Grounding Wire for Mast - Hunter 26.5

Discussion in 'Ask A Hunter Owner' started by Paulbond, Sep 21, 2015. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Paulbond

    Paulbond

    Joined Jun 7, 2015
    3 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Erie Yacht Club
    Hello everyone, I have a 1988 Hunter 26.5 that I am rewiring the electrical connector for the lights due to it getting destroyed when stepping the mast in the spring. However, I only have four wires coming out (two for each light) and am wondering how the ground is taken care of on these boats. If anyone has any info please let me know. I am also assuming a ground wire/cable should be green or green stripe as most grounding wires are but also realize that if someone changed it then all bets are off. I am simply wondering how these boats came from the factory if anyone knows.

    Thanks,
    Paul
     


  2. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    7,250 posts, 783 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    I am not sure what color your wire is and that needs to be known. In addition, that boat originally came with a three prong deck plug. It sounds that you have the two light divided by a black plastic divider but I forgot the manufacturer. The wires leads were black and red. Red for positive DC and black for negative DC. On the three prong plug in, the largest prong was for the negative or black. On newer boats now, yellow is the color for negative DC to alleviate the distintiction from AC which is black (hot). Suggest that you connect the negative together if using a three prong plug but there is a four prong plug that came out years ago available .

    I believe others will chime in as well.
     


  3. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    Hi, I’ve got an ‘87 Hunter 26.5 and my mast has two black wires coming out of the mast, one above the other, waterproof fittings where they come out. The question I have is this, one of these wires has a plug on it which I assume has a matching plug on the deck, and the other has a bare wire. Now I haven’t seen a matching deck plug, but I could have missed it, since the deck was pretty dirty when I saw her. Right now she’s sealed up tight for the winter with probably 12” of snow on her, so going up to look is out of the question, my problem is why are there two wires coming off the mast? There is nothing up there but the standard nav mast lights, I was planning to add a mast deck light but I need to know just what the wiring is in the mast first. Any ideas?
     


  4. LeslieTroyer

    LeslieTroyer

    Joined May 20, 2016
    2,576 posts, 1,192 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    Unlike cars boats don’t use the chassis (mast) as electrical ground. So it takes two wires to power your light.

    Green is AC ground. White AC neutral. Black AC power. Yellow or black DC negative. Red Dc positive. Misc other colors for specific purposes google ABYC wire colors

    Mahalo
     


  5. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    Grounding the mast, is not always a simple subject & it has nothing to do with wiring power to lights. Sometimes capacitors &/or filters may be needed on some ground connections on a boat, depending on what electronic equipment you have on board. Mast grounding is generally a matter of lightning protection. It is not used to carry electrical current. The lightening protection ground often needs to be electrically isolated from radio & antenna grounds. The West Marine website has some basic info on the subject posted. Main Sail probably has much more detailed coverage of the subject posted somewhere else.

    ABYC wire sizing information can be found here - https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437
    In the case of this chart, if you run a wire 30 feet up a mast to a light & then run the other wire from that light 30 feet back down, that counts as 60 feet of wire round trip when using the sizing chart. The specified wire size for long runs will often be bigger than most people expect. If you have LED lights, then the wire size can go way down. In many cases the cost of a mast head LED can be less than the cost of running wire that is heavy enough to power an old fashioned incandescent bulb in that location.

    ABYC wire color codes can be found here - https://www.defender.com/pdf/abyc-wire-color-chart.pdf
     


  6. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    Back again, still on that mast wire problem. Last year I splashed her without the mast lights, there is one fitting on the deck for a wire, however the plugged wire does not fit, and then there is the bare wire, that might connect to a bare wire down in the fitting. On another post someone was rewiring the mast on their 26.5 same year, however there is no compression post in the cabin of mine, just a step plate on the cabintop. I plan on running an anchor Light, a steaming light w/deck light, a Davis Light for the Windvane, and a cable for the wind Transducer on the top of the mast. There are two lights already on this mast, an anchor Light and a steaming light both of which are cracked and fogged so are being replaced, which means the two wires now in the mast can be replaced with something else. My question is where and how do I run all these wires into the cabin, is the mast plate better than connections on the deck, or visa versa?
     


  7. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    I just picked up a 26.5 recently. My mast needs a rewire also. Mine has a black wire & a white wire coming out of the mast. The connection to the deck looks to be like this one - https://www.westmarine.com/buy/perko--watertight-deck-connections--P009_275_007_008?recordNum=3. The two pins in that plug are different diameters. A 3 or 4 wire version of that plug also exists & is probably what I will use when I eventually rewire. I plan to go with both a tri-light & an all around white on the mast head when I rewire. That will require an extra pin, unless I go with exotic switch gear or a specialized light system in the mast head.

