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Author Topic:   Splicing Wiring for Navigation Lamp Circuit
bkoelbel posted 07-26-2011 06:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for bkoelbel   Send Email to bkoelbel  
I bought a replacement navigation lamp pole from West Marine to replace the broken one on my 2001 Outrage. It mounts on the front of the grab rail just above the acrylic windshield.

Where is the best place is to splice the three wires? I am replacing the original, so as far as I can see, no splice currently exists. My electrical skills are quite limited, appreciate any advice.


contender posted 07-26-2011 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Can you pull the wire out some to work on them? And then are you able to pull the wires back into the console? You will need some heat shrink, silicon, and a solder iron. The correct way to splice the 3 wires is not to do them (cut them) in the same place, because then you create a large bundle of wires. Space the cuts about 2 inches apart down the line, twist the wires, slide heat shrink over each wire, twist the wires together so they lay flat in line, solder the wires then slide the heat shrink over the connection and heat it up to make a seal. I would then coat the heat shrink with some silicone to make a water tight seal. After the silicon dries pull the wires back into the console...good luck
jimh posted 07-27-2011 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not clear if you are replacing just the steel tubing for the lamp fixture or if you are replacing the entire assembly of tubing and lamp.

Is there a connector on the original lamp post assembly that mates with a matching connector on the boat?

bkoelbel posted 07-28-2011 06:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
jimh - I am looking to replace the entire fixture
bkoelbel posted 07-28-2011 06:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
tubing, lamp, and mounting hardware
jimh posted 07-28-2011 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In general I recommend avoiding making a splice in an electrical conductor on a small boat. The cost of running a new conductor without splices is not prohibitive, and installing a new, one-piece conductor should be the first option when faced with repair or replacement of an existing circuit which has become interrupted.
Chuck Tribolet posted 07-28-2011 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Splices will be necessary because the new light has short
leads. They are no problem if done right.

I'm guessing that the existing wiring runs through the grab
rail into the console. Your boat isn't that old, but I'd
replace it on general principles:

A. If it's a salt-water boat, the wire may well have wire
cancer, in which case it's impossible to get a proper splice.

B. It's cheap.

C. You know it's done right.

Here's what I'd do:

Find a buddy who can help you with #3 and #5.

1. Use the existing wiring to pull a strong cord through the
grab rail into the console.

2. Go down to West Marine or other chandler and get a piece
of Ancor three-conductor boat cable the same length or a touch
longer. Also get matching connectors, in the Ancor hot-melt
glue-lined version. And some Ancor hot-melt-glue-lined
heat shrink tubing about half-again the outside diameter of
the wire insulation.

3. Crimp the connectors on one end of the boat cable, and
shrink the tubing with a hair dryer and patience (or a heat
gun and less patience).

4. Use the cord to pull the new wire from the console to
where it comes out of the rail.

5. Cut the heat shrink so it's about 2" long. Put one
piece on each wire. Solder the wires together. Put the
heat shrink over the solder joint and shrink.


jimh posted 07-29-2011 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am still not clear about the replacement navigation lamp fixture and its wiring. Was there a connector in the original configuration between the boat or console and the lamp pole? Or is the lamp pole permanent wired into the console?

If there is no connector and you must splice into the lamp circuit to install the new lamp fixture, I would try to conceal the splice inside the steel tubing. You may have to disassemble the lamp from the tubing so you can make the splice and then stuff it down into the tubing.

I like to use two layers of heat shrink tubing over the splice. This builds up the insulation around the splice. You don't need the insulation for electrical reasons, as 12-volts DC can be insulated by a few thousandths of an inch of insulation, but the extra thickness of insulation will make the splice more durable and less prone to being nicked or cut.

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