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Old 11-25-2006
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Question Rewiring the Mast

I am planning to rewire the anchor, spreader and masthead lights on my Morgan 32.
Curently the wiring configuration is as follows:
Anchor Light: 14/2 cable WT and BK wires. WT+ and BK-.
Spreader and Masthead Lights: 14/3 cable WT, GN & BK wires. WT+ fo the Masthead Light, GN+ for the Spreader Lights. BK- common for both the Masthead and Spreader Lights. Also, the black wires from each cable are tied together at the base of the mast making one ground (negaive) connection for all of the mast's lights.

I have a problem believeing th is the correct color code by today's standards.

Because there is almost 20' between the anchor light connection and the spreader/masthead lights' connections, I want to stay with a two cable senario. (The 14/5 mast wiring cable by Ancor would not be practical for this application.)

Staying within today's standards, how should I proceed?
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If you are going to stay with the 2 cable system you are stuck with whatever colours are in the cables and as long as you keep the black negative it is fine. Why are you rewiring?
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Rewiring

The existing wires are corroded an the insullation is brittle. Plus, the mast is down while I'm renovating the boat.
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Do you have a conduit running up the mast? If not, you should probably add one.

Also, you may want to run three wires up to the top of the mast, so you can upgrade to a tricolor/anchor light or add a tricolor at some point in the future without running a new cable.
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Rewiring The Mast

In response to your question; yes. there is a conduit inside the mast.
Also, adding extra wiring would be a good idea if I had future plans to add a tricolor. However, I have no such plans at this time.
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Yes, but you've got the mast down now and it's easy to do NOW, even if you have no plans at present to upgrade. If you decide to later, you'll be very glad you thought ahead.

If nothing else you'll have a back-up in place just in case.
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"as long as you keep the black negative it is fine. "
Not any more. Black is used as the color for the neutral ("return") in AC mains wiring, but on shipboard DC systems the new standards have been YELLOW for negative and red for positive, for years now. Since there's a real possibility of getting those two very different black wires crossed and doing major harm...No more black wires on boats.

Duke, it might be simpler and cheaper to buy a 50' or 100' spool of the 14x5 cable, and then simply slit back the outer jacket for a foot or so where you need to pull out the spreader wires. If you can't pull those two wires back all the way in the jacket, just cut them at that point and leave the rest in the jacket. (Yeah, heresy if you're a racer and concerned about weight aloft, I know.) And yes, you can "t" into the ground wire that's coming down from the masthead in that same place, no reason you'd have to run separate grounds, just make neat splices and seals.

AFAIK ground should be green these days, same in AC and DC systems.
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Old 11-26-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
"as long as you keep the black negative it is fine. "
Black is used as the color for the neutral ("return") in AC mains wiring.....
Not sure where you are, but AC neutrals in North America are white, with the black being the hot. Are you saying shipboard shore power systems are different?

In Industry, though there is no standard or "code" as there is for AC, for DC ccts we use white for positive and black for negative, with the odd example of red for positive.

Unfortunately when electricians have installed DC control equipment they often stick to their "black-hot-positive" and white for ""neutral" which leads to some confusion.

Is the yellow/red an ABYC standard?
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Duke-

Just be aware that a mast-top tricolor is far more visible, especially in heavy seas, where the deck level lights may be hidden by the seas.

Also, the further away your tricolor is visible, the more likely it is that a big ship can avoid you.
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Hellosailor, If he uses single conductors he can use yellow, however he wanted to run cable and is stuck with the colours available in the cable. There will always be a black. I would run single conductors for any DC though and follow the yellow standard. Most items come with a black negative wire and while what you say makes sense (except as pointed out above the neutral in an AC circuit by US and Canadian codes has to be white) it is not always possible.
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