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Old 16-05-2016, 18:20   #1
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No cable tube in mast

Hi all I have just recently bought a Nicholson 32 (very happy). However the cabling from the mast head to the foot the cables do not run through any kind of tube as such they rattle and I am guessing they will fail in time as a result. So two questions. 1 what can I do in the short term to stop the rattle and 2 what can I do long term to improve the system overall. With the second I did think I could lay a pigeons replace the rivets in the sail track and go through the pipe at the same time. Thinking now that mat make things worse as cables wear against the rivets. Any thoughts.
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:27   #2
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Re: No cable tube in mast

Most have rivets for wire conduits. My boat is 30 years old and still working fine with them. If the conduit is the right size, there's room for the wires and some space without moving around.

Other ideas: wire ties or foam

Don Casey's This Old Boat has a good discussion.
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Old 17-05-2016, 00:17   #3
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Re: No cable tube in mast

we had noisy cables slapping in the main keel stepped mast and it was terrible at a roly anchorage. In our case the wires came thru the mast into the bilge and the hole in the mast was large enough to stuff foam pipe insulation into the mast and over the cables enough to quiet it down. If you cant get to it that way consider pulling the mast down and adding conduit or foam. Make sure it does not interfere with halyards. Some folks have enclosed their mast in a foam cover which also makes for less of a goose egg if you happen to bang into it in passing
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Old 17-05-2016, 03:04   #4
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Re: No cable tube in mast

There are several fixes for this:

- Wrap the cables with several large sponges, at intervals along their length, so that the sponge fills up that section of the mast. Hence preventing rattling, while still allowing for the passage of halyards.

- Securely affix, as in tie off, the cables to a stout fitting near the masthead. And then securely attach a couple of pieces of bungee cord, or surgical tubing to their lower end.
Stretch the bungee cords tight, & thus your internal mast cables in the process.

And tie the bungee/tubing off to a fitting, or purpose mounted eyestrap, near the mast's base, inside of the spar's tube.
The tension should stop most of your problem. Though this technique works best when used in conjunction with the one above.

They're old, tried & proven tricks, employed by racing boats that want to keep as much weight out of the mast as possible.

- Another one, that's probably the most common, is to install PVC tubing/conduit or, fiberglass tubing (which is lighter, & still pretty cheap), with rivets, to the mast wall. And in some (rare) circumstances, people will also use the bungee trick along with this one.

And I can't say that I ever recall of folks having problems with their in mast wiring chafing on the rivets in their conduit. Though I suppose it’s possible.

- Some guys will take stiff, super heavy duty, zip ties for wire, & put 3 or 4 onto their internal wiring, at intervals. With the ties in each bundle oriented at 120 deg. or 90 deg. to one another. So as to keep the wires away from the mast tube.

One tip though. The next time your stick is down for maintenance (or maybe it is now). Add an extra pair of wires or two, that run all of the way to the masthead. So that later on, if you decide to add more powered accessories up there, you needn’t drop the stick in order to add wires for them. Nor play the “fishing game” as you try to snag loose wires that you’ve lowered into the mast, & are now trying to capture their ends, so that you can wire in that new piece of gear.

PS: I may have links to fiberglass tubing for this application, but Know that they do over on Sailing Anarchy Forums.
Also, a search using the words ‘mast conduit’, & similar, will likely turn up reams of information. Here, & over on SA Forums.
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Old 17-05-2016, 07:58   #5
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Re: No cable tube in mast

I think the fat wire ties way looks simple and easy to apply. You tie the cables every ft or so and make a rosette of fat cable ties. Basically.

I too have the cables problem here. My next try will be the ties.

b.
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Old 17-05-2016, 11:17   #6
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Re: No cable tube in mast

another thing you can do in addition to the wire-tie spiders is to convert to LED lights. Sounds weird I know but if you convert to LED's you can drastically reduce the wire size needed in the mast. my 60ft mast only needs 18awg, I used 16awg anyway and a 14awg common ground for my harness. with wiring that lite you can run a string from top to bottom attach the wire to it and tension it to minimize the sway.
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Old 17-05-2016, 11:26   #7
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Re: No cable tube in mast

If you have the mast down, just install a conduit.
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Old 17-05-2016, 11:44   #8
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Re: No cable tube in mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smudge601 View Post
Hi all I have just recently bought a Nicholson 32 (very happy). However the cabling from the mast head to the foot the cables do not run through any kind of tube as such they rattle and I am guessing they will fail in time as a result. So two questions. 1 what can I do in the short term to stop the rattle and 2 what can I do long term to improve the system overall. With the second I did think I could lay a pigeons replace the rivets in the sail track and go through the pipe at the same time. Thinking now that mat make things worse as cables wear against the rivets. Any thoughts.
On boats I had in the past I tried 3 approaches, all successful:

The first 2 may not require pulling the mast. [If the mast must be pulled for this or other reasons, fast forward to the 3rd approach below.]
  • Slide foam pipe insulation up and/or down the wires to dampen the sound and protect the wires. Lasts for years but ultimately degrades over time...
  • Wire tie clusters every couple of feet or so. [Doesn't facilitate future wires- which will need their own wire ties - and those will be hard to pull past existing wire ties in the mast...]

