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Number 6

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Initially Posted - 07/09/2017 :  08:28:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am a new owner of a 1997 Catalina 250 WK, and have had the boat in the water less than a week.

While going through the boat and documenting how everything works, I noticed a discrepancy from the owners manual.

My electrical panel had the following switch names. I listed the lights I have found they control:

Bow - ?
Deck - ?
Cabin - interior cabin lights
Anchor - mid-mast white light
Running - red/green bow and white stern lights

The bow and deck switches do not appear to be connected to anything. The mid-mast light could be connected incorrectly to the anchor switch - it seems like it should be on the "Deck" switch. The light on top of the mast may have a bad bulb. This obviously should be on the "Anchor" switch. I do not know what the "Bow" switch is for.

We tested the electrical connection on the cabin top and three

How are your boats wired? Do you have a "Bow" switch and what does it control?

By the way, the 250 Owners Manual states the following. I seem to have an extra switch (Bow, Deck, Anchor, Running vs. Bow, Steaming, Anchor):

Your Catalina 250 is equipped with the following navigation lights:
(a) Red and Green 112.5 E combination lights mounted on the bow pulpit.
(b) White 135 E (135 degree) stern light mounted on the stern.
(c) White 225 E (225 degree) steaming light mounted on the mast.
(d) White 360 E (360 degree) anchor light mounted on the masthead.

(a) and (b) are wired to the bow light switch on the panel;
(c) is wired to the steaming light switch; and
(d) is wired to the anchor light switch


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Response Posted - 07/09/2017 :  18:16:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mr 6,

I'm doing this from memory, so you will have to excuse me.
I remember similar problems when I bought my 2005 (new).
The owners manual isn't the best and a picture of the electrical panel would help.
The manual has the navigation section, but the Deck light is not considered navigation.
It would be better to list all lights and explain them better.

I can't answer all you questions, but there are two lights in the mid-mast fixture.
The "Deck" light is mid-mast and points directly down.
The "Steaming" light is mid-mast and points forward.
There should be separate switches, but can't tell you the wiring.
I will check next time at the boat.

Here are some related posts that might be helpful.
C250 Electrical 101

DC Wiring Panel


Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793

Edited by - Russ.Johnson on 07/09/2017 21:46:42
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Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 07/10/2017 :  06:39:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi #6 -- Welcome to Catalina ownership and welcome to this forum!
I have a C25, not a C250, so things are slightly different but fundamentally the same.
Russ -- the threads you cited offer good info, however, were a little concerning for me (maybe too much information)!
To answer your questions #6 I think I'd focus on the following:
1. Running lights seem to be wired correctly: the bow pulpit Red/Green and the stern 135 white light are both controlled by the running light switch. If it were me I'd swap out the conventional stern bulb with a LED to save power.
2. Deck, anchor and bow lights - these three switches run to a 4 pin deck plug receptacle near the mast. This plug has 4 pins: common ground or negative battery return, deck light power from the switch (positive), anchor light power (+), bow light power (+). Check the actual receptacle with a D.C. voltmeter for which switch controls which socket pin. For future reference store this info somewhere you can refer back to later.
You should have three lights in your mast. The deck light and the bow light should share a fixture about 2/3s the way up the mast. The bow, or steaming, light shines forward while motoring after dark. The deck light shoots downward to provide lighting on the deck up front. The anchor light is mounted at the mast top.
Some previous owners often "fix" this connection or inadvertently incorrectly rewire the plug. On the plug side going to the 4-wire cable in the mast you can test which pin corresponds to which light pretty easily. First, find the negative common.
Then, one by one, use a fresh 9 volt battery to identify which connector pin corresponds to which light on the mast.
You may find that the deck receptacle and the deck plug pins don't match.
Tag each mast wire with a piece of masking tape then rewire the pins side of the plug.
Sounds complicated but the idea is to connect the right bulb to the right switch.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Stratford & Milford, CT
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Response Posted - 07/10/2017 :  10:59:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here are the pinouts and wire colors from my C250. The 'V' represents the plastic key pin on the plug. Note that you can use an ohmmeter instead of 9v battery on the mast. Better in the daytime. This will also help you determine whether anchor light is out.

