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Old 04-04-2013, 11:22   #1
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Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

The cables inside my mast were not supported in any way that I could see. They run through various conduits but apparently were hanging from whatever connectors there were.

I am now in the middle of replacing almost all of them, plus adding a bunch of new ones. In many cases lighter able, like RG58CU, is being replaced by much heavier cable, like RG213U.

Just letting them hang from the connectors doesn't seem, to me, to be the right way to do it. At a minimum, it seems to me, that, there should be a hanger at the point where the cable exits the mast, so that the strain is not applied to the edge of the hole. I was thinking of bolting or riveting cable ties at those points.

What's the right way to do this? Anybody know?
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:41   #2
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

Mine are hanging too, and they have been for many years. I do have rubber collars cushioning the metal edge at the points where they exit the masts. I've sometimes wondered when they will fail, but some have been hanging there for forty years. When I led my new Radar cable inside my mizzen ten years ago I did attach a large 16" wire tie about every two feet, but this was not for support. The plan was to prevent the cable from noisely slapping about and it has done well.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:30   #3
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

What I typically do is add a nylon braid attached to the top of the mast, running to the bottom. Then I will push wire ties through the braid every 18 inches. This supports the whole weight on the nylon braid.

Lloyd
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Old 04-04-2013, 13:47   #4
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

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Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
What I typically do is add a nylon braid attached to the top of the mast, running to the bottom. Then I will push wire ties through the braid every 18 inches. This supports the whole weight on the nylon braid.

Lloyd
That sounds good -- but -- how do you get to the cables to tie them off every 18 inches? When they're inside the mast?
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Old 04-04-2013, 15:17   #5
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

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That sounds good -- but -- how do you get to the cables to tie them off every 18 inches? When they're inside the mast?
pull everything and tie em all together and then pull em back. everything nice neat and tidy.

This usually done with the mast on a rack, but I have done it from a bosuns chair.

Lloyd
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Old 04-04-2013, 15:29   #6
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

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pull everything and tie em all together and then pull em back. everything nice neat and tidy.

This usually done with the mast on a rack, but I have done it from a bosuns chair.

Lloyd
Oh, I see. I couldn't possibly do that on my boat -- everything is in conduits. I was lucky to pull a single N2K cable by itself. A bundle of cables could not possibly be pulled in my mast, although it is horizontal.
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Old 04-04-2013, 15:33   #7
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

Dockhead
In the past I've used items simlar to these.


HUBBELL WIRING DEVICE-KELLEMS Cable Support Grip, Single Eye, .50-.62In - Cable Support Grips - 6D229|02201013 - Grainger Industrial Supply
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Old 04-04-2013, 23:18   #8
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

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Very cool; thanks.

I guess you'd attach one of those about in the middle of the cable, then let it down as you pull the cable? Attach to the mast near the exit hole? That would halve the strain, I guess.
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Old 05-04-2013, 21:23   #9
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

You feed the cable up through the center of the mesh. The loop then attaches to something like a through bolt. The mesh then tightens around the cable.
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Old 05-04-2013, 22:15   #10
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

As DeepFrz says the mesh tightens around the cable holding it secure(think Chinese finger puzzle). the types i used had bolt hole tab attached rather than a loop. These could be bolted some place convenient and would bear all the weight of the cable without any chafing.

You could also use these: Wire Management*|*Cable Glands*|*PG Cable Glands

Provides dust & water-tight performance and strain relief in one small unit, just tap the top of mast to accept the thread of gland and your done.

I'm sure there is a supplier closer to you.
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Old 05-04-2013, 22:29   #11
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

I put a gob of Sikkaflex around each wire & over the grommet where it exits the mast at or near the top. It takes seconds, costs pennies, and helps keep water out.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:20   #12
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

Don't know from practical experience but have heard of filling the mast with Ping-Pong balls. Simple to install and can be removed later if needed.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:28   #13
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

Why not just fill it with cement? Nothing would move then :-)

Seriously, folks, we're making a mountain out of a molehill here.

There are tens of thousands of sailboats on the water which have no serious problems with mast wiring done in the usual way: run all the wires through a smallish conduit (PVC or other) affixed to the inner wall of the mast.

The wires are perfectly capable of supporting their own weight for the 40-60' run (my mast is 65' and no problems in 25 years); and they won't slap around if the conduit is properly sized.

Run 'em thru the conduit. Then, forget it: have a sundowner.

Bill
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:35   #14
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

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Why not just fill it with cement? Nothing would move then :-)

Seriously, folks, we're making a mountain out of a molehill here.

There are tens of thousands of sailboats on the water which have no serious problems with mast wiring done in the usual way: run all the wires through a smallish conduit (PVC or other) affixed to the inner wall of the mast.

The wires are perfectly capable of supporting their own weight for the 40-60' run (my mast is 65' and no problems in 25 years); and they won't slap around if the conduit is properly sized.

Run 'em thru the conduit. Then, forget it: have a sundowner.

Bill
OK, that's encouraging.

I think I will try to arrange some strain relief at the top, at least, though. The old VHF antenna was thin RG58CU; now I've got massive RG213U up there which weighs many times more. It won't be too much trouble to rig some kind of a hanger, so that all that weight is not resting on the edge of the hole as it comes out of the mast.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:39   #15
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Re: Supporting Cables Inside the Mast -- Best Practice?

Can't get the huge old cable out of the mast. I've got it hanging off the masthead. The worry is that it falls and tangles, impeding other cables and/or halyards.
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