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Author Topic:   Navigation Lamp Wiring with Dual Bulb Masthead Lamp
montauk madness posted 05-16-2006 11:22 AM ET (US)   Profile for montauk madness   Send Email to montauk madness  
I took my boat out last night for the first time this year and noticed my navigation lights won't come on. [The navigation light circuit is controlled by] a [three] position push-pull switch. The anchor light does come on in the [second of the three] positions. All the lights worked when I stored it last fall. My boat is a 1989 Outrage 20.

Thanks,
Jeff

Tom W Clark posted 05-16-2006 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Very common problem Jeff. The connections get a little crusty from corrosion and they suffer too much resistance.

Try fiddling with the terminals on the switch itself or pull/push the switch over and over. I suspect the lights will come on but you might consider just buying a new Cole-Hersee switch the next time you are at a chandlery.

Buckda posted 05-16-2006 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I agree with Tom - this is a common complaint. Be sure to get the three-position switch. They are inexpensive, and you should consider buying two - having one as a backup in your toolkit.

If it get's down to it, pull the switch and use a fingernail file to clean the connections, then use dielectric grease to protect it from happening again.

Dave

jimh posted 05-16-2006 03:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Basic electrical troubleshooting procedures will help you find the problem.

Begin at the load where you anticipate having voltage. Measure the voltage. If there is no voltage, follow the conductor from the load back toward the source of the voltage. When you reach the next device, measure the voltage. At some point you will find the voltage. You have now found the point from which the problem is downstream. Begin to inspect all devices such as connections, splices, terminals, fuses, switches, circuit breakers, lugs, crimps, etc., looking for some device or connection which has failed. In this way you will located the problem. When you located the device causing the problem you can choose to repair or replace the device.

In circuits which operate at 12-volts DC it is very common that a slight bit of corrosion or insulation on a conductor will prevent conduction. With a low voltage circuit the Electromotive Force (EMF) or voltage will not be able to jump through the insulating layer and restore the circuit. In higher voltage circuits the EMF can jump through small amounts of insulating corrosion and self-restore the circuit. With 12-volts it takes but a very thin layer of insulation to prevent flow of current.

Because boats are operating in a wet environment, it is common for electrical connections to become corroded. If you have any bare copper conductors, they will for an oxide of copper which may not be conductive. Silver is much preferred because silver oxides are conductive. For this reason almost all wiring used in a marine application should be tinned and connections should be tinned or silver platted, not bare copper.

Switch contacts should not be cleaned with rough abrasives. Usually a switch contact can be restored by careful cleaning. If an abrasive is needed use 600-grit emery cloth. You can wet-sand with a cleaner like WD-40. The contacts should be very smooth, almost polished.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-16-2006 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
It's the switch. Since the anchor light comes on in the
first position, the switch has voltage, and the anchor light
bulb and wiring are good. Since the anchor light fails in
the second position, it's gotta be the switch.


Chuck

jimh posted 05-16-2006 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A shot of WD-40 and operating the switch a few times may be helpful.

If you decide to replace the switch, make a detailed sketch of how it is wired so you will be able to install a replacement.

montauk madness posted 05-20-2006 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
Now I'm really stumped. I replaced the switch and now I have the anchor light on the the first position and only the mast running light coming on in the second position.

I checked the bulbs and they're ok.

Any ideas?

Jeff

Tom W Clark posted 05-20-2006 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jeff,

I know what the problem is. You bought the wrong switch. (An aside: Boy! I hope it wasn't the one I told you to buy.)

You want a switch where circuit #1 comes on on the first position and then circuit #1 AND #2 come on in the second position.

It sounds as if you have a switch where circuit #1 comes on the first position and circuit #2 comes on in the second.

montauk madness posted 05-20-2006 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
Tom, I bought a Cole Hersee M-531BP. They didn't have the 532 in stock and they thought the 531 would work. Do I need to track down a 532 and pull this one out.

I thought the anchor light was supposed to go off when the running lights came on. The light would be right in my face as I'm running otherwise.

Jeff

Tom W Clark posted 05-20-2006 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jeff,

No, the 531 will not work. You need the 532. I did not explain myself very well. Let me try again.

Your boat, if it still has the factory navigation light configuration, actually has three light circuits that need to be switched. Let's list them:

#1 -- The Masthead light. This is the forward 225 degree white light coming out of the console.

#2 -- The port and starboard running lights AND the aft facing 135 degree white stern light.

#3 -- The aft 135 degrees of the Anchor light.

With the Cole Hersee 532 the first On position will light #1 and #2, thus you will NOT have the light in your face while running.

