European House Wire Colors

A diagram for a Bosch sander I have shows a brown (braun) and a blue (blau) wire from the cord. It shows which goes where to the switch. The existing cord is a US cord with, of course, a black and a white. I had to get a new switch and did not note which went where on the old switch.
Checking the new swith input and output terminals I found which is neutral (US the white wire) because this is always on regardless of switch position. This has to be for the white wire since the golden rule is white wire never gets interupted by a device.
So, from the diagram it seems that European (German anyway) that brown is hot and blue is neutral. Anyone really confirm this?
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Correct: Blue is neutral, Brown is hot
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RBM wrote:

That makes no damn sense, as brown is ground on German cars.
Of course, we have plenty of white wires used as hot on American cars too...
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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Europe does not have a true neutral, it is actually a grounded leg of the 240 volt power line.

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Agree with Nate, the German auto standard is brown for ground wires. Don't know if the standard applies to the German commercial sector, but wouldn't be surprised if it did.
Joe
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You are talking two different things here, AC vs. DC. Black is ground on US cars (DC), black is line voltage in the US (DC), there is no correlation between the two. The OP and RBM are correct. Blue is the neutral and brown is the line voltage.
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black is line voltage in the US (DC) --> Should have read black is line voltage in the US (AC)
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Red Green wrote:

I expect that if you post this in sci.electronics.repair, which has a *lot* of European posters, you'll get something more than the SWAGs you are getting here.
I agree with your analysis that the blue in the Bosch tool plays the role of a white neutral wire in US/Canada practice.
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wrote:

---------------------------------------
No point mixing up 12 volt DC auto/truck wiring and 'mains' AC wiring colours.
Am temporarily living in a 230 volt area of the world which, in general, follows European practice. As general comparison this is what I see in domestic wiring (but not necessarily in industrial and all 3 phase wiring). Note 1.
1) North American. 115/230 volt. AC 60 hertz. Ground = Green or bare wire. Leg A 115 volts = Black.* Leg B 114 volts = Red.* Neutral = White. * Providing 230 volt single phase between them for 'heavier' appliances such as clothes dryers, hot water heaters, cooking stoves and electric heating.
2) Europe. Old standard. 230 volt AC 50 hertz. Earth/Ground = Green etc. Live 230 volt = Red. Neutral = Black.
3) Europe Newer Standard; Domestically and for the wires attached to plug in appliances such as a computer. 230 volt 50 hertz each, single phase. Earth/Ground = Green/Yellow-Green. Live = Brown. Neutral = Blue.
Note 1. In North American domestic practice we rarely see 3 phase brought into a home. Some, incorrectly call the two 115 volt legs with 230 volts between them 'Phases'. But they are the two ends of a 230 volt single phase with the the centre point grounded and forming the neutral.
Where I am presently living 3 phases at 230 volts each are brought into the house, and the various loads in the main circuit breaker panel (Consumer Unit) are distributed around them. Each appliance etc. is wired in accordance with (3). There is nothing in this domestic location connected between any two phases.
Both the 115/230 volt and the entirely 230 volt systems seem to work well. Although there are some very poor quality non UL (US Uderwriters Lab.) and non CSA (Canadian Standards Assoc.) products around!
BTW. Trying to remember any time am wirng up one of those fused UK style 3 prong plugs, as my own memory jogger that blue is the 'cooler' colour and is therefore neutral. I guess white is a cool colour too?
So yes; based on what have seen and worked with agree with the above posters definition of domestic wiring colours. Have fun.
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terry wrote:

Glad you use colour when talking about European practices! Absolutely correct with items 2 and 3 above.
As a way to remember bLue is Live and bRown is Return. On UK plugs when wiring with the cable coming in from the south or six o'clock position, the bLue goes to the Left hand connector and the bRown goes to the Right hand connection.
Many kids today (well my kids' generation in their twenties) setting up home are stymied by green, red and black cables - second hand equipment from parents, etc.
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Clot wrote:

...
...
...
I don't get it.
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That's because you're sensible, try thinking European!

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RBM wrote:

I liked it! :)
I could also have said browN is Neutral.
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Clot wrote:

And you would have been wrong again.
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M Q wrote:

I am a clot and retract what I have said. I just hope that folk will return to see my retraction. I'm very concerned about my mis information.Look at this website to get the info you might need.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/physics/electricity/mainselectricityrev2.shtml
Makes me reflect. When did I last rewire a plug - I can't recall. My wife and I rewired our first house in the early 70's on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.It was just one circuit for both lighting and power which had been extended with kettle flex, etc. In those days we had black, green and red cables. Still got several tens of yards (metres) if I need it.
The last time I can recall extending wiring was in '83 when moving into a new build house and needed to wire the detached garage and minor additions in the house. I could be wrong but I think the colours were still green, black and red! We are still in the house and our kids of 20x years old are alive and have not been shocked whilst living in the house!
Still can't recall when I last had to rewire a plug. But I thank you MQ for being vigilant.
Clot
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