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Old 25-05-2020, 20:07   #1
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Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

I was out this weekend and anchored overnight in a quiet anchorage. No traffic and no other boats, but still... this made me a little uneasy.

Take a look at my panel:



The deck floodlight works fine and I don't really use it much. It floods the deck with strong light... useful for when people are on the bow having a drink or just relaxing at night.

MY CONCERN:

When I switch on the ANCHOR LIGHT switch, the single WHITE MASTHEAD or STEAMING LIGHT turns on. It's the 225 degree light in the middle of my mast.

When I hit the STEAMING LIGHTS switch on, the actual 360 anchor light on the top of my mast turns on (in addition to the red/green bow lights and white stern light, which both work correctly).

Is there an easy way to fix this? I don't know if I'm explaining it correctly, but the masthead and the anchor lights are reversed.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

See link below for masthead/anchor light difference:

Anchor Light vs. Masthead Light - School of Sailing
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Old 25-05-2020, 20:17   #2
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Should be able to swap the wires on the switches on the back side of that panel.

It may be easier to check for a set of terminals near the base of the mast. Not uncommon to have connections at the mast base so that if you take down the mast the wires can be disconnected without getting into the panel. Could be something got swapped there. Any mast work lately? Or, when did they last work properly?
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Old 25-05-2020, 20:47   #3
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

I'd check first that they haven't been swapped (or incorrectly reinstalled) behind that panel. It should be obvious if the two wires are the wrong lengths to reach those switches correctly, and they might sit better the other way around.

If, on the other hand, they look like they belong where they are (usually the wiring behind these switches is neat and all the correct length), then perhaps someone has reinstalled the mast wiring incorrectly and you should swap the connectors at the base of the mast -- there should be a small panel you can remove to gain access to these connectors just under the mast.
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Old 25-05-2020, 21:27   #4
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
Should be able to swap the wires on the switches on the back side of that panel.

It may be easier to check for a set of terminals near the base of the mast. Not uncommon to have connections at the mast base so that if you take down the mast the wires can be disconnected without getting into the panel. Could be something got swapped there. Any mast work lately? Or, when did they last work properly?
I'll take a look at the back of the panel... I wanted to ask before I start opening things up and messing around.

You're right... I should check the base of the mast. Nothing recent, but they did take down the mast for insurance repair work about a year ago. I actually haven't checked since then and don't remember if it was like this before mast work. Hmmm... they could've easily switched it.
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Old 25-05-2020, 21:30   #5
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
I'd check first that they haven't been swapped (or incorrectly reinstalled) behind that panel. It should be obvious if the two wires are the wrong lengths to reach those switches correctly, and they might sit better the other way around.

If, on the other hand, they look like they belong where they are (usually the wiring behind these switches is neat and all the correct length), then perhaps someone has reinstalled the mast wiring incorrectly and you should swap the connectors at the base of the mast -- there should be a small panel you can remove to gain access to these connectors just under the mast.
The panel hasn't been touched since I purchased the vessel in 2016... but come to think of it, it's something that the survey could've easily missed. They probably just turn on ALL the lights and saw that ALL were working. Just not in the correct order. But the mast was taken down for repairs since 2016 and I don't know when, if ever, the lights were working correctly.

Yep, I know know exactly how to get below the mast... I have to pull off the vertical bulkhead below the mast. It's a little bit of a pain but MUST be done for safetly.
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Old 26-05-2020, 09:22   #6
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

The easy solution is to just re-label the switch.
Next time you have the mast serviced, look further.

Do you have a lot of other people running your boat without you on board, where a mislabeled switch is of concern?
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Old 26-05-2020, 09:28   #7
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCrab View Post
The easy solution is to just re-label the switch.
Next time you have the mast serviced, look further.

Do you have a lot of other people running your boat without you on board, where a mislabeled switch is of concern?
Look at the board, the running lights switch is SPDT, one throw turns on the sailing running lights (red+green+stern) the other throw turns on those + steaming light. All the rest of the switches are SPST just turning on their own light.

Currently the running lights switch turns on red+green+stern+anchor light when in the steaming position. Relabeling the switch isn't a simple option.
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Old 26-05-2020, 09:41   #8
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

I just wanted to butt in here and tell people to stop using their steaming lights at anchor, I see it way too often and it is potentially dangerous.
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Old 26-05-2020, 09:47   #9
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Thanks for the clarification. I couldn't tell that from the picture.

I'm with the others in predicting that the two mast wires just got swapped at some point.

If you have a terminal strip near the base of the mast, that would be the easiest place to swap the wires. Worst case, you have a watertight plug in the harness (no terminal strip) and the plug was mis-wired.

If the plug is soldered on the back, sometimes the pins are removable. Check with the manufacturer. If it is from Amphenol, they sell a little tool which slides over the keeper barb on the connector pin allowing you to pull the pin out of the housing and reposition it in the correct hole.

If the connector is epoxy potted, the pins aren't removable and you would need to correct this back at the panel.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002JMYKS...osi&th=1&psc=1

https://www.amphenolrf.com/tools/ext...ion-tools.html

If you are lucky enough to have different color wires coming off of the panel switches, check the wire colors first. If you see the red and blue swap at the connector, your task is clear. If you can't see the colors, you can always separate the connector and put power on each of the pins to see which pin number corresponds to each light and then adjust accordingly.

Good luck.
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Old 26-05-2020, 09:59   #10
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

I'm not really answering the question, I know, but I am also in the camp of this likely being wires swapped at the mast. I used this, which others may find useful.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F6LHMR6

and some alligator clips to fashion a portable 12v tester when my new-to-me mast was unstepped and away from the boat.

This device allowed me to verify and map the existing mast wiring, check the bulbs during inspection, and check the replacements I installed after purchase.
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Old 26-05-2020, 15:03   #11
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

At the ceiling in the cabin where the mast comes through is probably a wooden panel with a couple of screws. Under that panel is a wire terminal with 4 or more wires that come down the mast for those lights. When your mast was stepped for insurance work they probably reversed the wires for the two lights. Easy switch at the terminal block. When I transported my boat I disconnected and connected these wires and I reversed them first then corrected them. Easy job no problem.
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Old 26-05-2020, 16:23   #12
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

"I just wanted to butt in here and tell people to stop using their steaming lights at anchor, I see it way too often and it is potentially dangerous."
Just wondering why you say that - assuming you mean in addition to anchor light, not instead of?
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Old 26-05-2020, 17:24   #13
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

We had the exact same issue when we bought our Pearson 34-2 last year. When the mast was reinstalled, they were wired backwards. The wires went to a block under a panel in the ceiling in the main cabin. I took off the panel, switched the wires there, and all worked like it is supposed to.
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Old 26-05-2020, 18:22   #14
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Thanks guys for all the input! I'll be on the vessel tomorrow morning. I'll take some pics (just in case anyone is interested in the behind-the-scenes look) and hopefully I can fix it using the advice you all posted. Wish me luck
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Old 26-05-2020, 18:23   #15
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Re: Anchor Light and Steaming Lights are crossed/switched. Is there an easy fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captn_Black View Post
I just wanted to butt in here and tell people to stop using their steaming lights at anchor, I see it way too often and it is potentially dangerous.
Exactly!! That's why I hated myself for running my steaming light overnight... but at least I wanted to be seen and not be the a**hole who kept his whole vessel dark. But I couldn't agree more... that's why I'm going to try my best to fix it tomorrow
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