With the switch pulled to the second position, circuits #1 and #3 will be lit which creates the complete 360 degree all around white anchor light, but not the port and starboard nor the stern light

There is no way to wire the 531 that way as it set up to light only #1 on the first pull and only #2 on the second pull.

jimh posted 05-21-2006 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom's description of the switch's functionality sounds like he is describing a two-pole three-position switch. Let's look at how each pole is wired.

The switch is supplied with +12-volts. It has three positions. We call these OFF, ON-1, and ON-2. The switch has three two poles. The we call these P1 and P2. The switch appears to be wired like this:

P1:
OFF = no connection
ON-1 = MASTHEAD aft portion
ON-2 = STERN LIGHT and SIDE LIGHTS

P2:
OFF = no connection
ON-1 = MASTHEAD forward portion
ON-2 = MASTHEAD forward portion

This wiring results in the vessel showing the following navigation lights:

OFF = no lights
ON-1 = vessel at anchor
ON-2 = vessel underway under power

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-22-2006 01:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
It has two poles, not three poles.


Chuck

jimh posted 05-22-2006 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes--I agree. That's what I said above, isn't it? Oops wait I said is has two poles twice then said it has three poles once. So two poles wins--2 to 1. That's what I meant. I'll fix that later. Maybe even make a schematic. This is an interesting little switch.
Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Tom,

The first position of the switch is "Anchor", not running.

The second pull is "Running" lights.

I think you got it backwards from your statement above.

There are two bulbs to the masthead light.
Forward facing and rear facing.

The first position at anchor should light up BOTH masthead bulbs for 360º lighting at anchor.

The second pull should turn on the red and green bow nav lights, the forward facing masthead light and the stern rear facing light. It should also turn off the aft facing masthead light as you mention so it is not in your face.

Whaler may or may not have the stern, rear facing light on when at anchor. I have not determined that for sure as every boat I have had, someone had always rearrange the wires...

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
See this photo of an original switch panel.

http://www.whalercentral.com/images/photoalbum/331.jpg

Nothing like a photo of original parts to clarify what we are talking about.

Tom W Clark posted 05-22-2006 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Joe,

I edited my last post after I initially composed it. In the process I reversed the positions of the lights on my 5th and 6th paragraphs.

HOWEVER, either way will work and either way is proper, it is merely a matter of switching poles. In fact my own Revenge 25 is wired so the running lights come on with the first pull and the anchor light comes on with the second pull.

"Whaler may or may not have the stern, rear facing light on when at anchor."

No Joe, there is no ambiguity there. If both lights aren't on, it's NOT an anchor light and it's not wired correctly.

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Tom,

Here's my take...

The Masthead light when both forward and rear facing lights are on provide a 360º anchor light.
Why would the stern rear facing light need to be on at this time?

I can understand when you are underway that the rear facing stern light needs to be on because the rear facing masthead light is OFF so it doesn't blind the pilot.
With the forward facing masthead light ON and the rear facing stern light ON, this give you 360º white running lights along with the red and green bow navigation lights.

Please explain to me why the rear facing stern light has to be ON at anchor when you already have the 360º masthead light on used for the anchor light.

Curious mind.........

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
I also admit I do not know how to count POLES.

However, I don't think this switch is a standard 2 pole switch as one of the first two terminals needs to go OFF when in the second pole position. In that first position, 2 terminals are ON... In the second position, one of these terminals stays ON and the other terminal goes off plus another terminal becomes ON..

So,
First position = 2 terminals ON
Second position = 1 of the first terminals ON, the other terminal OFF and 1 new terminal turns ON

Who's on First? What?

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
OK, I wrote my own article on this.
If anyone sees anything wrong with the way it is wired, Please let me know.

http://www.whalercentral.com/readarticle.php?article_id=51

I see no need to have the rear facing stern light on when in the first anchor position as there is already the 360º masthead light on for this purpose.
However, I could be wrong...

If you look at a Classic Montauk navigation light system, it is a little different as the stern anchor light is already 360º. With the Montauk system, the first position of the switch turns on the stern 360º anchor light. The second position turns on the bow navigation light and the stern light stays on. No terminals turn OFF in either the first or second position of the switch.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-22-2006 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Joe,

1. I can't get your article to come up. I get a page with
a link to it, but the page just refreshes when I click the
link.

2. It is indeed just an DPDT switch with an off position.
It may have the two terminals of one of the poles wired
together internally, but that's all it is.

3. I can't see where anybody said you should have the stern
light on at anchor.


Chuck

montauk madness posted 05-22-2006 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
I bought the Cole Hersee M-532BP switch today and plan to wire it up tonight.

