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Old 05-22-2008
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Here is a side note:

I did something similar on my boat. I did leave all the running lights, etc at the nav station but just wanted to have the ability to turn on/off cockpit lights so I could see at night in the cockpit.

You probably have enough power in your cockpit to run it. Pull off your panel where your start switch (and likely engine instruments are) and you will have 12v running there - likely from a 12ga or 10 ga wire (depending on your run length, etc).

LED's (which is what I would suggest) use very little power. You could probably get by with 16 ga.

I know this is not a direct answer to your question, and I guess you could use a relay, but the difficulty is pulling the wire - not the size of the wire. I would not install a relay for that purpose - I would just tie into the wire and pull it.

Also, be thoughtful on the location of the panel. For example, some friends of ours on a Panda got pooped. The water filled up their cockpit. Their engine panel was (like many boats) below the "seats" in the cockpit. THe water shorted out everything - including their starter. If you have all of your lights run there, my guess is that if you got pooped, you would lose all lighting. Depending on the circumstances, that could be dangerous.

Good luck with your project. Let us know how it turns out.

- CD
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