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Author Topic:   Navigation Lamp Connectors
Graphiterod posted 09-06-2009 08:35 AM ET (US)   Profile for Graphiterod   Send Email to Graphiterod  
A couple of months ago there was a discussion about [navigation lamps] and the perpetual battle with the connection, replacing the connection, clean the connection after corrosion and successful alternatives. Someone suggested using a two prong connector commonly used for trailers. Jim warned against mixing the polarity of the connectors.

What happens if the polarity is reversed? A blown fuse? A short in the entire system? Damage to the alternator? Will the light work regardless?

Bella con23 posted 09-06-2009 09:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
GR - Incandescent fixtures have no polarity. The proper way to wire an incandescent fixture is to wire the shell of the bulb to the battery negative and the tip of the bulb to battery positive.
This would be common electrical wiring practice.

If you are installing an Light Emitting Diode type fixture, you will need to observe the polarity as indicated on that fixture.
LED bulbs don't like their polarity reversed.

vkr posted 09-06-2009 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for vkr  Send Email to vkr     
I believe what you are referring to was in reference to the two-conductor trailer connector. The point that was being made was related to the connector half that is connected to the power source (not the connector half connected to the lamp). The positive line on the power source connector should be wired to the conductor that is always shielded (the female contact). The negative line should be wired to the exposed conductor (male contact) on the power source connector. This eliminates the chance, when disconnected from the stern light, of the exposed male contact shorting to ground if it would be IMPROPERLY wired as positive.
jimh posted 09-06-2009 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, it's the gender of the connector used for the positive. The positive from the battery must always be wired to the connector that has a socket (or female), not the connector that has a plug (or male).

I am not a fan of using those connectors because they are molded-on connectors and come with wiring pig tails. You then have to make a second connection to the actual wiring from the lamp and again from the power source. You have twice as many connections in the circuit than you would have if you used a proper connector. If you buy the fancy marine grade crimp-on butt splice connectors with adhesive heat shrink so you can make a water-tight splice, you will need four of those to connect each connector. They probably cost more than the connector.

The pre-made molded-on two-pole trailer connectors are a handy electrical connector for people who don't have any tools other than a crimper. And for people who don't think there is anything wrong with having lots of butt spliced crimp-on connections as part of the boat electrical system. However, those are the also sort of people who can't figure out why you need to keep the positive battery source wired to the socket connection.

jimh posted 09-07-2009 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The electrical connector on my Boston Whaler boat, which I believe to be original, and which is still working well after 19 years of service, appears to be a COLE-HERSEE M-121 connector. You can see this connector in the Cole-Hersee catalog on page 152. Here is a portion of the catalog as a PDF on-line document:

Cole-Hersee M-121  two-pole connector

The connector appears on page 12 of the PDF file.

Boston Whaler often used Cole-Hersee electrical components on their boats as they were generally high-quality and fit well with the Boston Whaler philosophy of getting something good, simple, and reliable.

I do find that there is some irony in regard to this discussion about trailer connectors being used for navigation lamps: the Cole-Hersee M-121 connector is listed under a section called "Universal Trailer Connectors with Protective Rubber Caps."

On my boat I have replaced the original wiring for the WHITE ALL ROUND light which is mounted on a tall pole with some rubber jacketed SJO-type two-conductor electrical cable (which you can find at almost any hardware store). This cable makes a nice fit with the rubber boot of the M-121 connector. The fit between the rubber cable and boot is sufficient to provide a water-resistant seal in most circumstances.

As for connector gender, the lamp is wired to the connector with the pins, and the electrical power source is wired to the connector with the sockets.

The Cole-Hersee M-121 connector is very easy to assemble. Wiring to the connector is provided by small sockets which have a set-screw type retainer. I tin the wire to give it some body, insert it into the socket, and tighten the set-screw. You can then add some electrical insulating grease to keep water out of the socket, if you wish. I find this to be vastly simpler and easier than splicing together a connector with wiring pig-tails to the boat and lamp wiring using butt-splice connectors.

Graphiterod posted 09-08-2009 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Graphiterod  Send Email to Graphiterod     

Thanks. What happens if you reverse the polarity on the wires going into the Cole Hassey connector?


WhalerAce posted 09-08-2009 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for WhalerAce  Send Email to WhalerAce     
What happens if you REVERSE the polarity? Easy. It sucks the light out and things get darker. ;-)

--- WhalerAce

jimh posted 09-08-2009 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What is a Cole-Hassey connector? Perhaps you mean Cole-Hersee.

I gave my best suggestions for connectors for a two-pole 12-Volt DC circuit above.

The connectors themselves care little about the polarity of the current flowing through them and will work equally well no matter how you wire them.

jimh posted 09-10-2009 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For more about connector gender and how it affects the use of a connector in an electrical circuit, see

The Design of Everyday Things Electrical

While it does not appear very clearly in the illustration above, the COLE-HERSEE M-121 connector is a polarized connector, that is, the two mating connectors can only be joined together in one way. The polarization is accomplished by making the diameter of the pins and sockets slightly different. There is a general practice in electrical wiring that when a connector contains contacts of different size, the larger contact is usually used for the ground or neutral or common branch of the circuit. In the application of the COLE-HERSEE M-121 connector in a small boat navigation lighting circuit, this means the battery negative lead would be wired to the larger diameter socket, and the navigation lamp switch positive would be wired to the smaller diameter socket.

The wiring of the two conductors from the navigation lamp should also be considered with regard to polarity. The circuit from the incandescent lamp fixture base should be considered the negative, and the circuit from the small contact on the lamp fixture considered the positive. The lamp fixture base may be common to the lamp housing. The lamp housing will often be bonded to the metal hull. Maintaining the polarity will prevent problems with short circuits or galvanic corrosion. On a metal boat with a conductive hull, a mistake in wiring will generally result in a blown fuse. On a fiberglass boat with a non-conductive hull, a mistake in wiring will not blow the fuse, but it will cause galvanic corrosion and may cause damage to other metallic components of the boat.

L H G posted 09-10-2009 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
From my 41 years of experience owning Boston Whalers and using them in a salt environment, those old fashioned rubber booted Cole-Hersee screw terminal connectors are just about worthless, and corrode, pull loose and fail constantly, since they are not water & weather proof at all. I can't even remember how many of those I've thrown away. In my opinion an encapsulated two prong "trailer" style connector is much better, in conjunction with properly done butt connectors, and will outlast the old style connectors ten to one. In the 20 years or so that I have been using them on stern lights, and other removable accessories on the boat, have never had one fail, either at the plug or at the butt connectors.
jimh posted 09-13-2009 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My experience with the COLE-HERSEE connectors as supplied as original equipment on my Boston Whaler boat is completely opposite of Larry's experience. In my experience I have had no failures. The original 17-year-old connectors still work.

