Last year I did not have power to the steaming light half way up the
mast. I found continuity from the light to the connector at the
bottom of the mast. There is also power from the battery to the fuse
panel. I guess the problem lies somewhere from the fuse panel to the
roof of the cabin. I could not see how the wires ran from the panel
to the roof. Does anyone have any ideas?
Also I would like to mount a Davis low voltage light at the top of
the mast. I figure I need one or the other light. Is that correct?
Is the correct procedure motoring with running lights and the mast
light on, and when at anchor with just the masthead light as an
anchor light on?
Check the fitting on the cabin roof. This is a chrome-plated brass
fitting with a black phenolic insert. The insert contains two
polarized (different dia.) round brass connectors that are drilled
and slotted on one end to accept the prongs from the cap end and
drilled with a set screw on the other end to accept the wires from
the switch. The setscrew secures the wires into the connector.
There are three possible areas for the problem.
(1) The wire(s) have broken at the connection. The fix is obvious.
The wires bend sharply at this location and are prone to break. Be
sure the wires are clean; apply conductive grease if available.
(2) The connection between the wire and connector is either loose or
corroded. Remove the wires, clean them thoroughly, reinstall, and
tighten securely. If you have some conductive grease available, coat
the wire before inserting.
(3) The connector is slotted and then slightly closed so as to assure
a tight fit between the prong and the connector. Brass doesn't hold
the set well and sometimes the connection gets loose. Clean the
inside of the connector hole and very carefully squeeze the connector
to slightly close the gap. Test by placing over appropriate prong.
If fit is good, reassemble socket.
Clean the prongs on the cap. When inserting into the receptacle,
apply conductive grease if available. (There is also a similar
arrangement on the cap, but I am assuming you have checked this since
you said the light was good.) It is a good idea to check and clean
the cap also. Use same procedure as above.
12 vdc circuits are very sensitive to resistance from dirt or
corrosion. All plugs and light sockets should be checked and cleaned
at least once a year. Light intensity will drop appreciably if the
circuit connections are poor.
A while back you posted a question about wiring to the mast light
connector. Did you solve your problem?
I seem to have the same thing, but I have been mucking about and may
have drilled through a wire in the cabin top or pulled something
loose in the cabin bulkhead while running DC for the compass light.
I found out from Stan was that it is about impossible to get at the
wiring in the cabin top because of the filler that is sprayed in
after the wires are run through the cavity.
We determined that one wire had a break in it so added a wire from
the fuse panel to the cabin top; drilled a small hole through the top
and into the connector, replacing the wire with a short in it. We
also added another double line to the masthead and installed a Davis
low voltage anchor light. This light also has a light sensitive
switch built into it if one prefers to use it. The anchor light is
wired into Aux 1 (third switch from the top) and the steaming light
is wired into the running lights.
We also added two cigarette lighter sockets just to the port of the
fuse panel. Everything seems to work well and looks decent.
05 Jul 2000
How (or where) did you run the new wire you refer to? Did you find a
way to get through the space between the headliner and the deck or
did you run it on the surface?
Stan suggested using the space behind the cover for the hull/deck
joint and then molding or wire channel to conceal the wire where it
crosses the cabin top.
The wire was run from the fuse panel behind the galley forward of the
wall and up the compression post and 2 or 3 inches across the ceiling
in line with the mast connector. Drill a small hole to line up with
the connector and you are in business.
Got to replace the mast light wire. Boat still in winter storage.
What type do I get and how many feet do I need? What type bulb?
25 Mar 2001
12 ga, tined 2 wire (any marine catalogue ) for the standard
steaming light, the mast is 26 feet, I seen some about 3/4 so 26
feet, some petty close to the top so 30 feet in that case. (the
extra is for striping and connections, error control,
it's cheap). for the boat side it depends on the routing 25 feet
should be very safe. I would leave the bulb until you can use it to
match the replacement, many types used over the years
25 Mar 2001
MJM is correct on the wire guage. The mast light on our boat is
within a foot of the top of the mast. The mast is 26'. I would
think you could use the old wire as a messenger to pull the new
wire through, and I would suggest maybe pulling a light nylon nine
as well for future use. Never know, but you might want to run
another light up the mast, like spreader lights or a deck light.
Another idea is an anchor light.
25 mar 2001
Don't forget the anti-slap methods mentioned previously. MJM uses
plastic wire ties. I used foam pipe insulation. Either one works
and they make your dock partners happy as well. When I ran mine, I
ran a wire with a few extra pairs for future projects, like the
anchor light Alex mentioned. I also drilled a hole at the base of
the mast for the wire to exit instead of coming our of the bottom
and installed a rubber grommet to reduce wear.
26 Mar 2001
Well I spent the day in my boat pulling the panel and disconnecting every wire then
started re-attaching systems, checking each one. The first thing I changed was the main
connection between the battery and the panel. At the battery I have a cable with a black
wire and a white wire, the other end has one red and one yellow. The black was on the
positive terminal, so I reversed them. ( I found out while at the library that black and
white for AC is reversed For DC). This resulted in reverse polarization in the DC outlets
so I decided to rewire the whole panel including hooking up the compass light to the
running light switch. As a result of this incredible feat, I now have a stern light and
a compass light. Where the port and starboard lights are supposed to get their juice is
at this time a mystery to me and also to them as they are still not operating.I'm going
to try to contact Stan to learn where in the belly of the boat did they hide the sidelight
I did learn that my panel is protected by circuit breakers. Currently they all pass
current, another is that it wouldn't hurt for GB to use a few extra inches on each lead
to the panel. It's a bear trying to pull the panel out far enough to work on it and
still not pull something apart.
It was a beautiful day to be on the boat, pretty soon I will take her out of the slip!!
19 Jul 2001
Welcome to the world of standardization where all too often the right hand doesn't seem
to know what the left hand is doing and logic occasionally is irrelevant.
You have encountered one of the hairiest conflicts in wire color coding. By convention,
the black wire is hot on AC circuits and ground (negative) on DC. I've wondered many
times how much damage has been done by this idiocy. For your edification, here is the
accepted coding practice which you should try to follow at all times (so if others work
on the system there are no unpleasant surprises.)
- Single Phase - Black wire Hot Three Wire Black Wire Hot
- White wire Neutral Red Wire Hot
- Green Wire Ground White wire Neutral
- Green wire Ground
- Single Circuits Red wire positive (white may be used only if red not available)
- Black wire negative
Dual Voltage Ckts
- Red and Yellow positive (white may be used if other not availble)
- Black wire negative
- (Negative = ground on typical car and boat systems)
If you wire DC electronic devices with reverse polarity serious damage will result.
Most incandescent lighting circuits couldn't care less.
If you encounter European devices, then brown and blue are used for DC power
circuits. Don't ask!
20 Jul 2001