Each time trying to connect the chandelier or sconce, the illumination sensor or movement, hobs panel or exhaust fan, heap thermostat or power supply lED ribbon, as well as any other electrical equipment, you can see the following labeling near the connection terminals - L and N.

You are watching: What does l and n mean in electrical terms

Let"s deal with what the designations of L and N are said in electrics.

As you probably, they themselves guessed this not just arbitrary characters, each of them carries a concrete value and performs the role of tips for proper connection Electrical appliance for the network.

Designation L in electrics


"L" - this labeling came to an electrician from the English language, and it is formed from the first letter of the word "line" (line) - the generally accepted name of the phase wire. Also, if you are more convenient, you can focus on such concepts of English words as Lead (entry wire, lived) or live (under voltage).

Accordingly, the labels and contact connections intended for connecting the phase wire are labeled. In a three-phase network, alphanumeric identification (marking) of phase conductors "L1", "L2" and "L3".

According to modern standards ( GOST R 50462-2009 (IEC 60446: 2007), operating in Russia, the colors of phase wires - brown or black. But often it can occur white, pink, gray or wire of any other color, except blue, white-blue, blue, white and blue or yellow-green.


Designation N in electrician


"N" - marking, formed from the first letter of the word Neutral (neutral) - the generally accepted name of the zero working conductor, in Russia called more often just zero conductor or short zero (zero). In this regard, successfully suits english word NULL (zero) can be focused on it.

The designation N in the electrician is marked by clamps and contact connections to connect the zero working conductor / zero wire. In this case, this rule acts both in a single-phase and three-phase network.

Wire colors that are labeled zero wire (zero, zero, zero working conductor) Strictly blue (blue) or white-blue (white blue).

Estimation of grounding


If we are talking about the designations of L and N in an electrician, it is impossible not to note yet such a sign - which is also almost always can be seen together with these two labels. This icon marked clamps, terminals or contact connections to connect the wire protective grounding (PE - Protective Earthing), it is zero protective conductor, grounding, ground.

Generally accepted color marking of zero protective wire - yellow-green. These two colors are reserved only for grounding wires and are not found in the designation of phase or zero.

Unfortunately, often the wiring in our apartments and homes is made with non-compliance with all strict standards and rules of color and alphanumeric labeling For electrician. And know the purpose of marking L and N in electrical equipment, sometimes, not enough, for the correct connection. Therefore, be sure to read our article "How to determine the phase, zero and grounding by yourself, with remedies? ", If you have any doubts, this material will be as impossible by the way.

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For the installation or repair of the electrical network requires a schematic diagram. Injecting a person, it is difficult to understand the meaning of the conditional designations that are saturated with the plan for connecting the equipment. Disassembled wires and zero designation will help english language.

Purpose of wires in wiring

From the power supply to the consumer, electricity is transmitted by stranded wires. Instruments and mechanisms are provided with energy by means of at least three lines. Voltage is served via phase and zero cables. Grounding lived protects man from defeat electric shock.

Each line on mounting schemes denoted in a certain way. Cables marked with the letters N and L, in the electrics are intended for transmitting current. The "Earth" is noted by the PE abbreviation, which is decrypted as Protective Earth and translates as "protective grounding".

Wires intended for the phase, zero and grounding, have specific coloring and marking.

The difference in appearance facilitates network assembly and prevents electrical errors leading to an accident or device breakage.

Phase line

Network work alternating current Formed two components - the working phase and the zero component. The working phase, or just a phase, is the main wire in the stranded cable. On this line, electrical energy comes to the device.

In the electrical documentation, the phase channel is indicated by the Latin letter L. It is allowed to use the line l. Conventional reduction professionals give different values. Preferred options Lead, Live or Line are considered. From English, words are translated, respectively, as "supply wire", "Voltage" or "line".

If the circuit provides the use of multiple phase cables, the phase number is added to the letter. According to European standards that do not allow changing phase wires are painted into concrete colors:

L 1 - brown. L 2 - black. L 3 - gray.

In the household wiring of 220 volts, 3 lines are used for attaching zero, grounding and voltage. Therefore, the only phase tire is insulated brown color. The use of cables of another kolator is considered a gross violation of technological standards.

Zero designation

In the AC circuit, the zero line is needed to create a closed circuit of the voltage drop on the contacts of the electrical instrument. Together with the working phase Zero is the main component of the network.