    My 26.5 has the compression post, but it is easy to miss if you are not looking for it. It runs along the edge of the doorway to the V-berth. It kind of looks like a door jamb.

    I'm not exactly sure how the mast step on the deck works. It looks different from other deck stepped Hunters that I have had. It does not look like something that can pivot.
     


    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  8. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    I have a photo of that spot...it does not look like there is anything there, but the edge of the doorway is the center of the boat...

    49A517B0-53F5-4FDB-84A5-6A2619B70186.jpeg
     


  9. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    Kinda hard to see, but this is the connection on the deck for the electrical connection, the top unscrews from the bottom, revealing a bare wire.... 2017-09-11 16.24.02.jpg
     


  10. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    These are the two wires coming out of the mast.... IMGL1584.JPG
     


  11. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    Immediately to the right of the table, in my boat, is a square post that is probably 3" x 3", running up the left side of the doorway. Yours does look different.

    The "wall" behind my table, is a single thin piece of wood. Is your "wall" thicker, perhaps with some structure inside?
     


  12. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    Thank you. Seeing what the inside of the mast base looks like is a big help to me.
     


  13. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    The wire on the right is for the mast light. The plug on the end of it looks like one of the two pins may have been broken off, or rotted off. The Perko part that I listed earlier is likely a direct replacement. The deck socket for it on my boat is on the port side, a couple of inches from the mast base.

    The other wire is most likely an antenna cable for the VHF.
     


  14. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,836 posts, 856 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    Take pictures of ALL mast attachements and connections for future reference. measure it's length.
     


  15. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    The “wall” seems to be hollow...there are screws on the berthing side that have no heads on the cabin side, it appears to be a removable panel that may have something inside...the door jamb seems to be wider than 2” but less than 3”...I’ll check it tomorrow when I go down to the boat...
     


  16. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    The wires are for the lights on the mast, Anchor and Steaming...the problem with that plug is that there is nothing anywhere on the deck that fits it...all there is is that screwed top connector, the only thing that fits is the bare wire on the other wire...and that requires you to unscrew that top, the bare wire fits through the hole on the top, but I can’t see anyone twisting wires together every time you step the mast...
     


  17. victorhoisington

    victorhoisington

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    230 posts, 52 likes
    Islander Freeport, 41 Ketch
    US Longmont, CO
    So most masts I have seen use a 4 wire setup for the lights,
    - steaming/deck - may be split if navigation lights are not mounted at the masthead
    - navigation - if mounted on Masthead
    - Anchor
    - ground - note all lights use a common ground wire to save weight and wiring.

    There should be a 4-wire connection either in the mast base or near the mast base for these circuits
    You do not (nor should not) run separate ground wires for each circuit, since all grounds on the boat are common at the panel
     


  18. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    The steaming light may have been added. That would explain why you have 2 separate cables with 2 separate connectors rather than one 4-pole connector.

    You say that the one plug has no home. Perhaps it's receptacle is currently home to a dead end plug that is there to keep water out?? Perhaps if you remove said dead end plug, you might find a receptacle? It's also possible that a previous owner added the steaming light, then used 2 plugs for the two lights, & swapped them back & forth into a single receptacle when he wanted to change what light was on.
     


  19. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,446 posts, 422 likes
    Hunter 26.5, 212, 170
    us West Palm Beach
    I went back & looked at my compression post again. Looking forward, it is hard to see. Looking aft, from inside the V-berth, it is more clearly viable PostLookingFwd.jpg PostLookingAft.jpg .
     


  20. Stroke2017

    Stroke2017

    Joined Apr 18, 2017
    19 posts, 1 likes
    Hunter 26.5
    US Brick, New Jersey
    Going to check the V-Berth to see what the post looks like there, this requires popping the hatch for better light...
    The Steaming Light looks original to the mast, not sure about the Anchor light though, could be an aftermarket light added later, but the wires come through the mast via two holes one above the other sealed with a rubber gasket. There is only one connector on the deck, no plugged or anything looking like a connector a plug to be removed...even if the previous owner was swapping the wires, the two wires have nothing to swap with, a plug on one, bare wire on the other and nowhere to connect them to...being she was sailed mostly on a lake, maybe they just decided not to fix the problem...all I can say is I was told at time of sale, that they needed to be fixed...