1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
‘79Montauk
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1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby ‘79Montauk » Wed Aug 03, 2022 1:09 pm

What is a source for the plastic light bulb socket that was used in a pole lamp on a 1979 MONTAUK?

BACKSTORY: My children wrenched the pole lamp from the stern of my 1979 Montauk. I am unable to find a replacement two-contact electrical connector. The plastic light bulb socket cracked and now won’t hold a light bulb.

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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Wed Aug 03, 2022 1:58 pm

‘79Montauk wrote:The plastic light bulb socket cracked and now won’t hold a light bulb.

Many plastic components which have fractured can be repaired by using a modern glue to adhere them together at the fracture line.

A good source for small tubes of a modern clue that will give a strong bond with plastic molded parts is

    Loctite
    Super Glue
    Ultra Gel Mini
    Net Wt. 0.03 ounces

These are very small tubes. Each will be enough adhesive for several repairs. Buying in small tubes prevents the glue from hardening in an open tube that sits around for a year between uses.

I have used this product to make many repairs to plastic items which have fractured or broken cleanly along a line. Of course, if you have a plastic part that is in a dozen small pieces, restoration by using an adhesive may not work well,

You can often buy these at an ACE HARDWARE. This link may be useful:

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/paint-and-supplies/tape-glues-and-adhesives/glues-and-epoxy/1586122

As far as finding an OEM replacement part, you will have to look for some brand identification on the lamp. If you can find the OEM maker, you can try contacting them directly. For a boat that is now 43-years-old, there is no guarantee that the firm who made the lamp you have on your boat is still making that same lamp and will offer you the chance to buy individual parts of the lamp.

You may be further ahead to just replace the pole lamp with one of the same diameter.

‘79Montauk wrote:I am unable to find a replacement two-contact electrical connector.
I don't think you looked very hard.

Regarding the two-pole electrical connectors used by Boston Whaler in c.1979, those connectors were not particularly water-resistant and the brass contacts often corroded. Those OEM connectors were made by COLE-HERSEE. The COLE-HERSEE part number was M-121.

Image
Fig. 1. An illustration from an old COLE-HERSEE catalog
of the M-121 connector commonly found as the
pole lamp connector on Boston Whaler boats.


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.


COLE-HERSEE was taken over by LITTELFUSE. You can try to find that old connector from them. You might also find something similar in a catalog of marine parts from SEADOG.

Also note a similar connector made by Sierra, model C43604, and was selling a few years ago for $9.

in 2009 (13-years ago) I replaced the pole lamp connectors on my boat with something a bit better. I used Deutsch two-pole connectors and ordered Dust Caps and Blank Plugs for each connector so that I could weather seal the contacts when the lamp was not in use. Thirteen years later in 2022 the connectors and their silver plated contacts show no sign of any corrosion. If I can find the details I will append them in follow on post.

In brief, the advantage of the Deutsch connectors are:

--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.

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Phil T
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby Phil T » Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:22 pm

I think the OP is suggesting the light bulb base is damaged.
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jimh
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:14 pm

Phil T wrote:I think the OP is suggesting the light bulb base is damaged.
I think he is suggesting the plastic light bulb socket is damaged.

You cannot usually repair a light bulb itself, so the only remedy for a damaged light bulb is a new light bulb.

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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby Phil T » Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:54 pm

base, as in the part that the bulb is installed into.

One threads the bulb into the [base]
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Phil T
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby Phil T » Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:48 pm

Having reviewed the Perko legacy product catalog and the replacement parts guide, there does not appear to be a replacement [light bulb socket] available.

If you can't mend it, a new pole will need to be purchased.
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Alibertucci
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby Alibertucci » Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:53 pm

I had the same problem and decided to just buy a replacement socket and an LED bulb for the all-around light on the pole that fit the socket. Ultimately I rewired the pole adding the new socket, the LED bulb and new quick connectors at the bottom of the pole and the boat wire. It's much like rewiring a table lamp. The end result for me is that the light is working (its brighter than the incandescent bulb but not that much), and I avoided purchasing a replacement light pole for the boat. Of course the solution is not "original" to my Montauk. If you are interested I can look for and send you links to the parts I used. It was an easy fix.
Smooth Whalin
2000 Montauk 17
90 HP Mercury Two Stroke Saltwater

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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:12 am

Here is a easy-to-order source for a two-pole connector that can be used as a replacement for the original brass and rubber connector:

https://www.customconnectorkits.com/dt-2-wire-kit/

Select the Nickel sockets and pins for your wire size; usually 16-AWG wire is appropriate. You can use a soldered connection with these contacts, which avoids having to buy a very expensive circumferential crimping tool for several hundred dollars.

If you want to keep the wire insulation color codes correct, the positive DC conductor for a navigation lamp will have GRAY insulation. The negative conductor for a navigation lamp will have BLACK insulation, or if the boat has 120-VAC wiring, use YELLOW for the DC Negative conductor.

In addition you can also get connector boots to help keep water away from the connector cable entrance, See

https://www.customconnectorkits.com/dt-boots/

At one time you could also get blank sealing plugs and caps which can be connected to the actual connectors when they are not matted. These will help keep weather and corrosion out of the electrical contacts. I am having trouble finding those parts now.

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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:15 am

Phil T wrote:base, as in the part that the bulb is installed into. One threads the bulb into the [base]

I think you mean a light bulb socket. A screw-in light bulb has a threaded metal base . That threaded metal base on the light bulb threads into a threaded light bulb socket receptacle in the lamp housing.

