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Lighting mystery

Discussion in 'Ask A Catalina Owner' started by Tanner S, Jan 10, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Tanner S

    Tanner S

    Joined Jan 10, 2017
    2 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Marina Del Rey Marina Del Rey, CA
    Hi everyone, has anyone had all exterior lighting issues on their Cat? I recently purchased my first Catalina - 30 1978 she's had a few lighting issues. Anchor light is out since purchase Stern light recently burned the casing and went out. Port and starboard lights worked for a few days then went out..replaced bulbs but no go. Steaming light went out, and burned out replacement within 10 min. After third bulb replaced but not working at all.

    Would it be coincidence to have to replace all the fixtures or could this be another problem? Has anyone had any experience in this? And does anyone have advice in a good all around electrical book for beginners to advanced? Thanks for your thoughts!!

  2. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    19,555 posts, 393 likes
    Catalina 34
    US Maple Bay, BC, Canada
    Sounds like a serious wiring issue.

    Charlie Wing's Boatowners Illustrated Electrical Handbook is one of the best.

  3. Justin_NSA


    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,053 posts, 452 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    How much voltage do you have at the sockets? Shore power plugged in or not?

  4. PineyWoods


    Joined Mar 10, 2015
    62 posts, 6 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Moss Landing, CA
    This sounds like excessive DC voltage at the sockets. Maybe an overzealous battery charger? Definitely measuring V at the sockets is essential as Justin mentioned.

    If you have the original switch panel, chances are in addition to whatever else, you've got a mess behind it, and maybe even an intermittent AC short to the panel the way the bulbs are blowing. Before removing the switch panels, DISCONNECT THE SHORE POWER CABLE!

  5. Rick D

    Rick D

    Joined Jun 14, 2008
    6,388 posts, 129 likes
    Hunter Legend 40.5
    US Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
    Different boat; different manufacture, but I have had issues in this boat and some others with both the sockets and feed lines of the stern and bow lights. The wires on the bow lights are joined somewhere in the run, so it's one feed of course. I found the wires corroded well under the cover. The second round, the corrosion was where the split was. The sockets also failed one at a time. On the stern light, it was the socket and its connector. So, the point is that these may have failed independently (your bad luck) or you have a voltage problem as suggested. I suggest you check at your panel first and compare that to the sockets to compare. Some drop at especially at the bow (because of the long run) is normal.

  6. Tanner S

    Tanner S

    Joined Jan 10, 2017
    2 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Marina Del Rey Marina Del Rey, CA
    Thanks so much everyone!!!!

  7. Jacktar


    Joined Sep 14, 2014
    474 posts, 139 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Pensacola, Florida
    Question should be, anyone got a boat older than 5 years from factory that doesn't have electrical issues? Answer is constant maintenance because it is in the marine environment. Corrosion is constant in fixtures and connections plus WM and others love to sell you parts!

  8. bawlmer


    Joined Sep 15, 2013
    404 posts, 54 likes
    Catalina 270
    270 Mystic US Baltimore
    If you are burning out bulbs as fast as you say you are then you are feeding them too much voltage. I would immediately suspect your shore power charger. Measure the voltage at the light switch with the charger plugged in. If your DC power is less than 15 volts with your charger plugged in then switch your meter to AC and check the voltage there. If there is more than one volt of AC then your charger is probably shot and should be replaced. The only other option is your battery is so bad that it is not absorbing the AC like it should. If that is the case the battery should read at least 12 volts with the charger unplugged after you have it plugged in for an hour or so. If not the battery is bad. Given that it is a 1978 boat it is quite possible both the charger and battery(ies) are bad and need to be replaced.

  9. jssailem


    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    3,746 posts, 852 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Sounds like you are in need of a wiring refit. Follow Stu Jackson's suggestion and get the book.
    Or you can start at the bow and one by one trace and pull the old lines replacing with new wire. Just be careful.
    You might find the information on Stu's Catalina site "Electricity 101" to be helpful.

    Or read the information on MaineSail's site
    Great information that will help you make the project a success.
    good luck

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