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Old 30-04-2016, 10:42   #1
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How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

I've never wired anything before but I've read as much as I can and am tackling rewiring my newport 27.

For the cabin lights, I'm using 7 simple LED cabin lights in one circuit but I want to be sure I'm wiring them in parallel correctly and securely. The lights have pigtails and I'll be using 16ga for the circuit.

1. Is it best to use Duplex wire or will it be easier to use two separate wires?

2. If I'm understanding this right, I'll be connecting three wires for each lead (pigtail negative, previous negative, next negative), (pigtail positive, previous positive, next positive) but what's the best method to secure each three-way connection together?

thanks.
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Old 30-04-2016, 11:16   #2
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

I'm no expert, others will probably give better and easier advice but... What I did was run double stranded from each light back to the panel. All neg to a buss along with all my other neg for the boat. All the pos to a small buss with a wire running to the fuse box.
The nice thing about doing it this way is if something fails, it's easy to trace.
For connections I used butt connectors and heat shrink over. Make sure you use stranded wire, and tinned wire will last way longer than copper.
Led lights are polarity sensitive so make sure you have your pos and neg right.
Good luck
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Old 30-04-2016, 11:29   #3
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

I'm redoing the lighting on my boat as well. The negatives can go to the nearest negative terminal - all negatives are connected on a normal boat electric system. Not sure if I understand your problem - three wires - but you could just pull a positive wire from a common terminal to each luminaire separately, or if you want to chain wire them, why three wires?

Anyway, I'm using these connectors from Wago to connect multiple wires:



You don't need an end splice on the wires for these and they take a wide range of wire sizes.

Double wire is good if you bring all negatives back to the electric panel separately (not necessary, afaik).
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Old 30-04-2016, 11:35   #4
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

I'm with Chris seperate wires to each. Easier to trouble shoot also if one fails catastrophically it can be pulled off the circut untill you have time to find failure, leaving the others functional. On some of mine I have run a local busbar (some with fuse to allow smaller wire)
Leave access to busbars mounted on wall to allow drainage. Seal with (lanolin?) Or liquid electrical tape.and cover to prevent accidenral contact.
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Old 30-04-2016, 11:40   #5
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

Definitely use stranded,tinned copped. Nigel Caulder is my go to for reference on marine electric. I have his boatowners mechanical and electrical manual whenever I am running new sytems.
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Old 30-04-2016, 15:59   #6
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

String out one red wire from switch and a black wire from the earth bus Your auto store has clamp connectors that will allow you to connect the pigtails to these wires without cutting or stripping insulation. Google ' wire clamp connectors' for images. You need a screwdriver, pliers and half an hour to do the job. If LEDs are polarity sensitive then red to red,black to black
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Old 30-04-2016, 16:20   #7
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

ok this helps a lot thanks. I will most likely run duplex wire out to each one, coming back to a negative & pos bus bar.

If I were to keep them all in one run of wire though, I'm confused at what I'm thinking wrong about the three way connection, can someone clarify this for me? If I was to run all seven lights on one run of wire (in parallel) negative & positive would connect to the pigtails, but then they'd also have to go to the next device, so it would be a three way connection at each pigtail isn't that right?
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Old 30-04-2016, 16:38   #8
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

Yes, you are correct in your description if you use one pair of wires and tap off for each light. In that case you have three wires at each tap; the incoming line, the outgoing line, and the fixture tap.

For LEDs you can probably get away with automobile IDC (insulation displacement connectors). These have a little pin that pierces the insulation and connects the light to the line. With these you don't need to cut the main wire at all. I'm not a fan myself, they allow moisture through the insulation and eventually lead to problems . They do make weatherproof IDC that are filled with silicone gel, might be better.

Otherwise, if you cut, you can get butt splice connectors that are used for splicing; they accept two wires on one end and one on the other, that gets your connection made.

I'll go against the grain here, I would just run one pair of wires (simplex or duplex, whatever you prefer) and tap off of those. To me easier than having 7 sets of wires running all over.
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Old 30-04-2016, 16:50   #9
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

If you use any method other than soldering the connections, I would recommend you use Noalox on the wire ends to prevent corrosion. Noalox is an antioxidant made for electrical connections and is available at your local Home Depot or Lowes
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Old 30-04-2016, 17:32   #10
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

I'm doing the same thing on my boat now. The plan is to daisy chain (parallel) the lights with a single run of twin core (duplex) wire between the lights. Being LED, power draw is so small that voltage drop along the circuit is negligible. To provide redundancy, I use two light circuits within the boat so a failure of one will still leave half the lights on. As for joining, I just solder and heatshrink, but strip the supply wire in such a way whenever possible so that the wire itself is not cut, only the insulation.
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Old 30-04-2016, 17:45   #11
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

here is one example of a simple connector which straddles the wire without cutting it and allows you to plug in the wire from the lamp
http://g02.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1IxAMI...Xq6xXFXXXJ.jpg
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Old 30-04-2016, 18:15   #12
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebtvision View Post
1. Is it best to use Duplex wire or will it be easier to use two separate wires?

