Deck/Steaming light wiring question - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 04-09-2009
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Deck/Steaming light wiring question

I bought an aftermarket Deck/steaming light for the mast of my Catalina 22.(with no directions) There are two wires neither of which are marked coming out of the deck light.(one of them the ground (not sure which)having the ability to run into where the steaming light connections are.)There are three screw connections inside the lens for the steaming light two of which are connected to the same spot on the receptacle. I bought the wiring harness from Catalina direct which supplies me with three wires at the correct location on the mast.(White, Green and Black)Can someone guide me as to which wires go to which locations? I am under the impression I will be running these lights at different times so they will be on different switches. I also may add I bought the upgrade breaker panel for the cabin so I have plenty of options. Thank You, Andy
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Old 04-09-2009
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Andy—

Be sure you clearly mark the cable clearly, as that sounds like AC triplex wire. In an AC circuit, the black would be hot, the green ground and the white neutral. They should have used different color insulation IMHO...

But since they sent you this wire, the black wire should be the common ground for both the steaming and foredeck light. You can use either the green or the white for either +12 VDC connection to the light—just remember which you used for which and mark them accordingly so that when you connect them to the DC panel, you'll have them setup correctly.

I highly recommend that you wire the "running lights" breaker to a fused switch panel so that you can properly protect each circuit and label the switches clearly. The fused switch panels I prefer are the SeaDeck model from Blue Sea that look like this:



For instance, you might have the lights be the bow bi-color, the steaming light, the stern light and the foredeck light.
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Old 04-09-2009
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steaming light

Hey there

Just a thought - you say it is a Deck / Steaming light. A picture would really help. This means it is two lights and not just one. Hence the three wires.

If it is a steaming light and a deck light, one hot would go to the steaming light, one hot to the deck light and a common ground. One switch would control the steaming light, another switch would control the deck light.

Rik
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Last edited by rikhall; 04-09-2009 at 06:51 PM. Reason: correction of text
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Yes Rik two lights

Rik, Do I feed one of the wires that comes from the deck light and make that a common ground by inserting it into one of the connections on the steaming light. By the way the two wires that come from the back of the deck light are not marked can I use either one for the common ground? Then I connect the other two wires to the other connections. Am not set up to send a pic. sorry, Thank You, Andy
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Old 04-09-2009
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Rik—

I believe he's talking about something like this:


photo courtesy of Catalinadirect.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyjen View Post
Rik, Do I feed one of the wires that comes from the deck light and make that a common ground by inserting it into one of the connections on the steaming light. By the way the two wires that come from the back of the deck light are not marked can I use either one for the common ground? Then I connect the other two wires to the other connections. Am not set up to send a pic. sorry, Thank You, Andy
If you look at the light's setup, there are going to be three screw terminals for the wires. One is connected to both lamps—that is the common ground—the black wire as I described earlier. The other two are clearly the steaming light +12VDC and the deck light +12VDC.

Without knowing what make/model of steaming/decklight you have, I can't be any more specific. A photo would really help.
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Thanks guys

Thanks guys, your info along with some other I have googled has hellped. Now I am going to really show my ignorance. On my boat I have a bow light, stearn light, deck light, steaming light and a anchor light(top of mast)Please list the lights I must include on my "running lights circuit" What other combination of lights do I put on seperate circuits? If I remember their is a spot for bow and anchor also. Are they the only lights I include in their circuit or is there a combination of them such as the "running" circuit. Thanks for your patience, Andy
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I believe you would want the navigation lights on one circuit (bow/steaming/stern and side lights if you have them) Anchor light alone and deck light alone.
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This is why I said you should connect the "Navigation Lights" circuit breaker to a fused switch panel, like the one I posted a photo of above. Then you can control the individual lights as needed.

You need to be able to control the steaming light, stern light, anchor light bicolor/sidelights and foredeck light separately. You can't use a single switch for the stern, bicolor/sidelights and steaming light because you won't always be steaming.

When the boat is underway after sunset, you'd need the bicolor/sidelights and stern light or a masthead tricolor.

If the boat is under power after dark, you'd need the bicolor/sidelights and either a stern light and steaming light, or an all-around white light, depending on the length of your boat.

At anchor, you'd need an anchor light.

At any of the above times you might want a foredeck work, like when anchoring.


This gives you several options, like using the anchor light in place of the stern light and steaming light (provided your boat is small enough this is legal).

A six-position panel would allow you the option of a masthead tricolor as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyjen View Post
Thanks guys, your info along with some other I have googled has hellped. Now I am going to really show my ignorance. On my boat I have a bow light, stearn light, deck light, steaming light and a anchor light(top of mast)Please list the lights I must include on my "running lights circuit" What other combination of lights do I put on seperate circuits? If I remember their is a spot for bow and anchor also. Are they the only lights I include in their circuit or is there a combination of them such as the "running" circuit. Thanks for your patience, Andy
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-09-2009 at 09:06 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyjen View Post
Please list the lights I must include on my "running lights circuit"
Andy

1 - a recommendation

I highly recommend you take a course or two. Me, because they have worked for me, I recommend your local USPS (in the USA) or CPS-ECP (in Canada). Both are really just big "safe boating" clubs. Lots of social events if you want to participate, but the good thing for us is that they offer courses during our non-sailing season. Linda and I have taken lots and lots of them and have learned an immense amount. There are also lots of other good organizations that offer courses.

2 - an answer

There are standard navigation or "running lights" used on different sized boats. Often it will be a red (bow port side) green (bow starboard side) and a white on the stern. This would be on a typical power or sail boat running at night. (All on one circuit on my boat called Nav Lights)

In addition, if you are on a sail boat and are motoring - then about half way up the mast will be the steaming light. It indicates you are a sailboat under power. (On a separate circuit on my boat called Steaming Light)

Your steaming light has a second light for illuminating the deck when you are working on her - called a deck light (some times there are one or two deck lights out on the spreaders - still deck lights (or spreader lights) (They are on a separate circuit on my boat labeled Deck light)

A masthead or anchor light will probably be on your boat as well, depending upon the size. Not to be on while moving, but should be on when anchored if you are not in a safe, designated anchoring area.

I am sure I have over simplified it - but it is a start.

Check the links - they will help fill in what I have omitted (either on purpose or by accident)

You are embarking on one of the most enjoyable adventures that I know of - "Messing around with boats"
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Last edited by rikhall; 04-09-2009 at 08:50 PM. Reason: fix miss-spelling
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Andy,

I have the after-market switch panel from Catalina Direct, also. On mine there are 8 total switches. The top one is labeled 'BOW,' the next is DECK, then CABIN, ANCHOR, RUNNING, and the bottom 3 switches are each labeled ACCESSORY. Is this the same panel you have?

On mine I changed the one marked BOW to STEAMING. Then I wired the lights to the appropriate switch on the panel.

The suggestion by Sailingdog will give you more individual control of your lights, but it's not absolutely necessary. I just have the one panel and it works fine for me.

You will want to use the black wire as the ground for both lights. Then use your green and white 'hot' wires for the individual lights. I wasn't able to follow your description of the wiring inside the lights, but you should have a jumper or similar setup between the deck and the steaming light. This would be your common ground to which you would attach the black wire in the wiring harness. The two hot wires would go to each of the two lights separately, thus allowing you to operate the lights independent of each other. Does this make any sense?
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