On the schemes, the zero phase is indicated by letters latin alphabet N or n. The abbreviated designation implies NULL or NEUTRAL. Dictionaries give translations "zero" and "neutral".

Depending on the flexibility of the cable, the color of the neutral conductor is represented by the blue options. A hard one-core tire has a rich shade of ultramarine. Isolating layer stranded wire Painted in a light blue roller.

Amateur masters sometimes connect neutral and grounding, erroneously believing that this is the same. Dangerous error leads to sad consequences. Zero phase and land tire perform excellent friend From each other features.

Diffuses and coloring. The protective wire has a yellow-green color. Connecting tires various destination One line is strictly prohibited by safety equipment.


Proper wiring is performed according to the IEC 60445 regulations adopted by Europe"s legislation in 2010. The norms of the Russian GOST 50462-2009, which comply with international rules, indicate the color of the wires "phase", "zero" and "earth".

Sometimes electricians have to work with networks that are mounted many years ago, and the wiring plan is lost. The lack of a schematic scheme makes it useless knowledge of how zero and phase are designated. The electrical task becomes complicated if the wires are used in the circuit with the color of isolation, which does not correspond to the GOST.

Prior to the start of work, the installer is obliged to determine the purpose of each line using the control lamp, indicator dummy or multimeter. With nickname electrical chains compliance needed elementary rules Safety:

manipulations with indicator scolders are performed by one hand; work is carried out in the presence of a qualified assistant.


Finding out which wire for what is intended, an experienced specialist lakes lines. This uses special adhesive tags or polychlorvinyl nozzles. On the surface of the marking material applied legend In English - N, L or PE. Only after the end of the determination work is embarking on the installation or repair of electrical equipment.

Understanding what sense in the Latin Letters L and N in the scheme helps the electrician carry out the installation and maintenance of the network faster and better. In addition, the alphabetic designation of the phase and zero in the diagram, as well as the color marking, clearly define the destination of the wire with which the wizard works. This prevents accidents in the workplace.

Bible Electric Pue (rules of electrical installation devices) reads: wiring along the entire length should provide an opportunity to easily recognize isolation by its color.

In the home power grid, as a rule, a triple conductor is paved, each living has a unique color.

Work zero (N) - blue, sometimes red.Zero protective conductor (PE) - yellow-green.Phase (L) - can be white, black, brown.

In some european countries There are constant standards in the colors of the wires in phase. Power for sockets - brown, for lighting - red.

Clear wiring accelerates electrical installation


The painted insulation of conductors significantly accelerates the operation of the electrical installation. In the old days, the color of the conductors was either white or black, which in general brought a lot of trouble by an electrician electrician. When compulsion, it was necessary to supply power to conductors to determine the phase, and where zero. The colors got rid of these flour, everything became very clear.

The only thing you do not need to forget with the abundance of the conductors, to marry ie. Sign their purpose in the distribution shield, since the conductors can be counted from several groups to several dozen power lines.

Coloring phases on electrical substations


Coloring in the home wiring is not as color on electrical substation. Three phases A, B, C. Phase A - yellow, Phase B green, phase C - red. They may be present in five-tier conductors together with neutral conductor - blue and protective conductor (grounding) - yellow-green.

Rules for compliance with the color of the wiring during installation

From distribution box The trigger or two vein wire is paved to the switch depending on the one-key or two-key switch installed; Phase is breaking, not a zero conductor. If there is a white conductor in stock, it will be powered. The main thing is to comply with the sequence and consistency in coloring with other electrical installations so that it does not work out as in the Krylov Basna: "Swan, Cancer and Pike".


On the sockets, the protective conductor (yellow-green) is most often clamped in the middle part of the device. Observe polarity, zero working - left, phase - right.

At the end I want to mention there are surprises From manufacturers, for example, one conductor is yellow-green, and two others may turn out to be black. Perhaps the manufacturer decided with a shortage of one coloring, to put into the course of what is. Do not stop the production! Failures and mistakes are everywhere. If it was exactly the one where the phase, and where zero to solve you, just need to run with the control.

If it is incorrect to connect contacts with each other by colors, then this may cause adverse effects such as human damage to electric current and.

