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Cable colour codes

These colour codes are offered as guidance in allocating circuits and investigating existing installations. Many installers abbreviate colours to their initial and last letters – Bk for Black, Bn for Brown. An alternative is to use the initial letter, but to avoid duplication, under this system Black is K, Brown is N and Grey is S (for Slate). BBC designed cables usually use Slate instead of Grey, but as the two colours are very similar, and are never both used in the same cable, they are effectively interchangeable. The BBC colour codes are explained in ED122 Guide to Wiring (stock code 0446493).

Where two colours are shown separated by a hyphen, the first colour is the primary colour, usually the base colour, with the second (and third where appropriate) applied as thin bands or stripes. Occasionally cables are manufactured with less of the primary colour showing than the secondary colour (sometimes within the same cable) but this should not lead to confusion. In the CW1308 standard the primary/secondary colours are rigidly defined, and the primary colour (shown in capitals) is always the base colour.

Multipair cables have repeated solid colours as primaries, and the pair number is identified by the colour of the other half of the twisted pair – care should be taken when preparing these cables to ensure the correct pairing is maintained.

  • Multipair 1: IEC, BELDEN, KSM, BSM Series & KHJ Series
  • Multipair 2: Category & BT CW1308
  • Multicore: DEF STAN 61-12

Multipair 1

Multipair cable colour codes

IEC BELDEN KSM, BSM Series KHJ Series
Pair No. A-CORE B-CORE A-CORE B-CORE A-CORE B-CORE A-CORE B-CORE
1 White Blue Black Red Blue Blue - White Blue White
2 White Orange Black White Orange Orange - White Orange White
3 White Green Black Green Green Green - White Green White
4 White Brown Black Blue Brown Brown - White Brown White
5 White Grey Black Yellow Grey Grey - White Grey White
6 Red Blue Black Brown Blue Blue - Red Blue Red
7 Red Orange Black Orange Orange Orange - Red Orange Red
8 Red Green Red White Green Green - Red Green Red
9 Red Brown Red Green Brown Brown - Red Brown Red
10 Red Grey Red Blue Grey Grey - Red Grey Red
11 Black Blue Red Yellow Blue Blue - Black - -
12 Black Orange Red Brown Orange Orange - Black - -
13 Black Green Red Orange Green Green - Black - -
14 Black Brown Green White Brown Brown - Black - -
15 Black Grey Green Blue Grey Grey - Black - -
16 Yellow Blue Green Yellow Blue Blue - Yellow - -
17 Yellow Orange Green Brown Orange Orange - Yellow - -
18 Yellow Green Green Orange Green Green - Yellow - -
19 Yellow Brown White Blue Brown Brown - Yellow - -
20 Yellow Grey White Yellow Grey Grey - Yellow - -
21 White - Blue Blue White Brown Blue Blue - Violet - -
22 White - Blue Orange White Orange Orange Orange - Violet - -
23 White - Blue Green Blue Yellow Green Green - Violet - -
24 White - Blue Brown Blue Brown Brown Brown - Violet - -
25 White - Blue Grey Blue Orange Grey Grey - Violet - -
26 Red - Blue Blue Brown Yellow Blue - White White - -
27 Red - Blue Orange Brown Orange Orange - White White - -
28 Red - Blue Green Orange Yellow Green - White White - -
29 Red - Blue Brown Violet Orange Brown - White White - -
30 Red - Blue Grey Violet Red Grey - White White - -
31 Black - Blue Blue Violet White Blue - White Red - White - -
32 Black - Blue Orange Violet Dark Green Orange - White Red - White - -
33 Black - Blue Green Violet Light Blue Green - White Red - White - -
34 Black - Blue Brown Violet Yellow Brown - White Red - White - -
35 Black - Blue Grey Violet Brown Grey - White Red - White - -
36 Yellow - Blue Blue Violet Black Blue - White Black - White - -
37 - - - - Orange - White Black - White - -
38 - - - - Green - White Black - White - -
39 - - - - Brown - White Black - White - -
40 - - - - Grey - White Black - White - -
41 - - - - Blue - White Yellow - White - -
42 - - - - Orange - White Yellow - White - -
43 - - - - Green - White Yellow - White - -
44 - - - - Brown - White Yellow - White - -
45 - - - - Grey - White Yellow - White - -
46 - - - - Blue - White Violet - White - -
47 - - - - Orange - White Violet - White - -
48 - - - - Green - White Violet - White - -
49 - - - - Brown - White Violet - White - -
50 - - - - Grey - White Violet - White - -

Multipair 2

Multipair cable colour codes (continued)

"Category" cables BT CW1308
Pair No. A-CORE B-CORE A-CORE B-CORE
1 Blue White - Blue WHITE - Blue BLUE - White
2 Orange White - Orange WHITE - Orange ORANGE - White
3 Green White - Green WHITE - Green GREEN - White
4 Brown White - Brown WHITE - Brown BROWN - White
5 - - WHITE - Grey GREY - White
6 - - RED - Blue BLUE - Red
7 - - RED - Orange ORANGE - Red
8 - - RED - Green GREEN - Red
9 - - RED - Brown BROWN - Red
10 - - RED - Grey GREY - Red
11 - - BLACK - Blue BLUE - Black
12 - - BLACK - Orange ORANGE - Black
13 - - BLACK - Green GREEN - Black
14 - - BLACK - Brown BROWN - Black
15 - - BLACK - Grey GREY - Black
16 - - YELLOW - Blue BLUE - Yellow
17 - - YELLOW - Orange ORANGE - Yellow
18 - - YELLOW - Green GREEN - Yellow
19 - - YELLOW - Brown BROWN - Yellow
20 - - YELLOW - Grey GREY - Yellow
21 - - VIOLET - Blue BLUE - Violet
22 - - VIOLET - Orange ORANGE - Violet
23 - - VIOLET - Green GREEN - Violet
24 - - VIOLET - Brown BROWN - Violet
25 - - VIOLET - Grey GREY - Violet
26 - - PINK - Blue BLUE - Pink
27 - - PINK - Orange ORANGE - Pink
28 - - PINK - Green GREEN - Pink
29 - - PINK - Brown BROWN - Pink
30 - - PINK - Grey GREY - Pink

Multicore

Multicore cable colour codes

Core No. DEF STAN 61-12
1 Red
2 Blue
3 Green
4 Yellow
5 White
6 Black
7 Brown
8 Violet
9 Orange
10 Pink
11 Turquoise
12 Grey
13 Red - Blue
14 Green - Red
15 Yellow - Red
16 White - Red
17 Red - Black
18 Red - Brown
19 Yellow - Blue
20 White - Blue
21 Blue - Black
22 Orange - Blue
23 Green - Blue
24 Grey - Blue
25 Yellow - Green
26 White - Green
27 Green - Black
28 Orange - Green
29 Grey - Green
30 Yellow - Brown
31 White - Brown
32 Brown - Black
33 Grey - Brown
34 Yellow - Violet
35 Violet - Black
36 White - Violet
37 *See note below

*Note: The DEF STAN 61-12 code becomes very curious after 36 cores. It operates in "layers", with the first core in the layer red, the second blue, and the rest white. The next "layer" will then start with red, then blue, then all white again. The basis is that the cores will be recognised by their physical position in the lay.

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