sealing mast electrical connectors - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 04-23-2011
ctlow's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 27
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ctlow is on a distinguished road
Cool sealing mast electrical connectors

Hi. New here. I have searched but not found quite this answer.

My wind instruments aren't working, but have been factory-checked, and I've checked each segment of the wiring with a digital multi-meter using its ohm-meter function. So I'm narrowing it down to probably the connectors.

My VHF radio works fine, and the nav lights work, but not the wind instruments.

I understand about using dielectric grease around the actual contacts (it's a resistor but the metal-to-metal contacts physically break through to each other if tight enough).

That leaves two things:
1/ how to seal the actual "seam" where two halves of a connector join, e.g. the male and female ends of a 4-prong connector. (I have used standard black electric tape. And there is a rubber sleeve which slides over that join, but whether that's enough to count on as waterproof I do not know.)
2/ How to seal the ends where the wires enter. I have tried "liquid electric tape", and physically it looks good, but is there some standard, known, better way to do that? If there's any little leak there, then the water would be trapped inside, and that would be bad.

The configuration is that the wind instruments have a connector which sits in the open breeze up atop the mast. That four-wire bundle travels down the mast and ends in another connector at the bottom of the mast. From there, another wire travels through a calked hole in the deck-step and on to the instruments, some distance away.

The inside of the mast of course gets wet.

So, I'll recheck all of the wiring this Spring, but how do I seal those connectors?

Thank you.

Charles
1981 US Yachts 33
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 04-23-2011
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,710
Thanks: 2
Thanked 93 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Charles, the silicon grease on the contacts is the right first step. You need to use it sparingly, so it does not get on the outside of the connector. Then, you overwrap the entire connector body, including the wires, with a product called "Coax Seal" (from electronics stores) or butyl tape (from the big box hardware stores) or silicone tape (in WalGreens or from TV ads or marine stores as "amazing repair tape" and other names). All of these products actually fuse to themselves after being stretched out and wrapped, forming a watertight one-piece coating that can easily be cut free at maintenance time. The butyl tape is traditional, used by telcos to seal underground cables. The silicon tape may be the best product, the coax seal obvisouly purposely built for antenna and similar wiring aloft.
Used per the instructions (how much to stretch and overwrap) and generously on the wire itself, they all will do a good job of waterproofing it. You also want to use "drip loops" where appropriate, i.e. put a u-shaped bend in the wire to encourage water to run down and drip from the bottom of a loop, instead of following the wire all the way into a connector.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 04-24-2011
ctlow's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 27
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ctlow is on a distinguished road
Thanks, very much, HS. Perfect. I have used one of those high-tech tapes before, supplied to me in fact on the spot by an electrical engineer - but he just did the "seam", not the entire connector including the "other" ends where the wires go in.

The whole assembly - I don't have a photo - ends up being quite irregularly shaped, and has to be done as a bunch of friends are fidgeting, waiting, to drop the mast that last six inches ... I'll work that out. I could pre-wrap part of it, probably ...

And drip-loop, yes.

Thanks again! Off to the shops!

Charles
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 04-24-2011
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,710
Thanks: 2
Thanked 93 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Charles-
If you really want to do it right...
There's right and there's RIGHT and really doing it right means the wires need to be terminated in a waterproof bulkhead connector, which plugs into a mating connector in the deck (or in a riser, etc.) that is internally protected by o-rings or gaskets. Of course those cost money, and they're damned hard to find, and it takes more labor to rewire things so they are properly wired into them.
Bulgin Components: EXPlora - Zone 2 Hazardous Area Connector ATEX approved
Bulgin is one company that makes many types of "robust" connectors. If you decide you're keeping the boat long term and want a winter project...
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 04-29-2011
ctlow's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 27
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ctlow is on a distinguished road
Thanks again, HS.

For this season - and having bought these from a reputable marina with advice from "expert" staff - I'm stuck with these:




So: how to seal up the four wires entering the boot is my dilemma. Liquid electrical tape wasn't bad but has eventually broken. Caulking?

And this is the connector with the "boot" off:



Thank you again.

Charles
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 04-29-2011
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 9,084
Thanks: 10
Thanked 142 Times in 128 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
I suspect the internal connections are fairly corroded by now, if that is the actual problem. Be sure to test the continuity of the wires themselves. I would replace the connectors entirely. It appears that you essentially have two wires in and two wires out? How do these look:

Duraline 2 Wire Polarized Plugs, Connectors and Receptacles
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 04-29-2011
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,710
Thanks: 2
Thanked 93 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
ct, if they've already got corrosion forming in them...time to lop 'em off and replace em unless you really can clean it all out, bright and shiny.

Then I'd use silicon grease inside (sparingly) and yes, probably a polysulfide caulk like LifeCaulk or BoatLife to fill the outside gap, followed by a butyl wrap extending down a few inches. They're just not the right connector, they have no intrinsic way of making the wires watertight.

Of course, at nearly $50 per each half per two wires...You can understand why the marina doesn't carry a $200 solution in stock. For four wires, a "trailer" light connector, with some grease, butyl, and waterproof splices, does the job for a lot of people. Not elegant, but cost effective.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 05-03-2011
ctlow's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 27
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ctlow is on a distinguished road
sealing mast electrical connectors Reply to Thread

Thank you Minnewaska and hellosailor.

Very helpful.

One of the in-mast connectors was a trailer connector initially, but it had failed and I replaced it "as advised" by a marina. I can see how flawed that advice was. Strange that this must be a common issue but two chandleries I've been to sold similar (unsuitable) products.

I'll do better next time.

Thanks again.

Charles
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 05-03-2011
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,710
Thanks: 2
Thanked 93 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Not so strange, really. Folks want something better than trailer wiring (which the auto stores can sell so much cheaper) and the real Right Stuff is so damned expensive.

I suppose there's some kind of niche market opportunity there..."AS SEEN ON TV! Wireless Masthead Lights!" (VBG)

"Order now and we'll send you a second set free for Mothers' Day!"
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 05-21-2011
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
citykid is on a distinguished road
Hi, I'm new to site. I have an electrical line leading from the mast through a metal connector with flange through the hull.It broke the wire connection but I can't seem to follow the wire down through the hull. The wires werent long enough to pull up through the hull. Any suggestions?
thanks, sis (citykid)
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
12V electrical connectors 88' PSC34 mondofromredondo Pacific Seacraft 2 11-28-2008 01:00 PM
Sealing the inside of mast wstigg Gear & Maintenance 8 09-23-2008 01:47 AM
wire and electrical connectors online witzgall Gear & Maintenance 10 01-05-2008 12:47 PM
'quick snap' marine electrical connectors?? tenuki Gear & Maintenance 9 06-04-2007 01:29 PM
electrical butt connectors GarrettK Gear & Maintenance 3 11-15-2004 12:57 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:20 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.