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On our boat’s mast there are three separate lights: a deck light, which shines down to illuminate the deck, a steaming light, which we are required to have on when we are motoring at night and an anchor light. Unfortunately, they all stopped working. 🙁 But what a great opportunity to work on my electrical troubleshooting, right?

The wires are fed from the deck to the mast though a multi-pin Aqua Signal plug. I remember that even when we first acquired the boat, the plug was a bit finicky. If it didn’t work you could just wiggle it a bit and the lights would come on. Not likely the way it was designed to be.

The other day, when we were at anchor in Waupoos, the wiggling stopped working though. Fortunately I had purchased a backup LED anchor light for just such an occasion. This backup light plugs into the 12V outlet at our Nav station and is hung someplace above deck level. It worked great to fill the gap that the non-functioning masthead anchor light left.

The following day I began troubleshooting the lights in earnest. I disassembled the mystery plug and was happy to see that each of the wires were labeled (thanks again David)! I cleaned up all of the connections and retightened them but it was still difficult to see if it was working. I could see from the multimeter that we had the proper voltage going into the wires leading up the mast but the one light I that could easily see from deck level (the deck light) wasn’t working. It wasn’t until closer to dark that I could verify that the steaming and anchor lights were both now functioning, leading me to believe that the bulb is now simply blown in the deck light. Or at least, I hope that’s all it is!

Right now it is raining and we have 20-30 knots of wind blowing in the marina. I think our trip up the mast to change that bulb can wait until the weather clears up a bit!


  1. Going up the mast, scary! Going up the mast in a storm, unthinkable!!!!

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