I will repeat, as I have almost every time these pre-assembled molded-on trailer bi-gender connectors are recommended, that when installing them the wiring must be done to conform to the proper selection of the gender of the contact for the power source. This advice is usually omitted when these connectors are endorsed for use.

Most electrical devices on a boat which are intended to be frequently removed are already provided with a connector. For example, chart plotters or SONAR instruments usually have connectors for attaching them to the boat wiring, so there is no need to install additional connectors.

A navigation lamp of a stern pole generally will need a connector. The two-pole polarized connector like the COLE-HERSEE M-121 or other identical connector arrangements are commonly used by boat builders and navigation lamp manufacturers for providing power to stern pole lamps.

jimh posted 09-13-2009 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are many sources of the COLE-HERSEE M-121 two-pole polarized rubber booted connector:

Boat Fix

Also note a similar connector made by Sierra, model C43604, for $9.

West Marine
$18--a good example of West Marine pricing!

ASE Supply


Tom W Clark posted 09-13-2009 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Five of the six of the Whalers I have owned that actually had OE navigation lights, were equipped with the COLE-HERSEE M-121 two-pole polarized rubber booted connectors from the factory.

Every one of them failed to conduct enough electricity to illuminate the stern light at some point in time...and usually most of the time.

However, they are OE, inexpensive, easily procured, easily secured to the raw ends of wire and will fit through the 3/4" i.d. stern light mounting brackets of the small (< 17') classic Whalers. It is just a shame they do not actually work very well.

Perhaps if you boat in fresh water they perform better.

L H G posted 09-14-2009 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
There is no substitute for extensive experience. I just comes with age and years of "messing around in boats", salt and fresh.
L H G posted 09-14-2009 02:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
That should read "It just comes with age......"
jimh posted 09-14-2009 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Apparently the combined experience of the entire recreational boat building business and the marine electrical supply business has not been sufficient to stop them from using the COLE-HERSEE M-121 or similar connector for this application.
Tom W Clark posted 09-14-2009 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I forgot to mention that the sixth of my Whalers that had OE navigation lights, already had it's COLE-HERSEE polarized connector removed by the original owner. I'm not 100 percent sure why, but I have a pretty good idea ;-)
number9 posted 09-14-2009 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
I can see how they could easily be problematic if thread lock isn't used for assembly and something like dielectric grease or sealant not used to cover the wire connections.
Buckda posted 09-14-2009 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
People still wear ties to work....not that it serves any function whatsoever to help them be more productive or do their jobs just covers their buttons.

...that doesn't stop many employers from requiring men to wear them in the office, however.

Just because something is conventional or has been done "that way" for a great many years does not exclude another option or idea from being more functional or "better".

...pardon me while I loosen this thing around my neck!

jimh posted 09-14-2009 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Just to be clear, I don't have any objection to the connector that Larry has been so vocal in endorsing, even though every endorsement he makes lacks the necessary warning about the concern for the orientation of the gender of the connector. Installing the L H G-recommended connector could be very dangerous, as it could leave the power source exposed on a male pin, where who knows what sort of damage might occur.

And just to be clear, I don't have any objection to the connector having a bi-gender, as it is likely that any one with a bit of intelligence could figure out how to use it, even if not warned about it, although I only say that because most of the readers here are intelligent people.

What really is a problem for me with the L H G connector is that it is not field installable. You have to make this giant KLUGE of connections on both sides, on all four wires, using splices. Any connector that has to be spliced into the circuit in the field is a p**s-poor lousy solution in my book. That is the problem. I am interested in solutions that are reasonably elegant and professional, not solutions that you can implement with parts from WALMART and a Buck Knife that could be used to skin a deer.

I did some research today to see if you could buy these cheap molded-on bi-gender connectors with leads attached to them that were longer than a few inches. The longest I could find were 48-inch leads. If you could disassemble the stern pole lamp fixture and wire in a new connector directly to the lamp using a 48-inch lead, then this might be a workable solution on the lamp side. On the other end, I suppose you could tolerate a splice in the circuit to connect the mating connector and its 48-inch leads to the the circuit back to the helm, or you could install a connector block to join the 48-inch lead to the pre-molded connector to the lamp circuit wiring.

But the notion that you ought to use these cheap--I found these connectors for about a dollar each--trailer rubber pre-molded bi-gender connectors as some sort of universal 12-Volt DC connector is not attractive to me.

One further problem is the color of the wiring associated with these connectors. Some of them come with wire with RED and BLACK insulation, and some with WHITE and BLACK insulation, and some with YELLOW and BROWN insulation. None of these colors are appropriate for the navigation lamp circuit wiring insulation.

In the navigation lamp circuit, the hot conductor should be GRAY, and the return conductor should be BLACK WITH GRAY STRIPE. Now if someone can point to a source of these cheapo trailer connectors where you can get them with those colors on the wires, and with the wires about ten to 15 feet long, I could recommend them for use in re-wiring the navigation lamp circuit.

Tom W Clark posted 09-14-2009 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jim has done a good job of highlighting the one down side of using the connectors that Larry describes: they require splices.

It should be noted that ANCOR makes such a connector and it uses tinned marine grade wire. Unfortunately, it does not come with very long leads and four splices *will* be required.

In the case of the small classic Whaler with the stern light by Perko, the splices for the light's pigtail can be hidden above the grommet in the end of the tubing where it will be both invisible and protected from the elements.

However, the end from the junction bow or terminal block in the stern will have to have the splice exposed.

In reality, the bi-gender plug suggested will actually work on a consistent basis, whereas the COLE-HERSEE connector will not.

On the basic of that fact, and against my usual OCD tendencies to use only Whaler OEM parts, I installed such a connector on my last Montauk when I could not, in good conscious, use the feeble COLE-HERSEE M-121 yet again.

The boat was to be sold to personal friends of mine and I was not going to let it out of my hands with navigation lights that would not work properly.

I used black heat shrink tubing to cover the entire length of wire from the junction block to the plug. This consolidated the two separate wire leads, added weather protection and chafe resistance to the lead and helped disguise the splices contained within. The use of clean, strong adhesive coated heat-shrink butt connectors helped as well by making a gradual "feathered and fair" splice.

It also negated the problem of the ANCOR plug not being compliant with NMMA marine color coding wiring standards because the wires were hidden within the black heat shrink tubing.

