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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, need some help. I'm having trouble replacing my all-around light on my 17 foot Maycraft skiff.
Actually, the trouble is more along the lines of access rather than actual wiring. Connecting it up is the simple part. Maybe someone here as a similar boat and can help.

The socket with the little pins in the bottom that the little pole fits into is on the rear starboard side and was corroded so I bought another one to replace it. After I removed the old one I stripped the insulation off the existing wires to wire the new one and I see the wires are pretty much corroded. The wires are black and solder won't stick to them. Now I know where the other end of the wire is that comes up thru the conduit at the console. SO I figured it was easy enough to just run new wires. Wrong.

The issue is the little "fender" thing, (circled in red) is full of foam, so I can't see or reach down there. All access I have is a tiny hole for the new socket where the old one came out. I tugged on the wires (from both ends) but the old wire is in there good and won't budge so using the old wire as a pull wire to just pull new wire from the back fender to the console won't work. The conduit must be sealed.

So I figured I would just run new wires, but coming between the floors in the middle of the boat instead of thru the conduit since it must be sealed up. I'd run my wires down from the console then between the hulls to the rear, then over to the fender, and up thru the foam to the hole for the new receptacle in the fender. The problem is, I used a metal rod to "feel around" thru the foam in the fender and I thought the fender was open at the bottom (stopping at the first hull) and I could run the wire between the floors. So I tried using a coat hanger hoping the wire would sort of curve when it hit the bottom and I could fish the wire between the floors.
There's an existing access porthole in the middle of the floor about three feet from the fender, so if I could get my coat hanger over near the center of the boat, I could find it by feeling around with my arm in that access hole and pull my wire from the fender and take it on back up to the console easy enough.

Apparently, the fender side goes all the way past the upper hull and down to the bottom hull of the boat because my coat hanger won't go past the side of the fender. It's hitting something solid. I've run network cable for years, thru wall and ceilings, etc, so I'm familiar with fishing wires thru tight places.

My questions are, does anyone know if this sound right? Do the sides of the fender thing go all the way down to the bottom hull? If so, what can I do? I don't want to run the wire across the deck.

So I bought one of them d-cell battery powered flashlight style all-around lights similar to the one show to use until I find a solution. Is that legal? It's at the right height, and it's bright enough, so that should be OK?

I've never been out at night and don't plan to, but I have to have it because it's required. And of course someday I might actually be coming in at dusk once in my life and need an all-around white light on the stern.

I don't know how to get a wire from the console to the back rear fender. The only other way is to cut a hole into the side of the fender thing to actually see if it goes all the way and so I will have enough room to get my arm in there to feel around and see what the obstruction is. I could then put one of the circular port holes to fix it, but I ain't to keen at cutting hole in my boat if I don't absolutely have to. I'd rather stick with the flashlight all-around white light than do that if it's legal.

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The clamp on light is perfectly legal. If you want to use the existing wires and new socket just use some heat shrink butt connectors. I've ran across black wire that will not solder but the connectors work fine. I like the 3m ones.
 

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Red X Angler
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if the old wires are getting power use them. Heat shrink or butt connectors coated well with liquid tape. Sounds like the flotation foam has everything blocked up.
 

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You can try cleaning the ends of the exposed wires in Coke or phosphoric acid to deoxidize them. Just stick them in a little cup to soak for 10 or 15 minutes. When you solder make sure to use plenty of flux. Clean the solder joint with IPA afterward especially if the flux you use has high acid content. Dab a little liquid tape on it, slip some heat drink tube over it and it should be good to go for a long, long time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the helpful replies.

I'm getting about 3-8 volts, but that is touching the probe to the uncleaned black wire. There might be 12 volts in the core of the wire, but the oxidation on the wire surface isn't giving me a good reading. I use rosin core solder but it just balls up on the wire.

I'll clean them with something and wire it up anyway. If it works I'll keep the battery light for a backup. I wish they woudn't build these boats with the philosophy that you'll never need to ever rewire anything!

Where do you get phosphoric acid? And can you buy just a small amount? I don't want to have to buy a whole gallon or quart when I just need a tablespoon of the stuff. I won't ever use it all.
 

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Red X Angler
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Good chrome wheel cleaners like "Eagle 1" for chrome and wire wheels, are phosphoric acid based. Look through the wheel cleaners and read the ingredient labels.
 

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Thanks for all the helpful replies.

I'm getting about 3-8 volts, but that is touching the probe to the uncleaned black wire. There might be 12 volts in the core of the wire, but the oxidation on the wire surface isn't giving me a good reading. I use rosin core solder but it just balls up on the wire.

I'll clean them with something and wire it up anyway. If it works I'll keep the battery light for a backup. I wish they woudn't build these boats with the philosophy that you'll never need to ever rewire anything!

Where do you get phosphoric acid? And can you buy just a small amount? I don't want to have to buy a whole gallon or quart when I just need a tablespoon of the stuff. I won't ever use it all.
I'm not kidding when I say Coke. It really does work on lots of metal clean up jobs. Plus its dilute enough where you won't damage the material you are trying to clean. I think phosphoric acid is the third or fourth ingredient on the label. If it doesn't work for ya just drink the balance of the bottle. :D
 

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Maybe you already tried this, but why not try running the wire along the under side of the gunnel and then drop down and over to the console? It's doable on some boats but not sure on that model.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah not do-able on this one Bruce. The boat seems to have two floors (hulls) but only one gunnel. For example if I drill a hole in the side of the boat (gunnel), it comes out on the outside of the boat. The sides are one-layer thick but the floor has a top floor (that your feet touch) and then about 4 or 6 inches of space (with foam in between), then a second "floor" (that actually touches the water). Apparently it's built sort of like the drawing:
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Sorry for the crude sketch. Best I could do with MS Word.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think the black copper wire is from corrosion. I noticed this over the years when I replace trailer lighting. When the wire is installed and new it is pretty copper. But years later is it black copper and solder won't stick to it. I assumed that was from saltwater wicking up thru the stranded wire after a couple of years of backing the trailer into saltwater at the ramp.

Seems no matter how much wire you cut off the end, you never get to shiny copper wire. That's why I assume its from saltwater wicking up thru the wire insulation. I figured if the last, say, foot of wire was black copper I'd eventually get to copper colored if I cut enough off the end. Wasn't so.:)
 

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You're right you'll probably never get back to clean copper. You can clean what you have though. I'm dealing with similar issues. I just found online a method of using salt and vinegar to clean then water and baking soda to neutralize.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I did manage it. Thanks for all the suggestions. I stripped the wire back about 2", then twisted it real tight, then took me a little piece of 200 grit sandpaper between my fingers that I had lying around, and pulled it along the bare wire while kind of twisting it a little and I got pretty new copper again. I reckon you can say I just sanded off the corrosion. :)

Was able to actually solder it.
 
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