Cam Locks, or ‘cams’ for short are interchangeable connectors used in the electrical industry for temporary electrical power distribution and production. Not to be confused with the cam locks used in furniture construction, climbing or fluid connection, the most common form of this electrical component is the 16 series, with 105°C terminations and a 400 ampere rating. The 15 series is also in common use, with a rating of 150 amperes and nicknamed the ‘mini cam
When Are Cam Locks Used?
Generally when 3 phase connections or a charge of more than 50A is required, a cam lock will be employed. They are also used to build disconnects to lighting dimmer racks and distribution panels and to connect large generators. Usually found in professional and industrial settings, they are seldom found in use around the home or by amateurs.
Why Are They Different Colors?
Cam lock heads are all marked with unique colors in order to clearly display the functions of the terminals. Not all countries have the same color codes, so it is vitally important to check a particular country’s color codes before working in a foreign country or on a foreign project. Of particular note are the recent changes in the UK color coding, which now has black for phase color when it used to be neutral, and blue, which was once a phase color, for neutral. However, due to the use of cam locks decreasing somewhat, finding the new color codes in the UK is rare.
The standard color codes for the USA are as follows.
For 120 / 280v Wye and 240v Delta:
Green = Equipment Grounding ConductorWhite = Neutral (Grounded Conductor)Black = Ø1Red = Ø2Blue = Ø3
For 277 / 480v Wye and 480v Delta:
Green = Equipment Grounding ConductorWhite = Neutral (Grounded Conductor, if used)Orange = Ø1Yellow = Ø2Brown = Ø3
The National Electric Code (NEC) specifies that the colors green and white/grey must be used for ‘equipment grounding conductor’ and ‘neutral (grounded)’ respectively, as stated in NEC articles 250.119 and 200.6. These are the only two colors that the NEC specifies for general power distribution and the other may be changed. We strongly recommend for the safety of everybody involved that you do not change the colors, and stick to the standards at all times.
Custom Cam Lock Enclosures
East Coast Power Systems has a wide range of cam lock enclosures, and can custom-make them to your requirements. Our double throw safety switches incorporate Crouse-Hinds Posi-Lok connectors and Siemens UL-listed switches. We connect the components co-coordinately into an easy-to-install package, made exactly to your requirements.
Our enclosures can range from 240v to 600v, have a 1200 amp maximum and include Nema 1,3R, 12 and 4X variations.