As to the potential for mis-wiring the plug so a male connector is powered, there is exactly the same danger with using the COLE-HEREE M-121, but it is so self-evident how to correctly wire it, it is hardly worth mentioning.

jimh posted 09-15-2009 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When wiring a replacement plug for a circuit in which the OEM connector was a COLE-HERSEE M-121 or similar plug, the installer can be guided by the existing wiring for orientation of the connector gender. However, if the OEM connector is replaced by one of these inexpensive, rubber, pre-assembled, molded-on, bi-gender L H G-endorsed, trailer connectors, there is no guidance with regard to gender, and the installer must make a decision regarding which connector to use on which portion of the circuit. This seems to me to introduce a much greater probability of an error than exists if simply replacing the original connector with an identical or very similar replacement. And that is why I mention the concern about the gender.

It is my experience that many boaters are not skilled in the practice of electrical circuit design or wiring, and mistakes could easily be made with regard to the connector orientation. Because the connector is generally associated with the stern pole lamp, we can assume it is near the engine. Thus it is near gasoline and perhaps the boat battery. If the connector is wired with the battery voltage exposed on a pin, there could be a risk for sparking if the exposed connector pin comes in contact with any conductors that are also connected to the boat electrical system.

Tom W Clark posted 09-15-2009 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
When wiring a replacement plug for a circuit in which the OEM connector was a COLE-HERSEE M-121 or similar plug, the installer can be guided by the existing wiring for orientation of the connector gender. However, if the OEM connector is replaced by one of these inexpensive, rubber, pre-assembled, molded-on, bi-gender L H G-endorsed, trailer connectors, there is no guidance with regard to gender...

This is not true. There is no guarantee at all that an OE COLE-HERSEE M-121 will have been wired correctly. You can use it as guidance to re-wire it with exactly the same confidence as a bi-gender plug.

jimh posted 09-15-2009 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--My paradigm is very likely to be true because I suppose the connector is the original connector as installed by the boat builder. Most boat builders know how to orient the connector, and I would especially expect Boston Whaler to have installed it properly.

If planning to use the inexpensive, rubber, pre-assembled, molded-on, bi-gender L H G-endorsed, trailer connectors, I would consider buying them from this source, which is the only place I have found so far that sells them with a length of wire attached which might be useful for avoiding all the splices:

The wire gauge is also improved, AWG-16, and the insulation color, RED and BLACK, more useful than most of the usual sources for this connector that I have seen.

Tom--Are you also endorsing these connectors?

russellbailey posted 09-15-2009 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
I would add to LHG and Tom's experience with the Cole-Hersee connector on my stern light on our 1980 Striper 15. With the low sides and transom, and with the open area where that plug sits, it always gets some significant salt spray if not direct saltwater upon it. I found the connection to fail within 1-2 years of saltwater, either at the Cole-Hersee plug itself or where the wire connected to the plug with the little screws - not certain which, but each area had corrosion. It lasted its first 20 years of freshwater with no problems.

The connector type LHG endorses has done much better.

jimh posted 09-15-2009 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Are there any of the inexpensive, rubber, pre-assembled, molded-on, bi-gender L H G-endorsed, trailer connectors which have been in use for 19 years?

That is the basis for comparison for me, as the COLE-HERSEE connector is still working on a 1990 Boston Whaler, and this is 2009, or 19 years later. In order for me to consider that the inexpensive, rubber, pre-assembled, molded-on, bi-gender L H G-endorsed, trailer connector works better, I would need some testimony from someone who has a 19-year-old connector that is still working and in good condition. If anyone has one, please join the discussion.

Tom W Clark posted 09-15-2009 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Ah, the single data point argument. This should be fun.

Really, the better question is who has a classic Whaler with an original stern light connector that works at all? Of any age, besides Jim?

My Striper 15, which I bought new in 1978 had its stern light go out the first season. My 1981 Montauk, which I bought new in 1980 had its stern light fail as well.

The 1980 Montauk that I bought used in 1986 had a finicky stern light connection too as did the 1983 Outrage 18 I bought in 1989.

The 1988 Montauk I bought in 2006 did not come with an operable stern light. Guess why.

Ignoring all the Whalers that belong to friends and neighbors over the years, that is five failures to your one success, Jim. Not a good track record for the ol' COLE-HERSEE M-121. This also ignores all the replacement connectors I have bought, always trying to get it back to perfect "working original equipment" status.

Tom W Clark posted 09-15-2009 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
To be fair, you can usually get the damn connector to work if you take it all apart, clean the wires, sand the pins, clean out the sockets and very carefully reassemble it (but don't drop those eentsy-weentsy tiny little set screws!)

As far as I can recall, the connectors for the stern light has always been the same COLE-HERSEE product on all the classic Whalers. It may be that Whaler used a Perko product during some years, but I'm not sure. I am sure that the design of these connectors is feeble regardless of who makes them.

The conducting pins are extremely small with very little surface area. They are made of brass which does not do well conducting electricity in an open boat in a saltwater environment.

These pins of the male half of the plug are split down the middle to allow the halves of the pins to flex and make a (theoretically) secure connection with the female sockets.

Unfortunately, brass makes a lousy spring material and suffers metal fatigue easily so they do not hold their shape and tend to become loose in the sockets if not break off altogether. This causes them to not make a good electrical contact.

Why suffer through all that? There has to be a better piece of hardware out there.

To answer your question Jim, yes, I endorse the use of the two conductor flat connector cited above...even with its unfortunate splice requirement, though I do like the source you have found that might minimize the splices.

It seems silly to argue about the originality and correctness of some part if, in fact, it fails to perform its job. I prefer to have a less than aesthetically perfect solution to a problem if it will get the job done and be robust and reliable. If I am boating at night, I need that light to come on.

jimh posted 09-15-2009 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--Speaking statistically, since L H G has four boats, he can only use each one one-fourth of the time, so he will have to come up with a connector that still works after 19 x 4 = 76-years to equal the durability of the COLE-HERSEE.

Tom has described some of the common problems with the brass connector assemblies on the COLE-HERSEE connector. I can imagine in saltwater they are more problems with them. My boat may not be much of a test for an exposed electrical connector, as it is primarily a fresh water boat.

I think we need to conduct a search for a field-installable connector with two poles, good waterproofing, and more reliable connection electrical properties. I propose the following alternative: the Deutsch 2-pole DT series connector: html

These connectors are also available with dummy plugs and sockets so that you can cover the mating connectors for protection when not in use. You can also get a boot to cover more of the wire-to-connector joint. I think these connectors will have a much better performance than the cheapo trailer connectors, and won't cost any more than a COLE-HERSEE.

I will place an order and install a set on my boat.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-16-2009 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Will they fit through the mount for the all-round light?

