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Lighting mystery

Jan 10, 2017
2
Catalina 30 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!!
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,134
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
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?
Sounds like a serious wiring issue.

Charlie Wing's Boatowners Illustrated Electrical Handbook is one of the best.
 
Mar 10, 2015
62
Catalina 30 Moss Landing, 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!!
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!
 

Rick D

.
Jun 14, 2008
6,876
Hunter Legend 40.5 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.
 
Sep 14, 2014
945
Catalina 22 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!
 
Sep 15, 2013
651
Catalina 270 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.
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,571
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored 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.
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php?topic=5977.0

Or read the information on MaineSail's site http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects
Great information that will help you make the project a success.
good luck