Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 300 Times in 232 Posts
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Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?
The bare minimum size for the wire used under ABYC standards would be 16GA. This is as much about durability as voltage drop. With 16/4 you won't have any voltage drop issues with LED but if someone were to ever convert back to incandescent then it very likely would not meet the max 3% drop for nav lights. If these are LED USCG Cert fixtures then you won't be worried about anyone swapping bulbs.
I won't put 16GA in a spar for navigation lights. The weight of the wire is often loading the strands and mast wire can get beat up pretty well. I just spent a day a few weeks ago re-wiring a spar because small wire was used and the mast was incandescent. He had also lost the wind instrument and I found one of the small 18GA wires in the bundle had snapped where it was attached to the top of the spar.. I generally leave 16GA for non-critical stuff like stereo speaker wiring...
I would stick with your 14GA. If the wire is in a conduit, not swinging free, then 16GA could certainly work but I prefer 14 GA +.....
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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