Thanks for all your help,

I'll let you know.

Jeff

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Thanks for the heads up Chuck.

I have the article set for "Public Viewing", but you're right. It keeps refreshing back to the article section instead of the article itself.

I will have to figure that one out later on tonight... Sorry...

Here are the basics of what I found as I have a Cole Hersee switch:

quote:

The first terminal on the middle left is Power. (red wire)
In the first position: the anchor lights come on and the bottom terminal and the upper right terminal are ON.
The bottom terminal connects to the forward facing masthead light. (white wire)
The upper right terminal connects to the rear facing masthead light. (gray wire) (this terminal will go OFF in the second position)

In the second position: all the navigation lights are on with the exception of the rear facing masthead light.
The bottom terminal stays ON, the upper left terminal turns ON, and the upper right terminal turns OFF.
The upper right terminal is attached to the rear facing masthead light bulb.
The upper left terminal is connected to the red and green bow navigation lights and instrument lights if you have them. In my opinion, this is also where the rear facing stern light wire should be connected as this light does not need to be on when anchored as you already have the 360º masthead light ON serving as the anchor light.

If anyone has anymore information, please let me know.


And here is a photo to compare against the above statement:
http://www.whalercentral.com/images/photoalbum/725.jpg

ratherwhalering posted 05-22-2006 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Joe, I agree that the stern light should be off at anchor. The forward facing masthead light and the stern facing masthead light should both be on, providing 360-degrees of light. Two bulbs are now draining the battery at anchor. If the stern light is on, then there is a repetitive 135-degree light, and an extra bulb draining the battery at anchor.
Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Rob,

I knew I liked you for some reason.... :-)

That is an excellent point of which I hadn't thought of.
Only the absolutely necessary lights should be on to maximize battery longevity.

Thanks...

jimh posted 05-22-2006 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you look carefully at the switch pictured above, you can see that the bottom terminal has been connected to both positions of the bottom pole of the switch, and the top two terminals, which are on a separate pole, are each connected to one of the position of the switch.

The terminal with the red wire is the switch common and is where the +12 volts probably is applied.

It appears to be a specialized switch just for the purpose of wiring navigation lights!

Joe Kriz posted 05-22-2006 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Good eye Jim...

Yes, the rivets appear to connect to both poles of the switch whereas the top two terminals only connect to one pole.

montauk madness posted 05-22-2006 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
The Cole Hersee M-532BP was definitely the right switch for this application. I was able to correct the original problem tonight.

After trying quite a few wire/pole combinations, observing and documenting each result due to the switch looking different than the original (including Joe's), I ended up with the following:

1st position, anchor lights- Forward and aft light on the masthead on, navigation lights off.

2nd position, running lights- All navigation lights on, forward masthead light on, aft masthead light off.

Thanks for all your help,

Jeff

Tom W Clark posted 05-23-2006 01:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jeff,

I'm glad you have solved your problem and I am gratified that the part that solved it was the part I recommended you purchase in our private email exchange last Tuesday.

Joe,

Let's not make this more complicated than it need be. The Anchor Light is a 360 degree white light. On an Outrage this is the light coming out of the console. I do not believe Whaler EVER wired an Outrage that did not conform to this federal standard and I do not believe Whaler EVER wired a Stern Light to also be illuminated when the [b]Anchor Light[/b[ was on. That is not how it is done. Period.

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-23-2006 01:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Let's abandon this discussion of the transom light being
on at a anchor. It's not called for in the Navigation Rules,
and I can't see why Joe brought it up in the first place. He
acts like someone suggested it, but I can't see where anyone
did.


Chuck

Joe Kriz posted 05-23-2006 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
I must have been reading some of the posts wrong about the stern light being on at anchor. I got it backwards from Tom's post above with the #1, #2, and #3.

As I mentioned before, some boats I have had, the stern light came on with the first position but it is obvious someone had rewired them.

I think everyone is in agreement about this switch and how it is supposed to work and be connected.

Now I am going to have to double check my Outrage 18'...

jimh posted 05-23-2006 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom, Joe, or others with an intact as-wired-at-the-factory boat with this lighting arrangement:

What is the color code of the wires to the various lamps in the system?

Sidelights = ?
Masthead light-forward sector =
Masthead light-stern sector =
Stern light =

Or were they all wired with the same color wiring?

This may be useful to note for people trying to figure this out. Also, next sleepless night I will draw a schematic diagram to help understand the wiring.

Joe Kriz posted 05-23-2006 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Jim,

All of the original navigation lights I have seen use Gray and Black wires with one added wire for the Masthead light.

