How to Identify Positive and Negative Wires and Cables

The color of the wire typically indicates whether it is for a positive or negative connection. The most common convention in the United States is red and black:

  • Red - Positive
  • Black - Negative

Less common in the US but more common elsewhere are blue and brown:

  • Brown - Positive
  • Blue - Negative

If both wires are the same color, check for a stripe:

  • Solid - Positive
  • Striped - Negative

Some equipment such as inverters or power converters may also have a third wire or cable which is green or green/yellow in color. This is a protective ground connection (not the same as negative) and should be connected according to the manufacturer's instructions.

AC wiring uses different color conventions and has hot and neutral instead of positive and negative. Tesota Overland recommends using commercially manufactured power strips and other off the shelf parts and cable assemblies for 110/220V wiring instead of going the DIY route. If your specific equipment requires hard wired connections for 110/220V AC please consult a qualified automotive electrician.

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