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Old 14-05-2024, 20:31   #1
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Mast Rewire

Iím rewiring our 40í mast for led anchor light and a combo deck and steaming light. Iím thinking of going with 16g for durability. There is a conduit to the deck/steaming light. What wire should I be using? The heavy jacketed ANCOR safety wire (duplex and triplex)?

Also, how can I add strain relief to where the cable enters the mast? There is no way to do that k on the inside, especially for the deck/steaming light.

Thanks!
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Old 15-05-2024, 09:19   #2
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Re: Mast Rewire

I used 16 gauge wire for the anchor/tri-light and combined steaming/foredeck light on my 55' mast. You should be OK with that. I used triplex wires for both of those since my Signal Mate lights were wired that way. I'm not sure which brand of lights you're using. I've only been able to find triplex boat wire with black/white/green wires - so I labelled the wires as they exited the bottom of the mast - indicating which color went to which light.

To relieve the strain on the steaming/foredeck light - I located the connectors between the light fixture wires and the mast wires so that they'd be outside of the mast. I made a loop (or two - can't recall how many) of the mast wire and placed it under the light fixture (there was a depression in the mounting bracket that allowed me the space to do that). I also placed a rubber grommet in the hole in the mast so the wire wouldn't rub up against the aluminum mast directly. When mounted - the light fixture held the loops of wire tightly against the mast - so I'm not worried about the loop wires 'working' their way into the hole and down the mast. I suppose I could have put a small wire clamp under the fixture to make sure - but I didn't.
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Old 15-05-2024, 10:03   #3
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Re: Mast Rewire

Or you can make your own wire loom with single wires taped together at intervals. Do you have any wires that will need to get out of the bundle half way up etc? That will give you some good color coding for various terminations.
Spreader lights, steaming light, anchor light, nav lights. It would be nice to have separate colors so you know what is what.
Use tinned wire like Anchor.
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Old 15-05-2024, 10:20   #4
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Re: Mast Rewire

Is the suggestion to use the Ancor tinned duplex and tri-plex wire (in flat or round)? If I use that, I'm thinking (for the deck/steaming light combo), I'd strip the casing off the wire and pass the individual wires through the side of the mast. Solder together with the light wires and then use heat shrink tubing
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Old 15-05-2024, 14:21   #5
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Re: Mast Rewire

I'm not so sure that 16ga wire is for "durability", that's what one might find to wire engine gages, (and that's pushing it).
14ga would be better, when I wired my mast LED lights were not available and I used 12ga. to better reduce voltage drop.
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Old 15-05-2024, 14:42   #6
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Re: Mast Rewire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdrie View Post
I'm not so sure that 16ga wire is for "durability", that's what one might find to wire engine gages, (and that's pushing it).
14ga would be better, when I wired my mast LED lights were not available and I used 12ga. to better reduce voltage drop.
Me too, but yeah, pre LED.
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Old 15-05-2024, 14:43   #7
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Re: Mast Rewire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timccarpenter View Post
Is the suggestion to use the Ancor tinned duplex and tri-plex wire (in flat or round)? If I use that, I'm thinking (for the deck/steaming light combo), I'd strip the casing off the wire and pass the individual wires through the side of the mast. Solder together with the light wires and then use heat shrink tubing
BTW, do you have a wire conduit in the mast?
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Old 15-05-2024, 14:59   #8
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Re: Mast Rewire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timccarpenter View Post
Iím rewiring our 40í mast for led anchor light and a combo deck and steaming light. Iím thinking of going with 16g for durability. There is a conduit to the deck/steaming light. What wire should I be using? The heavy jacketed ANCOR safety wire (duplex and triplex)?

Also, how can I add strain relief to where the cable enters the mast? There is no way to do that k on the inside, especially for the deck/steaming light.

Thanks!
Our mast is only 35í or so, but what we did is rivet a 1Ē PVC conduit to the inside of the mast on the forward side of the mast. For our deck/steaming light, we notched out a hole in the conduit at the level of the mounting hole for the conduit.

We then made up a wiring harness for our mast, including the electrical wires for the lighting (masthead trilight, masthead anchor light, mid-mast steaming and deck light), our wind sensor, and our VHF coax. Bundled it all together with appropriate tape every few feet, and fed it through the conduit. At the top of the mast, the harness goes through a stainless steel ďfinger trapĒ style cable holder, which is secured to the masthead. That takes a good portion of the strain.

Also, because our mast is deck stepped, we took all the conductors (lighting plus wind) and put them into an amphenol milspec connector. That then plugs into a matching bulkhead connector on our cabintop, and from there goes to the rest of our system. The bulkhead is completely waterproof which is great, and if/when we step the mast, we just undo one connector and all the electrical is disconnected.
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Old 15-05-2024, 15:06   #9
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Re: Mast Rewire

For durability use one size up and a plated wire in thick plastic covering. Most damage to wires comes from chafe and water ingress - so do work on those top contacts to make them bomb, errr - water, - proof!


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Old 15-05-2024, 22:46   #10
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Re: Mast Rewire

In Comment #4 Timcarpenter wrote: "I'm thinking (for the deck/steaming light combo), I'd strip the casing off the wire and pass the individual wires through the side of the mast. Solder together with the light wires and then use heat shrink tubing."

I suggest that you don't remove the wire casing inside the mast. The casing will help to protect the individual wires from wearing through at the hole in the mast. Strip the casing outside of the mast to reveal the individual Ancor (or Equal) triplex wires. Consider also using a rubber grommet in the hole in the mast through which you pass the wire.

I'd also recommend not soldering the wires together. Use quick disconnect or other insulated connectors so if you ever have to replace the light you can do so without having to cut the wire. I used Ancor fully-insulated quick connectors. In addition, soldered connections often don't have the flexibility of crimped connectors and tend to be brittle - and do not stand up as well to vibration. Of course, heat shrink the connectors.

To finish, I ran a bead of non-silicone adhesive caulk around the mounting bracket to (hopefully) prevent water from getting onto the wiring connectors.

I'd also advise against taping together the various wires within the mast conduit. You may have to replace a wire at some point (or run another wire for, say, spreader lights), and having them taped together would frustrate that effort.
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Old 16-05-2024, 08:47   #11
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Re: Mast Rewire

Very helpful, thank you. We do have a wire conduit to the steaming/deck light. However, I'm not sure the ancor triplex with casing will fit. Possibly.
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Old 16-05-2024, 09:27   #12
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Re: Mast Rewire

If you're going to strip the casing off the triplex wire - you may also consider just buying primary wiring. That way: 1) it would be cheaper, and 2) you could choose the colors to distinguish their use (e.g., red for steaming +, purple for foredeck +, and yellow for neutral). Doing that - I'd also consider bundling and putting some sort of protective wrap on the wires as they pass through the mast.
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