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Thermocouple Colour Code Standards

What are the International Standards for Thermocouple Colours?

To help identify the thermocouple type and thermoelement (conductor) polarity, various colour codes have been developed and are in use around the world. The most commonly used thermocouple colour code in the UK and Europe is IEC 60584-3. In the UK the equivalent British Standard is BS EN 60584-3 which is identical to IEC 60584-3 (generally known as “IEC” colours).

Outside of Europe the most commonly used colour codes are described in ANSI MC96.1 and ASTM E230 (known as “ANSI” colours) which are popular in the USA and Australia. The Japanese standard JIS C 1610 is also used but to a lesser degree than “IEC” and “ANSI” colours.

There is still a demand for cables and sensors to be supplied to obsolete colour codes, such as BS1843. This demand is driven by the repair and refurbishment sector looking for like-for-like replacements and we continue to support these users by supplying some cables in the old “BS” colours. Other obsolete standards such as the German document DIN 43714 and French standard NFC 42-324 are only occasionally requested.

Whilst showing the other thermocouple colour codes (most notably ANSI MC96.1 for use in the US and Australia), the information on this page primarily shows IEC 60584-3 and details the colour coding for thermocouple cables and thermocouple connectors as well as providing information on the tolerance values for each class of thermocouple cable conductor material.

thermocouple cable colours

Thermocouple Cable Colours - At a Glance

thermocouple colour codes to IEC thermocouple colour codes to ANSI thermocouple colour codes to JIS thermocouple colour codes to DIN thermocouple colour codes to NFC

Thermocouple Colours in Detail

What is the Colour Code for a Type K Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type K thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Green,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Green,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Green

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a yellow outer sheath with yellow and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple Colour Codes to IEC 60584-3, ANSI/MC96.1 plus obsolete BS, DIN and NFC standards are shown below:
Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3 American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour    
  BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
K KX   IEC60584-3 Type K Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type K Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type K Thermocouple BS1843 Type K Thermocouple DIN 43714 Type K Thermocouple NFC 42324 Type K Thermocouple
  KCA IEC60584-3 Type K Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type K Thermocouple        
  KCB IEC60584-3 Type K Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type K Thermocouple    


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
K KX   ±60 µV (±1.5°C) ±100 µV (±2.5°C) –25°C to +200°C 900°C
  KCA ±60 µV (±1.5°C) ±100 µV (±2.5°C) 0°C to +200°C 900°C
  KCB ±60 µV (±1.5°C) ±100 µV (±2.5°C) 0°C to +100°C 900°C


Notes 

Type KX Thermocouple extension cable conductors are made from the same constituent elements as the Type K thermocouple combination and therefore minimises potential errors when connecting to a sensor.

Type KCA - This compensating cable conductor combination is little known and generally not available. It should not be confused with the more popular Type KCB as shown below.

Type KCB - This popular compensating cable conductor combination (previously known as Type V) is made with Copper vs Copper-Nickel conductors, and should only be used when the ambient temperature of the interconnection point between the cable and its Type K sensor is below 100°C. If suitable to your requirements it can save money where long runs are necessary.

What is the Colour Code for a Type T Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type T thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Brown,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Brown,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Brown

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a blue outer sheath with blue and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
T TX   IEC60584-3 Type T Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type T Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type T Thermocouple BS1843 Type T Thermocouple DIN 43714 Type T Thermocouple NFC 42324 Type T Thermocouple


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
T TX   ±30 µV (±0.5°C) ±60 µV (±1.0°C) –25°C to +100°C 300°C


Notes

Type TX extension cable conductors are made from the same constituent elements as Type T thermocouples. There is no compensating cable available for Type T, however the extension cable is relatively inexpensive.

What is the Colour Code for a Type J Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type J thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Black,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Black,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Black

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a black outer sheath with white and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
J JX   IEC60584-3 Type J Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type J Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type J Thermocouple BS1843 Type J Thermocouple DIN 43714 Type J Thermocouple NFC 42324 Type J Thermocouple


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
J JX   ±85 µV (±1.5°C) ±140 µV (±2.5°C) –25°C to +200°C 500°C


Notes

Type JX extension cable conductors are made from the same constituent elements as Type J thermocouples. There is no compensating cable available for Type J, however the extension cable is relatively inexpensive.

What is the Colour Code for a Type N Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type N thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Pink,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Pink,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Pink

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a black outer sheath with white and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
N NX   IEC60584-3 Type N Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type J Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type N Thermocouple BS1843 Type N Thermocouple    
  NC IEC60584-3 Type N Thermocouple            


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
N NX   ±60 µV (±1.5°C) ±100 µV (±2.5°C) –25°C to +200°C 900°C
  NC ±60 µV (±1.5°C) ±100 µV (±2.5°C) 0°C to +200°C 900°C


Notes

Type NX extension cable conductors are made from the same constituent elements as Type N thermocouples. Although there is a designated compensating cable for Type N, it is not at present readily available.

Type NC compensating cable is not at present readily available. It can be assumed that as Type N thermocouples become more popular the compensating cable will start to be produced.