2. If I'm understanding this right, I'll be connecting three wires for each lead (pigtail negative, previous negative, next negative), (pigtail positive, previous positive, next positive) but what's the best method to secure each three-way connection together?

thanks.
1. Two separate primary (one conductor) wires are probably easier in this installation. Duplex does keep things tidy, but adds bulk and is more work to cut and splice at each fixture. Sometimes the insulation gets nicked stripping off the outer casing, too.

2. You're understanding perfectly. I don't think all of the answers reflected what you were asking. Personally, I'd avoid anything that pierces the insulation without sealing it. Admittedly, for cabin LED lights it's not a big deal, but I'd still use heat-shrink butt connectors or at least 3M Scotchlok connectors with the sealant in them, or something comparable.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:12   #13
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

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Originally Posted by Ebtvision View Post
ok this helps a lot thanks. I will most likely run duplex wire out to each one, coming back to a negative & pos bus bar.

If I were to keep them all in one run of wire though, I'm confused at what I'm thinking wrong about the three way connection, can someone clarify this for me? If I was to run all seven lights on one run of wire (in parallel) negative & positive would connect to the pigtails, but then they'd also have to go to the next device, so it would be a three way connection at each pigtail isn't that right?

yes, I'd just butt splice (with heat shrink connectors) with 2 wires on one side and one on the other. the light ones are probably tiny anywas. so it's more like 1.5 wires on one side and 1 on the other.

those crimp on, no strip ones mentioned above have no place on a boat. everything should be water tight.

I never run single conductor wire in a boat unless it's only a few inches or bigger then 8awg. the jacket protects the wire.
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:33   #14
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlymn View Post
here is one example of a simple connector which straddles the wire without cutting it and allows you to plug in the wire from the lamp
http://g02.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1IxAMI...Xq6xXFXXXJ.jpg
Those connectors have no place on a boat. Neither does soldering. Assuming this conversation is about how to do it properly, the correct way to join wires is either with crimp connectors, or some kind of bus with screw terminals (and crimp terminations on the wires). For up to 3 wires, you can use a terminal strip (Code allows for up to 3 wires on one screw). Blue Sea Systems sell jumpers that can turn a terminal strip into a bus by jumping adjacent connectors. That is how I wired my lighting.

How would I do your lighting?

Power to terminal strip, located halfway between your first 3 or 4 lights. Connect 3 or 4 lights to it. Run power from that strip to another, located halfway between your last 3 lights, and so on. Remember the 3 terminals to one screw rule.

I do use the duplex cable mostly, as it is physically more robust, and easier to thread through narrow spaces than two separate wires. Tidier too.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:00   #15
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Re: How do I wire cabin lights in one circuit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebtvision View Post
I've never wired anything before but I've read as much as I can and am tackling rewiring my newport 27.

For the cabin lights, I'm using 7 simple LED cabin lights in one circuit but I want to be sure I'm wiring them in parallel correctly and securely. The lights have pigtails and I'll be using 16ga for the circuit.

1. Is it best to use Duplex wire or will it be easier to use two separate wires?

2. If I'm understanding this right, I'll be connecting three wires for each lead (pigtail negative, previous negative, next negative), (pigtail positive, previous positive, next positive) but what's the best method to secure each three-way connection together?

thanks.
I would use that #18 bell wire the red and white kind thats twisted so it cancels out straying magnetic flux to help reduce compass deviation. It's easy to fish it around and should be able to handle 7 leds . Always check amperage to size the wire to be sure. Wire it like a ladder with the lights as the rungs on the ladder. Don't use silicone to cover exposed joints (corrosion)use "liquid electrical tape"
You can buy #18 multiple conductor LVT wire I use for thermostats and you can get 2, 4, 6, 8 ,10 conductor or more. That would allow you to use individual switches at the panel. It's nice to have a switch at each light fixture though. If your new just remember to make GOOD connections and you'll be fine. Look up Ohm's , takes five minutes to learn it.Real simple. If your light's plug into sockets then get a tube of dielectric grease to coat the plug-in spades if low voltage 12V , 24V.
This is just an opinion, I'm not an electrician.
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