Wire Color Conventions

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by TR-Flyer, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    This is for all you AC guys. Are there any conventions re: wire colors and what they should be used for on a layout? I'm currently using the following:

    Red: Constant power from a transformer.
    Black: Common
    Green: Variable voltage to power track through my CAB Control
    Yellow: Switched voltage, for accessories mostly.

    Then of course there's the Flyer "rainbow wire" for turnouts.

    Thanks for your input,
  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Ted, I've never seen a set standard for wire colors in model railroading but there may be one. I've just always made a little chart of the colors that I use and went by that. A lot of times model railroaders will use multi strand/multi pair telephone wire which has umpteen color combinations so its always best to write it down somewhere.
  3. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Power wires are conventionally red or black (110 Volt) white is always common or neutral, green is always ground.

    Three phase 220 volt power is usually split into black/red/blue (Black is phase 1, etc.).

    Three phase 480 Volt is brown/orange/yellow.

    Low voltage lines (6 to 36 Volts AC or DC) vary with manufacturer and country but always white is neutral or common and green is ground.

    If two voltages are in the same box, (not recomended but sometimes necessary) I will usually use an odd color such as purple for the low-voltage lines.

    The best bet is to assign a color to each voltage you use, be sure to differentiate between AC and DC voltages and stick to it.

    I'm one of those who uses phone wire for powering the layout and I have a guide I made up showing what combinations are for which voltages and types of items.
  4. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Thanks guys,

    I'll continue with what i've got and write it down so the other folks i model with will know what's been established.

  5. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Ted,
    Tinplate trackers uses red and white for power wires, black for the common and yellow for fixed voltage. I use this on my modular layout which is built to their standards. I have also used it my other layouts as it is simple and the colors are readily available. By the way, I use 12 gauge stranded wire. It's a bit of overkill I know but I have alot of it. Plus I never have any problems with voltage loses.

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