The best approach was adding a conduit without using rivets: [And it is really easy on most masts- next time you have to pull the mast...]
  • Pull the mast, cradle it horizontally on saw horses with the side you want the conduit attached down. [We are going to use gravity in our favor...]
  • Remove any running rigging inside the mast. Leave fish lines in their place if necessary.
  • Flush out inside of mast with water hose and let dry.
  • Glue up a long enough length of PVC [or whatever- but not metal...] conduit [1+ inch ID depending upon needs] to go through the length of the mast.[i.e., Longer than mast. Cut to length after install if possible...]
  • Dry fit the length of conduit in the mast to make sure you can slide it in smoothly without having to rotate or fight anything.
  • Remove conduit from mast, place on saw horses parallel to mast, and run a straight bead of 3M 5200 along the top of the PVC conduit.
  • Slide the conduit back into the mast being careful not to touch the 5200 to anything, while keeping the 5200 on top the whole time.
  • With the conduit sitting in the mast where you want it, rotate the conduit 180° into place in the mast. Rock it back a forth just a couple of degrees [~2-3°] to make sure you have distributed your fillet of 5200 between the mast and the conduit.
  • Now stop moving the conduit. [You don't want to squeeze out too much 5200 from the contact/joint area...]
  • Secure ends of conduit extending from both ends of mast against accidental rotation while waiting for 5200 to set. [e.g., duct tape; wire through holes drilled in conduit sticking out of mast; 90° elbows with length of conduit to ground glued on both ends; whatever works...]
  • After 5200 sets, cut/finish both ends of conduit as needed.
  • Drill access hole(s) in conduit for steaming light, radar, etc. wires along mast length [Using existing holes in mast when possible...]
  • Add a few of rivets along the length if you don't trust the 5200... [I didn't use rivets, and it never moved...]
  • Run fish lines to each wire endpoint +1 [for future wires...]
  • Pull wires, coax, spares- short ones first [e.g., steaming light, radar, etc.]
  • Install and connect all wired lights, horns, speakers, radar, and other devices.
  • TEST everything you can
  • Reinstall mast

Best wishes finding the ideal technique(s) for your needs.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 17-05-2016, 12:51   #9
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Re: No cable tube in mast

My boat is a Newport 30 MK II, and it didn't have conduit. We pulled the mast, and installed 2 - 1" thin walled plastic conduit from Home Depot, riviting about every 2 feet, or so. One went to the top of the mast for all the cables and wires that go there. I have an antenna, Anchor Light, and Autopilot wind and speed sender. the other went just under the spreader, and carried the Masthead (Motoring) Light and the radar cable.
It cost $300 to pull and replace the mast, and about $300 in parts and labor.
Now, It is all quiet and secure.
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Old 17-05-2016, 12:53   #10
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Re: No cable tube in mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
There are several fixes for this:

- Wrap the cables with several large sponges, at intervals along their length, so that the sponge fills up that section of the mast. Hence preventing rattling, while still allowing for the passage of halyards.

- Securely affix, as in tie off, the cables to a stout fitting near the masthead. And then securely attach a couple of pieces of bungee cord, or surgical tubing to their lower end.
Stretch the bungee cords tight, & thus your internal mast cables in the process.

And tie the bungee/tubing off to a fitting, or purpose mounted eyestrap, near the mast's base, inside of the spar's tube.
The tension should stop most of your problem. Though this technique works best when used in conjunction with the one above.

They're old, tried & proven tricks, employed by racing boats that want to keep as much weight out of the mast as possible.

- Another one, that's probably the most common, is to install PVC tubing/conduit or, fiberglass tubing (which is lighter, & still pretty cheap), with rivets, to the mast wall. And in some (rare) circumstances, people will also use the bungee trick along with this one.

And I can't say that I ever recall of folks having problems with their in mast wiring chafing on the rivets in their conduit. Though I suppose it’s possible.

- Some guys will take stiff, super heavy duty, zip ties for wire, & put 3 or 4 onto their internal wiring, at intervals. With the ties in each bundle oriented at 120 deg. or 90 deg. to one another. So as to keep the wires away from the mast tube.

One tip though. The next time your stick is down for maintenance (or maybe it is now). Add an extra pair of wires or two, that run all of the way to the masthead. So that later on, if you decide to add more powered accessories up there, you needn’t drop the stick in order to add wires for them. Nor play the “fishing game” as you try to snag loose wires that you’ve lowered into the mast, & are now trying to capture their ends, so that you can wire in that new piece of gear.

PS: I may have links to fiberglass tubing for this application, but Know that they do over on Sailing Anarchy Forums.
Also, a search using the words ‘mast conduit’, & similar, will likely turn up reams of information. Here, & over on SA Forums.
How can someone place sponges in itervals inside the whole length of the mast ??
My mast is 33 feet tall without openings
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Old 17-05-2016, 13:28   #11
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Re: No cable tube in mast

I used the 'cable ties' method when I got fed up of the noise from the mast. It works well so far, a fixed conduit is a much better way to go, though...
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