I've found that there's been no substitute for a continuous
length of boat cable, no connectors, just have enough slack
to be able to take down the all-round light.

The OEM connectors didn't hold up at all in saltwater for me.


Tom W Clark posted 09-16-2009 10:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
As Chuck points out, one of the qualifying criteria for any replacement is the ability of he connector to fit through a 3/4" diameter hole (the size of the Whaler mounting brackets for the stern light.

I was thinking of the B12 SERIES (Miniature) waterproof connectors shown here:

The maximum diameter is shown as 18 mm (0.7 inches) and the solder-on connectors are gold over nickel on copper, enough to satisfy the most finicky electro-phile among us.

Unfortunately the cost is listed at more than $23...and they are in England.

jimh posted 09-16-2009 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I had not considered the problem of the diameter of the connector. With my pole lamp, the connector is provided on a wiring pigtail the exits above the deck level socket into which the pole is inserted. I can see that the connector diameter would be a consideration on those boats where the connector must pass through the deck socket that receives the pole of the lamp.

That B12 series connector looks interesting. Perhaps we can find the real source and manufacturer of it, so that we could order directly in the USA.

jimh posted 09-16-2009 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a potential connector:

You can source these from DIGI-KEY. name=SC1202-ND

The cost is quite modest, about $5 or less.

To locate this connector I used the facilities of the DIGIKEY on-line catalog search. I began here:

I used the following filters in this order in the search progress:



--In-line or hanging


Tom W Clark posted 09-16-2009 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jim -- Unfortunately, those connectors will only accommodate 20 AWG or smaller wire, far too small for the Whaler application. I would like to find something that can handle 16 AWG or at the very least, 18 AWG wire.
contender posted 09-16-2009 03:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
This is the reason I have moved my light to the cowling of my engine, the connection is protected from the salt water under the cowling, I do not have to deal with the light pole any more (one less thing in the boat), and it works all the time. I have not seen one electrical connection that is exposed to water and the salt that will last. Some last longer than others but they all rust out/corrode/no workie... PS I agree with Chuck
jimh posted 09-16-2009 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Let me reply to contender's off topic comment. The ALL-ROUND WHITE LIGHT must be one meter higher than the sidelights. Mounting a lamp on the cowling of an outboard most likely does not comply with this requirement, unless the engine is exceedingly tall or the sidelights are mounted exceedingly low.

The topic here is an appropriate electrical connector, so, please, let's not get off-topic with discussions about modification of the navigation lighting as provided initially, which we assume was in compliance with the applicable regulations at the time the boat was made.

jimh posted 09-16-2009 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--There are other connectors which satisfy the criteria--round, small, waterproof--but unfortunately they are rather expensive, about $25 each. I will continue to look for an alternative circular two-pole weatherproof connector that is not too expensive.
contender posted 09-16-2009 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
[Offered his interpretation of the rules regarding navigation lighting. As mentioned previously, we consider only the actual rules themselves to be authoritative on issues of proper navigation lighting. Please see:

FAQ Answer #11

The effective regulations are found in §84.03 Vertical positioning and spacing of lights, subsection (d), which says, "...the all-round light described in Rule 23(c), of a power-driven vessel of less than 12 meters in length shall be carried at least one meter higher than the sidelights."--jimh]

jimh posted 09-17-2009 12:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--From the same manufacturer, but in a different line of connectors, you can get a two-pole connector with contacts of size #12.


These are just slightly more expensive, but under $6 each for male and female cable-end versions. This would be an excellent connector for use in a Navigation Lamp circuit on a pole mounted lamp where the connector may have to pass though the deck socket for the pole mounting.

jimh posted 09-17-2009 08:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What is the maximum diameter of the connector which is useful for applications where the connector must pass through the deck socket for the light pole? The COLE-HERSEE M-121 connector appears to me to be about 7/8-inch in diameter.

The MULTI-CON-X® field installable connectors from CON-X-ALL with the larger contacts are about 0.76-inch to 0.875 in diameter, depending on the connector body gender.

contender posted 09-17-2009 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Jim, Nice Chart from the Coast Guard, but you need to read it, The lighting requirements you are looking at(posted) are for vessels that are larger than 12 meters and smaller than 20 meters, (I do not think Boston Whaler makes a boat bigger than 40 feet yet). If you choose to go by the rules that you have posted you would be required to have more lights than you have now on your boat. If you think I have supplied/given miss/my own information on the lights please send me your address and I will be more than happy to send you a current copy of the Coast Guard Lighting Requirements for boats under 12 meters. I thought this was an open form as long as I obey the rules, But I guess not. This is your form (and I thank you for it) and you have the power to do with it as you wish. I do not beleive I offened you, how ever you did not like/agree with my views and choose to deleat my post, so be it... Take care P.S. I will be waiting for your address you can email me that will be fine....
Tom W Clark posted 09-17-2009 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
contender -- You need to check your glasses. Jim is right, the same all-round light height rule applies to boats less than 12 meters as well. That includes yours *if* it was built after 1983.

Jim -- The maximum diameter a plug can be is 3/4" to pass through the Whaler fitting. The COLE-HERSEE M-121 only meets that requirement if you remove the rubber boot on the light side of the connector.

This is yet another liability of the The COLE-HERSEE M-121 I had meant to mention. You either take the plug off the light when you want to remove the light from the boat or you omit the rubber boot.

Using Larry's method you avoid that hassle as well.

I agree with Chuck that hardwiring and not having a connector will be as secure a way to power the light as any, but it means you cannot move the light to another parts of the boat for storage or out of the boat altogether without cutting the wires and that is a crude system.

jimh posted 09-17-2009 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Contender's insistence on arguing about the content of the Navigation Rules is an excellent example of why I have a policy of not hosting discussions about what the Navigation Rules say. Please see the FAQ (link above). The rules are the rules. People's personal interpretations of the rules are all over the place. Maybe someone can start a website and host arguments about what the rules say.
jimh posted 09-18-2009 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
L H G writes:

"There is no substitute for extensive experience."

I tend to agree. I have been involved in constructing, wiring, designing, and installing electrical and electronic equipment for 50 years.

Tom W Clark posted 09-18-2009 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Good. Please design and construct a connector that is superior to Larry's improvised $5 solution.
andygere posted 09-18-2009 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I'm with Larry and Tom on this one. The OEM Cole Hersee connectors are worthless. The stripped wire that is clamped into the connector begins to corrode instantly in a salt water environment, and the proximity of the + and - leads to one another accelerates the process when it's energized. I have several of these that are little more than green goo, so anybody who would like to spend a few hours "restoring" them is welcome to have them.

