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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, I've got a couple of light questions I'm hoping someone can help with.

1. Navigation Lights
First and most important, I mounted navigation lights on my boat and ran wires from those lights and my driving lights to the battery. The wires to the navigation lights got so hot they caught on fire. Seems like the lights don't draw enough juice so the wires are having to dissipate it all. Anyone know what the problem would be or how to solve it (or do you know someone who is good with this type of electrical stuff)?

2. Driving Lights
I've currently just got some old K.C. type lights on the boat and would like to get something brighter without breaking the bank. What are your recommendations?

Thanks!
 

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JMgardner
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i just make my wife hold a light in the front of the boat ;-) but i saw the other day where harbor freight had a light bar that looked like it would work well and was water proof for either $60 or $70
 

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What size of wire did you run for the lights.
The best type is to run cord like sj/so cord. Get it in a 14/3 or 14/4. Then you'll have four wires to use.
As for lights I run two 9 led flood lights. I got them from six states. I think $40 each they work great
 

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Guys, I've got a couple of light questions I'm hoping someone can help with.

1. Navigation Lights
First and most important, I mounted navigation lights on my boat and ran wires from those lights and my driving lights to the battery. The wires to the navigation lights got so hot they caught on fire. Seems like the lights don't draw enough juice so the wires are having to dissipate it all. Anyone know what the problem would be or how to solve it (or do you know someone who is good with this type of electrical stuff)?

2. Driving Lights
I've currently just got some old K.C. type lights on the boat and would like to get something brighter without breaking the bank. What are your recommendations?

Thanks!
You wire size must be to small for the load you have on it.
The wire getting hot is from an over amp situation. As in to much load or a grounding issue
12v wiring is very simple just new to size the wire correctly.
 

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I have found that the easiest way to run wires is to go down to Harbor Freight and pick up a 12/3 outdoor extension cord and chop off the ends of it.

As Hoopermat said, you wires are too small for the load, they didn't get hot and start on fire because of the lights not drawing enough juice it is because they draw too much for the gauge of wire that you ran. As for your driving lights you need to find out the wattage or amperage draw of the lights and then size the wire accordingly. Too small of a wire will cause the fire problem again, also KC lights draw a lot of amps and unless you have a alternator or generator on board of your boat it is likely that they will kill the battery in a short time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. I don't remember what gauge wire I used, but I ran the exact same wire for both the navigation lights as the running/Driving lights. Only the wires to the little low wattage navigation lights heat up. The wires for the running lights have worked fine. I'll re-do them all with heavier gauge wire.
 

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Thanks guys. I don't remember what gauge wire I used, but I ran the exact same wire for both the navigation lights as the running/Driving lights. Only the wires to the little low wattage navigation lights heat up. The wires for the running lights have worked fine. I'll re-do them all with heavier gauge wire.
I bet you have a grounded short on the nav lights. Use cord it will hold up better
Go to Home Depot and buy a extension cord or in the electrical dept ask for so or sj cord. At least 14 gauge. Now the Kc lights are usually 100 watt each. That's a lot of load. Go with led or run 12ga cord for those. Cord is better insulated and won't pinch as easy as just wires.
 

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JD-
I just finished a extensive wiring job on a duck boat.
All my lights are LED including Nav light but I ran 2 hot wires up front for Nav and running light and ran one ground for the both. All lead's go directly to the battery! DO NOT use your boat as a ground!!!!! Have you heard of " Electrolysis" if you use your boat as a ground the Aluminum on your boat will corrode fast........ Always separate your circuits to keep the load down on any particular one. I used 12gauge wire and it's a bit over kill for LED but for your doing it's probably perfect. Hope this helps and shout if you need anymore info!
 

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I just put a 24" light bar on mine I got for 40 bucks off amazon works great and is very very bright I ran #12 wire inside the rail of the boat and it works great also spliced in my little nav light and it all runs just fine. Both are on the same rocker switch as they both pull very minimal power. Oh I was told to make sure you get wire with a petroleum resistant coating will last longer and if you happen to get oil or gas it won't eat the insulation away
 

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I personally would use at least 12ga wire, maybe 10 but I tend to over-engineer stuff. Do you have a fuse or a breaker anywhere in your system?
 
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