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Old 04-06-2014, 16:05   #1
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Wiring new mast, suggestions on wire

The mast is wood, 62 ft in length and has wire to the following:

Spreader lights, 12v
Steaming Light, 12v LED
Tricolor w/Anchor, 12v LED

Weight is a major concern. Looking for sufficient without overkill to save weight aloft.
Foo and Bar
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Old 04-06-2014, 18:10   #2
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Re: Wiring new mast, suggestions on wire

The basics of wire sizing is so very simple, please have a look in your friendly West Marine catalog. There you will find some nice colourful charts which answer your questions.

But, for the application you have, with the long runs supplying o nly LED fixtures, there is no problem. The smallest wire that would be physically strong enough will be electrically sufficient. In this case, IMO, that means #16. For the spreader lights it depends on just what you have there. Do your own check... find out what the current for those lights will be, estimate the length of the run (and remember that it goes both ways, so the length of wire is twice the distance up the mast plus whatever there is below decks) and use the chart to determine minimum wire size.

But really, mate, the wire weights that you are dealing with are such a tiny, tiny fraction of the total weight aloft that it simply does not matter. IF it were me, I would be thinking that using wire that is somewhat over spec might help avoid having to replace it should some pesky corrosion come about! I am absolutely certain the the few ounces of extra copper will make NO difference in your boats performance.


Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 04-06-2014, 20:00   #3
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Re: Wiring new mast, suggestions on wire

Well, there is 6# of wire for nav & spreader lights in the mast. Add to the coax and the wind instrument cable and we've got enough weight to worry about as we race the boat. There's in the neighborhood of 11# of wire up there so we look to save where we can.

I solder ends and heat shrink connections with dialectric so I'm confident in the connections. Mast comes out annually and part of the routine is a trip round the spar with a multimeter.

Mind the ounces and all that.

Thanks for the West Marine pointer, didn't know about that. Looks like our LED spreader lights can use even lighter gauge given the short run!
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mast, wiring

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