For control cables with multiple conductors, there is a need for standardized color codes in order to reduce/eliminate wiring errors.
The most common standard for control cables is ICEA (Insulated Cable Engineers Assocation) Standard S-7-532 and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) Standard WC57. Within these standards, there are many “methods” and “color sequences” called out, but only a few are in common use today.
The two most common are found in Appendix E, tables 1 and 2, of the ICEA/NEMA standard (and are therefore referred to as E-1 and E-2). Earlier editions of the standard had the color sequences located in Appendix K, so some people still refer to K-1 and K-2 color codes.
E-1 is the most commonly specified by utilities. For application where NEC is applicable (typically commercial/industrial applications), E-2 is commonly specified.
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