SailNet Community banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am preparing to work on my mast. I will add a tri-light and anchor light combo and will run the cable for a new VHF antenna. What recommendations do you all have on connectors for the wiring and cable? The existing wiring and the connector at the base of the mast is in pretty bad shape. The antenna cable will be a new addition.
I will appreciate any help. This is my first sailboat so please excuse me when I use incorrect terminology or have to ask you to explain what you said because this is all new.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
Are you doing this in the water or on the hard (land)? I'm preparing to do the same thing but will wait until I put the boat on the hard. It's much easier and I need to secure the wires as they slap when the boat rocks and it drives me crazy!

At the base of the mast, I use a "project box" I buy at Radio Shack. Don't laugh... they work, and I haven't found better options elsewhere! The common NEG for Tri-color, Spreader, Anchor and Steaming lights are shown attached to a barrier strip. The Pos. wires will be attached below, and the strip will be placed in the box. The open box is in the background.

The wires for my wind instrument will be attached to another barrier strip and placed in a smaller box.
I've included a picture of similar closed boxes I've used in other locations.

For connections and wire, I go to: Marine Wiring, Boat Cable and Electrical Genuinedealz.com
Found them on this forum. HIGHLY recommended.
They also have a online calculator you will need (or something like it) to determine correct wire gauge.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
578 Posts
This worked great for our Raymarine re-install Cantex 8 x 8 x 4 PVC Water Tight Junction Box 8"x8"x4" Surface Mount | eBay fits into any locker (they come as small as 4 x 4 x 2)
Mounted it in cockpit locker for pilot & gps, ran a spare 12v conductor, added 12v Windex light inside and then a cockpit light. All cables have strain relief connectors; all neat, tidy, waterproof. Everything labelled & clear heat shrink per Main Sail, just in case :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
L124C,
Half and Half. The boat is in the water and the mast is down. I am removing it to do the work. I have a Columbia 22 and the mast can be handled by two people.
Thank you for the photos and information.
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,495 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: jimgo and James757

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
This worked great for our Raymarine re-install Cantex 8 x 8 x 4 PVC Water Tight Junction Box 8"x8"x4" Surface Mount | eBay fits into any locker (they come as small as 4 x 4 x 2)
Mounted it in cockpit locker for pilot & gps, ran a spare 12v conductor, added 12v Windex light inside and then a cockpit light. All cables have strain relief connectors; all neat, tidy, waterproof. Everything labelled & clear heat shrink per Main Sail, just in case :cool:
Sounds good, but that link doesn't provide much info, and the picture isn't much better (what's the round thing?). Do you have a shot with the cover off? How is it water tight (neoprene gaskets?)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
For the record I ended up using 18-22 AWG ring connectors and a barrier strip for my wind instrument connections. Didn't bother putting it in a box as it's in the head, out of the way and moisture shouldn't be a problem. Don't know how it works because the instrument or transducer failed a long time ago. Raymarine couldn't sort it out and I gave up trying. Anyway, I can disconnect the wires to pull the stick now. The next owner can deal with Raymarine!
Bought one of the plastic screw strips mentioned earlier, but was told by someone (who should know) that the only problem is the screws are usually steel and corrode.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
eherlihy's link is perfect for VHf connectors. Don't use RG58 cable if you're installing the antenna at the top of the mast. I recommend LMR240 for runs under 100' which yours will certainly be. The cable is thin and flexible while loss is minimal. Spending more for RG8, 213, LMR400, etc is just a waste of money on a cable run your size. Unless you are familiar with soldering PL-259's, I would just purchase a cheap crimping tool ($30) and crimp-on connectors - like the Compass Marine link shows. Shakespeare makes a kind of clamp on connector that pinches the cable to make contact - don't waste your money unless you want to use it as an emergency replacement when you have few tools. Weather seal your connectors after you connect it to the antenna and deck fitting. They aren't waterproof and even the one's that claim to be weatherproof will let water in fairly quickly.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
Are you doing this in the water or on the hard (land)? I'm preparing to do the same thing but will wait until I put the boat on the hard. It's much easier and I need to secure the wires as they slap when the boat rocks and it drives me crazy!
Most yards won't let you go up the mast on the hard. Frankly I wouldn't go up on land.

Talk to your yard about what you want to do and take their advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Many yachts do not take the mast down every year. If you are one of them, I recommend not to have any connector at all. Take the cables straight through and leave some extra cable just below the through hole. Next time you take the mast down, cut the cable and insert the connector then. Saves corrosion problems and gives the best performance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
Most yards won't let you go up the mast on the hard. Frankly I wouldn't go up on land. Talk to your yard about what you want to do and take their advice.
No...They pull the stick before they put the boat on the hard, and step it when the boat is back in the water. That's why I needed a way to disconnect the wires at the mast step (keel stepped BTW). I need to inspect the base and rigging, need access to the base to rewire the mast and probably replace the spreaders anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
Many yachts do not take the mast down every year. If you are one of them, I recommend not to have any connector at all. Take the cables straight through and leave some extra cable just below the through hole. Next time you take the mast down, cut the cable and insert the connector then. Saves corrosion problems and gives the best performance.
I don't understand. You recommend not having a connector, then installing one? What's the difference if I do it when the mast is stepped or not?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
A good solution is a terminal strip inside the boat, under the deck where the wires exit. This leaves continuous wires anywhere they can get wet. No connector needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
729 Posts
I understand that you are taking the mast down at every haul out so you do need a connector. However, the original suggestion that you don't put a connector in made sense for me in that my mast stays in the boat at haul out. That was 15 years ago and I still don't have a connector. Sure...when the mast is pulled I'll cut the wire and put one in, but for those 15 years another source for degradation of the signal has been removed.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,689 Posts
A good solution is a terminal strip inside the boat, under the deck where the wires exit. This leaves continuous wires anywhere they can get wet. No connector needed.
That's fine, and good practice, for lights. No so good for radio and radar or even Ethernet. Couplers are okay for Ethernet. Couplers are okay for VHF although a shielded box with an SO-239 is better and an in-line SO-239 better yet (see https://www.therfc.com/uhf.htm or Tower Electronics Online Wholesale Catalog - Page One ). For radar that includes coax definitely check with the manufacturer, or use a radar pole on the stern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
One easy way to prevent cable noise in the mast is to attach the wire bundle with 3 zip ties with tails left on and rotated 120d each. The zip ties tails will keep your wires in the center of the mast.

I put a tie wrap trio every 18-24 inches and sleep tight.

If your wires exit inside the cabin near the roof make sure your wires drop down before exiting, as it will prevent water that gets into the mast from following the wires into the cabin.

Good luck with your project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
A simple but effective approach would be to mount he VHF antenna on the stern pulpit and thereby eliminate the connector. For the lights use a Cole-Hersee trailer plug and socket set. The plug and sockets are protected with a rubber boot. They're available with from two to four pins.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top