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Old 02-02-2015, 09:35   #1
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Mast wiring - messenger line material?

I am working on repairing and reconditioning my mast. I'd like to pull out all of the old and corroded wiring and send some messenger lines through the conduit to aid in running the new wires in when the time comes.

What sort of material would be best for the messenger lines? I was about to send some 1/8" line through, but before I did I wondered if it would be more wise to send some actual wire so that the new wires could be soldiered to it for a clean run through the mast.

So my question is, is there a preferred material for messenger lines to be used for future electrical wiring?
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:14   #2
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Three questions: Will the mast be stepped or pulled? Will the new wires be going through conduit or just loose in mast? (I hope they're going through conduit if you ever plan on getting any sleep) Finally, how many wires?

Rich
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:20   #3
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

I like the little Dacron white line. About 1/8" it's strong as heck and stays knotted well.
Be aware that often the wires split at the spreaders and it's very hard if not impossible to pull the old out without cutting a lot of pieces. Some boneheads seem to like to tape the separate bundles together making it impossible to pull just the mast head wires, vhf etc.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:24   #4
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Since you seem sincere in wanting to repair and recondition your mast, you might consider removing the mast completely from the boat, removing all of the hardware (and possibly discovering that some of the fasteners are worthless at this time), stripping the old paint and recoating with LPU paint (which will address any issues should you have a worn, anodized surface), and install ADDITIONAL conduits for current and future wiring. For example, one conduit to the the lower spreader region for radar, steaming lights, spreader lights, and any future items could have a two-wire cable instead of just a messenger. For the other conduit, going all the way to the masthead, you could install brand new VHF antenna cable (RG-213???), masthead electronics wiring, masthead tricolor/anchor lighting wiring (including a light for the Windex), and still have space for future developments. This is a fabulous opportunity to actually overhaul and commit to another twenty years of service for this important piece of equipment. Or you can just pull some new wire.

While the mast is down, you can also replace the compression posts and throughbolts for the shrouds (I have personally had one of these break, due to crevice corrosion at the nut), you can confirm that all rigging is in perfect condition, or replace it with this opportunity. You can service or replace the masthead sheaves to ease your halyard work, replace your halyards, and add some masthead bales to improve your spinnaker deployment, or have special purpose blocks for topping lift, dinghy lift, or whatever. You can even go internal with some or all your halyards. This is the perfect time to address these improvements or changes.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:36   #5
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Sorry for the lack of details, but the mast is off of the boat, completely stripped of all hardware. So no need for all of that info, I'm just concerned about the messenger line itself.

All of the wiring with the exception of an old radar cable is within the conduit of the mast.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:38   #6
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I like the little Dacron white line. About 1/8" it's strong as heck and stays knotted well.
Be aware that often the wires split at the spreaders and it's very hard if not impossible to pull the old out without cutting a lot of pieces. Some boneheads seem to like to tape the separate bundles together making it impossible to pull just the mast head wires, vhf etc.
If I were to use Dacron, what would be the optimal way to attach a new wire to it for pulling through?
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:25   #7
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Making the wire ends into soldered loops wouldn't be a bad choice. Maybe a rolling hitch on coax, taped down so nothing catches. Any store with Ethernet cable will also have slime to make the wires slippery. It disappears after you're done.
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:29   #8
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

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Making the wire ends into soldered loops wouldn't be a bad choice. Maybe a rolling hitch on coax, taped down so nothing catches. Any store with Ethernet cable will also have slime to make the wires slippery. It disappears after you're done.
wire slime!? Need to check that out
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:35   #9
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

I just completed that job. In some cases, I used the old wire and pulled the new wire thru. I also used a wire snake I purchased from Harbor freight for about $15.00. Not too bad a job. The result is a new masthead led to replace an incandescent that hasn't worked in 10 years. Bob
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:59   #10
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Use lube:

Shop IDEAL 32-fl oz Clear Wire Pulling Lubricant at Lowes.com

For the connection to the line, try a wire pulling grip:

https://www.kleintools.com/catalog/d...s-short-length]

Both products will make your life much easier.
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Old 02-02-2015, 14:59   #11
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beersmith View Post
I am working on repairing and reconditioning my mast. I'd like to pull out all of the old and corroded wiring and send some messenger lines through the conduit to aid in running the new wires in when the time comes.

What sort of material would be best for the messenger lines? I was about to send some 1/8" line through, but before I did I wondered if it would be more wise to send some actual wire so that the new wires could be soldiered to it for a clean run through the mast.

So my question is, is there a preferred material for messenger lines to be used for future electrical wiring?
You can go to the electrical section of your favorite home center or an electrical supply store and buy exactly what you need. It's what electricians use to pull wire. Klein Tools 500 ft. Pulling Line-56108 - The Home Depot




So how do you attach wires to the pulling line? Tape. Put six inches of line next to the end of the wire(s). Tape the first three inches starting at the wire end, loop the line back and tape back over it and the existing tape. Use electrician's tape.

You can also tie a loop in the end of the line, pull the wire through the loop and back on itself and tape that but this makes a lump that's harder to get through conduit or tight places.

If I had as many airline miles as the number of miles of wire and cable I pulled in my day I could fly anywhere in the world and back!
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:13   #12
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
You can go to the electrical section of your favorite home center or an electrical supply store and buy exactly what you need. It's what electricians use to pull wire. Klein Tools 500 ft. Pulling Line-56108 - The Home Depot




So how do you attach wires to the pulling line? Tape. Put six inches of line next to the end of the wire(s). Tape the first three inches starting at the wire end, loop the line back and tape back over it and the existing tape. Use electrician's tape.

You can also tie a loop in the end of the line, pull the wire through the loop and back on itself and tape that but this makes a lump that's harder to get through conduit or tight places.

If I had as many airline miles as the number of miles of wire and cable I pulled in my day I could fly anywhere in the world and back!
thanks a bunch, great info
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:29   #13
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

i use carpenters chalking twine. its strong strechy and cheap last forevre if its out of the sun.


i also use it for tell tails by unraveling the lay
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:03   #14
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beersmith View Post
thanks a bunch, great info
You're welcome.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:07   #15
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Re: Mast wiring - messenger line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beersmith View Post
If I were to use Dacron, what would be the optimal way to attach a new wire to it for pulling through?
I knot it onto the wire and then wrap the tail and knot with tape.. tapering it off so it pulls easily.
I was thinking of the Dacron as something you can leave in the mast when done.
The type of Dacron I'm referring to is multi plait like a headsail sheet etc. not 3 strand.. so t doesn't unravel. I like it because it's extremely strong, and kind of stiff rather than limp. It feels like new sailcloth material. Something like this:
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