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post #1 of 29 Old 07-31-2012 Thread Starter
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Yellow ground safety wire

So reading Don Casey, he had me convinced that 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, and really a fairly limited selection of "safety wire" compared to the normal stuff. And of course, pretty much every piece of DC electronics I've seen anywhere uses black for ground. And my existing wiring uses black for ground.

Then I read this:

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Q. Did ABYC make a rule change that changed the color of the DC negative wire from BLACK to YELLOW?

A. No. Included in E-9 DC Electrical Systems on Boats since 1996 has been the OPTION of using YELLOW as an alternate color for the DC negative lead. If there is an AC system installed on the boat then the BLACK wire can also be the ungrounded (hot) current carrying conductor. An increasing number of builders are using YELLOW as the alternative to black in the DC conductor to avoid confusion. Confusion, I might add, that could result in a very bad situation when the AC hot is confused with the DC negative.
Honestly, I think it makes more sense to recolor hot, since it's the dangerous one. But more it would probably be much more reasonable and much more effective to simply require that the hot wire be bundled exclusively with AC conductors (which I think is the case) and that they all be prominently tagged as being AC near all terminals, and perhaps at periodic lengths along the run.

The upshot is that I'm thinking of totally disregarding this yellow ground thing, and using black like a normal person. In fact, I think I'm going to redo a yellow length of wire I did yesterday in black.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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AYBC color code for - DC has been either yellow or black for years. Ground on the other hand is green.
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

And even today in the current E-11 standards it is yellow OR black.. On boats with black DC neg I stick with it. On boats with yellow DC neg I stick with it..

One safe way to understand AC is to always use AC color coded triplex wire (white, green black)... Anyone touching AC or DC on a boat should be able to tell the difference between AC hot and DC neg..

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post #4 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

Hear, hear, Mainesail! Use three conductor marine grade wiring for AC, always. Use two conductor or a pair of twisted single conductor marine grade wires for DC, always. That way it is always clear what you are seeing.

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post #5 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

grab some yellow phasing tape and change the colour of the existing black
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

Label both ends of everything. Label label label.

The P-Touch labeler is your best friend.

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post #7 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

IT was easy to go with yellow when i rewired the boat even with no AC system

That being said the color change was STUPID as the CE did away with RED/BLACK DC and went with BLUE/BROWN on land based DC boxes a LONG time ago so WHY not just have ONE color code ?

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post #8 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail:903369
And even today in the current E-11 standards it is yellow OR black.. On boats with black DC neg I stick with it. On boats with yellow DC neg I stick with it..

One safe way to understand AC is to always use AC color coded triplex wire (white, green black)... Anyone touching AC or DC on a boat should be able to tell the difference between AC hot and DC neg..
LOL, and if all else fails, use the tongue test.
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post #9 of 29 Old 07-31-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

I can see why they did the change as when you use 3 -Phase AC you run out of colors real fast. Using red/Black for DC & white/Black for AC works, as you should never see 1 without the other. High voltage DC is orange.

I'm not sure why not use red/green for DC as minus is usually ground. AC ground is now yellow/green striped, (to comply with euro standards),

Which brings to mind how this got messed up to begin with, each side has repeatedly tried to use electrical codes to get a trade advantage, by making the other groups colors used illegal, and both have refused to adjust color codes to match.

If the UN really wanted to do something usefull, they could mandate a world standard for wiring codes, and electrical power, and save the world trillions of dollars in lost productivity caused by varying electrical codes, (and TV transmissions, and consumer products, phones, etc...). Yes, in each case one of the countries that refused to comply will have to spend billions to retool, but the long term savings, and increased safety will be worth it.

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post #10 of 29 Old 08-01-2012
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Re: Yellow ground safety wire

WARNING FOR NON-US CITIZENS: Ignore everything you read in this thread.

If you're looking for wire-colour information, it isn't here. (Just because they can't get their wire colours right, doesn't mean the rest of the world can't either. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBilll View Post
If the UN really wanted to do something usefull, they could mandate a world standard for wiring codes, and electrical power, and save the world trillions of dollars in lost productivity caused by varying electrical codes, (and TV transmissions, and consumer products, phones, etc...). Yes, in each case one of the countries that refused to comply will have to spend billions to retool, but the long term savings, and increased safety will be worth it.
Guess what? Surprise!!! There already IS a world standard on colour codes and electrical power and significant progress on the others you mention... (well, almost - there's been some kick-back of a few minor bits from within the Eurozone). It's produced by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) - and, to date, flatly ignored by the Good 'Ol US of A...

..but eventually you'll come kicking and screaming into line with the rest of the planet.

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"

Last edited by Classic30; 08-01-2012 at 01:03 AM.
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