Wiring a plug. Non UK coloured wires


UK wiring colours

Live Neutral ---- ------- Old Red Black New Brown Blue

Appliance leads changed colours first, this was so that appliances across the EU all conform to the same colour code. Aiding trade etc.

Later on, in-wall fixed wiring colours were changed. I guess this was deemed less urgent because houses don't get moved from country to country.

Anyway that might explain why you have a mix of colours. The in-wall wiring uses the older colours. The appliance (fan) wiring uses new colours.

I am trying to wire a plug into a 6" inline fan for our bathroom

The way you phrase this makes me unsure what exactly you are doing.

If this fan is inline in the sense of part-way along an air duct, it should be wired in permanently and not using any kind of plug (as in wall plug that plugs into a wall socket)

why is red and brown connected off like that?

Live supply (red) to live load (brown). Probably.

It is...

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Strip the end of the thick cable coming from the appliance into the plug, using wire strippers. Take off roughly 3 centimeter (1.2 in) of white covering, leaving you with three thinner cables.


Undo the Philips screw in the center of the plug, on the side with the three pins poking out.


Take the back off of the plug (the part you loosened by undoing the screw).


Leaving the plug on a desk/table/floor, take the stripped end of the thick white wire and separate the three wires inside it from each other, so each one is relatively maneuverable.


Strip roughly 0.5 to 1 centimeter (0.2 to 0.4 in) off of the end of the blue, brown and striped wires, so that the copper insides are clearly visible.


See the diagram below, in the External Links section for a clearer view.


Put all three wires through the cable grip, along with the thick white cable, until the cable...

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Getting Started

If you need to know how to wire a plug simply follow the steps below to wire up a 13 amp plug. Please note that you can click on the photos to enlarge them so you can see the process in more detail. (this guide is for a BS 1363 plug).

NEVER attempt to do this with the plug inserted in a wall socket or plugboard – UNPLUG IT FIRST.

What if my appliance has different coloured wires in the flex??
What if I have no Earth wire??
How do I choose the correct fuse??

First, remove the top of the plug by undoing the centre screw on the bottom of the plug.

Hold the Flex down the centre of the plug level with the top and mark it with a pen as shown just below the cable clamp (this will leave enough spare so we can trim the cores to length later).

Using a craft knife, very gently score the surface of the flex all the way round where you marked it with the pen. Be

very careful

not to cut all the way through as this will...

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Inside a Plug

Screw terminals are provided inside a plug for connection of the wires of a power cord, also known as a flex. A plug has 3 pins, live, neutral and earth as shown below. The terminals are clearly marked with the letters "L", "N" and "E".

Live and Neutral

These 2 pins carry power to the appliance


Under normal conditions, no current flows through this pin. However in the event of a fault in an appliance causing the metal casing to become live, this pin acts as a "bypass", shunting current away from the user. This trips the RCD and/or MCB at the electrical panel, shutting off power. The fuse in the plug may also blow (although the RCD may trip before this occurs). The earth pin also pushes open the safety shutters covering the live and neutral entry holes in a socket outlet when the plug is inserted.

When wiring a plug, it is essential to tighten the screws firmly down onto the bared wires of each conductor. This prevents...

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In some countries the answer will depend on whether by "plug" you mean "the plug on a flexible cable going to an appliance" or the "socket-outlet" into which a plug can be plugged!

Answer for socket outlets and non-socket outlets for fixed appliances:

In USA, Canada and other countries using a similar 120 volt 60 Hz system, the Hot wire could be either Black or Red. (The Neutral is White and the Ground is Green or bare wire.)

In USA, Canada and other countries using a similar 240 volt 60 Hz system, there are 2 Hots, one colored Black and the other colored Red. (The Neutral is White and the Ground is Green or bare wire.)

In Europe and other countries using a similar 230 volt 50 Hz system, the Live wire is Brown. (The Neutral is Blue and the Earth is Green & Yellow.)

Note: for the UK and The Republic of Ireland: please see the Discussion page.

WARNING: It is never ever safe to assume that the color of any wire means that it cannot be "hot" or live"....

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It's no more done so in Poland - by good electricians, who exist in a very limited number and charge much more than "a guy that makes everything". I will repeat that electrical wiring is often made in Poland by people who have neither authority nor enough knowledge to do it.

But it was a standard in the past (don't ask me why), using the neutral as earth was also a standard (although it depends on the network system, it could be then forbidden by the power supplier which sometimes resulted in usage of water or... gas pipes as earth), as well as using aluminium wires, instead of copper ones, used to be.

In fact it's nothing unusual in using the neutral as earth.

First of all you need to know the network system (the power supplier should provide such an information, it should also state on the contract with them). It can be:

- TN-C (most common)
- TN-S (rather not met, it would mean that the supplier provides a separate earth)
- TT (met rarelier,...

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UK plugs use brown insulation for the live wire, blue insulation for the neutral wire and green with yellow stripes insulation for the earth wire.

But why this particular combination of colours? The answer is deceptively simple: there is no type of colour blindness that will result in these wires becoming confused.

Above: how a UK plug looks to someone who is red-green colourblind.