This is how my 1985 Outrage 18' and my 1989 Outrage 22' Cuddy are.

Black is the common Ground below:
---
Wilcox Navigation Lights = Gray & Black

Perko Stern Light = Gray & Black

Perko Masthead Light = White (forward light), Gray (rear light) & Black
---
The Masthead light 'may' be a variable as to which wire color goes to the front or rear lamp. I am not positive Perko always put the white wire in the front lamp socket.

There is an arrow that should face forward on the top of the Perko Masthead light. If this arrow is forward like it should be, then the retaining screw or rivet for this lamp is at the rear. I have 3 of these lights in my possession at this time.
However: I had one Perko Masthead light in the past that the arrow was forward and so was the mounting screw. You cannot put these light together backwards so this is how it was manufactured. Just thought I would mention this slight variable.

montauk madness posted 05-23-2006 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
Jim,

Mine were as follows:

Port, Starboard and stern light were all dark gray.
Front masthead light was white
Rear masthead light was light green
Power was red

Jeff

Joe Kriz posted 05-23-2006 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Chuck,

I have fixed the link above so Guests can now view that article.

Jim,

On the colors of the wiring to the Masthead Light.
Jeff and I are both right...

Here is the twist:
I was looking at my Masthead light completely out of the boat and disconnected from the curly pig tail that connects to the Masthead wires.

The wires coming from the Perko Masthead light are:
White
Black
Gray

However, the curly pig tail harness has:
White
Black
Green

Obviously the wires from the masthead connect to the curly pig tail using white to white, black to black, and then, gray to the green..
I assume Whaler could not find a manufacturer of the pig tail who used the same 3 colors that Whaler wanted to use. So, the gray wire from the Perko Masthead light is connected to the green wire of the curly pigtail which then connects to the switch which is the only wire and terminal that turns OFF in position #2...

I love a good puzzle...

Jakwolf posted 05-23-2006 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jakwolf  Send Email to Jakwolf     
Joe, I thank you for your efforts toward educating us newbie Whaler types. I only wish I could get into your other site. I tried to get my password but the email was no help. Now I'm going to go check my 17' Outrage lights.
Joe Kriz posted 05-23-2006 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe Kriz  Send Email to Joe Kriz     
Jakwolf,

If you email me directly I will help you with the problem you mentioned..

Thanks for the kind words. Many of us here want to know all the little details about our Whalers. It's all about sharing the info no matter who it is or where it is...

jimh posted 05-26-2006 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a schematic diagram of the wiring for control of the NAVIGATION LIGHTS on a boat with a dual bulb masthead lamp, separate sidelights, and a sternlight. On BOSTON WHALER boats the switch is typically a three position pull switch. The positions are OFF (pushed in all the way), ANCHOR (pulled out to first stop), or UNDERWAY (pulled out all the way). It may also be found that the ANCHOR and UNDERWAY positions are reversed. This is just a matter of preference and how the wires are connected to the switch.

A specialized COLE-HERSEE switch is often used to control the lamps.

DWG: Schematic diagram of  wiring for dual bulb masthead light

PHOTO: Cole-Hersee M-532 push-pull switch

Tom W Clark posted 05-26-2006 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jim,

On BOSTON WHALER boats it is typical that the anchor light comes on with the first pull and the running lights come on with the second pull. Indeed, I have never seen a factory wired Whaler arranged differently.

My boat does not have its original navigation lighting entirely intact.

jimh posted 05-26-2006 06:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--I agree, the arrangement of OFF-ANCHOR-UNDERWAY is more common. I re-drew the schematic to show it that way. In most cases people that understand a schematic can understand how simple it is to change the functionality of the switch. You just swap the GREEN and GRAY wires on the one pole.
jimh posted 05-26-2006 06:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As I see it, there are four discussions interwoven here:

--how to perform simple electrical trouble shooting and repair of corrosion;

--how to wire a two-pole, three position switch to operate navigation lamps;

--how Boston Whaler happened to wire the sequence of lights onto the switch;

--what COLE-HERSEE switch to buy to replace the original.

All good information.

kend posted 06-05-2006 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for kend  Send Email to kend     
The running lights worked sometimes but the anchor light never did. I was ready to replace all the lights and wiring. I read the above information. I sprayed WD40 into the switches pulled them in and out a few times. It worked. What an easy fix.
jimh posted 06-07-2006 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am glad that the recommendation to spray the switch with WD-40 and operate the contacts a few times was able to remedy your situation. I always keep a spray can of WD-40 on the boat. It fixes a lot of problems.
jimh posted 08-08-2007 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Please see the REFERENCE article on this topic:

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/navLightSwitch.html

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