Deck Stepped Mast Wiring Connection - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-27-2007
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Deck Stepped Mast Wiring Connection

What do people use for the wiring connectiong between the deck and the mast. I was looking at using these http://www.weatherpack.com/connectors.html to make the connection fast and easy what are others doing? Thanks
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Those appear to be plastic which, in my experience, become brittle with age, especially when exposed to UV light. I suspect that breaking off the "keepers" on them will occur just as it does on automobiles-and they can be a devil to get apart. I'm sure someone here will have reference to some type of connection made of metal with a threaded waterproof cap for securing.
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Old 02-27-2007
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My boat has a male and female trailer connector...........works great
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The weatherpack product looks more robust than most and also seems to have a decent seal. I don't know why it wouldn't work very well.

I would put the tower on the bottom so that water won't run into the shroud half.

If you are worried about UV exposure, tape them up or make a canvas cover.

To facilitate disassembly, put silicone grease on the mating parts every time you put it together.

No connector will last forever in that application anyway.
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Old 02-27-2007
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do i need to worry about UV damage when all the wires and the connectors are inside the past where it will get no sunlight?

Scott
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No sun, no UV.
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Old 02-27-2007
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Cool Connectors

There are several military surplus and aircraft hardware companies that sell either Matrix or Cannon connectors that are very robust. With the proper strain relief and chaffe protection (for the service lead) the connectors will far outlast the wiring. (maybe even the boat)

Matrix and Cannon are brand names and if purchased from an aircraft parts outlet can get quite pricey. Electronics catalogues or surplus outlets will be the best source.

The connectors come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, pin configurations, wire size capacity and even several different materials. (aluminum is the most popular) Many types are water proof for the most part and you can back pot them for even more weather resistance. Some connectors require special tools to insert and extract the pins once the wires are connected but the tools are very inexpensive if you buy the plastic/nylon limited use tools. Very simple to use.

If you can operate a soldering gun, you are qualified to assemble these connectors.

I'm sure the other folks that post in this forum will have excellent alternate sources.
Good Luck!
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You will especially like the chore of disassembling an aluminum Cannon plug after it has been exposed to salt water. Be sure you get plastic housings with plastic threads.
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I have sourced connectors for boats and machines I used to build for the special fx industry from here: http://www.e-sonic.com

Look at their catalogue under harsh environment connectors. They have a huge selection. The advantage of the amphenol (similar to cannon mentioned above) stuff is that you can purchase bulkhead fittings so that you never have to worry about sealing a wire passing through the deck.

Having said that, if you are willing to have a wire pass through the deck, the stuff you found looks better than most, and even crappy ones work well for a while

Well anodized aluminum stuff with antisieze on the threads stand up pretty well to salt. Cheap stuff unprotected does not.
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Old 02-28-2007
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Cool Connectors

As was stated, the aluminum connectors are very resistant to corrosion from salt, etc. due to the alclad coatings and a heat cured zinc chromate coating. There are stainless steel connectors at the higher end of the spectrum but brace yourself for the cost.

Many of the connectors are of course specifically designed for what you're going to use it for and you can even get connectors that are essentially hermetically sealed once engaged. Way Expensive.

The necessary (usually rubber) gaskets are supplied with the unit. Especially in the bulkhead type connectors. (Caution! Tiny screws and nuts involved)

There is a company in Roanoake, Tx by the name of BASCO that deals with these connectors. I don't have a number for them considering where I'm at right now but they should have a website.

A popular but expensive connector that goes by the brand name of HiRel should also be looked at for comparison. You probably won't want to use it but it will round out your knowledge of connector extremes.

Many bulhead connectors also come with a cover that has a lanyard to the plug base. When the mast is off and the connector is disconnected, the deck pass-through side can be covered to prevent water pooling, damage, etc.

Good Luck!
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