The main purpose of color labeling is the creation safe Conditions Electrical work, as well as reducing the search time and connecting contacts. Today, according to PUE and existing European standards, each veins has its own isolation color. About what color wire phase, zero, earth, we will talk further!

What does grounding look like?

According to Pue, the isolation of "land" should be painted in the yellow-green shade. We draw your attention to the fact that the manufacturer also applies to the land wire of yellow-green stripes in the transverse and longitudinal direction. In some cases, the shell can be pure yellow or pure green. On the electrical circuit, the grounding is made to denote Latin literals "PE". Very often, "land" is called zero protection, it is not necessary to be confused with zero working (zero)!

Appearance Graphic image in the diagram

What does neutral look like?

In a three-phase and single-phase power supply, the color of zero should be blue either blue. On the electrical circuit "0", it is customary to be denoted by the Latin leafer "N". Zero is also called neutral or zero working contact!

Standard color indication neutral on the electrical system

What does the phase look like?

The labeling of the phase wire (L) by the manufacturer can be carried out in one of these color solutions:

the black;white;grey;red;brown;orange;purple;pink;turquoise.

Most often, the color of the phase wire is brown, black and white.

Wrap Cleaver Electric Scheme

It"s important to know!

Color marking of wires in the electrician has many features and often beginners face such questions as:

"What is PEN abbreviation?";"How to find grounding, phase, zero, if isolation is colorless or has a non-standard color?";"How to specify a phase, grounding, zero?";"What other standards are the isolation coloring standards?".

We now briefly give a simple explanation now!

What is Pen?

TN-C outdated to date, TN-C suggests the use of neutral and grounding. The advantage of such a system is the ease of electrical work. The disadvantage is the threat of electric shock with either the apartment.

The color of the combined wire is yellow-green (like PE), but at the same time insulation has a blue color, characteristic neutral. On the electrical circuit, the combined contact is indicated by three Latin literals - "PEN".

Note "Pen" on the electrical

How to find L, N, PE?

So, you encountered such a situation: during the repair of household power grid, it turned out that all conductors of the same color. How in this case, find out which wire what does it mean?

If a single-phase network is represented without "land" (2 veins), then all you need is a special indicator screwdriver. With it, it is possible to easily determine where 0, and where is the phase. About, we told. To begin with, turn off the supply of electricity on the shield. Next, we clean the two conductors and wept from each other. After that, we turn on the supply of electricity and neatly using the indicator define phase / zero. If, when contacting a residential light, it caught fire - this is a phase, respectively, the second lived is zero.


In the event that the wiring has a grounding wire, it is necessary to use such equipment as a multimeter. This device has two tentacles. First, you need to set the range of alternating current measurement range over 220 volts. Next, one tentacle is fixed on phase contact, and with the help of a second tentacle, we determine zero / grounding. When contacting with 0 at the multimeter, the voltage value is displayed within 220 volts. If you touch "Earth" - voltage will definitely be slightly lower. More accuracy was provided in the relevant article with which we recommend reading!


There is another method of definition. If there is no multimeter and indicator screwdriver at hand, then you can try to determine which color L and N wires on their insulation. In this case, it must be remembered that the blue shell is always zero. In any non-standard labeling, the color of the zero does not change. The remaining two veins will be slightly difficult to determine.

First option of associations. You see the remaining color and black or white contact. In the good old days, the Earth was denoted by black or white insulation. It is quite reasonable to assume that it is it that remaining color - phase (L).

Second option. Zero, again, we immediately fold down, remains red and black / white wire. If insulation white color, According to Pue, this is a phase. So, the remaining red is the earth.

We draw your attention to the fact that this method is extremely dangerous. If you decide to use them, be sure to mark for yourself, so that during or outlet do not get a blow to electric shock!

I would also like to celebrate very an important nuance — in chains direct current The color marking of the plus and minus is represented by black (-) and red (+) isolation color. As for the three-phase network (for example, on transformers), there all three phases have their own individual color: phase A is yellow, B is green, C - red. Zero, as usual, blue, and grounding is yellow-green. In the 380 cable in the wire A - white, B - black, C - red. Zero working and protective conductors do not differ from the previous variant of color marking.

How to specify l, n, PE?