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Navigation Lighting; Terms and Definitions

Postby jimh » Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:21 am

Alibertucci wrote:I had the same problem and decided to just buy a replacement socket...I can look for and send you links to the parts I used.
It would be nice to have a URL to a source of a replacement light bulb socket that can fit into the OEM pole lamp assembly you think might be the one on the 1979 MONTAUK boat that is the topic of this discussion.

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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:35 pm

Regarding terminology associated with lightbulbs, lamps, and navigation lights, please refer to and use the standard terminology as laid out in this new article:

Navigation Lighting; Terms and Definitions
https://continuouswave.com/forum/viewto ... f=6&t=7380

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Alibertucci
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby Alibertucci » Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:31 am

It would be nice to have a URL to a source of a replacement light bulb socket that can fit into the OEM pole lamp assembly you think might be the one on the 1979 MONTAUK boat that is the topic of this discussion.


I got the light bulb socket from Specialty Marine. It fit nicely and securely into the circular recess at the top of the light pole.

lamp.jpeg
Fig. 2. Lamp with new socket and LED light bulb.
lamp.jpeg (37.77 KiB) Viewed 39 times


I got the LED light bulb to fit the light bulb socket also from Specialty Marine

I used automotive or motorcycle connectors for the wiring that I found on a website.

splice1.jpeg
Figure 3. The pre-molded connector spliced onto the original wiring in the boat.
splice1.jpeg (19.95 KiB) Viewed 36 times


splice2.jpeg
Fig. 4. The pre-molded connector and its wire were used to run up the pole to the lamp.
splice2.jpeg (37.38 KiB) Viewed 35 times


I used heat shrink to make splices for the wiring at the light bulb socket and at the automotive connectors.

The automotive or motorcycle connectors came with end caps. I thought they were nice to help with weather exposure and corrosion.
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Re: 1979 MONTAUK: Lightbulb Socket for Pole Lamp

Postby jimh » Sat Aug 06, 2022 8:54 am

I appreciate the information that has been shared about the lightbulb, the light bulb socket, and the connectors used to refurbish the white all-round light pole lamp and its wiring and connectors. I am sure the installation as shown above works and will likely keep working, but it is not the sort of boat wiring that you would find on a boat from a manufacturer that was adhering to A.B.Y.C. standards.

I must point out that the connectors used as described above have several problems:
  • the connectors are pre-molded onto cable and cannot be field-installed on existing cables
  • the connectors have paired pin-socket connectors, and the pin connector is on the red conductor, which would normally be used for positive DC power, and thus the power connector is exposed when the connector is unmated;
  • the connectors can only be spliced onto existing wiring
  • the connectors are genderless, that is, they can make with themselves; if this is done (as appears to have been on the boat described above) then the wire insulation color for the circuit conductors being carried through the connectors switches color every time the connectors are mated to each other.
As a general philosophy about boat wiring, the splicing of conductors should be avoided as much as possible. Every splice is another discontinuity in the circuit which can become a point of failure. On a boat that is only 17-feet long, there could hardly ever been a good reason that a wire had to be spliced to another wire to complete a circuit. If a wire is not long enough, it should be removed and a new wire that is long enough to reach the necessary distance used to replace the original. Wire is not free, but its cost is sufficiently low that you should not have to splice circuits together.

With the wire insulation color changing at every connection point, it becomes difficult to know which conductor is carrying which polarity of the 12-Volt power at any one point in the circuit. The polarity will be a factor if a light-emitting diode light bulb is used; the LED won't illuminate if the polarity of the power is wrong.

The pre-wired light bulb socket is another problem; it will have to be spliced onto other conductors because the wire length is too short to be useful.

Looking at the wiring described above finds the following splices:
  • light bulb socket to pre-wired connector = 2 splices
  • pre-wired connector to existing boat wiring = 2 splices
Four splices have been added to the circuit that otherwise would not be needed if pre-wired connectors and a pre-wired socket had not been used.

A further problem with the pre-wired connectors is the wire: it may not be tinned and multiple-strand marine grade wire, and with fixed wire colors the wire insulation color will be incorrect.

Having worked professionally in the business of installing and maintaining the electronic equipment in very large plants, I am disposed to avoiding the expediency of using pre-assembled connectors molded onto short lengths of wire pigtails, and instead I much prefer to use field-installable connectors and thus avoid any wire-to-wire butt splices whenever humanly possible. A continuous length of high-quality wire is hard to beat for durability and reliability. I have probably installed many thousands of connectors of all kinds, and I cannot ever remember resorting to splicing wires together except in some emergency repair.

ASIDE: when I redid the wiring for the white all-round lamp on my boat, I discovered that the circuit for that lamp contained an incredible number of splices. I bought the boat used, so I don't know if Boston Whaler delivered it with that wiring or some previous owner or workman hacked up the wire for some unknown reason.

The two conductors for the lamp circuit originated at the helm and ran through three pairs of butt-splices, making a total of six splices in the wiring. The splices were just crimp butt splices and were not particularly sealed against water intrusion, that is, they did not have a heat-shrink wrap on them.

I replaced all of that wiring with new conductors that made a direct run from the switch at the helm controlling the lamp to the lamp pole connector and then from the lamp pole connector to the battery negative. I also shortened the battery negative conductor by about ten feet because I connected it to the secondary power distribution negative bus at the stern.

At the pole lamp I used the existing wiring and attached it to the field-installable connector I was using.

The old rubber and brass connectors were actually still working, but I felt the connection could be improved by better weather-resistant connectors using nickel contacts.

The cumulative effect of the new connectors, the removal of six splices, and the replacement of the wiring with elimination of ten feet of unnecessary wire made a noticeable improvement in the actual voltage being delivered to the incandescent light bulb atop the pole lamp, and it burned brighter and lost its amber hue.