Above: how a UK plug looks to someone who is blue-yellow colourblind.

One of the lesser-known safety features of a UK plug is the extra distance that the neutral wire has to travel when compared to the live wire. If someone pulls on the mains cable the live wire will disconnect first, making the plug safer.

Under the IEC 60446 standard only black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey, white, pink and turquoise are acceptable colours for labelling wires. Countries must choose an appropriate selection of colours that eliminates the...

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[Summary]vincewaldon.com This HOW-TO describes one way to dramatically improve your glow-plug wiring. This is also one way to add glowplug wiring if you are convertng a gasser chassis over to a diesel engine and want to do without the official glowplug relay



This HOW-TO describes one way to dramatically improve your glow-plug wiring.

This is also one way to add glowplug wiring if you are convertng a gasser chassis over to a diesel engine and want to do without the official glowplug relay and associated harness.

As always, this is just one way to do things... not necessarily the "right" way, and like most instructions I recommend reading them all they way thru before starting out.

Plug wiring colour scheme | MrReid.org

UK plugs use brown insulation for the live wire, blue insulation for the neutral wire and green with yellow stripes insulation for the earth wire.

But why...

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Very old appliances may have different colours in the flex. Examples of these are shown here.

Old Colours - Pillar Terminals

These colours have not been used in flexes since 1971, so any appliance with these colours in the flex is likely to be very old.

Plugs of this age will not have insulated pins, so the plug should be replaced with a new one.

Old Colours - Post Terminals


The Black wire connects to the terminal marked N or Neutral.
The Red wire connects to the terminal marked L or Live
The Green wire connects to the terminal marked E or Earth.

Older appliances are likely to be Class I (with an earth wire), however if they are Class II, there is no connection to the Earth terminal.

Old Appliances

While old appliances can still be serviceable, it is likely that the flex will need to be replaced after 40+ years, particularly if it is rubber insulated.

Very old appliances may...

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Electricity comes in many forms. Your residential house supply is 230 volts alternating current (AC from here on). The AC is supplied on two pins, and an earth connection on another. The AC pins are live and neutral. You shouldn’t go around touching any bare electrical wires, but if you did touch the earth or the neutral nothing would happen to you.

The neutral line is held at zero volts. The live line is the one that alternates. It alternates (you might be surprised to know) between +325 volts and –325 volts fifty times a second in a sinusoidal shape. This gives it the equivalent power of a 230 volt DC line.

The earth (sometimes called ground) line’s job is to act as an electrical safety valve. It is a low-impedance path for current. Low-impedance means that if a live voltage is connected to it, the current from that line will flow unrestricted at any current. This unrestricted flow will be so high that it will blow any fuse in the line. Thus, earth is used to make...

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The UK mains electricity supply is about 230V and can kill if not used safely. Electrical circuits, cables, plugs and appliances are designed to reduce the chances of receiving an electric shock. The more electrical energy used, the greater the cost. Electrical supplies can be direct current (d.c.) or alternating current (a.c.).

You should know the features of a correctly wired three-pin mains electricity plug and be able to recognise errors in the wiring of a plug.

The cable

A mains electricity cable contains two or three inner wires. Each has a core of copper, because copper is a good conductor of electricity. The outer layers are flexible plastic, because plastic is a good electrical insulatorinsulator: Material that is a poor conductor of electricity or heat.. The inner wires are colour coded:

Colours of inner wires within a cable

The plug

The features of a plug are:

The case is made from tough plastic or rubber, because these...
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A common cause of electrical faults is a poorly wired plug. Wiring a plug is not difficult however it is important to get it right.

Firstly strip off about 4cm of the outer cable sleeve. Slit the sleeve of the cable lengthways with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut into the coloured wires. Peel the outer sleeve away and cut it off.

Separate the wires and cut to length using wire cutters. Use the plug as a gauge to cut the wires to the correct length. Leaving the wires the same length usually results in the live and neutral wires becoming crushed when the plug cover is replaced.

Remove about 5mm of insulation from the end of each wire using wire strippers/cutters, be careful not to cut into the individual strands of wire. Now tightly twist the ends of the wires.

Connect each wire to the correct terminal. Slacken the screw and push the bare wire into the hole. Re-tighten the screw. Make sure the terminals are tight and that there...

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Electricity is dangerous and can be hazardous. In doubt? Call a qualified electrician.

Electric Plugs

The colours of wire used in flex should be Blue for Neutral (N), Brown for Live (L), and Green and Yellow for Earth (E or ), this is the current standard and has been so for many years. However the previous standard is sometimes encountered and this is Black for Neutral (N), Red for Live (L), and Green for Earth (E or ).

By law in the UK new electrical products should now come fitted with a plug. Plugs sometimes need attention because they become damaged, or need a fuse changing. A damaged plug should be changed immediately as it poses a safety risk.

Fitting a new plug

Unscrew the new plug and remove the cover. The layout below is the layout of a UK plug. The fuse is on the right hand side and sometimes depending on the make of plug is best removed to allow access to the terminal.

The terminal on the bottom right next to...

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