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Dave Palmer
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Re: Should color differentiation matter?
Dave Palmer   11/12/2012 2:07:14 PM
@TJ McDermott: Being "colorblind" doesn't mean being unable to see colors; it just means that it's more difficult to differentiate between certain colors.

I have deuteranopia, which is one of the most common forms of colorblindness.  While most people have three types of color receptors (red, green, and blue), my eyes only have receptors for red and blue.  Since I don't have specialized receptors for intermediate-wavelength colors, they don't appear as distinct to me as they probably do to you.  For example, the colors gold, light orange, and light green all look pretty similar to me.

This site has some good pictures that illustrate how colorblind people see things.

You're definitely right about labelling wires.  Whenever I have to deal with color-coded wires (red and green; blue is not a problem for me), I usually have a non-colorblind person tell me what color the wires are.  Then I attach small pieces of tape labelled "RED" or "GREEN."

I suppose that if someone wanted to make my life more difficult, they could either lie about the wire colors, or else switch my pieces of tape when I'm not looking.  Thankfully, I've managed to get along well enough with my co-workers that it's never happened.

Interestingly enough, a small percentage of women are said to be tetrachromats, meaning that they have four types of color receptors instead of just three.  That would make them better able to distinguish between colors than regular people.

TJ McDermott
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Should color differentiation matter?
TJ McDermott   11/12/2012 12:28:20 PM
The gist of the article is about unapproved substitions, and I agree 100% with the author.  An unapproved substituion is one reason for the KC Hyatt skybridge collapse we discussed several months ago.

The specifics of the article bring up a slightly different question.  Should color be a differentiator?  I know fully well the color standards for wiring, use it in my control panel designs, even agree that such a standard makes a ton of sense.

But what about color blindness?  Somewhere between 5%-7% of the male population has some form of color blindness.  For those, labeling and positioning are the only way to differentiate wires or controls.

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NadineJ   11/12/2012 11:50:18 AM
This made me laugh and a little sad.

Excuses only come up when critical thinking is absent.  I'm sure we all have stories about others but how many are willing to admit that we've done it too?

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