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Old 03-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
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Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

We need to replace the wiring harness at the base of the mast on our trawler.* There seems to be moisture trapped in the harness that occasionally interferes with the operation of the lights located on the mast. It was suggested that we could get rid of the harness and attach the wires via a waterproof junction box.
<ul>[*]Is this a good or bad idea?[/list]<ul>[*]We cannot find a source for wiring harness'.* Can someone point us in the right direction.[/list]<ul>[*]How much time for a competent person to replace a harness.[/list]
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:12 PM   #2
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

*

When I replace the mast I used anchor multi stand*4 wire, trailer*wire,*with shrink wrap connectors.* A harness does not have to be a*number of wires in one bundle.* It can be individual wires taped/wire tighted to gether. Most marina stores sell multi stand wire, 2, 3 4 .5 and 8 wire.

You can used a regular outdoor dirt electrical box.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

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Phil Fill wrote:*

When I replace the mast I used anchor multi stand*4 wire, trailer*wire,*with shrink wrap connectors.* A harness does not have to be a*number of wires in one bundle.* It can be individual wires taped/wire tighted to gether. Most marina stores sell multi stand wire, 2, 3 4 .5 and 8 wire.

You can used a regular outdoor dirt electrical box.
*Agree!
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

We had an electrician at a marina service the connections. The prongs were slightly corroded and a bit loose when inserted in the other end. Cleaning helps for a short while. Probably spent more on repairs than just getting a new harness.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:11 PM   #5
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

Somebody has to say it so I will. If you're replacing the wires, be sure to use wires at least as large (wire gauge, not insulation) as the originals. Larger is fine, smaller is not.

If there is a plug and socket, that's a very likely source of the problem and cleaning the actual connections with a very fine abrasive (don't use steel wool) and electrical contact cleaner will often correct the problem. Once the contacts have been cleaned and it's verified that everything works, unplug the connector and spread a light film of dielectric grease (from the auto parts store) on all the metal parts, then reconnect it. The grease will help to prevent corrosion.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

It is the plug and socket that we want to replace. We are referring to this as the wiring harness. We have cleaned the plud and socket and then the lights work . After some time there are issues again. Two days ago the lights on the mast were either faint or not working. We pulled the plug out of the socket and let it air out. Today the lights all worked great with the exception of the anchor light. It remained unlit.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:33 AM   #7
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

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Old Stone wrote:
Since you want to replace it anyway, why not clip each line separetly and test them wire to wire. Sounds like a simple plug, not harness, is worn. Replacement should be readily available at Radio Shack. IF you don't move the mast ever, you could just hard wire each lead and skip the plug.

Please note: this is NOT professional advice, but simply my opinion without seeing the actual conditions.

I would not use something from Radio Shack on my boat, especially in a situation where operation is critical or there's exposure to the weather.* Radio Shack's quality is very poor for most of their items.

If this is something that is not disconnected often, spade or ring terminals on the wires and a terminal strip mounted in a weather tight box would be a good and reliable solution.

These are available through marine retailers.

*
*
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:58 AM   #8
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

I recently re-wired my mast and made all the connections at the base with a short bus bar enclosed in a waterproof box from these*guys.

*

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Old 03-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

We have a similar issue on our GB. The wires for the masthead, steaming, and spreader lights run down a channel in the wood mast that was then filled with a glued-in-place wood strip contoured to match the round exterior of the mast. The wires emerge from the mast even with the underside of the main cabin overhead aft overhang (or flying bridge deck if you prefer). Each light has its own two-pin connector that plugs into a matching receptical on the outside of the main cabin aft bulkhead.

There are no covers on the connectors--- the plugs simply push sraight into the receptacles. So it's pretty easy for corrosion to develop. Fortunately the pins are easy to clean and I have a tiny rat-tail file that I used to clean the sockets. I don't have to do this but maybe a couple of times a year. But in the not-to-distant future I plan to replace both halves of each connection with something more weather and salt air proof. Our local marine electrical shop has a variety of plugs and sockets, some twist lock, some with a locking cover over the barrel of the plug, and so on, so when the time comes that's what we'll use. Their barrels and locking rings of these units are stainless steel.

