for corrosion, number of strands (there should be many fine strands not a few thicker ones) and stiffness which indicates age. It is not that expensive to replace and if you do so the proper colors can be used.
I would vote for an upgrade, for both efficiency and safety. After several decades, it is often better to pull new tinned DC wiring of proper size and color anyway.

The last thing you want on any boat is a 12 wire color that might be confused with or connected into the hot side of your shore power circuit.
Yikes....


L
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Old 10-22-2010
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I need to run triplex to the masthead. Is black green and white okay, or should I run the red black and brown bildge wire?

I figured it was better to revive a recent thread than start new . . .

Thanks.

-M
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Old 10-22-2010
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this: is from here... Marine Electrical Reference Material

lots of info--edit but now im not seeing the application you referanced...
ENGINE AND ACCESSORY WIRING COLOR CODE from ABYC E11 Table XV

COLOR
ITEM
USE

Order these wires online.
Yellow w/red stripe (YR) Starting circuit Starting switch to solenoid
Brown/yellow stripe (BY) or
Yellow (Y) - see note Bilge blowers Fuse or switch to blowers
Dark gray (Gy) Navigation lights
Tachometer Fuse or switch to lights
Tachometer sender to gauge
Brown (Br) Generator armature
Alternator charge light
Pumps Generator armature to regulator
Generator
Terminal/alternator
Auxiliary terminal to light to regulator
Fuse or switch to pumps
Orange (O) Accessory feed Ammeter to alternator or generator output and accessory fuses or switches.
Distribution panel to accessory switch

Purple (Pu) Ignition
Instrument feed Ignition switch to coil and electrical instruments.
Distribution panel to electric instruments

Dark blue Cabin and instrument lights Fuse or switch to lights
Light blue (Lt Bl) Oil pressure Oil pressure sender to gauge
Tan Water temperature Water temperature sender to gauge
Pink (Pk) Fuel gauge Fuel gauge sender to gauge
Green/stripe (G/x)
(Except G/Y) Tilt down and/or trim in
Tilt and/or trim circuits Tilt and/or trim circuits
Blue/stripe (Bl/x) Tilt up and/or trim out
Tilt and/or trim circuits
Tilt and/or trim circuits
Order these wires online.
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Old 10-22-2010
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If you do you will know what is what but someone might get confused in the future. I wouldn't use AC wire but would probably run 4 wires to keep the grounds separate.
Ancor does have a 14/5 wire for mast wiring colored black/blue/green/brown/red in a 1/2" round sheath.
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Old 10-22-2010
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It shouldn't really matter if you label the wiring clearly. However, if you have 110 VAC wiring on the boat, you might want to use the Red/Black/Brown instead, to reduce the chances of mistaking a 12 VDC ground for a 110 VAC hot line...

Quote:
Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
I need to run triplex to the masthead. Is black green and white okay, or should I run the red black and brown bildge wire?

I figured it was better to revive a recent thread than start new . . .

Thanks.

-M
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Old 10-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
..... mistaking a 12 VDC ground for a 110 VAC hot line...
Not a good idea, eh Dog?

The original owner of BR was a EE PhD. He had the boat built professionally, but he did all the wiring on the boat himself. He must have gotten a deal on red wire because when we bought it every wire on the boat was red. Electricians I've had aboard just shake their heads and smile 'cuz their clock is running and it always takes a while to figure out which way the electrons are flowing.

My advice to all DIY marine electricians is to read the book (there are several good ones), and always use the right size and color wire. Those who come after you will appreciate it enormously.

Last edited by billyruffn; 10-22-2010 at 04:32 PM.
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