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Old 07-12-2018, 22:32   #1
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Wiring the anchor light?

I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out the wiring for my anchor light. The light was installed by the previous owner, but hasn’t been working since I bought the boat- and am not sure the last time it was used (if ever). There are two sets of wires feeding out from the mast in to the cabin— and I’m assuming the bundle of 4 wires (black, white, yellow, and green) is the anchor light. I don’t know much about the correct color coating of wires. How do I go about wiring this? The wires are currently disconnected behind the DC circuit board.
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:46   #2
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Brandtj,

You will have to determine what the wiring colors are by tracing them out.

I would suggest:
1. Check and clean all connections from the battery to the mast.
2. Trace and identify all wires from the breaker panel to the base of the mast.
3. Make sure you have power to the base of the mast for all circuits going up the mast.
4. Leave the circuits on.

5. Go up the mast and clean and inspect all connections at each light/device (anchor, steaming & deck lights), check for power with a voltmeter, put new bulbs in each light, and make good notes about the wire colors for each light.
6. Look for plug connections or wiring termination connectors between the mast and the wires from the panel. Make sure all connections are clean and tight.

6. Sometimes the wire colors will be switched at connections for one reason or another, so pay particular attention to plug connections where discontinuities can occur quite easily, and make drawings of the colors at each connector.

6. Label and identify all wiring after you have the light working and you have figured it out.
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Old 08-12-2018, 18:10   #3
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

anchor light only needs 2 wires so you got other stuff going on too.

Wire colors will be whatever they felt like. And meaningless.
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Old 08-12-2018, 18:15   #4
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Likely that wire bundle powers everything on the mast. What other ligjhts do you have? Likely candidates: steaming light, tricolor, deck light...
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Old 08-12-2018, 22:06   #5
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Brandtj,

You will have to determine what the wiring colors are by tracing them out.

I would suggest...
Thank you for the suggestions - I will try them out when I visit the boat tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
anchor light only needs 2 wires so you got other stuff going on too.

Wire colors will be whatever they felt like. And meaningless.
That's why I'm so confused. I don't know why there are 4, and the yellow and green throw me off. I was under the impression the color coding meant specific things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Likely that wire bundle powers everything on the mast. What other ligjhts do you have? Likely candidates: steaming light, tricolor, deck light...
At first, I was thinking that it had to be something like that. But the anchor light is the only light on the mast... at least the only one that's visible from below. Currently waiting for the Mast Mate to arrive in the mail, so I can climb up there to see for myself.
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Old 08-12-2018, 23:26   #6
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

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Originally Posted by brandtj View Post
Thank you for the suggestions - I will try them out when I visit the boat tomorrow.



That's why I'm so confused. I don't know why there are 4, and the yellow and green throw me off. I was under the impression the color coding meant specific things.



At first, I was thinking that it had to be something like that. But the anchor light is the only light on the mast... at least the only one that's visible from below. Currently waiting for the Mast Mate to arrive in the mail, so I can climb up there to see for myself.
Unlike automobiles, wiring colors beyond basic positive, negative, ground are not typically meaningful on a boat unless you have a detailed wiring diagram for that specific boat.

Its also common to have combined fixtures at the mast head. Example: a combined anchor light/tricolor. That is typically wired with 3 wires.

While waiting to climb, you can trace them back the other direction...see where they go inside the boat/breaker panel.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:00   #7
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Quote:
. Currently waiting for the Mast Mate to arrive in the mail, so I can climb up there to see for myself.
This is serious business, so you need a safety. Have a full harnass tied to your best halyard and a friend taking up slack on the winch below. Search "climb mast" to read.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:21   #8
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

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Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
This is serious business, so you need a safety. Have a full harnass tied to your best halyard and a friend taking up slack on the winch below. Search "climb mast" to read.
and/or use a pursik knot on a 2nd/3rd line
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:46   #9
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Sounds about the same as on our 1985 C30. We have Anchor Light, Steaming Light, Deck Light and common ground. Not there now, so I can't tell you our color scheme, but it likely would not match anyway. Do you have a hole (with or without wires sticking out) on the front of your mast, about 1/2 to 3/4 the way up? That is where your steaming light should be, usually a combo with a foredeck light. If the light is an LED, polarity of the bulb and wires will also matter.

Once you use a meter to determine the common ground, (Unless already known) the rest should be easy to tell. (Assuming bulbs OK and oriented correctly).
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:23   #10
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Do you know how to test for "continuity" (i.e. how to find a complete and functioning circuit) with a multimeter? If you don't have one, you can buy one for thirty bux. The little pamphlet that comes with it will tell how to test for various things including continuity.

Just systematically co through the four wires until you find a pair that has continuity, i.e. that are part of a complete functioning circuit. If that circuit runs through your anchoring light (and the bulb is intact) the bulb will light up when you apply 12 Volt across that pair of wires. That is if the bulb is an old-fashioned filament bulb, which it is likely to be. If you do it at dusk, a helper can look to the top of the mast and see if the light comes on. On the long chance that the bulb is a LED do it twice, first with the polarity one way, and then again with the polarity the other way.

Ten minutes of work that could save you going up the mast :-)!

Best of luck

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Old 09-12-2018, 11:29   #11
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

With only the two pairs, they are most likely the anchor light at the masthead and a steaming light two thirds up. The two thirds is traditional, but means if you are motor sailing the head sail will block off half its radiation pattern. So maybe mount it at the mast head? The anchr light wires could be used for this if you are converting to LEDs. Put a reversing switch on the control panel so up is anchor and down is steaming.
If you need to conserve power, the anchor light can be lit when steaming, but you would need to switch out the normal stern light.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:55   #12
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Unlike automobiles, wiring colors beyond basic positive, negative, ground are not typically meaningful on a boat unless you have a detailed wiring diagram for that specific boat.

Its also common to have combined fixtures at the mast head. Example: a combined anchor light/tricolor. That is typically wired with 3 wires.

While waiting to climb, you can trace them back the other direction...see where they go inside the boat/breaker panel.
Ah, maybe thatís it. Though I think the previous owner installed both the anchor and the running lights. It could be leftover wiring from the owner before him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
This is serious business, so you need a safety. Have a full harnass tied to your best halyard and a friend taking up slack on the winch below. Search "climb mast" to read.
Thanks for pointing that out- initially I thought it would be much easier to get up there. Luckily, I have a friend who is a professional rock climber to assist me and make sure itís done right.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:15   #13
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

If you only have one light, it may be a sectional light. On my previous boat I had a light on the masthead with fore and aft sections. I could light the front section for a steaming light, or all of it for an anchor light. Just a thought as to what multiple wires might be doing.
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Old 09-12-2018, 13:15   #14
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

Pick two wires, put it on a 12v source and see what lights up. If something does... win. If not, try again.
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Old 09-12-2018, 15:01   #15
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Re: Wiring the anchor light?

If he's going to just fool around with trying this & that I suggest he should include either a manual or auto resettable fuse in his positive in wire!!!
Maybe test each wire for continuity to the mast itself first. (even if just looking for the neg wire or wires rubbed through)
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