In the event that there is no visual designation or differs from the standard, it is recommended to specify all the elements after repair work. To do this, you can use a color isolate or a special product - shrink tube, referred to as Cambrich. According to the requirements of Pue, GOST and generally accepted recommendations, the guide should be carried out at the ends of the conductor - in the places of its connection with the tire (as shown in the photo).

Small color marks will make it easier to repair and maintain both you and an electrician that will possibly repair a home power grid after you! About Tom, we told in a separate article.

Existing factory standards

The notation of isolation with each decade is slightly modified, so it is possible this information You will come in handy.

Until the 2000th, the following color marking of wires was applied:

white - n;black - PE;bright - L.

A few years after this standard was made significant change: PE "repainted" into the yellow-green color (as now).

Thus, products began to look like this:

yellow-green wire - land;black (and sometimes white) - neutral (N);bright - phase.

Color solutions

If for any reason you are confused between the contacts, we provide for your attention a detailed decoding of marking of wires and cables in colors, which today corresponds to European and domestic standards:



In order to correctly read and understand what the same scheme or the drawing associated with electricity means, you need to know how icons and symbols depicted on them are decrypted. A large number of information contain letters of elements in electrical circuitsDefined different regulatory documents. All of them are displayed by Latin characters in the form of one or two letters.

SingleBook symbolism elements

Subscriber codes corresponding to separate species The elements that are most widely used in electrical circuits are combined into groups indicated by one character. Letter notation correspond to GOST 2.710-81. For example, the letter "A" refers to a group of "devices" consisting of lasers, amplifiers, telecommunication devices and others.

Similarly, a group denoted by the "B" symbol is decrypted. It consists of devices that convert non-electrical values u200bu200binto electrical, where generators and power supplies do not include. This group is complemented by analog or multi-digit converters, as well as sensors for instructions or measurements. The components included in the group are presented by microphones, loudspeakers, pickups, ionizing radiation detectors, thermoelectric sensitive elements, etc.

All letter notities corresponding to the most common elements are combined into a special table:

The first letter symbol, mandatory for reflection in marking

Group of basic types of elements and devices

Elements included in the group (the most characteristic examples)


Lasers, Maseners, Teleproof devices, amplifiers.

Equipment for converting non-electrical values u200bu200bto electrical (without generators and power supplies), analog and multipage transducers, sensors for instructions or measurements

Microphones, loudspeakers, pickups, ionizing radiation detectors, sensitive thermoelectric elements.


Microsives, Integrated Schemes

Integrated circuits Digital and analog, memory devices and delay, logical elements.

Different elements

Different kinds Lighting devices and heating elements.

Designation of the fuse in the scheme, arresters, protective devices

Fuses, dischargers, discrete current and voltage protection elements.

Sources of nutrition, generators, quartz oscillators

Rechargeable batteries, power supplies on an electrochemical M electrothermal basis.

Devices for signals and indication

Indicators, light and sound signaling devices

Contactors, relays, starters

Voltage and current relays, time relays, electrical relays, magnetic starters, contactors.

Chokes, inductors inductors

Throtes in luminescent lighting.


Motors of constant and alternating current.

Measuring instruments and equipment

Counters, hours showing, registering and measuring instruments.

Power circuit breakers, short-circuit, disconnectors.

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Pulse counters

Frequency meters

Active energy counters

Counters of reactive energy

Registering devices

Time Meters Action, Clock



Switches and disconnectors in power circuits

Automatic switches






Shunts measuring


Switching devices in measurement, control and alarm circuits

Switches and switches

Switches button

Automatic switches

Switches that work under the action of various factors:

From level

From pressure

From position (travel)

From the frequency of rotation

From temperature

Transformers, autotransformers

Current transformers

Electromagnetic stabilizers

Voltage transformers

Communication devices, inelectric magnitude transducers in electrical




Frequency generators, inverters, frequency converters

Semiconductor and electrovacuum devices

Diodes, Stabilians

Electrovacuum devices



Antennas, Lines and Elements of Microwave



Transformers, phaserators


Contact compounds

Sliding contacts, current collectors

Collapsible compounds

High-frequency connectors

Mechanical devices with electromagnetic drive


Electromagnetic Drives Brakes

Couplings with electromagnetic drives

Electromagnetic cartridges or plates

Limiters, terminal devices, filters


Quartz filters

In addition, Special characters are defined in GUT 2.710-81 to designate each element.