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Old 11-13-2012, 11:04 AM   #1
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Mast wiring

I'm looking for advice on how to re-wire the mast on my Monk 36. Here's the background:

The 360 anchor light stopped working a while back. In addition the spreader lights trip the breaker after 10 seconds when turned on. A bundle of 4 wires plugs in via a 6 pin plug/socket and enters the mast via a clam shell which covers the entrance. Testing the 360 light socket shows only 9 volts, and a full 13+ at the base of the mast where the wiring enters the boat. Therefore the problem exists somewhere inside the mast and obviously there is a short somewhere since the spreader lights trip the breaker.

Now, there has to be a junction somewhere inside since 4 wires enter the mast at its base and 8 wires exit the mast in various places -- 2 for each spreader exiting at the spar, 2 for the 360 and 2 for the forward facing white running 180* light. So the 4 wires supplying all this are 1 hot wire each for the spreaders, running and 360 lights and one common ground. Testing with a multi tester at the base of the mast proves this to be correct.

Now the problem. When un-stepped the mast and took off the various fixtures I found some rotten wood under one of the stay collars, but I see absolutely no way to access where ever there must be a junction where the ground gets split 3 ways and the spreader hot side gets split in two. The mast appears to be constructed of two pieces of wood glued together and is hollow inside. There is also what appears to be a plastic conduit, but the wiring bundle doesn't use it. I tried snaking a stiff wire up the conduit from the base and it only goes about half way up before the wire won't go any further.

Was the mast manufactured, i.e. glued together with the wiring in place? Will I have to cut the thing in two to replace the faulty wiring? Any suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egregious View Post
I'm looking for advice on how to re-wire the mast on my Monk 36. Here's the background:

The 360 anchor light stopped working a while back. In addition the spreader lights trip the breaker after 10 seconds when turned on. A bundle of 4 wires plugs in via a 6 pin plug/socket and enters the mast via a clam shell which covers the entrance. Testing the 360 light socket shows only 9 volts, and a full 13+ at the base of the mast where the wiring enters the boat. Therefore the problem exists somewhere inside the mast and obviously there is a short somewhere since the spreader lights trip the breaker.

Now, there has to be a junction somewhere inside since 4 wires enter the mast at its base and 8 wires exit the mast in various places -- 2 for each spreader exiting at the spar, 2 for the 360 and 2 for the forward facing white running 180* light. So the 4 wires supplying all this are 1 hot wire each for the spreaders, running and 360 lights and one common ground. Testing with a multi tester at the base of the mast proves this to be correct.

Now the problem. When un-stepped the mast and took off the various fixtures I found some rotten wood under one of the stay collars, but I see absolutely no way to access where ever there must be a junction where the ground gets split 3 ways and the spreader hot side gets split in two. The mast appears to be constructed of two pieces of wood glued together and is hollow inside. There is also what appears to be a plastic conduit, but the wiring bundle doesn't use it. I tried snaking a stiff wire up the conduit from the base and it only goes about half way up before the wire won't go any further.

Was the mast manufactured, i.e. glued together with the wiring in place? Will I have to cut the thing in two to replace the faulty wiring? Any suggestions are welcome.
Why not just start over and rewire from the plug? Forget trying to find how it was done. If you believe the problem is in there someplace, by pass it.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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I would concur.
How long is the mast. .You could try to re-drill. I have a friend that wires houses for computer and internet. He has a drill he made by welding a drill bitt to a long piece of round steel.

Then again you could always just surface mount the wire. It wouldn't look as good but no wire to chase.

Sd
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:25 PM   #4
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If it was all on the mast itself, you could pull wire through but the spreaders are a problem. I had the same problem when I replaced the old wood mast with an aluminum mast. I end up running the new wire on the out side, and covered with hollow/U tubing. When painted white itís hardly noticeable.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #5
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Maybe I didn't explain it right. I want to rewire the whole thing. I can't get the existing wire out. I've pulled from the top and bottom and I'm afraid to pull too hard because experience tells me something will just rip loose leaving the old wire in the center of the hollow mast. I could easily run the wiring on the outside but it is nowhere as neat as the way it is now.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #6
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Not sure it'll help but you may try dish soap? Tilt it up on one end, pour a little in and let gravity take over. Might be worth a shot, sounds like the wood swelled up a bit.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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EG does your mast tilt down so you can access the bottom and top of the mast when it is laying down?

I would try using the multimeter and find the continuity between two/three wires that actually go from the bottom to the top then twist them together at both ends to make a stronger pull wire. Then tape and wrap a piece of haywire to the top side and pull it in the mast. You will need help doing this. If you feel two wires are not strong enough to bust the build-up, then try using three. Make sure that all can take the strain when pulling on them. Then use that haywire to pull in a harness of 6, 8 or 10 wires for future use.

Anyway just my thoughts on doing it.

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:41 AM   #8
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We had the same problem. The spreader and anchor wire runs are connected to the pig tail in the mast. When the mast was installed, the excess wires and all the connections were tie-wrapped to the pin that the mast folds down on. Once I removed the mast/hinge pin at the mast base, the wire and connections were free and accessible.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Larry M --
this is a possibility. The base of the mast has a hinge on it and I did tilt it down, but the base of the mast is bedded into a box on the top hinge. Here's a picture. You can see the hinge and box and also where the 4 wire bundle goes into the side of the mast (the clamshell has been removed). But is sure looks like those wires go straight up the center of the mast and not back down to a junction and back up again... The wires on the outside of the mast are for the RADAR and TV.

Ocean Breeze --
thanks. The only way to pull everything out would be to pull from the bottom, since wires at the top of the mast exit at three different places: Think of the setup as a cross that is hollow on the inside. Two wires exit at the top of the cross, two exit half way between the top and the intersection of the cross, and two go left and right through the "arms" of the cross and exit facing down. And to complicate matters, all of the ground wires and both hot wires (on the spreaders) of all of those points connect together somewhere inside with no access plate. As Larry M. suggested, that place might be at the very base of the mast, below where the 4 wire bundle enters. Either way, I'm thinking they are tied down and built into the mast permanently. This seems pretty stupid, but I guess the guys in Taiwan weren't thinking of how someone would replace the entire wiring harness 28 years after they installed it. They sure weren't thinking of serviceability when they designed a lot of things on my boat. The next boat I buy will take this into account.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:58 AM   #10
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The next boat I buy will take this into account.
Good luck with that one.

So I'm to understand that you have not removed the mast from the boat. Correct. Being an old sailor and having played with wooden and AL sailboat masts. I think you may be able to solve your problem by removing the mast and putting it on a set of saw horses on dry land. You may have a wire tie attached to something six inches up or down the inside of the mast. The wires for the radar and what ever else that run up the outside need junction boxes at the bottom of the mast anyway. Once removed you may be able to run everything up the center of the mast by one conduit. Keep in mind that if you run wire up the mast outside of a conduit that an old trick to keep them from clanging on the inside is to put long plastic ties around the wire bundle ever foot or so ans do not cut the tails off. The tails will keep the wire from banging around inside of the mast. If you need to run wires out the spreaders then stop the conduit at the spreaders. Remove the spreader brackets and there should be holes in the mast and on them to fish wire out the spreaders if need be. If not drill them.

Take the mast off and all will become a lot easier once you can see in and out of both ends of the mast. On bigger sailboats the tabernacle at the top had to be removed so that one could see through the mast but that usually cleared up any mysteries.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #11
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Yes and I agree, removal is the best way. I learned that lesson with the last head repair I did. Much easier when you can spread everything out on dry land. Thanks for the replies, just making sure I didn't miss anything simple.
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