So that's what I would do in your situation. The "marine" stuff costs a little more but in the case of hardware that's going be in the weather and salt air environment on the outside of a boat, in our experience so far the extra cost is worth it assuming you buy quality components to begin with.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:28 PM   #10
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

If you want arguably the best quality weatherproof multipin connectors, these are probably the ones to get:

http://www.wirecare.com/deutsch-conn...FcWP7QodK1S9bg

*
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:57 PM   #11
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

Those look real good for making basic connections but they would not work for our particular application. We need the female side of the connector hard-mounted on the cabin bulkhead. But they might work for the OP's application.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:00 AM   #12
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

There are no waterproof connectors that work long term , except from the military or commercial side of the parts catalog.

Most are big , and pug ugly, and in bronze , priced like GOLD.

Our solution has been to install longer wires in the mast , lead them below where its probably dry and make the connections there.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:35 AM   #13
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

We also have the plug and socket with the female end mounted on the bulkhead. We cannot pull the wires for the nav lights down the mast so rewiring is out. Someone has suggested getting an aluminum mast. Any suggestions for a good marine electrician in Florida? In the meantime we have cleaned the prongs but still need to get the grease. The nav and spreaders work great. There is no lite coming from the anchor lite. Next step is to look at this fixture. We replaced all our fixtures a year ago and put in Led bulbs so have doubts it is the fixture, though. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:41 PM   #14
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Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

Quote:
rusbet wrote:
....... There is no lite coming from the anchor lite. Next step is to look at this fixture. We replaced all our fixtures a year ago and put in Led bulbs so have doubts it is the fixture, though. Any thoughts?

I would still check the LED replacements and the sockets that they sit in.* Assuming there's power to the wires, that's the easiest thing to check and most likely where the problem is.* Wires don't usually fail unless cut or chafed.
*


-- Edited by rwidman on Wednesday 7th of March 2012 05:41:20 PM
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:54 AM   #15
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

Quote:
rusbet wrote:
*We replaced all our fixtures a year ago and put in Led bulbs so have doubts it is the fixture, though. Any thoughts?
**********Remove the anchor lite and check to see if the power is getting to the top of the mast. Could be just a loose connection between the new fixture and the mast wires.

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Old 03-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #16
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

There's no reason to make this more difficult than it has to be. Unless the mast will need to be disconnected more than a couple times per year, the connections can be made on a terminal strip in a watertight enclosure like I suggested above. Marine stores will have them.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:07 AM   #17
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

We took down the mast and checked the anchor light fixture and determined that there was no electricity coming to the fixture. We then took apart the 4 prong plug and found one of the wires had come loose. This explained why the anchor light was not working. The plug could not be resurrected and we could not find a replacement. So we hired an electronics person to install a waterproof box and connect the wires with metal things that are easy enough to separate (sorry, I was not there and don't have the correct terminology). In doing so, he discovered a pigtail on the socket side that had a failing crimp. The annoying part is that we spent about $200 in labor for a well-established boat yard to rewire the plug and socket. Our instructions to them were to fix it. Why they did such a lousy job and why they didn't replace the plug/socket or put in a waterproof box is more than annoying. It's a bit like Goldman's arrogant and demeaning view of their clients.

Anyway, the lights work. And we learned something more about our boat.
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:38 AM   #18
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RE: Wiring Harness at base of trawler mast

"Our instructions to them were to fix it. Why they did such a lousy job and why they didn't replace the plug/socket or put in a waterproof box is more than annoying. It's a bit like Goldman's arrogant and demeaning view of their clients. "

Goldmans contempt for their clients is because they allow themselves to get screwed , with high commission costs, year after year.

Most boatyard workers can repair the cheap crap in many boats , but to have the experience , understanding and knowledge to modify anything , you need to do a good job explaining the problem , and getting is solution from the yard foreman or owner .

The foreman will obtain the better part and instruct the installer , hopefully on how to install it properly.

No its not Rocket Science but few yard crew have the experience to understand the problem.

Even fewer have ever seen a marine catalog to understand the options.

During my Airline Furlough years I was able to make a good living as an outfitter properly installing gear , and solving the new boat TT problems for the dealers.

Sadly the need for this craft still exists today.
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