Black Phase Tape is a joke older electricians play on the new upcoming apprentice electricians.
When we “phase” our wires, it’s used to signify A (Red), B (Black), C (Blue) in a three-phase electrical distribution system.
Electricians use these three colors of tape solely as an identification to know if it is A, B, or C phase.
In common practice, electricians will tape A phase Red, and C phase Blue, but they will not tape B with black tape, as the conductor is already black.
So the next time someone says to you “Go grab me the black phase tape”, they’re just joking around with you, as there is no such thing.
But to be real here for a minute, I honestly think that the industry practice should be to use black phase tape, because even though the wire is black, and yes we’ve already identified A phase (red) and C phase (blue), electricity is a BIG safety hazard if something is not wired properly.
So really, for safety, I think you should still put black tape on the B phase conductor solely as an additional form of identification and clarification.
Note, sometimes in higher-voltage distribution systems (480V and above), instead of A (Red), B (Black), and C (Blue) phase tape, electricians will actually use Brown (A phase), Orange (B phase), and Yellow (C phase). Also please note, please take caution in terms of the proper phase tape colors to your job, environment and location, as electrical code rules for phase tape can differ depending on where you live, and electrical engineer specifications.
Black Tape is Different than “Phase Tape”
I’ve always been told black electrical tape is rated for 120V, whereas colored-phase tape is not!
On a job site, if you try taping things with red or blue tape, you will notice it is not as sticky, and doesn’t hold as strong as black electrical tape.
This is just an important fact to know, if you need to tape something strong, use black electrical tape, and use your colored-phase tape while identifying conductors.
You can also check out some other funny electrician jokes.