As far as the flat trailer wire connectors go, the splicing to the pigtail is no problem at all. Ancor brand waterproof butt connectors do a fine job, and are completely sealed from the elements, unlike the tiny screw clamp connectors on the Cole Hersee units. I have yet to have one of these Ancor butt splices fail on me, and that includes some that are regularly submerged with salt water in my fish well and rigging tunnels. In addition, the size of the contacts on the trailer type connectors allows them to be cleaned fairly easily if needed. The tiny connectors on the Cole Hersee units make removing corrosion virtually impossible.

What really is a problem for me with the L H G connector is that it is not field installable.

This is not true. I keep an assortment of Ancor brand waterproof butt splices in my console, along with a simple crimping tool and a cheap barbecue lighter. It takes just a few seconds to strip the wire, clamp on the connector and heat it with the lighter to shrink the tubing and seal the joint. Try threading the perfect length of stripped wire into a tiny hole and clamping it with an even tinier screw on a rocking boat, in the dark. That's the kind of experience that convinced me to switch my Montauk over to the flat trailer wire connectors. Once done, I never had to mess with it again.

One more advantage of the flat trailer wire connectors is wide availability. Every auto parts, trailer and big box store with automotive department carries them. If yours somehow gets crushed, stolen or otherwise damaged, one can be easily sourced. Back in my foolish days of blind adherence to OEM materials, I once had to special order a set of the Cole Hersee connectors from West Marine at outrageous prices. I could not find one of them anywhere in the greater Monterey Bay/San Jose area. I'm glad I wasn't on a vacation where I intended to do some night boating at the time!

Perhaps on a garaged, fresh water only trailer queen, the Cole Hersee plugs provide decent service. On a fishing boat kept in a salt water slip, you may as well forget about having a reliable all-around light if you use them.

andygere posted 09-18-2009 01:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I would need some testimony from someone who has a 19-year-old connector that is still working and in good condition. If anyone has one, please join the discussion.

I have a 4-wire version of the same thing on the back of my 1992 Jeep Wrangler that I installed when I purchased it new. It still works, and the vehicle was stored outdoors continuously, the last 5 or so within 100 yards of the ocean. The Jeep was also driven extensively on the beach, about as close to a salt water environment as you are going to get in a car. It's not quite as old as your Cole-Hersee connectors, but since you did not purchase the boat new, we have no way of knowing how many of those connectors were replaced by the owners prior you you.

I suspect that somebody out there has a trailer that's at least 19 years old with a flat wire connector that's still in service.

jimh posted 09-18-2009 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Andy--I agree that in both the COLE-HERSEE connector and the trailer connector, the exposed pin contacts are subject to being damaged when the connector is not mated. A better approach is to use a connector that envelopes the pin contacts in the connector body to protect them.

Tom--There is no need for me to design a connector. As noted, there are already 35,000 circular connectors available from DIGI-KEY which could be used. If I needed a circular 2-pole connector that was less than 0.875-inch diameter, which was widely available, had both male and female gender connectors for cable end mounting, and was known to be extraordinarily reliable and have low resistance contacts that can handle many amperes of current, I would probably use a NEUTRIK XLR series with three pins. You could double up on pins for one circuit, increasing the reliability. These are very widely distributed. See XX-HE_Series_productlist.aspx

If the overall determinant is universal availability at any WALMART, trailer supply, or general store, the flat-four trailer connector wins. You could just use two of the circuits with all sockets on one end, letting the expose pin be used just as a mating key instead of a circuit.

Tom W Clark posted 09-18-2009 03:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
A flat-four connector is greater than 3/4" across and will not fit though the opening in the brackets and thus does not meet the criteria for an acceptable substitute.

Andy -- I have a nineteen year old trailer under my Revenge that has spent it entire life being used in saltwater. Its flat-four connector is working fine, though I admit, it may not be original, but who knows?

jimh posted 09-18-2009 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Use a Buck Knife to cut off the unneeded parts of the flat four.

I think this is a better solution than using the 2-pole bi-gender. Get a flat four trailer connector. On the end with one male and three female connectors, cut off the outer female connector with your Buck Knife. Modify the mating connector in an appropriate manner. Wire your two-pole lighting circuit to the two poles with matching gender, using the connector with one-male and two-females on the power supply end, and the connector with one-female and two-males on the lamp end. This eliminates the biggest problem with the bi-gender, the exposed pin on the supply end. The unused pin on each connector just is there for a keyway to align the connector properly for mating. I think this is a significant improvement over the two-pole. Also, the flat-four connector is much more universally available. Inasmuch as universal availability was cited as a very important advantage for the two-pole bi-gender connector, the much greater availability of the the flat-four connector should trump the two-pole.

Modification will be simple with a good Buck Knife, also available at the same sources that sell the connector.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-18-2009 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Most every place that has the flat-four connector also has
the flat-two.

But I still think the best idea is NO connector, just one
continuous run of boat cable.


jimh posted 09-18-2009 09:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In those installations where the connector must pass through the deck socket and there is a constraint on [the diameter of] the connector, it might be better just to use some individual bullet connectors. There are only two wires, there cannot be much confusion about what wire connects to what wire, particularly if the same color coded wire is used on both sides, and with an incandescent lamp the polarity is not really critical. This reduces the connector installation to no more effort than required to make one-half set of slices for the trailer connector installaton, so we have reduced labor by half. The bullet connectors are available with insulation and shields, so they will protect themselves when not connected. The material used for the connectors is likely tinned copper, probably superior to the trailer connectors. This sounds like a cheaper, better, easier, and faster solution than the trailer connector, and it offers all the same advantages. You can get a bullet connector at almost every hardware store in America. If you solder them on, you will have more reliability. I suspect that in those cheap trailer connectors the leads are just crimped on.
contender posted 09-19-2009 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Thought of something while reading all of your post, What about using a flat 2 prong connector make sure there is enought wire (I would coat it with a protectant), push the connection in the light pole/tube. Then silcone the bottom and make a plug. Another way would be to us a rubber plug drill it in the center and pull the wire through. This would kept the water off of the connection. It would also protect the connection, would be a cleaner look with no plug hanging there, and if you wanted to remove the light you can pull it out and disconnect it....Out of the Box
jimh posted 09-20-2009 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I was hoping the DEUTSCH DT-series two-pole connectors I ordered would have arrived this weekend, but they did not. I checked the DEUTSCH literature to learn the dimensions. The connectors are rectangular, not circular. The male connector (with the pins) which would be wired to the lamp and therefore need to pass through a deck opening, has a width and height of 0.591-inches x 0.675-inches. Using a bit of simple geometric analysis, it appears to me that this connector ought to be able to pass through a circular hole whose diameter was:

Maximum Width = [(0.591)2 + (0.675)2]0.5
Maximum Width = 0.8972-inch, or slightly larger than 7/8-inch

However, the corners on the connector are rounded, so the maximum width may be closer to 7/8-inch. I don't know if that disqualifies it as useful for the application.

