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  #1  
Old 10-18-2012
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Mast wiring strain relief

I am planning on taking Lily's mast down this winter, and re-wiring it, and getting the various lights working. There is an anchor light, steaming light, deck light and VHF antenna wire. I'm not worried about the actual wiring, but about strain relief, that is the thought of 35 feet of wiring hanging from a crimp connection for the next 5 - 10 years. I am thinking of getting some tubular webbing, and wire-tieing the harness to the webbing, then bolting or riveting the webbing to the mast top and bottom, hopefully with enough tension to keep the wires from slapping. My original thought was to use the long zip tie spider method to prevent slap, but I've got internal halyards and I'm not 100% sure that would work. Any thoughts, suggestions or cautions are welcome.
Thanks in advance.

lou
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Old 10-18-2012
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lou

All those ideas sound very engineering/logical to me Lou
Taking off the strain! wonderful that you can get her down and do it right
I'll let some of the other guys get more technical
take care
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Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

Be careful friend. Don't make the wires too tight in warmer weather. On a very cold day, they will be tighter still, perhaps too tight. Leave plenty of slack.
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I was planning on generous "slack loops" , just in case I did need to make repair, I'd hate to get to the top of the mast and find out the wire was 1/4 inch too short!
Thanks,
Lou
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

The only problem with tieing themn together is if you have to work on one of them while the mast is up. I suggest you find a way to run the wires through a pvc conduit which you have attached in the mast.

It is a perfect time to also put a junction box in if you havent already so in the future when the mast comes down, everythi8ng is a quick disconnect.

Also use this time to run at least one or two messanger wires down the conduit permanently for future use.

Dave
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

Dave,
I thought about a conduit,but three things stop me, 1) doesn't address strain, 2) I don' t want to drill too many holes in the mast, 3) can' t figure out how to get the steaming/deck light wires out of the middle of the conduit to the fixtures.

The mast is deck stepped,current system is 3Dri-Plugs, deck,steaming and instrument,and the vhf coax and anchor wire through compression post and exiting in the bilge. I don't like the wires in the bilge at all. Since the mast will not be coming down that often, I'm not sure the Dri-Plugs are necessary. I'm thinking of a cable clam or similar for the through deck, a junction box in the cabin for the light wires, and a direct run for the vhf to the radio. Currently there are no instruments. I am thinking of Tacktick wireless wind instru ments, but that isn't in the budget until 2014 or 15. I will run couple of spare wires for repairs/ additions. I have this crazy hope, that supported wires, to proper connections,LED bulbs and lots of dielectric grease will hold off problems.
Thanks for making me think.
Lou
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Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

Quote:
Originally Posted by lillia28 View Post
Dave,
I thought about a conduit,but three things stop me, 1) doesn't address strain, 2) I don' t want to drill too many holes in the mast, 3) can' t figure out how to get the steaming/deck light wires out of the middle of the conduit to the fixtures.

The mast is deck stepped,current system is 3Dri-Plugs, deck,steaming and instrument,and the vhf coax and anchor wire through compression post and exiting in the bilge. I don't like the wires in the bilge at all. Since the mast will not be coming down that often, I'm not sure the Dri-Plugs are necessary. I'm thinking of a cable clam or similar for the through deck, a junction box in the cabin for the light wires, and a direct run for the vhf to the radio. Currently there are no instruments. I am thinking of Tacktick wireless wind instru ments, but that isn't in the budget until 2014 or 15. I will run couple of spare wires for repairs/ additions. I have this crazy hope, that supported wires, to proper connections,LED bulbs and lots of dielectric grease will hold off problems.
Thanks for making me think.
Lou
If you're thinking about adding a through deck fitting consider this. I did quite a bit of shopping and concluded that while a bit expensive, it's the best thing out there. You can kick it, step on it, and add as many wires later on as you want.

I run the wires through this and then to a terminal block nearby inside the boat.



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Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

My keel stepped mast is 47' high. The electrical cables run through conduit from the base to the top of the mast. The only strain relief for the electrical cables is where they exit the mast. It's been that way for 26 years, and still works.
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Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

We dont have any strain releif except at the mast head where it is cale tied. The conduit will prevent it from swinging thus reducing the swing and therefore the strain.

Dave
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Old 10-26-2012
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Re: Mast wiring strain relief

The PVC pipe conduit that Chef2sail recommends is a great idea. I did the same on my boat when I pulled the mast. I have internal halyards and the PVC conduit was the best way to organize the inside of the mast. To relieve stress on the wires, I pulled them up at the top of the mast and passed them through a clear plastic hose filled with polysulfide. This piece of hose is clamped and holds the weight of the wires, not the wires themselves. The junction box is also a good idea if you ever want to pull the mast again. It also allows you to get your voltmeter on the wires to troubleshoot. If you go with all LED lighting up the mast you can go with much thinner wire. Don't forget to change your fuses or breakers to the appropriate size for the new LED bulbs.
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