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Author Topic:   Navigation Lamp Wiring
Frank O posted 06-26-2006 10:30 PM ET (US)   Profile for Frank O   Send Email to Frank O  
I recently bought a 1995 Outrage 21 that has a masthead light atop the aftermarket T-top. In addition, there is a stowable sternlight.

The navigation lights are controlled by a three-position rocker switch -- middle is off, up is "Navigation," down is "Anchor."

When this switch is set to Navigation, the port and starboard sidelights, aft masthead light and sternlight illuminate. In addition, there are two small indicator lamps on the switch itself -- one top and one bottom -- and in this switch position, both of these illuminate. The main problem I see is that the forward masthead light needs to illuminate when the boat is running. If the stowable sternlight is used, I gather the aft light on the masthead should not illuminate. I'm not sure if the situation with the small pea lamps on the switch represents a problem that really needs to be fixed.

When the switch is set to Anchor, both the forward and aft masthead lights illuminate. Only the bottom pea lamp on the switch itself illuminates.

I took a look at the wiring reference here:

It appears as though swapping a couple of wires on the switch can probably get the wiring to match this configuration.

My only concern is that the wiring on the page linked above appears to assume that the sternlight is always used. I gather it's possible to run without the sternlight, but the aft masthead light would need to illuminate both when the boat is running and anchored.

What's the usual practice? Would I be best-advised to wire the lights per the diagram at the link above, and always use the stowable sternlight? Or is there a way to configure it to toggle easily between using the sternlight or not?

Chuck Tribolet posted 06-27-2006 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Swap the two hot side wires coming from the masthead light.

Ignore the stowable.


Frank O posted 06-27-2006 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Thanks, Chuck. But I'm not sure what you mean by ignoring the stowable.

If all I did was swap the positive leads on the two masthead lights, I believe the navigation lights would illuminate as follows:

Navigation: Sidelights, fwd masthead, sternlight (if deployed)

Anchor: Fwd masthead, aft masthead

This means I'd have to make sure I use the sternlight when running, but also in theory I'd stow it when anchored (though it's not clear to me it'd be a big deal to have an extra light illuminated when anchored).

Tom W Clark posted 06-27-2006 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I believe what Chuck was trying to say was that since you have a Tee-top, you can get away with having the masthead light act as a 360 degree stern light and not use the 135 degree stern light.

With this arrangement, the forward 225 degree masthead light and the stern facing 135 degree portion will BOTH be on BOTH at anchor AND while running.

You can do this because the Tee-top will block the glare from the aft facing 135 degree portion.

Frank O posted 06-27-2006 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Tom, yes, that sounds like the easiest idea in the bigger picture. But I think it will require a little more than just swapping the leads between the fwd and aft masthead lights.

The wiring that occurs to me is to use one side of the DP3T switch for the fwd and aft masthead lights wired together -- both would be powered when the switch is set to either Navigation or Anchor. The other side of the switch would be used for the sidelights -- these would be powered only when the switch is set to Navigation. I suppose I could forget about hooking up the stowable sternlight at all, since I gather it's not kosher to use it simultaneously with an all-around masthead light when underway.

Operationally this sounded easiest to me, but I was curious if there was a good reason for keeping the stowable sternlight in the mix. Sounds like not.

ratherwhalering posted 06-27-2006 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
The easiest solution is to keep the stern light, and just turn the T-top light around, so the now-aft-facing masthead light faces forward.
Tom W Clark posted 06-28-2006 12:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

That's not going to work because you need the 225 degree light in front, not the 135 degree light.


If you are going to convert to an all-around light on your Tee-top for running, you will need to replace the switch from an OFF-ON1&2-ON1&3 to an OFF-ON1-ON1&2

jimh posted 06-28-2006 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I assume the legends for the switch are on the panel and not on the switch itself. It sounds like the switch was originally installed with its orientation 180-degrees out of alignment. Then the wires were attached to the wrong terminals. You may have to rotate the switch 180-degrees to get the function of the switch to match the legend on the panel. Then re-attach the wires so that the lights match the switch action and the legends.
Chuck Tribolet posted 06-28-2006 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Is the sternlight an all round or just 135 degrees?


Frank O posted 06-28-2006 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure it's 135 degrees.

rumrunner posted 06-28-2006 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for rumrunner  Send Email to rumrunner     
Along these same lines, anybody know the Perko part number for the stern light socket on late 1990's Whalers? (specifically 97 Outrage 20)
Chuck Tribolet posted 06-29-2006 12:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Swap the two hot side wires coming from the masthead light.
Underway you'll have the front of the masthead light and
the sternlight and the sidelights. At anchor you'll have
an all-round masthead light. You can probably do the swap
at the switch.

Don't ignore the stowable (I'd misread your original post that
you had a stowable allround AND a light on the transom.

Frank O posted 06-29-2006 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Thanks, Chuck. That looks like that would do it, but would require me to use the stowable sternlight when running. I'd be happy to do the extra bit of wiring modification to make the masthead light illuminate all-around both underway and when anchored, which would remove the need for the sternlight. In part I guess my question was, beyond the details of how to do the rewiring, which is the more convenient way that most people like to operate their boats?

Tom W Clark posted 06-30-2006 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

It is FAR more convenient to have an all around light on your Tee-top as opposed to having a masthead light up there and a separate stern light. Just be sure the Tee-top provides protection against glare from the light up there.

I have hi modification on my own boat. With the installation of a RADAR arch and a 360 degree light , the 8 foot tall stowable stern light is no longer needed. Because U have my mills flying top up virtually all the time, the entire boat interior is shaded from any light cast by the all around light.

Buckda posted 06-30-2006 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I agree with Tom.

This is what I did on my 18 when I added a Radar Arch.

Because it is an arch and not a T-Top, I still use the Perko glare guard on the mast up top, and if I have a flag flying from the bow staff, it will reflect the light unless the Mills top is up...otherwise, the Mills top catches the "rest" of the glare and the cockpit/boat is completely dark from this light.

You will be VERY happy with this solution, I think.

I sold the rear-facing stern light on this site and someone who needed one is very happy to have an OEM part, while I'm happy with the modified setup.


Good luck!


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