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Old 20-10-2015, 08:08   #1
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Checking Anchor Light

To most of you this is going to be a simple question, but if that were so with me I wouldn't be asking something this embarassingly basic. I have a long way to go on electrical regarding the boat I'm restoring. Here is my question: I'm currently painting my spars, and while they are down I would assume the best time to check the bulbs and wiring is while the mast is off the boat. My problem in I don't know how to check either. Can someone point me to some educational reading? At this point while trying to keep a schedule so I can launch her for the first time reasonably soon, I would just like to start with this most basic analysis of the wiring, connection, and bulb. I have yet to purchase a batter for her, but suppose batteries in a golf cart I own could be used to test? Would a Multimeter tell me anything without having to even use a battery source? I own one but don't really know how to use it.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:51   #2
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

If you can drive your car next to the mast, do so. If you can't, pull the car's battery and take it to the mast. Use a pair of jumper cables to energize each circuit in the mast. To do that, hook the black/negative cable to the black wire(s) in the mast and the red/positive to the other than black wires in turn. Work through all the possible combinations of black and colored wires till you've exhausted all the possibilities. Way less trial and error if you can can trace the wires back through the colors at the lights on the mast. If you have a multi function light like a masthead running/anchor light with only one black and one colored wire to it, reverse the black and colored wire connection to the battery to switch between the two functions.
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Old 20-10-2015, 17:19   #3
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

I would change the bulb or better yet go to a 2 filament light. I changed all my running and anchor light to 2 filament bulbs so I just flip a switch when it goes out. Beats dealing with it at sea.
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Old 20-10-2015, 18:03   #4
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

anchor light is anchor light . if not work use plan b masthead ones are fail, as dockhead and i have written and warned about.
there is no law placing anchor lights in the ridiculously absurd location known as mast head.
make a lovely bright light in your cockpit and another in your foretriangle.
perfect.
easy to repair or replace, and easy to place and easy to see even against a city lit for christmas.on a hillside.
and CHEAP!!!!!!have lines, there are stickers, all kinds of options for added visibility
i added led light to an old oil lamp when the burner failed.
needed anchor light, autozone and ta daa..done. brightest anchor light in any anchorage and visible. and holy sheetz mon with that fresnel lens...wow.

dang i forgot the glow in dark stuff..seems to work.. i have lifelines in refective cord, and there are stickers,and all kinds of ways to make your boat visible in the dark when anchored
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Old 20-10-2015, 18:41   #5
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

Thanks to each of you and great information. I've been in a "cruising hiatus" for quite a few years raising two sons and limited mostly to day sails when we could and charters when we could afford.

I agree on the other ways to illuminate at anchor and thinking back I almos never used a masthead, but something 9 V powered and hung forward a little more than head high.

I felt that while down I may as well make sure it's all working. I haven't even looked closely at the wiring yet but expect a surprise as I have yet to address but will, the runnng lights that are done with household wiring. Was shocked to see that.

Regarding pulling the car alongside yes I can do that but can go the golf cart hum have earlier and am wondering what the difference would be, other than with engine running on car I would be recharging and have all the time in the world. Am I missing another reason?
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Old 20-10-2015, 23:57   #6
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

An anchor light should draw about 1A (if incandescent) and much less if it's an LED lamp. A masthead tricolor will draw about twice that. A pair of 6V golf cart batteries will do just fine. The pair of batteries will run an incandescent anchor light for over four days, so there's no need to hurry your testing.

You can use a DVM ohmmeter to measure continuity in the incandescent anchor light circuit. It will measure a few ohms if good, and a high resistance if a connection is open. Don't test continuity with power applied! An LED anchor light will be difficult to test with a DVM.

Household wiring??? I would replace the wires while the mast is down.
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Old 21-10-2015, 01:33   #7
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

If the bulb is a normal incandescent bulb not an LED, you can check the wiring with just a multimeter.

A multimeter is one of those "must have" tools on a boat. They are not difficult to use. Read one of the online instruction guides then have a play with a simple circuit like an AA battery bulb to see how it works in practice.

A simple $10 multimeter is fine. For more money a clamp on multimeter is even better.

Another very useful diagnostic tool is a small 12v sealed battery. This is one I made up with a circuit breaker. The outputs are a chocolate block and cig lighter socket. With a couple of alligator clip wires (shown in photo) it is easy to add 12v to see if things like LEDs are working.

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Old 21-10-2015, 02:09   #8
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

There are a couple of free online books that explain this stuff in very basic terms:

The boatowners illustrated electrical handbook:

http://www.mojaladja.com/upload/Boat...l_Handbook.pdf

The 12v handbook.

http://kb-kbh.dk/shipslib/el_ombord/12volthandbook.pdf

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Old 21-10-2015, 12:00   #9
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

I would replace an incandescent fixture with an LED one while the spar is down. I am not sure if it is required to have one by the USCG or not. Outside of the US I'm not sure either. Personally, I like having one on the mast and one in the cockpit or off the boom or foredeck as well. Lots of discussion on another thread going on right now.

If you have an electronic anemometer up there you should check it too and replace it and any wiring now (as needed).

Good way to learn to do some basic electrical troubleshooting. Have fun.
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Old 21-10-2015, 12:07   #10
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

masthead light is not uscg requirement. was a yottie trendy in 1990s never renounced until recently as non functional if not detrimntal.
no one left dock, how should anyone know the value or lack there of.
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Old 21-10-2015, 14:33   #11
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

Actually masthead anchor lights came in with the mast. My 45 year old boat had an anchor light built into the mast head. They just became more common with the masthead running/anchor light combinations that began to appear in the '80s.
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Old 21-10-2015, 16:07   #12
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Re: Checking Anchor Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatheelrod22 View Post
To most of you this is going to be a simple question, but if that were so with me I wouldn't be asking something this embarassingly basic. I have a long way to go on electrical regarding the boat I'm restoring. Here is my question: I'm currently painting my spars, and while they are down I would assume the best time to check the bulbs and wiring is while the mast is off the boat. My problem in I don't know how to check either. Can someone point me to some educational reading? At this point while trying to keep a schedule so I can launch her for the first time reasonably soon, I would just like to start with this most basic analysis of the wiring, connection, and bulb. I have yet to purchase a batter for her, but suppose batteries in a golf cart I own could be used to test? Would a Multimeter tell me anything without having to even use a battery source? I own one but don't really know how to use it.

Thanks for any advice!
You check your masthead lights two ways.

Firstly, with no power connected check continuity (ohms) using your voltmeter. There will be some resistance if you have older incandesent globes. This wont work for leds.

Secondly, apply 12V DC using any practical source. This doesnt need to be a car battery. Eight AA batteries will do. A bit fiddly though.

I use a jump start kit like you can buy from any auto store. You'll find most have a cigarette lighter receptacle. I have a test lead made up that i use all the time.

I always add an inline fuse when using power to test. The first time you fry something you'll understand why. This will work for incandecent and leds.

We have all leds now. Much lower power consumption and more reliable than incandecent globes. In fact you cant even buy good quality incandecent globes anymore.



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