In the DEUTSCH connector the wire entering the rear of the connector passes though a seal which envelopes the wire insulation. The connector will properly seal when the wire insulation is smooth and in the range of diameter from 0.088-inch-OD to 0.145-inch-OD.

The connectors include a Silicone Elastomer bellows that seals the mating connector bodies and provides environmental protection. The seals do not require grease to make them waterproof.

Submersion: Properly wired and mated connectors will withstand immersion under three feet of water without loss of electronic qualities or leakage.

jimh posted 09-30-2009 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     

I received the DEUTSCH connectors I ordered, and I have installed them for the connections to my pole lamp which provides the WHITE ALL ROUND navigation light on my boat, replacing the original COLE-HERSEE connectors, which were still working.

In addition to the connectors, I also purchased the associated mating dummy caps, so that the two connectors, one on the boat and one on the pole lamp, are covered with these dummy plugs when not in use. I also ordered and used the connector rear cover molded assemblies.

I also took the opportunity to replace all the wiring associated with the stern pole lamp with new wiring, using 16-AWG ANCOR marine grade wire with the proper color codes, that is, YELLOW for the negative and GRAY for the switch positive feed to the lamp.

I feel that with these improvements, the stern pole navigation lamp wiring should be good for about 100 years of service in my typical seasonal fresh water usage. I will give readers an update in ten years, or as soon as I notice any change in the performance of the electrical connection provided by the DEUTSCH connector, whichever comes first.

number9 posted 10-01-2009 02:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
May we assume they were small enough to pass through the circular hole?

What is your overall opinion of the connector's quality?

Total price for the connectors?


jimh posted 10-01-2009 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On my boat there is no hole for the connector to pass through. The hole diameter needed was calculated above. They're probably too big to pass through a hole of 0.75-inch diameter.

The connectors are not designed for thousands of mating cycles. Their durability is specified as at least 100 mating cycles. If you need a connector that can tolerating thousands of mating cycles, the DEUTSCH DT series is not the best choice. It is good for me because my typical seasonal use is probably ten mating cycles or less

The costs were given in the hyperlink to the vendor, see above. The plug is $2.52 and the receptacle $3.75. I upgraded to the silver solid cup pins and sockets, a couple of dollars more. I also bought the mating dummy caps, which together are another five dollars.

It is not a perfect solution. Electrically it is superior. Mechanically it is a bit large for most applications. It would have been simpler to use a new COLE-HERSEE connector, but I wanted to try something different.

jimh posted 06-05-2011 01:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To follow up on my use of the two-pole DEUTSCH connectors for my detachable navigation lamp fixture (the white all-round light), I have now been using these for over a year. The connectors are simply beautiful. The use of the sealing caps to close up the two cable-end connectors when not in use is a wonderful addition. Since the navigation lamp pole is not always used, most of the time the connectors are sealed by their mating plugs, and no harm can come to them. In this configuration they are rated for immersion of up to three feet in water without damage.

When the lamp is in use, the mating seal plugs mate with each other, and I stow them in a handy dry place so I can find them again when I uninstall the lamp. These DEUTSCH connectors are totally field-installable, so the electrical wiring runs directly to the connector with no splices. They are often seen in use in harsh enviroments like under the hood of your car, so they are reasonably rugged.

When re-fitting the wiring and connectors I removed a surprisingly large number of butt-splice connectors that had been used by previous installers or owners. A number of these appeared to be original with the boat's fabrication, which surprised me. This also improved operation of the lamp circuit. Butt-splices on a boat should be avoided whenever possible as they create a weak point in the circuit and an opportunity for corrosion and problems to occur. Considering that on a small boat the longest length of wire needed to connect any two circuit elements is probably less than 20-feet, there is no reason to use a butt-splice anywhere.

jimh posted 04-30-2015 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To follow up on my experience using a DEUTSCH two-pole connector for the navigation lamp circuit to my WHIITE ALL-ROUND lamp, it has now been six years since I installed them. These connector have never failed. They look just like the day I installed them. I have always used the matching caps to cover the two connectors when the navigation lamp is not installed. As a result, there has been no intrusion of water, no sign of corrosion, nor any change to the connector that I can tell.

To review the advantage of the Deutsch connectors:

--they are field installable and do not need to be spliced into existing circuits

--they are suitably protected against intrusion of splash and spray to be used in the typical environment seen with removable navigation lamp poles

--they are widely available

--they are low cost

--their assembly is simple and no specialized tools are needed, other than the crimping tool used to attach the electrical contacts to the conductors

Hoosier posted 05-07-2015 10:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
How about these as a cheap option? ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1ET2VHHHEOGLL
All you need is a soldering iron and some marine heat shrink tubing and you're good to go....
jimh posted 05-07-2015 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't like connectors with the wiring pre-installed. You have to make splices. Why not just order the connectors, the seals, and the contacts, and assemble them yourself. There are some really great deals on Amazon for connectors that are similar to the Amp SealTite connectors. Assembly is trivial, and much less work than making splices.
jimh posted 05-08-2015 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I still like the Deutsch connectors I proposed in preference to the Amp SealTite or imitations, for these reasons:

--the Deutsch connectors are easier to mate and unmate; they have a press-to-unlatch release

--the Deutsch connectors have blank connector caps for both genders that provide weather protection when not mated to another connector

--the contacts in the Deutsch connectors are larger, are made of better material, and can be soldered

If I were an automotive manufacturer and wanted to use a connector in several million vehicles, I would be concerned that the Deutsch connector cost was higher, but in a one-time application, the cost difference is not a factor.

Tom Hemphill posted 05-08-2015 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Hemphill  Send Email to Tom Hemphill     
Unless yours have shrunk since 2009, they are still too bulky to fit through a 3/4-inch hole. That is still a requirement for many of us.
jimh posted 05-08-2015 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave's Amazon imitation AMP SealTite connectors may not pass that test.

There isn't any hole on my boat that the connector has to pass through, so fitting through a hole of arbitrary dimension was not a criterion for me. And, no, the dimensions of the connector have not changed. As I mentioned above, after six years of use, nothing has changed about them. There has been no deterioration of the contacts, the seals, the connector bodies--all like new.

