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The Differences Between Phase, Neutral and Grounding Power Cables
13 January 2022

How do you differentiate phase, neutral and grounding power cables?

 

Some of you may already know the differences between phase, neutral and grounding power cables often found in home installations and other electric appliances. All you need is a voltage detector. When you’re checking a phase cable, the voltage detector will turn on. However, if you’re checking neutral and grounding cables, the voltage detector will not turn on.

 

But, there are components used as medias for conducting electricity, namely cables that will be split into phase, neutral and grounding. With phase, neutral and grounding, we may differentiate the cable’s functions in a home’s electric installation, since electronic appliances need such cables to function. However, if phase, neutral and grounding cables are not present, these electric appliances won’t be able to function. So, what are the differences between these cables?

 

For further clarity, let’s discuss:

 

What are the Differences in Phase, Neutral and Grounding Power Cables?

 

Phase Cables

 

Phase is an electric cable with voltage present that can conduct electricity. As mentioned above, we can detect phase cables with a voltage detector. If the voltage detector turns on, we know that the tested cable is a phase cable with voltage present.

 

Standard Phase Cable Colors

 

Phase cables can also be differentiated through its color. In Indonesia, cable standardization has been established through PUIL (Persyaratan Umum Instalasi Listrik / General Electrical Installation Requirements). Previously using the standard set by PUIL 2000, which was then revised to PUIL 2011.

 

  • Phase cable color standards based on PUIL 2000

Based on PUIL 2000, it has been established that phase cable colors are L1: red, L2: yellow and L3: black. The image below describes the different colors of phase cables.

 

 Standard phase cable color based on PUIL 2000

 

  • Phase cable color standards based on PUIL 2011

On the other hand, the revised PUIL 2011, it has been established that phase cable colors are L1: black, L2: brown, and L3: grey. The image below describes the different colors of phase cables.

 

Phase cable color standards based on PUIL 2011

 

Neutral Cables

 

Neutral cables are cables with no voltages (zero voltage) and when checked with voltage detectors, it will not turn on.

 

Standard Neutral Cable Colors

 

Neutral cables are also included in PUIL 2000 and 2011. Up until today, neutral cables have not undergone any changes in color and stays as the color blue. The image below describes the colors of neutral cables.

 

Grounding Cables

 

Grounding cables function as a protectant if there are current disturbances by transmitting electricity to the ground. Grounding cables are rarely used for lighting, however for high-voltage installations, middle and low-system grounding, installation is recommended.

 

Standard Grounding Cable Colors

 

In the PUIL 2000 and 2011, it has been established that the colors to be used for grounding are green – yellow. The image below describes the colors of grounding cables.

 

It is worth noting that there are grounding cables using wires or conductors without insulators. Conducting wires for grounding systems are usually used for bigger powers and an alternative to save costs. However, there are also grounding systems that use only wires (wires without insulation).

 

Grounding Cable Color Standard

 

Examples of Phase, Neutral and Grounding Cables In Use

 

Below is an example of a simple electric socket installation with a phase, neutral cable and a grounding system.

 

Example of using Phase, Neutral and Grounding cables

 

There are also differences in color standards based on SNI 6629.1:2011, the table below explains it further:

 

No.         Core Count Check                            SNI 04-6629.1 : 2011 (Part 1 : General Requirements) Color Scheme

1             Single-core cables                              No preferred color scheme

2             Two-core cables                                 No preferred color scheme

3             Three-core cables                              Green–yellow, blue, brown or brown, black, grey

4             Four-core cables                                Green-yellow, brown, black, grey or blue, brown, black, grey

5             Five-core cables                                 Green-yellow, blue, brown, black, grey or blue, brown, black, grey, black

 

 

What is the Purpose of Electric Cable Color Standards?

 

The main purpose of electric cable color standards is to generalize the conductor colors, making it easier to differentiate between phase, neutral and grounding. There are several countries using the same cable color standards making it easier to identify phase, neutral and grounding cables.

 

A possible question you may ask is: Can we use colors that are not according to standards set by PUIL and SNI 04-6629.1:200? Since color is only used to differentiate between phase, neutral and grounding, whereas they all function is to conduct electricity.

 

Answer: It is better to not do so even if it’s only for your own home’s installation. Why? By using colors not according to standard, when your installation experiences problems, it may be harder for you to differentiate the cables and identify the problem.

 

If an electric technician or any other professional were to fix it, they will also have a hard time identifying the cables in your house. Therefore, we strongly advised to always use cables according to the set standards by PUIL 2011 and SNI.

 

Wilson Cables’s products are in accordance to the SNI 04-6629.1:2011 standard, which can be of great help to you and your technician in cases of installation or fixes in your home. Some of our products’ benefits are a 3 times faster extinguishing rate when on fire, digital printing with meter markings and made with 99,99% pure copper.

 

Related Articles:

1. Transmitting Power Sources From PLN To Your Home
2. Reviewing Grounding Cables and The Color Codes Used
3. Understanding the Electrical Wire Color Standards in Indonesia

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