This question is not stemming from any immediate practical application. But I am curious about the color of wire insulation used for three phase 208V or 240V well pumps. Looking online I see a lot of submersible well pump cables that are black/red/yellow/green. But I don't see any that are black/red/blue/green. I know black/red/blue/green colors are somewhat customary (but not mandatory) for 208V. Also white if neutral is used.

  1. Is it an electrical code requirement in the US to use wire listed as submersible well pump wire under UL 83 for well pumps? What part of the NEC calls that out? I am talking about the wire that goes down the bore to the pump motor.

  2. I know the NEC is silent about colors, but what is the customary color, if any, of insulation used for 3-phase well pump wire and cable (208-240V)?


There is no required NEC color coding for 3 phase pumps or motors with the exception of a high leg or wild leg be on B phase and marked orange, there are industry standards like Brown orange yellow for 480 but they can all be black. The only other requirement the phasing be front to back, top to bottom or right to left when talking about phase numbering in the NEC. I should add the ground is bare or insulated green.

To update for edit: black red blue is the normal 3 phase color code For most companies but not all. I do have a concern that you may be confusing 3 phase and 3 wire pumps 2 very different things. If you have an inverter you may have a 3 phase pump but if only standard voltage 240 3 wire is not the same.

  • This doesn't seem to answer my questions. Do you know whether the NEC mandates that well pump wires or cable must be UL 83? Or the customary (not NEC mandated) colors used for well-pumps? – mkeith Aug 13 '20 at 4:32
  • Maybe my question is bad. I am saying "UL 83". But I guess that is a broad standard. Maybe I will change it to "submersible well pump wire." – mkeith Aug 13 '20 at 4:38
  • 1
    Ok I said the NEC has no code for the colors that means the colors are not mandated all the pump wires can be black, blue, red or any other color identified as a normal current carrying conductor. The mandated colors in the NEC for ac wiring is green or bare for ground, white or gray for neutral other than a high leg 3 phase being orange there are NO colors mandated. The wire type is a wire listed for a wet location is required. Colors are optional. Mike edit your question you specifically ask about code requirement item 1 and I have answered this 2x – Ed Beal Aug 13 '20 at 4:40
  • Question is not about mandated, but customary. – mkeith Aug 13 '20 at 4:42
  • That is item 2 and it depends one of the large companies I worked for had a different color code than the old recommended colors for 208 3 phase and 480 I could give there version and my current company would say different , it also depends on where the pump was built but many have the winding connections only 1 -3 or thru 9 or 12 depending on the number of poles. – Ed Beal Aug 13 '20 at 4:50

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