If you need the connector to pass through a limited space, I still recommend using individual bullet connectors on the wires. In that way you can pass the connectors through a hole about 3/8-inch (one connector and lead at a time). To preserve polarity use a different gender for positive and negative, and, as I always caution, use a female connector on the 12-Volt source circuit positive. For a source, see

jimh posted 05-08-2015 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
By the way, that vendor (linked just above) looks like a good source for many connectors, including the Deutsch ones, for small quantity at reasonable prices.
porthole2 posted 05-09-2015 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for porthole2  Send Email to porthole2     
I have dealt with the stern light connector on my last whaler, as well as the bow light. Bow light just gets too hot and makes the tab loosen up.

New (old) boat has the drop in stern light, which didn't work.
Difficult to clean up, but I managed to get the male pins cleaned a bit, then used a screwdriver to bend them towards each other bit. Works good now.

The boat didn't have a stern light so I bought the Perko drop in, extendable LED light. While I was at it I picked up the LED bow light.
OEM is nice, but LED is the future. Besides, I intend on only having one battery.

As to connectors, just to give you guys some choices - Harley Davidson.

Every Harley is loaded with Deutsche connectors, two styles.
One uses the older style pins and sockets with the fold over crimps, one crimp for the wire, one for the insulation. Newer style is a "butt connector" type that you use very expensive Deutsche crimpers.

I use both styles - a lot. I usually solder (and crimp) the crimp type and for the other I scored a Deutsche crimper for under $20 on eBay (just have to be patient). But these can be soldered as well. I just used the one style to play plug and play with my NEMA interface wires.

Every decent size Harley dealer has a complete selection of Deutsche connector parts. From one socket to 12 (or 14, don't recall).
1-2-3 then 4-6-8-10-12 circuits.
For circuits that are not always connected, I just use an extra male plug filled with silicone.
Best of all, for Harley, all the pieces are reasonably priced, and, no doubt everyone here has a Harley dealer not to far away. There are two wire sizes that I know of, I think they are 12-14, then 16-22. There are also some larger size, but I don't remember if they are also Deutsche branded.

jimh posted 05-09-2015 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the information on other applications of the Deutsch connectors. They are found everywhere.

One particularly appealing aspect of the Deutsch connectors is the ability to have dummy connectors act as sealing plugs.

conch posted 05-09-2015 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
For a friend's stern light we used two NMEA-2000 connectors that we had and they still had the cover to plug them when unused. They were only about 5/8-inch diameter to fit thru the mount and seem pretty waterproof so far.
jimh posted 05-10-2015 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Where did you find field-installable DeviceNET Micro connectors? The ones I have seen are ridiculously priced at about $30 each.

I hope you did not use a pre-molded connector and cable, which you cut off and spliced onto the navigation lamp circuit.

conch posted 05-10-2015 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
We used a pre-molded cable from the marine consignment shop/flea market in Key Largo. Had a tear in the outer jacket,price $5.0 cash. We cut it in two and it worked perfect,looks good and fits thru the light mast holders.
jimh posted 05-12-2015 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
EGADS--More splices. Forget using pre-molded connectors and splicing them into the circuit. That's the least attractive solution to the connector problem we are discussing.
conch posted 05-13-2015 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
I'm not sure I follow more splices. The cable with the male end went to the light in place of the existing flat two pole plug and the heat shrunk connection pushed up into the bottom of the pole. The female end of the cable reached all the way to the original terminal block on the rear port side. This resulted in two less splices than existed before. Actually this is the most attractive and easy water resistant solution for those who like the ability to remove the light from its mount.
jimh posted 05-13-2015 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
CONCH--Thanks for the further explanation. You must have purchased a rather long pre-made NMEA-2000 cable. They are available in lengths to about 20-feet. That makes your solution much more workable.

I believe what you did was to buy a long pre-made NMEA-2000 DeviceNET Micro connector cable. You then cut the cable into two segments. A shorter segment was used to replace the existing cable and connectors of the navigation lamp fixture. The longer cable was installed into the boat, replacing any existing wiring for the navigation lamp up a terminal block carrying the lamp circuit.

In NMEA-2000 wiring there would be four conductors available in the pre-made cable. Typically the cable used with the DeviceNET Micro connectors is the NMEA-2000 LIGHT cable. The NMEA-2000 LIGHT cable uses conductors of 22-AWG and 24-AWG.

Previously I proposed use of a small connector that could handle wire of 20-AWG. The use of my proposed connector was objected to by Tom Clark, in a posting above from 09-16-2009:

Unfortunately, those connectors will only accommodate 20 AWG or smaller wire, far too small for the Whaler application.

If Tom Clark finds that a connector capable of handling 20-AWG wire would be "far too small for the Whaler application," I believe that the NMEA-2000 connector you have proposed, which is pre-wired with 22-AWG conductors, would also fail to meet the criterion imposed by Tom as suitable for this application.

It occurs to me that you could combine the four conductors in the pre-made cable, joining the 24-AWG and 22-AWG pairs. In that manner you might have the equivalent of a larger cable. Let's look at that:

24-AWG = 404 circular mills
22-AWG = 642 circular mills
SUM AWG = 1,046 circular mills

A cable of 20-AWG has 1,022 circular mills, so it appears that combining a pair of 24-AWG and 22-AWG conductors would give the equivalent of a 20-AWG conductor. This was precisely the maximum wire size of the small connector I proposed that was deemed insufficient. Again, even if wiring the two conductor pairs in parallel, the pre-made NMEA-2000 cable would only be the equivalent of a 20-AWG conductor.

jimh posted 05-13-2015 09:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A connector from the same manufacturer as the one I recommeded years ago, CONXALL, but in a slighter larger form, the MINI-CON-X FIELD INSTALLABLE CONNECTORS series, has contacts that are suitable for 16-AWG wire. That connector has a diameter of 0.715-inch or 0.625-inch for cable-end connectors, depending on gender.

That connector would meet all the requirements established:

--wire with 16-AWG conductor

--pass through 0.75-inch hole

For more data see

and look at the data for the MINI-CON-X series. The manufacturer mentions the following characteristic of the series:

Weathertight Assemblies

Optional panel connector gaskets and inter-facial O-ring seals maintain a weathertight connection for outdoor use. The non-corrosive, high impact, all molded construction is perfect for recreational, agricultural or on-off-the-road vehicle connections. Hazards of electrical shock are minimized in addition to resistance to hostile outdoor environment. Frequently specified for depth sounders, metal detectors, marine and aircraft electronics, boat trailers, electronic farm implements, food processing equipment, etc.

