Drill through guard or pedestal? - SailNet Community

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Old 05-18-2010
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Drill through guard or pedestal?

Couple of questions as I don't like drilling holes in boats.
  1. I need to run a cable for an X-5 Autopilot drive. I have good access from below decks up inside the pedestal. I'd prefer to run it this way as it will result in a shorter length of exposed cable in the cockpit (vs. running it through the pedestal guard). I can secure the cable inside the pedestal so it wouldn't present a hazard to the steering system. Any other concerns about drilling a 1/4" hole in, or running cable up the pedestal vs. the guard? Am I risking getting water inside the pedestal or is it practical to make that pass through water tight?

  2. Any personal experience with grommets for weather tightness and to protect from abrasion against the drilled metal? Would something like this hold up above decks?

Rubber Grommet Assortment Kit

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Old 05-18-2010
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Weatherproofing isn't a problem. The grommets are good for chafe guard. Just coat the wire and grommet with a marine sealant for additional protection.

I'd be a bit concerned about passing autopilot wires thru the pedestal if they're anywhere near your compass. As you know, any current passing thru a wire creates an electromagnetic field around the wire; the strength of that field -- and the potential for mischief -- depends on several factors. You might run a test...if that's practical...before finalizing the installation.

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Old 05-18-2010
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Any time that a wire will be installed through any thing you should use chafe protection. That is the only function of the grommet. This would apply to passing the wire / cable through either your pedestal, or the pedestal guard.

If you are concerned about waterproofing, get one of these;

or these;

or these;

BTW - these are called Deck Glands

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Last edited by eherlihy; 05-18-2010 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 05-18-2010
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As you refer indirectly above, be careful to keep the wire away from moving parts inside the pedestal...chains, cables, etc.

That said, I considered the same but found it more attractive to run up inside a guard tube then enter the instrument box without ever exposing the cable - a cleaner look and I think safer from abraision and weather. I 'hogged out' the SS tube right where the navpod box attaches and passed the AP cable into the navpod at that point. No unsightly wires.

Good luck.

Last edited by Pub911; 05-18-2010 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 05-18-2010
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I'd pass it through the rail as mentioned above through something as simple as a grommet. I, personally, would not get too bent out of shape about "weatherproofing" the penetration. Ensure, if your decks are cored, that the hole you make in the deck at the base of the rail is sealed from the core. However ... I wouldn't make the (ineffective) mess of installing a grommet with sealant. It's not going to work very well in this location ... simply due to the combined difficulties of the curved sealing surfaces and potential for relative motion of wire in grommet or grommet in rail if you ever bump the cable.

Any amount of water entry through this penetration would collect harmlessly in the rail foot and if it does happen to drip into the boat ... would be so minimal you might as well call it humidity. It's not going to sink your boat if you don't get a cable penetration through a pedestal rail absolutely waterproof.
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Old 05-20-2010
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I installed all of our chartplotter and autopilot cables up throught the pedestal gaurd. Used a bolt with fishing line to fish the line up through the tubes and out the drilled hole. Gromet on the drilled hole. Do not forget to put rubber on the lower edges of gaurd tubes so their is no chafe when the line enters from the engine area into the pedestal gaurd. Also secure the cables so they do not swing or pull once installed.

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