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Author Topic:   light problems on a new Sport 13
Bill Davis posted 08-07-2003 08:25 AM ET (US)   Profile for Bill Davis   Send Email to Bill Davis  
How many boaters does it take to change a lightbulb? More than just this one, I am sorry to say.

On my Sport 13, my bow light doesn't work. I thought I would pull off the light fixture or at least check the bulb, but the lense is really hard to get off. I have started to pry, but it seems like it will break if I keep at it. Also, there is a blue seems-wire-like seal under the lense that is now disturbed.

To remove the whole fixture, of just the bulb, it appears that the lense has to come off.

I guess I want to know if any of you have tackled this tiny problem. Should I just go ahead with a flat-head screw driver and force that lense up and off?


captbone posted 08-07-2003 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I have the same problem with my entire nav lights systems. I think it is the fuse but have not had the time to check. Is this a problem prone area on the new 13 sports?
Bill Davis posted 08-07-2003 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bill Davis  Send Email to Bill Davis     
Got a nice reply back channel and as a result decided that my problem could be the original equipment switch. It sounds like yours might be as well. I wonder what would be a good replacement for the original switch on the post-2000 Sport 13....
captbone posted 08-08-2003 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
Thanks, I will try to jump the switch and see if it works.
Bill Davis posted 08-08-2003 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bill Davis  Send Email to Bill Davis     
Talked to my dealer on the phone and he said problem was probably the switch and he had them in stock. But get this: He said it would take about 15 minutes to put in a new switch, but I would have to leave the boat there for at least a week as he was "so backed up." The place takes 45 min to get to, on top of that.

The "cockpit" or whatever it is called on these newer Sport 13's is hard to see into. I don't think I'll be able to look up in there and swap out the switch myself, and would hate to take off the whole unit to get in there. I think, though, I may just order the switch myself if I can get it, and try it myself. Or maybe buy one from the dealer....

captbone posted 08-08-2003 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
Thanks, I will try to do mine, my dealer is a pain.
JohnJ80 posted 08-08-2003 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Some of the switches just push in or they have a couple of screws that hold them in from the top. I would take out the switch and then make a jumper wire to short the switch. If the lights go on, then its the switch. If they don't it is something else (wiring or lights).

I generally have found that my problems are not the switch, but corrosion on the little fingers that hold the festoon bulb in the light. The other thing that seems to happen is wire integrity. If you get a break in insulation and a little water gets in there, the corrosion starts and pretty soon it fails.

I have to tell you though, I have replaced my share of nav lights (this is the problem for me 8 out 10 times). I seem to have better luck when I put in the lights (bow and stern) that are removable. They don't seem to get as corroded and are therefore more usable. I like the perko ones with the plastic cover that snaps over the hole to keep water out.

The bow ones always seem to be the worst. I think because they are mounted over the hole in the hull, they get moisture up in there from air trapped in the hull. The plug in ones seem to be sealed much better and don't suffer from the same problem. Plus I remove them when I am not using them and they are stored on clips elsewhere on the boat. This keeps them out of the line of fire of waves and rain. I think that helps a ton too.


Bill Davis posted 08-09-2003 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bill Davis  Send Email to Bill Davis     
Another WhalerForum success! I got the idea from here that pulling out and testing the switch would actually be easy, and not an "under the dash" and impossible to reach kind of thing.

A piece of cake! The switch is a sigle pull out switch that clicks out in two steps to turn on both lights. All you do is unscrew the chromed switch handle and the hex-lock down nut that holds the switch in place, and then push it through the hole and then pull it and the wires out of the under-"dash" compartment [pardon my poor boating vocabulary].

Then I just pulled the connectors off the switch and took a piece of wire and, as y'all recommended, I "jumped" from the battery wire to each of the light wires. Eureka! Everything works fine but the switch, which is now removed and will be eeeeeeasy to replace. All I have to do is pick one up from the dealer when I next go fishing down there, and quickly stick it in, which I may just do in their parking lot.

I suppose in the meantime I have messed up the seal of my light lens on my bow light, thinking it was a bulb.... But that will be left to corrode for another day...

But I am really happy with this outcome and I thank you all and this forum. Can you believe that this 5 minutes of doing by me, with your help, saved me from having to leave my boat for A WEEK [!] at my dealer?? Who knows what he would have charged in labor!


Bill Davis posted 08-10-2003 06:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bill Davis  Send Email to Bill Davis     
Ended up taking the switch apart, just bending back the brass tabs and opening it up; and then I scraped all the connections with a sharp screw driver. Put it back together and lights fixed!