The connectors are also available with "dust caps" which may be useful to protect the contacts when the connectors are not mated. If anyone tries these connectors, please report on the outcome.

conch posted 05-13-2015 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
We did combine the wires. Looks like alot of nice connectors are sold these days. I could have connected the light wires at the bulb socket,but I didn't. The light works great and we boat year round in warm salty water.I think sometimes the simple solution can be lost in search of the perfect solution.This was our answer to the problem.
jimh posted 05-14-2015 12:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you did not combine the wires at all points in the circuit then you did not combine them at all. A wire combined with another at only one end will not carry any current and will not help reduce the resistance in the circuit.
conch posted 05-15-2015 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
Yes,combined at both ends.Didn't even consider only doing one end.Do you find many folks who want to combine individual insulated conductors in a cable to increase capacity only do one end?

Looking thru my parts and spares I see that the power supply cable for a N2K backbone has the male pins energized and exposed though shrouded some by the plastic threads,when not inserted into a Tee.

Sixties Evinrude and Johnson outboards used knife connectors covered with a rubber sleeve to join the cable for the electric shift to the harness in the lower engine pan.A failure of that friction connection and you would lose your motion in the ocean.Lots of improvements over the years.

jimh posted 05-15-2015 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re the orientation of the pins and sockets in NMEA-2000 DeviceNET Micro connectors: you only get an exposed voltage on pins if you use a standard network-T connector for the power insertion. MARETRON makes a special power insertion network-T that has female connectors (sockets) on both sides of the network backbone. If you use that power connector there will be no voltage exposed on pins of downstream network-T-connectors

If you use a standard network-T-connector with a male-female pair of connectors for the power inserter, locate the power inserter at the end of the backbone. Orient the standard network-T-connector so the female connector feeds the backbone and the male connector feeds a terminator.

Re the reason for my comment about connecting the paralleled conductors at both ends: it was from your comment:

I could have connected the light wires at the bulb socket,but I didn't.

If you did not join the paralleled conductors at the load, you did not make the second conductor part of the circuit. If I have misunderstood what you wrote above, you are welcome to clarify your description of the wiring.

While it was fortunate that you were able to buy a damaged NMEA extension cable for only $5, the usual price for a long network extension cable is about $30 to $50, depending on length. Compare at maretron--mid-double-ended-cordset-blue--P011115185

At a price of $30 to $50, use of the NMEA-2000 connector seems expensive. The small wire gauge equivalent 20-AWG remains a drawback.

conch posted 05-15-2015 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
The paralleled conductors at the load were created at the splices made to the existing two wires in the mast. 2 pos to one lamp wire,and two neg to the other lamp wire. I have not looked at the load capability of the combined wires,seems to work fine.I admit to being more familiar with a gin mill than a circular mill.

N2k cables on the internet seem a little cheaper,13-15 dollars
for a 2m but they are not blue. Older CANet cable is pretty cheap but then you need the connectors.The nautical flea market is pretty good especially if you know what your looking for.

I will probably try a N2K junction box with 4 ports in the hardtop to minimize fishing drops thru tubing down to the console.

" Orient the standard network-T-connector so the female connector feeds the backbone and the male connector feeds a terminator" funny you should mention that, the first time I did this I looked for which way to pull the backbone from stern to bow. Should it be pins facing forward or sockets? I could not find a reference addressing this. I wound up pulling socket ends forward because that is the end that comes with a cover.

Hoosier posted 05-28-2015 08:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Here's a report on those cheap connectors I mentioned earlier in this thread. They aren't bad, just not what they are claimed to be, they aren't waterproof. When I got them I found that the back of the connectors, where the wires entered was not sealed/potted. I ended up sealing the backs with some E6000 I had lying around and now they should be fine. The connector housing and gasket are quite good, is was the fabrication that wasn't.

I used one to replace the 30 year old connector on my Outrage's stern light. I soldered it to the wires and then sealed the solder joints with marine heat shrink, the stuff with the adhesive inside, and it works fine. The OEM connector would always vibrate loose since it was a friction fit. These have a tab lock.

jimh posted 05-29-2015 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
CHUCK--Any connector carrying power from the source to the load should have female contacts that are recessed. Power should never be exposed on male contacts. Just look at the 120-VAC wiring in your home for guidance. The source of power (a wall socket) is a receptacle with female contacts. The load connector has exposed male pins.
jimh posted 05-29-2015 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
DAVE--the connector you are using--an AMP Seal-Tite or some Chinese imitation--is a fine connector, but you just bought it in the wrong configuration. You should buy the connector--preferably a real AMP Seal-Tite and not an imitation--without the pre-attached short red and black wires. That will eliminate the poor workmanship your found on the pre-assembled wires and also eliminate the need to make four additional splices. You can find real AMP Seal-Tite connectors sold on Amazon or other sources without the pre-assembled wiring. Field assembly of the connector is not difficult and requires only a suitable crimp tool for crimping the conductors onto the contact sockets and pins.

Again, I can't endorse using any connector with pre-assembled wiring that has to be spliced into an existing circuit. That approach is very crude. It is particularly crude in the instance of the AMP Seal-Tite because the connector is not a molded assembly. Using pre-assembled connectors requires, in the case of a two-circuit connector, four splices to insert the pre-assembled connector into the circuit. In a small boat there should be no need for any conductor to be spliced. Every circuit should be a continuous run of wire without splices from the source to the load.

Hoosier posted 05-29-2015 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
I trust soldered connections more than crimped ones, plus I have high confidence that I can make a soldered connection waterproof. It's a personal bias. I just don't like stuff that might shake loose--like the bilge pump power lead I had that was "professionally" installed with crimped connections.
jimh posted 05-30-2015 02:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I prefer soldered connections, too. I probably ordered the more expensive solder-cup machined silver connectors for the Deutsch connectors. Each pin or socket is about $0.80 to a $1. They are much nicer contacts than the stamped-out crimp-on ones. One can also solder a crimped connector, after it has been crimped.
conch posted 05-31-2015 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
Jim I agree, pulling the N2K backbone thru a rigging tunnel could go either pins or sockets first,as it is similar to pulling wire through conduit to its receptacle box.
The receptacle for the backbone is the T connector,which after a terminator is also attached will only leave sockets available for the device drop cable.I was curious if there was a preferred direction for the backbone cable but didn't find any documentation.

I prefer a solder splice also but usually crimp and solder a ring or spade type termination to a screw terminal.

jimh posted 05-31-2015 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
CONCH--I don't have any opinion on which end of any cable with pre-installed connectors should be pulled through a conduit. I just don't want the source of power to be exposed on male pins when a connector is unmated. Which end you pull the pre-assembled cable through the conduit will depend on which way you are running the cable and which way is easier to pull from.

Please NOTE: the principle I am trying to stress applies to any connector in which power is being carried. The connector contact gender should be oriented so that the source of power is not carried on exposed male pins when a connector is unmated.

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