Telco Multi-Pair Color Code
By John Vellone
Green Red Black Yellow
Blue Orange Green Brown Slate
What do all the wire colors mean?
You may encounter two different wire color schemes while working on your phone wiring.
The simplest color scheme is used on normal station cable (what your phone tech may call “JK”), which has only two pairs of wire. The first pair has one green wire (“tip”) and one red wire (“ring”). The second pair has one black wire (“tip”) and one yellow wire ( “ring”). For a single phone line, only the green and red pair are normally used. The black and yellow pair is normally spare and available to install a second phone line.
The other color scheme is somewhat more complicated and is based on a primary color and a secondary color.
The “tip” wire is mostly the secondary color. with marks of the primary color (i.e., white with blue marks).
The “ring” wire is mostly the primary color, with marks of the secondary color (i.e., blue with white marks).
The primary colors are blue, orange, green, brown,, and slate (or gray, if you’re not a phone tech!).
The secondary colors are white, red, black, yellow, and violet (or purple, if you’re not a phone tech!).
Pairs are marked in groups of five. Each pair within each group uses a different primary color and each group uses a different secondary color. This allows identification of up to 25 pairs (referred to as a “binder”), which is likely to be the largest cable you’ll encounter in a “residential” environment. Cables with four pairs are commonly used for many residential and office installations today.
Use the diagram below to translate between the two schemes.
|white with blue = green= tip||white with orange = Black = tip|
|blue with white = red = ring||orange with white = yellow = ring|
|A yellow and blue “jumper” is often used for “cross-connect” between two interface points.|