What is the Colour Code for a Type E Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type E thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Purple,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Purple,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Purple

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a purple outer sheath with purple and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
E EX   IEC60584-3 Type E Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type E Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type E Thermocouple BS1843 Type E Thermocouple DIN 43714 Type E Thermocouple NFC 42324 Type E Thermocouple


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
E EC   ±120 µV (±1.5°C) ±200 µV (±2.5°C) –25°C to +200°C 500°C


Notes

Type EX extension cable conductors are made from the same constituent elements as Type E thermocouples. There is no compensating cable available for Type E.

What is the Colour Code for a Type R Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type R thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Orange,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Orange,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Orange

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a green outer sheath with black and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
R RX   IEC60584-3 Type R Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type R Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type R Thermocouple    
  RCA IEC60584-3 Type R Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type R Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type R Thermocouple    
  RCB IEC60584-3 Type R Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type R Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type R Thermocouple    


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
R   RCA ±20 µV (±1.5°C) ±30 µV (±2.5°C) 0°C to +100°C 1000°C
  RCB ±30 µV (±2.5°C) ±60 µV (±5.0°C) 0°C to +200°C 1000°C


Notes

Type RCA compensating cable is suitable for connecting to Type R thermocouples where the ambient temperature of the interconnection point between the cable and its Type R sensor is below 100°C.

Type RCB compensating cable is suitable for connecting to Type R thermocouples where the ambient temperature of the interconnection point between the cable and its Type R sensor is below 200°C, however this increased range is achieved with a lesser degree of accuracy than Type RCA as shown above.

What is the Colour Code for a Type S Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type S thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Orange,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Orange,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Orange

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a green outer sheath with black and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
S SX   IEC60584-3 Type S Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type S Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type S Thermocouple BS1843 Type S Thermocouple DIN43714 Type S Thermocouple NFC42324 Type S Thermocouple
  SCA IEC60584-3 Type R Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type R Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type R Thermocouple DIN43714 Type S Thermocouple NFC42324 Type S Thermocouple
  SCB IEC60584-3 Type R Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type R Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type R Thermocouple BS1843 Type S Thermocouple BS1843 Type S Thermocouple


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
S   SCA ±20 µV (±1.5°C) ±30 µV (±2.5°C) 0°C to +100°C 1000°C
  SCB ±30 µV (±2.5°C) ±60 µV (±5.0°C) 0°C to +200°C 1000°C


Notes

Type SCA compensating cable is suitable for connecting to Type S thermocouples where the ambient temperature of the interconnection point between the cable and its Type S sensor is below 100°C. SCA is in fact the same material as Type RCA.

Type SCB compensating cable is suitable for connecting to Type S thermocouples where the ambient temperature of the interconnection point between the cable and its Type S sensor is below 200°C, however this increased range is achieved with a lesser degree of accuracy than Type SCA as shown above. SCB is in fact the same material as Type RCB.

What is the Colour Code for a Type B Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type B thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Grey,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Grey,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Grey

Occasionally in the UK, American ANSI colours may be found which have a grey outer sheath with grey and red conductors as shown below. The colours of connectors for both IEC and ANSI match the outer sheath colour of the cable. You may also come across some old redundant colours such as the obsolete BS1843 standard and these are shown in the table below:

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
B   BC IEC60584-3 Type B Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type E Thermocouple ANSI MC96.1 Type B Thermocouple   DIN 43714 Type B Thermocouple  


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
B   BC   ±40 µV (±3.5°C) 0°C to +100°C 1400°C


Notes

This compensating cable is made from Copper vs Copper conductors.
The expected maximum additional deviation when the ambient interconnection point is between 0 and 100°C would be approximately 3.5°C when the measuring junction is at 1400°C.

What is the Colour Code for a Type C Thermocouple?

In the UK and Europe, the most widely used colour code for Type C thermocouple cable is to the international IEC 60584-3 standard which is as follows:

Positive Leg = Red,
Negative Leg = White,
Outer Sheath (Jacket) = Red,
Thermocouple Connector Colour = Red

 

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type International Colour Code to IEC 60584-3  American Colour Code
to ANSI/MC96.1
Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour Intrinsically Safe Colour Thermocouple Connector Colour
BS 1843 DIN 43714 NFC 42324
C   CC IEC60584-3 Type C Thermocouple Intrinscially Safe Type E Thermocouple        


Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Tolerance values to IEC 60584-3 for extension and compensating cables when used at temperatures within the cable temperature range column shown below.
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable

Tolerance Class Cable
Temperature
Range ºC
Measuring
Junction
Temperature
1 2
C   CC   ±110 µV (±8.0°C) 0°C to +200°C 1800°C


Notes

This compensating cable is made from Alloy 405* vs Alloy 426* and is suitable for use with Type C (Formerly W5) Thermocouples.
* Trade names.

Are there any non-standardised thermocouple colours?

There are a few "non-standardised industry norms" that you may come across, these mainly relate to the more specialised thermocouples types G, C and D and are shown below

Thermocouple
Type
Extension and Compensating Cable Type Non standardised, but generally accepted colour codes
Extension
Cable

Compensating

Cable
Thermocouple Cable Colour
G   GC
C   CC
D   DC

More Information about Thermocouples

How does a thermocouple work? Thermocouple Styles Thermocouple Types Thermocouple Tolerances
Free Guide to Thermocouple and Resistance Thermometry

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Tel.: 01895252222, Fax: 01895 273540, Email: info@tc.co.uk