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Author Topic:   Another Navigation Lamp Wiring Scheme
skred posted 03-05-2014 10:44 AM ET (US)   Profile for skred   Send Email to skred  
As I have rehabilitated my tiller-steered 13 Sport with console steering, I am installing and wiring the Navigation and Anchor lights. Realizing that my solution is somewhat "un-Whalery", I am wondering if my plan has any downside: I am installing a "box" similar to the OEM electrical cover box at the port side stern wire outlet hole. I plan to run the negative connection to the lights directly to the battery lead in the box. I plan to install a single pole single throw switch to interrupt the positive lead from the battery to the navigation lights, and a plug to connect the stern light when needed. To activate the lighting, I simply reach back and flip the switch (as opposed to running additional wiring to a 3-way or other type switch on the console). Anything unwise about this configuration?
jimh posted 03-05-2014 10:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As long as somewhere in the 12-Volt positive circuit you have a fuse, your plan sounds good to me.
swist posted 03-05-2014 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Use marine grade wire, which is usually no smaller than 16AWG, although I suppose with the advent of LED navigation lights, the voltage drop in the wiring (which can be lengthy) is no longer significant.
Chuck Tribolet posted 03-05-2014 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
With running lights, you always need the stern light. And
you need the stern light alone when anchored. So I don't
think plugging in the stern light to turn it on is a good

A double-pole, double-throw, center-off switch can be wired to
run do the job. That's what Whaler did on my Montauk. Switch
up for running lights (inc. stern light, center is off, down
is stern light only.


kwik_wurk posted 03-05-2014 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
Overall, assuming a proper fuse, sounds ok for a 13. (I would prefer to see a negative (ground) running to a negative bus bar, but that is a technicality.)

If I understand the wiring correct, you would potentially have an energized female plug with the switch on, but no stern light plugged in.

If this is true, I would be sure to have an adequate cover, or protection such that regular humidity or water won't create a short.

All this said, most of us have similar setups, some plug for the stern light, which at times can be energized with nothing in it. In fact there are a lot of drop in Perko stern lights out there where the the pole is jammed into a recessed hole 2.5" deep. But these have covers and a drain hole.

skred posted 03-06-2014 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Definitely I will have the circuits fused. I agree concerning a negative bus connection. Also, regarding the DPDT switch: The switch would interrupt current to any plug configuration I choose for the stern light. My main intent was to limit wiring to the console, and interrupt the positive connections with a switch, to alleviate any possible current drain when off, since I understand that there can be some small current bleed to a device, even when simply turned "off". Thanks for the recommendations.
jimh posted 03-06-2014 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is no problem in wiring the negative branch of the lighting circuit to the nearby battery negative by some other path than physically following the positive branch of the circuit all the way. For example, on my boat the all-round lamp at the stern receives its positive branch circuit from the helm console switch, about 15-feet away, and its negative branch circuit goes to a negative power bus a few feet away. There is no need to run the negative branch of the circuit the 15-feet back to the helm console, just because that is where the positive came from.

If you use a toggle switch, get a rubber boot to cover the bat handle of the switch actuator. This will keep water from splashing into the switch.

skred posted 03-06-2014 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
I understand. Basically, I planned to run both positive and negative leads to the stern box, in which would be a positive and a negative bus strip. From there, the nav light wiring would attach to a dpdt switch (in the same box). I was simply trying to plan the nav light layout to eliminate a switch at the console. Now that I look at it, I might as well put the standard type nav light switch on the console, and wire the light in that fashion. There seems to be no advantage to my original wiring plan.
The ultimate goal was to eliminate any parasitic "drain" on the battery from the lighting scheme.

Chuck Tribolet posted 03-07-2014 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
If you switch the positive lead and do not switch the negative
lead, there will be no parasitic drain.


skred posted 03-09-2014 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Correct. As I stated above: "...and interrupt the positive connections with a switch, to alleviate any possible current drain,"

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