Thanks again.

captbone posted 08-11-2003 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I will do the same and then coat then it vasoline to prevent that again. Thanks
JohnJ80 posted 08-11-2003 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Personally, when it comes to switches, I would just replace it. They are not that expensive and when they go bad and corrode, they will probably just do it again but faster. Something probably got in there and did the ionic contamination thing. Unless you get all the ions out, it will corrode again without a doubt.

I don't know if I would use vaseline but I have had very good luck with plumbers silicon. The networked instruments for my sail boat put me on to this, they want all the connects coated with this stuff since it stops corrosion. So far that has been totally right on. I think the Silicon is a lot less reactive than the vaseline and doesn't run off in heat as easily as vaseline.


Bill Davis posted 08-11-2003 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bill Davis  Send Email to Bill Davis     

You've really been a lot of help here.

I will pick up a new switch next time I drive by my dealer on the way to fishing when it is not raining. Then, thanks to you, I will change switches in the parking lot, rather than dropping my boat off for a week.

As for teporary fixes, I was given this grease by the salesman at West Marine, to improve the fishfinder connectors, that was some kind of electrical grease. [Turned out the intermitent problem with the bottom machine was probably a fickle fuse: it worked fine when I took fuse out and touched the wires directly together]. I wonder if that special [i.e., expensive] grease is what would be best in there. Or one of those spray anti-corrosives. When I took it apart, it looked like it had some kind of oil in there.

For now, scraping the contacts will do, or at least it will let me "sleep at night" until I replace it.

I will replace the switch, just as I figure I will need to replace everything in the saltwater environment I seek.


PS: night fishing is on the horizon!

JohnJ80 posted 08-12-2003 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
that special 'electrical grease' is nothing more than the silicone plumbers goop that you put on o rings and such. that is the same stuff that i was talking about for my sailboat instruments. Its appearrance is very similar to the clear silicone glue/cauk but it doesn't have any adhesive characteristics.

You can buy a little jar of it at Home Depot for something like $2.00 or less (not much). This is the best stuff to use, it is very inert so it doesn't contribute to corrosion, it doesn't migrate in heat (liquify) as easily as vaseline and it is not flammable.

I think vaseline can turn into an emulsion (milky looking) in the presence of lots of humidity (or something like that - I just don't recall). Silicon won't. Petroleum jelly is a lot more reactive than silicone

The way to do this it to coat all the connections before you hook them together then screw them down tight. When you do it tight, there is metal to metal deformation - a very good connection and even to a certain degree, gas tight. The silicon paste on the outside and around the metal deformation prevents air from getting to it so it won't oxidize (corrode).

Its pretty much the same for those little slide on spade connectors. The parts that contact have a wiping action that clears off good metal so you get a very solid metal to metal contact. Put the good on both surfaces before you slide them together.

The stuff is great and its cheap.

Glad it all worked out for you.


JohnJ80 posted 08-12-2003 10:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Forgot to add that i would prefer the silicone grease to the spray on stuff. The trick is having enough coating to make sure the air (oxygen) doesn't get through to the metal. Spray on stuff probably won't cut it. Also, I guess I don't know of any spray on corrosion protection stuff but I do know about tuner cleaner that is used to clean electrical parts. That will NOT do the same thing as the silicone grease.

Also, I'm not a big fan of spraying things around electrical components. It is just too easy to make a mess since your target is usually pretty small.

Use the silicone grease, it is - far and away - the best choice.


jimh posted 08-12-2003 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Just to get the terminology straight:

The Navigation Rules specify that a vessel show certain LIGHTS after dark. The light is what other vessels see.

The light is created by a several NAVIGATION LAMPS, that have been certified by their manufacturers to product the display of LIGHT the rules require an installed on the boat in positions necessary to create the proper display of LIGHTS.

Inside the LAMPS are typically incandescent BULBS or maybe an LIGHT EMITTING DIODE ARRAY (LED Array).

The title ought to be "Problem with [LIGHTS/LAMPS/BULBS] on ..."

As written, "light" sounds like an adjective, meaning not heavy.

As Groucho marks said,

"Time flies like an arrow,
but fruit flies like a banana."

Or as Flip Wilson used to end a comedy routine about
a Knight named OVER, the maiden saying:

"Stay with me OVER Knight..."

captbone posted 08-18-2003 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
IT WAS THE SWITCH! Thanks for all your help. I hope whaler has a recall on those switches because mine was junk and rusted out.

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