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Color Wire Code Abbreviations

Color Wire Code Abbreviations

Color Wire Code Abbreviations

We have our own internal wire code code abbreviations that our team is standardized about. This has been questioned.

A very brief review shows that there are electrical industry standards that vary from the basic Y14.38 abbreviations for colors. See attached ("internal" is ours). I'm sure there are several other standards out there.

Thanks to xkcd I understand why there are competing standards.

But I'm curious which of these may be more widespread in use, especially in aerospace industry.

Any thoughts?

RE: Color Wire Code Abbreviations

My third and fourth real jobs involved manufacture of flight simulators, which have rather a lot of wiring.
Because the number of production units (four at first, maybe twenty more in later years) was small,
our management decided to buy only white wire. ... to save money.
The contract also required that individual wires be identified, which means that some poor soul had to cut heat shrink in two-inch pieces, then hot stamp a very long designator code, lots of letters and digits identifying which end of which wire it was for, then the individual pieces of stamped heat shrink had to find their way to the correct soldering station, where another poor soul had to slip the shrink over a wire, make sure it was the correct wire, solder the wire into the cup of a connector pin, then slide the heat shrink into place, then shrink the heat shrink, all while meeting military standards, for circular connectors, many of which had more than a hundred pins, many of which were keyed alike (to save money).
At final factory assembly, engineers were recruited to help lay the harnesses in the product and secure them and engage the connectors.
My friend Al was so engaged, and plugged the monster connector marked P1 into the monster socket market J1, logically enough.
The interconnect diagram, which Al did not have, clearly showed the P1 plugged into J2, and conversely, for reasons which baffle me to this day, fifty years later.
When the power came on, the cross-connect shunted a very stiff +5V supply to a very stiff ground, through a loop involving nearly every damn harness, which we got to rebuild and replace in subsequent weeks. Boy, did we save money on that.

Separately, some years later, my favorite physician bought a new Citroen SM, which was quite a marvelous machine, when it was new. It got 'not new' pretty fast. One fine day, one of maybe a hundred relays failed, and I stupidly volunteered to replace it. No direct replacement was available, so I bought a socket and relay from the local RS. Having a direct replacement would not have mattered anyway, because the OEM socket was corroded to nonexistence, and the wires were internally corroded for several feet away from the terminations. ... because the relay bank was inside a fender, and a bodyman had mis-installed the fender liner while repairing some collision damage, and road salt and water had poured onto the relays and wicked its way into the relay and into the wires and just made a mess of everything.
Wait, it gets worse.
As noted, the stranded wire used on the car was not equipped with anti-wicking compound among the strands, so it basically sucked up any water that got near it.
Wait, it gets worse.
All the wires in the car were black, with both ends identified with a long identifier code, not on a heat shrink tube, but directly on the wire, apparently applied directly to the wire insulation by an inkjet printer or similar, with a faint medium gray ink, which was not very durable, and not easy to read or even see. The only other hint provided was a plastic sleeve, not really heat shrink, over each wire end at the relay terminations, color coded red for +12, the rest black or blue or white, I forget which.
Wait, it gets worse, or better depending on your perspective.
The Dr. paid a fortune for an official factory service manual, which was invaluable, and nearly worthless. First, it was written in French, which is incredibly wordy; it takes half a paragraph to describe a screw. Second, the wiring diagrams were somewhat simplified. At least they had little blocks of color around the relays, red, blue, etc.

Oh.. where I'm going with this is, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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