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What does the colour of my wires mean?

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Types of Wire Color Codes:

Color codes for electrical wires are different in different countries.

A government organization standardises the colour code which is followed by all manufacturers in that country. The colour codes identify the different categories of wires from a bulk of wires.

Figure 1. Colour code (New and old) for the UK to match European standardization

The color coding of cables is different in different countries.

For the U.K/Europe:

  • neutral wire is blue
  • main or the live wire is brown
  • earth cable or wire is green and yellow.

As Singapore moves to follow international standards for economic reasons, there remains the old colour code prior to the change and the new colour code adopted to align with the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)

New Cable Colour Code for Electrical Installations

Figure 3. Old colour codes for Singapore prior to 1 Mar 09 (Image from EMA SINGAPORE)

For Singapore's old colour code:

  • main or live wire: red, yellow or blue was used to represent the main or the live wire,
  • neutral wire: black
  • earth: yellow and green combined color cable.

For Singapore's new color coding

  • mainline: brown
    three-phase system mainline or live wire :brown, black and grey.
  • neutral wire: blue line in single and three-phase
  • earth: green and yellow lines in both phases.

New Cable Colour Code for Electrical InstallationsFigure 4. New colour codes for Singapore


 Figure 5. New colour codes for Singapore after 1 Mar 11 (Image from EMA SINGAPORE)

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