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  #21  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

My halyards are all external, so that's not a problem. And, the foam is soft enough and remains attached to the pull line so you can remove it at any time to install another wire if needed.

One of the reasons the conduit would be quite expensive is first all wiring must be disconnected, then the mast must be removed and placed on support stands, which in many instances are nothing more than saw horses. Next, all wiring must be removed from the mast interior, then the conduit is measured, exit ports for spreader and mast light must be drilled at the correct locations, then the conduit is positioned outside the mast and pop-rivet holes are drilled in both the conduit and mast--all of this prior to inserting inside the mast. Once all the holes are drilled, then the wiring is installed inside the conduit and anchored at 18-inch intervals. Naturally, the original wires would be replaced with NEW, tinned, marine grade wire, which adds tremendously to the expense.

The next step is to insert the entire assembly into the mast, which requires 3 to 4 people to pick up and walk the conduit to the end of the mast so it can be inserted. Once the conduit is inside the mast, someone holds each end in place while another person pop-rivets the conduit in place. The person doing the riveting is usually laying on the ground beneath the mast.

Finally, the wiring is reconnected to the mast lights, antenna, etc..., then the crane lifts the mast, reinserts it through the cabin top, the rigging is reattached, the mast boot and seals are reinstalled, then the wires exiting the base of the mast are reconnected to their appropriate connectors and resealed with silicone cement.

Now you have an idea why the cost of installing a PVC electrical conduit inside a mast is cost prohibitive. Most of the marinas I talked with said they would not even quote a price for this, saying the only way they would undertake the task would be on a time and materials basis. Some facilities said they would not consider doing the job at all.

After considering all the options, the foam rubber blocks strung inside the mast seem to be the most economical and logical solution.

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions everyone,

Gary
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  #22  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Gary, wait until you have to take down your mast at a future date and do it right with the PVC pipe then. It's something you can do yourself with one helper. It's not quite as complicated as you describe. In the mean time the foam blocks should do the trick, especially as you have all external halyards.

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  #23  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

The last boat we installed a conduit in was a Pearson 33'. The mast was to be painted so we stripped the mast and installed the conduit. That took four hours. At 75.00 per hour, plus the conduit and rivets that came to about 300.60. Add in the crane fee, 150.00 each way, that comes to about 660.00.

We ended up doing a complete rerig, complete rewiring, added a led anchor light, spartite and a bunch of extra stuff so the final bill was more like 4 grand.
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  #24  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

You don't need pipe at all. Just take some zip ties and wrap them around your bundle of wires about every 3'. Leave the protruding ends of the zip ties on, and point them in different directions. You can even do this with the mast still on. Just pull all the wires out the top of the mast, and add the zip ties as you push the wire bundle down the mast again.
Zip Ties.

These will keep your wires from knocking against the inside of the mast. I've done this and it worked perfectly.
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Quote:
You don't need pipe at all. Just take some zip ties and wrap them around your bundle of wires about every 3'. Leave the protruding ends of the zip ties on, and point them in different directions. You can even do this with the mast still on. Just pull all the wires out the top of the mast, and add the zip ties as you push the wire bundle down the mast again.
Zip Ties.

These will keep your wires from knocking against the inside of the mast. I've done this and it worked perfectly.
Sure that works for silencing the wires, but it doesn't prevent the possibility of chafing between the halyard and the wires. It also doesn't allow for the possibility of running a wire up later without dropping the mast again and removing the whole bundle.

By the way, the foam idea is a really bad one. I drilled into a mast once to install a cheek block for lazy jacks on a Morgan 41' OI about thirty feet up the mast. Water streamed out of the 3/16" hole for about five minutes.
Turns out the guy had squirted foam into the mast to stop the slapping wires and it created a dam. In a number of places.
And talk about a nightmare to remove the stuff if you ever decide to do it right.
Bad idea.
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Knothead, not quite. You can pull the whole wire bundle out the top, cut the zip ties and then drop a new bundle down again, if you ever need to add or change a wire. I've done this.
Because the wires are still free inside the mast, I can't see much chance for chafing with a halyard. they will just move out of the way.
I've used this method for 7 years and have not faced either of the problems you mentioned. Perhaps someone else has.
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Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Why not put the wires in some PVC conduit and then wrap the zip-ties around the conduit to keep it from rattling? You would have to use more and/or heavier zip-ties because of the mass of the conduit. But, the wires would be protected from the halyards and you wouldn't have to drill holes in the mast. Might be awkward getting the conduit into the mast without dropping the rig to do it, however.

Oh, and leave a messenger in the conduit for any future additions.

EDIT:
Oops. Never mind. I forgot about getting wires out of the conduit at intermediate places along the mast (spreader lights, steaming light, radar). Anytime a wire came out of the conduit, if the conduit wasn't firmly anchored to the inside wall of the mast, the wire would be subject to chafe.
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  #28  
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

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Originally Posted by FoolishMuse View Post
Knothead, not quite. You can pull the whole wire bundle out the top, cut the zip ties and then drop a new bundle down again, if you ever need to add or change a wire. I've done this.
Because the wires are still free inside the mast, I can't see much chance for chafing with a halyard. they will just move out of the way.
I've used this method for 7 years and have not faced either of the problems you mentioned. Perhaps someone else has.
You're right of course. I don't mean to say that your method won't work on certain masts and be a good answer for a lot of people. However, many spars out there just don't lend themselves to that method. A lot of mastheads are welded and not bolted and it would be next to impossible to remove a bundle of wires from the top.
Then you have your steaming light wire, your deck light wire, your radar cable that I assume are also ziptied to this bundle.

I'm just used to working for other people and I know that I can't get away with doing it your way. For diy's it may make sense. From my standpoint, it's just better to contain the wires in a conduit, not connected to each other. There are advantages to this method that may or may not be important to the boat owner at some time in the future.
For instance, if the anemometer acts up and the process of elimination leaves only the cable, it could be important to be able to pull a replacement cable through without having to go aloft, remove the masthead, and pull all the wires out of the top of the mast.

It's kinda like why I advise my customers on certain pieces of hardware over another. The likelihood of a problem or failure is small, but the problems that I've observed over a couple of decades in the business has been associated with one type more than the other so that's what I recommend.

I've observed way more problems over the years when shortcuts and "creative" methods have been employed to silence wires inside a mast.
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  #29  
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Gary,
My mast is down and I'm going to do the same thing I did on last boat that I was very happy with. I have internal halyards too and slapping wires and halyards keep me awake. So I bought 50 feet of black poly spiral wrap from McMaster Carr and wrapped the cables in that making a nice neat bundle. Then I got so 2" thick Ethafoam polyethylene foam 2" thick. Its used for packaging things like LCD TVs and such on the corners. It is NOT styrofoam which is ridgid and breaks. I hold it against the end of the mast and trace around the mast with a marker, Then I use a sharp knife to cut out the oval to the outside dimension of the mast. I cut a small notch at the front edge for the wire bundle. I sharpen the edge on a sink tailpiece pipe to cut a round hole in the middle. The halyards all go up the center holes. I then use my whisker pole to push them in from both ends, spaced about 3 feet apart.

Ahhh! Silent halyards! Life is good.

Gary H. Lucas
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  #30  
Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Ethafoam is great stuff and I use it for lots of things, including lining my music keyboard cases, camera cases, and other things that I want to anchor in place and not have to worry with the Styrofoam beads. Never thought about using for this application, and because I just had the standing rigging replaced last summer, I don't want to undergo the expense and troubles of pulling the mast again.

Thanks for the tips,

Gary
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