what size wire for new anchor light? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-15-2012 Thread Starter
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what size wire for new anchor light?

I'm adding a LED anchor light to the top of a mast that has an input current of 0.90 (.065 typical) . The distance from the main battery to the top of the mast is 50 feet (of wire)..what gauge wire do I need to run up the mast? There's a buss-bar right inside the cabin at the base of the mast this mast wire would connect to.

Thanks in advance for help on this. I've got a Don Casey book back at home that has a nifty chart for wire runs & wire sizes I use, but I'm not at home!

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post #2 of 13 Old 05-15-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

I'd go 18 guage....tinned wire....for one LED anchor light...and that length run...sure
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

killick-
Let's say you are starting with 12.4 volts in the battery, a 100' r/t run of wire, and a 1 amp load. Using 18AWG wire would drop you to just under 11 volts, probably good enough to please the regulator in the LED light but.

Suppose the light wants to see 12+ volts, or it fails and you need to grab a conventional tungsten light to replace it. That's more like a 2A load and you'd need 10AWG wire to keep that at 12v with a 12.4 battery.

I'd suggest that unless you are racing and really trying to keep weight aloft down, you use a heavier guage than the minimum. IIRC the ABYC requires nothing smaller than 16AWG? anyhow, partly because even tinned wire needs some mechanical strength, and heavier wire has better strength.

Depending on what your LED light actually needs to work with? Even at 0.9A you'd need 12AWG to keep 12V to the top. A white LED typically pnly needs about 4-5V, plus some overhead if there's a regulator involved. You might want to ask the maker.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-15-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

I just replaced my anchor light with an LED and 18 AWG. Although mine only draws .3 amps, you will be fine with 18 AWG.
If you buy a good quality 3 conductor data cable it will have a small wire in it that will work great for hanging it and taking the weight of the cable.
Most if not all LED's will ignite at 9 volts.
If the light packs it in just get another similar one and replace it.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

Thanks Guys!

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post #6 of 13 Old 05-16-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

I believe ABYC specifies a minimum wire size on a boat as AWG16. I'd certainly use that size anyway because of voltage drop alone, as noted in an earlier post.

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post #7 of 13 Old 05-17-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

This chart?

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Originally Posted by preservedkillick View Post
I'm adding a LED anchor light to the top of a mast that has an input current of 0.90 (.065 typical) . The distance from the main battery to the top of the mast is 50 feet (of wire)..what gauge wire do I need to run up the mast? There's a buss-bar right inside the cabin at the base of the mast this mast wire would connect to.

Thanks in advance for help on this. I've got a Don Casey book back at home that has a nifty chart for wire runs & wire sizes I use, but I'm not at home!
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-17-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

With the length of 18 AWG? wire I have of 120ft, I have a voltage loss of
.23V.
You have me thinking about what size wire I acually have. I know I upgraded my wind machine from 22 gauge to 18 but I am not sure what was recommended for the anchor light.
I'm going out to the boat today to finish wiring everything up so I will check the size of the anchor lights wire.

Last edited by Dog Ship; 05-17-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-17-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

As far as I remember the ABYC minimum for 16 gauge wire is only for a single, free standing wire. duplex wire in a plastic sheath does not apply.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-17-2012
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Re: what size wire for new anchor light?

Using a standalone LED lantern, or one wired to your boat's electric system, hanging in the foretriangle (about half-way up) is more visible in an anchorage. A masthead light can be seen a long way off (especially on a fifty-foot mast). However, anyone tooling around near-shore is much more likely to notice a light a bit lower down. This is particularly true on a misty/foggy night. At anchor, it's usually more important that other can see you from < 500 yards as opposed to 10 nm away. A lantern will also illuminate the foredeck a bit, making checking the anchor rode, et cetera, that much easier.

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