Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire
"I needed to switch to using yellow for ground. This caused me substantial irritation, particularly as West Marine has far more ground stuff in black than in yellow,"
No, stop and think about it for a minute. The "safety" problem is that conventional black wires, wires not cables, could be DC grounds, DC negatives, or AC hots, and you've got no way to tell which is which by looking at it.
That's obviously not going to be the case with ground CABLES on a boat, as you're just not going to find individual AC *cables* in boat wiring. Maybe on ships, but not on recreational boats.
So if the stuff you're looking at in the chandlery is battery cables, forget about yellow, the black is perfectly good and safe.
When it comes to wires in a loom or harness or going to panel--that's something else again. (Usually "wire" means 10AWG or thinner, while "cable" means 8AWG or thicker.) If you see a budle of colored wires, 12-14AWG, and one of them is black...you have no idea what it is. If there's AC on the boat, it could very well be an AC hot line. That's why changing to red+yellow on new DC wiring becomes useful. Wiring, not cabling.