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Used to identify conductors for point-to-point wiring and for circuit diagrams. Color codes are used to establish a standard for use by different manufacturers.

The first color code used colored tracers in a solid colored braid. Most control cable color codes are adaptations of this method. Later, for ease and convenience, ink printed versions were developed.

Telephone requirements established special color codes.

Color Codes (ICEA Methods)

ICEA/NEMA Method 1 - Colored insulation with contrasting ink tracers as required. Six different insulation colors and four different colored ink tracers are used to provide positive identification through 21 conductors. The same identification sequence is repeated for cables containing more than 21 conductors.

ICEA/NEMA Method 2 - A neutral colored compound is used with single or double spiral ink tracers as required to provide positive identification through 21 conductors. The identification sequence is repeated for cables containing more than 21 conductors.

ICEA/NEMA Method 3 - A neutral or single colored insulation compound is surface ink printed with both conductor number and color designation to provide positive identification through 21 conductors. The identification sequence is repeated for colors containing more than 21 conductors.

ICEA/NEMA Method 4 - A neutral or single colored insulation compound is surface ink printed with conductor number to provide positive conductor identification through 21 conductors. The identification sequence is repeated for cables containing more than 21 conductors.

ICEA/NEMA Method 5 - A color coding using braids. Also sometimes specified using colored insulation and contrasting tracers as an extension of Method I to eliminate duplicate conductors. Up to 127 positive conductor coding are available with this method. Usually specified as per: ICEA5-61-402 Table 5-1 or ICEA 5-19-81 Table 5-2.

ICEA/NEMA Method 6 - A color coding whereby one conductor in each layer is identified by a braid, tape, ridge, stripe or color.

ICEA/NEMA Paired Color Code - A coding whereby one leg of all pairs is coded white and its mate is coded in accordance with the first 21 conductors of Method 1, omitting white and repeating the sequence as necessary.

Telephone Paired Color Code - Five colors are paired with each of five mate colors to give 25 identified pairs. The color sequences are repeated for more than 25 pairs using colored binder strings for group identification.



Note:
UL and the NEC restrict the use of green and white as colors and stripes. Special color codes are available to meet these requirements. One method is ICEA Method E-2 which is similar to Method 1 and ICEA Method E-4 which is similar to Method 2.

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