Is White Wire Positive or Negative? (Expert Breakdown)

Knowing the type of current that different types of wire carry, specifically positive or negative current, is very important.

It is especially vital when you are dealing with electrical fixtures. Not all wires are labeled as either positive or negative. In such cases, you should check the physical characteristics of which color is outstanding. color coding is the most commonly used method of labeling polarity in wires.

In General, remember that the white wire is the negative one. The black wire will carry the positive current, and the green wire will be the ground.

Ill go into more detail below.

The Simple Answer

Can the white wire be negative?

Yes, the white wire can be negative. Most people are used to the red wire being positive, and the black negative; however, in some devices, the white wires are negative while the black ones are positive.

The Different Types of Wire Color Codes

different cord wire plug

Many colors are used to distinguish wire polarities today. These colors include black, red, white, blue, green, grey, and yellow. The most common wire color combination is black and red.

Wire color codes are important in sensitizing the average citizens/employees on the dangers of electrical connections. color code illiteracy can cause immense damage to facilities, homes, and individuals. That is because electricity has become a part of society, and there is no electricity without wires. Understanding which color carries which current will greatly help to prevent accidents due to wire code illiteracy.

Let us, therefore, go through the wire color coding:

  1. The red and black wires: – In this combination, the black wire is the positive wire while the black is the negative.
  2. White and black wires: – In this case, the white wire is the negative wire while the black one is negative.
  3. The green and grey wires are the ground wires that dissipate the electrical current to the ground.

Wire Marking Colors for DC Power

DC power is used in batteries, solar cells, and fuel cells. This type of current travels in a straight line and is very consistent.  However, the major drawback of DC is that it cannot travel larger distances like AC power. (1)

The color coding for DC wires is as follows:

  • The positive current wires are labeled red
  • The negative current wires are colored and black
  • The ground wire is marked red or grey.

The Color Coding for the AC Power

National Electrical Code in chart

Alternating Current, AC, flows in a sinusoidal waveform and travels to a larger distance than the Direct Current, DC.  AC is therefore the best way to ferry electrical current to distant locations or consumers. (2)

The AC power in many forms has different voltages of power fragments. In an AC wiring system, there are different phases, each designated or marked with a unique color. Wire coding helps in the identification of the various phases which have different volts or power.

In wires with 120, 208, and 240 volts, the following color codes apply:

  1. Phase 1: colored black
  2. Phase 2: colored red
  3. Phase 3: is colored blue
  4. Neutral wiring is colored white
  5. Green and grey colors can be used to mark ground wiring
  6. High-leg connections are marked orange

High-leg connections are rare, implying that the phase (marked orange) has a higher voltage than the others.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) solar cells –
(2) consumers –

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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