Why are the wires on my RV or generator cable different colors? Do they mean something? Many times when you start to wire a new cord, or want to replace one you notice there are different colors available.
When talking about RV or generator cords, generally we are talking about 3-wire or 4-wire cords. This corresponds to the amount of wires inside the cord. (Example On right)
If the cord is sealed, most of the time you can tell how many wires it has inside just by looking at the plug side. If your plug has 4-prongs, it’s a good indication there are 4 wires, and three for a 3-prong.
From my experience with cords from manufacturers, they usually have similar colors. These colors correspond to a prong on the plug and give a clue as to the type of job it performs.
Here is a handy table to show what the colors mean, and what their function is.
Always double check your power cords and pin configurations to make sure your cord is wired the same way! We have a good guide on doing this here: Checking Power Cord Continuity. Follow this guide step-by-step and you will understand how to find what wire is connected to what pin.