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Author Topic:   Adding Wiring
DaveS posted 12-21-2010 01:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for DaveS   Send Email to DaveS  
I'd like to add some [lamps] to my Outrage [center] console, and am trying to figure the best way to run the wiring so it looks like I almost knew what I was doing. I'd like to add a few TRISTAR face mount lamps to the base of the console to add some light during night fishing. I'm not sure how I would run the wiring inside the console so it [is] not just dangling down. My first thought was to get some of the black split hose and a some adhesive hose clamps and stick them in place then run the tubing through them. Is this the best way to go? Any suggestions? Thanks--Dave
jimh posted 12-21-2010 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you add a branch circuit to your existing electrical distribution, you should follow a few simple rules:

--add the branch circuit to its own circuit breaker;

--use the proper insulation wire color code

--use appropriate methods to mechanically retain the wiring

For a lighting circuit the wire insulation color code that is most appropriate would be:

positive conductor = BLUE
negative conductor = BLACK or YELLOW

The size of conductor should be at least 18-AWG and perhaps 16-AWG is preferable. There is little difference in cost.


To mechanically retain the wire you can use Nylon cable clamps or metal cable clamps with rubber insulators. I prefer Nylon cable clamps for low voltage wiring. Generally you can secure the cable clamp with a stainless steel self-tapping screw. Typically a No.-6 or a No.-8 self-tapping screw will suffice. Use a flat washer, too.

The new branch circuit should be wired to a circuit breaker on a secondary distribution panel. If you do not have an extra circuit breaker (or fuse) on your secondary distribution panel, you should consider expanding your electrical distribution panel to provide for more capacity for branch circuits.

AZdave posted 12-22-2010 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
My first thought was that you could extend an existing courtesy lighting circuit. Then I peeked at your home page, and it looks like your beautiful and unmolested Whaler does not have courtesy lighting for the deck area. I agree with all of jimh's post above. I will also add a link to another post to this site with pictures of wiring that I find inspirational. You may have to use adhesive to hold some plywood to the inside surface of the console if you are supporting wires in runs over areas that are too thin to use screws from the inside.
davej14 posted 12-25-2010 01:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Definitely be careful when screwing the cable holders from the inside of the console. As AZDave points out there are areas where the console is quite thin. When torking the screws in several locations I poped out some gell coat on the console exterior. Some day I will get around to patching it.

The double stick adhesive pads that typically come with cable clamps will not hold up on its own over the long run. I'm wondering if anyone has had success using gorilla glue or some waterproof adhesive without screws ?

jimh posted 12-26-2010 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I agree that the thickness of the laminate of the center console itself may be insufficient to hold a self-tapping screw. Often there will be wooden reinforcements inside the console, and you can attach wiring to the wooden reinforcements using a small self-tapping screw.

You can also drill a small hole through the laminate of a center console and use a stainless steel machine screw and nut to retain a cable clamp. Use a stainless steel machine screw with a pan head and an elastic stop nut or Ny-lok nut. One or two added fasteners on the outside of a center console should not ruin the appearance of the console.

You could also install your own wood reinforcement to the console, and then use it as a base for fastening cable clamps for additional wiring.

If using the self-adhesive cable clamps, be sure to thoroughly clean the surface of the console and remove any loose material before applying the adhesive. As long as the cable clamp is not subjected to great stress, a self-adhesive cable clamp should have enough strength to hold a pair of conductors powering a branch circuit.

As for the wiring size, let me correct my recommendation: use 16-AWG as the minimum conductor size.

acseatsri posted 12-28-2010 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
What I've done in my re-wiring project is to epoxy 1/2" plywood inside the console in areas where I need to use screws and wire ties to secure wiring. 3 seasons now with no failures.
DaveS posted 12-30-2010 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveS  Send Email to DaveS     
Thanks for the information. Great ideas. I never thought about running a plywood strip along the inside of the console, that looks like a winner to me! Now I just need to decide on a style of light and a color for them.

Thanks again for the help, as always, it's greatly appreciated.


L H G posted 12-30-2010 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I have installed courtesy lights in all of my center console Whalers, using anywhere from two to six fixtures, which includes lower console sides (under the consle floor level), under side gunwales, and in various side panels if they exist. They improve the quality of nighttime boating considerably. current=Scan0028.jpg

It seems a good incandescent/halogen lamp fixture is in order for warmth, rather than the icy blue/purple flourescent color of LED's.

I use exclusively Guest's 10W #8701-5, which Boston Whaler first used in the 90's in their Walkaround models. They cost about $30/each, but well worth it. They require a 2" hole for recess mounting, but can also be surface mounted under the gunwales. You can find merchants who sell them on Google. Some of my fixtures are 18 years old, and still work perfectly, with not even a lamp burn-out.

A terminal block mounted in the console, or other part of the boat as needed, is nice for making the wire connections, and I always run the wire for the opposite side console light under the console floor.

The addition of a dome light inside the console is a nice feature also. I use one with it's own integral switch, and mount it high on the blocking inside the sloping front of the console, where the "shepard's crook" mounts.

L H G posted 12-30-2010 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Correction: That Guest courtesy light is part #8071-5, but it now appears to have been discontinued. But I would try to find some other incandescent light if possible.

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