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  How many volts should I read at bow light?

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Author Topic:   How many volts should I read at bow light?
jxs226 posted 06-26-2002 10:29 AM ET (US)   Profile for jxs226   Send Email to jxs226  
Folks -

I am very close to completing re-wiring a 1964 Sakonnet. I'm worried there may be a problem with the 16 GA wires embedded within the hull that run to the bow light.

I have gotten the stern light to work perfectly. However, my digital multimeter only reads 1.6 V at the bow light. Is this the correct voltage for the bow light or not? Am I far off? I know that bulb in tiny, but 1.6 V might not be sufficient.

I love my white rub rail and don't want to face replacing it in order to re-wire the bow light.


Tom W Clark posted 06-26-2002 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The bow light is designed to work at 12v. If you are only getting 1.6 at the bow it's because to wires are old and providing too much resistance.

The wires in the old hulls were 18 gauge and do not last forever. I would assume the wire in a 1964 hull to be long gone. I suggest you run new wire to the bow light.

If you do not have an updated rub rail then you will have a challenge getting the wire there. You can run it under the "finger grip" of the hull below the rub rail but it would be much better in the long run to upgrade to the three piece Barbour rub rail used on all the Whalers from 1972 to the 1990's. You can then very easily run the wires under the insert and replace them whenever necessary.

crosley95 posted 06-26-2002 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for crosley95  Send Email to crosley95     
hey tom,

what gauge wire would you use on the rewire?

would you use the same gauge throughout any upgrades? ie gps, vhf, etc..?



Tom W Clark posted 06-26-2002 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

If there is physically enough room, I would use no less than 16 gauge marine wire for everything. Ancor makes the really good tinned wire for marine use. This is the stuff you want.

Jerry Townsend posted 06-26-2002 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Crosby - your problem could also be caused by bad connections. In fact, the connections will typically fail before the wires. But, as you and Tom were discussing, rewiring your boat is a good move. --- Jerry/Idaho
simonmeridew posted 06-26-2002 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
I second Jerry's comments. You should be getting 13.6 Volts at the light with the engine running. Try cutting back on the wire at each end of the connection an inch or so. If water /salt etc has gotten in a little nick in the insulation the strands of copper get all green and swell. You need to get back to good wire. Most of it is probably ok, maybe only an inch more or less. Check the ground connection carefully too.
jxs226 posted 06-27-2002 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jxs226  Send Email to jxs226     
Gentlemen, thanks for your helpful hints and suggestions. I was afraid of this scenario. I'll trouble-shoot all the connections and tinker with it, but if I can't get 12 V at the bow light, I guess I'll have to replace the rub rail and stay off the water at night until I do so. Damn will I miss that beautiful white rub rail though....

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