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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?
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Thread: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-17-2013 05:46 PM
budvar
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

Didn't mean to open up a big can of worms, but thanks, all!

Kedjujo: For the LED's, I went with Marinebeam, and Dr. LED. Can't say how I'm satisfied yet, as am installing this weekend. Prices weren't too bad, though. Check out their websites.

Chris
07-13-2013 08:58 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
I get the large wire is less likely to break. so how are the ABYC saying to connect the small wire pig tales that come on most of the new LED light fixtures.
Those wires would be connected with a properly sized step down butt connector and should never see any load..


Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
what about the breaker size, if you use a 15 amp breaker like most panels come with the 14 ga is good but the small pig tale will become fused link at the fixture
An 18 or 20 gauge wire will absolutely not become a fused link to a 15A breaker. The max ampacity tables show 20A for an 18GA wire and they then allow for 150% of that rating. I have physically blown fuses far larger than the ABYC ampacity rating and in a dead short the fuse pops without even heating the wire jacket. As an example I blew a 300A MRBF on 15' of 8GA wire using a liFePO4 battery bank capable of throwing 20,000+ amps into a dead short. The max ampacity for 8GA wire, at 100%, is 80A.... The wire never even got hot before the 300A fuse blew... Of course you can always change a breaker to a 5A or 10A version, and I do this quite often in circuits that can be "loaded" variably such as house lighting with incandescent bulbs, fans etc. or 12V Outlets or nav stations etc.. A nav light circuit will not be variably loaded and won't be pushing 15A for long durations, which could eventually begin to heat the wire. All we are really protecting for in a nav light circuit is a dead short from chafe etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
end and the smaller wire is still a place for breakage.
Properly installed this wire should never even move let alone take any load.


Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
the smaller wire is more likely to be the one that will chafe through where it passes through the aluminum mast. also not finding that any of the LED lighting fixtures are ABYC approved
A proper install may require those pig tails to be heat shrunk with heavy walled shrink if they pass through something sharp. That pass through should also be de-burred so it is not sharp...

A proper instal of a tri-color or all-round also requires it to be visible yet many are occluded by a wind instrument or VHF whip...

There are many ABYC A-16 / USCG approved nav lights from reputable companies such as Hella, AquaSignal, Lopo, Marine Beam and others... If it says USCG 1nm, 2nm etc. then it also meets ABYC A-16...
07-13-2013 07:31 AM
kedujo
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

This project is in my near future also. Would you post more info on the LEDs you chose, and anything else you think is relevant to the project?
07-12-2013 12:50 PM
overbored
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The bare minimum size for the wire used under ABYC standards would be 16GA. This is as much about durability as voltage drop. With 16/4 you won't have any voltage drop issues with LED but if someone were to ever convert back to incandescent then it very likely would not meet the max 3% drop for nav lights. If these are LED USCG Cert fixtures then you won't be worried about anyone swapping bulbs.

I won't put 16GA in a spar for navigation lights. The weight of the wire is often loading the strands and mast wire can get beat up pretty well. I just spent a day a few weeks ago re-wiring a spar because small wire was used and the mast was incandescent. He had also lost the wind instrument and I found one of the small 18GA wires in the bundle had snapped where it was attached to the top of the spar.. I generally leave 16GA for non-critical stuff like stereo speaker wiring...

I would stick with your 14GA. If the wire is in a conduit, not swinging free, then 16GA could certainly work but I prefer 14 GA +.....
I get the large wire is less likely to break. so how are the ABYC saying to connect the small wire pig tales that come on most of the new LED light fixtures. what about the breaker size, if you use a 15 amp breaker like most panels come with the 14 ga is good but the small pig tale will become fused link at the fixture end and the smaller wire is still a place for breakage. the smaller wire is more likely to be the one that will chafe through where it passes through the aluminum mast. also not finding that any of the LED lighting fixtures are ABYC approved
07-12-2013 10:42 AM
rhr1956
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

I ran 14 ga when I rewired back in the spring. The LED lights didn't need it, but I wanted a beefy wire inside the mast...just because.
07-12-2013 07:07 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

The bare minimum size for the wire used under ABYC standards would be 16GA. This is as much about durability as voltage drop. With 16/4 you won't have any voltage drop issues with LED but if someone were to ever convert back to incandescent then it very likely would not meet the max 3% drop for nav lights. If these are LED USCG Cert fixtures then you won't be worried about anyone swapping bulbs.

I won't put 16GA in a spar for navigation lights. The weight of the wire is often loading the strands and mast wire can get beat up pretty well. I just spent a day a few weeks ago re-wiring a spar because small wire was used and the mast was incandescent. He had also lost the wind instrument and I found one of the small 18GA wires in the bundle had snapped where it was attached to the top of the spar.. I generally leave 16GA for non-critical stuff like stereo speaker wiring...

I would stick with your 14GA. If the wire is in a conduit, not swinging free, then 16GA could certainly work but I prefer 14 GA +.....
07-12-2013 06:42 AM
CorvetteGuy
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

14 gauge is a bit big for led mast lights. I would get 16 gauge for that and use the 14 for any 110v lights or recepticles you have on the interior.
07-12-2013 02:57 AM
overbored
Re: Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

14 is a bit large 18 would be more than enough. remember the fuse or breaker is sized to protect the smallest wire in the circuit not the device at the end of the wire. so if the leads supplied on the LED are smaller then #16 wire you need a breaker sized for the smaller size wire.
07-12-2013 12:27 AM
budvar
Rewiring Mast. What Gauge?

Thanks for all previous help. You guys are great.

I'm rewiring my U.S. Yacht 25' mast. Mast is down. Have all new LED lights to install. Have the crimper, marine heat shrink connectors. Have 50 feet of 14 ga. 14/4.

My question. Is this too heavy or extravagant? I'm a nurse (always overbuild in things we don't know much about). I am going to Fisherman's supply this weekend, can pick up 16/4 if needed (if available), and can use the 14/4 to rewire the interior.

Thanks!
Chris
Pasco, Wa.

 
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