R 22

Rhodes 22



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?

Rod Ellner
Hudson, WI

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?


Mike Corley
s/v Ranger
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 wires.

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.)

For AC:

  • 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

For DC:

  • 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

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