Looking down on deck receptacle:

G - com V W - Steam
B - Deck R - Anchor

Looking down at plug:

W - Steam V G - Com
R - Anchor B - Deck

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
PO of Take Five, 1998 Catalina 250WK #348 (relocated to Baltimore's Inner Harbor)
New owner of 2001 Catalina 34MkII #1535 Breakin' Away (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)
Photobucket is holding my picture hostage!
----- 1998 C250WK #348 "Take Five" -----|-------- 1991 15' Trophy ----------|- 1985 14' Phantom -
---- Essington, PA on Delaware River -----|---------- Trailered to Lake Wallenpaupack ------------
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Response Posted - 07/11/2017 :  07:31:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had a heck of a time several years ago with my 1998 WK. It took several hours, lots of patience and an ohm meter with several feet of wire to figure it out. The wire colors at the deck plug did not match the wire colors on the plug coming out of the mast, and those did not match the wire colors at the lights. I had cleaned connections, replaced bulbs and fixtures without success until I broke out the ohm meter and traced every wire. I finally figured it out and made a diagram with which wire went to which light connection.

Good luck.

1998 250WK #331
Pensacola, FL
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Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 07/12/2017 :  10:21:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rick and Steve, excellent comments.
What you pointed out is typically what you have to do to sort out this connector. Several issues can confuse you:
1. Connector is corroded. Nice to shine up the plug pins, but it's tough to polish the inside of the receptacles (female).
2. Light bulb is shot - an ohmmeter will work for an incandescent bulb, but a 9V battery is the only way to test a LED bulb
3. Corroded light fixture - even if the bulb is good, you'll get no continuity or connection
4. Mast wiring is inadvertently re-arranged. Color code is not 100% reliable, but a good place to start.
5. Dead control panel fuse. It's incredibly easy to short out your fuse while testing the plug/receptacle.
Plan on hours. As Steve says, create a diagram and store it in a safe place.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Stratford & Milford, CT
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108 Posts

Response Posted - 07/12/2017 :  11:17:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also had this problem. Once I sorted out the correct wires and pins I cleaned the plug contacts and fixture contacts with electrical contact cleaner. Very noticeable improvement in current flow with brighter lights.

'95 C250 WB #61
Midway, UT
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1st Mate

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80 Posts

Response Posted - 07/17/2017 :  05:56:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I have a 2003 C250 and I have to drop the mast to replace the bow pulpit so its an excellent time to rewire mast and UPDATE the steaming/Deck AND Anchor lights to LED. I found the Forespar ML-2 LED for the steaming light and I am looking for suggestions to replace the ANCHOR light in LED

(HTML is off :( )

BTW, Another reason I am rewiring the mast is to ELIMINATE the deck fitting which is always a source of failure and running a home run cable through the deck via cable clam to a connector inside the cabin.

Thanks in Advance
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Number 6

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2 Posts

Response Posted - 07/17/2017 :  11:19:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you everyone for your responses. I did not realize that the mid-mast fixture had two bulbs. The "steaming" light (labeled as "bow" on my electric panel) and the deck light.

It appears that I have this exact fixture - that can be seen on the Catalina Direct website:

I checked the deck wiring with a voltmeter and I am getting power. My guess is that I have two bulbs out - top of mast anchor light and mid-mast deck light. I will replace the bulbs and see if that is the fix.

I still have an issue in that the one light that does work - the "bow" or "steaming" lignt is controlled by the anchor switch on the panel. Could this be as simple a fix as swapping the circuit breaker wires?

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Response Posted - 07/17/2017 :  19:01:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I recently went through an almost identical issue with my new-to-me '98 C250 WB. See post # 2 above that has the wiring diagram. Prior to swapping wires at the panel, I would ensure the deck connector is getting power and ground to the proper pins using a voltmeter. After that, ensure the connector on the mast is wired properly.

Here's what happen to me, my mast-side connector was well past its prime and needed to be replaced. While using the Catalina wiring diagram, I accidentally reversed several wires. This was due to making an incorrect mental mirror image of the diagram when reassembling the mast connector. The end result is that only one light worked, and then from of the wrong switch. The one that worked was either the deck or steaming light. If my memory is correct, it was the anchor light switch that turned on either the steaming or deck light. When I corrected the error, all lights worked correctly.

Initially, I also thought that I had 2 lights out and a miss-wired switch. Correcting the connector at the mast corrected all problems.

Edited by - neflier on 07/17/2017 21:38:50
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Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 07/17/2017 :  21:05:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with Neflier- check the deck plug one switch at a time. Make sure that the deck plug pin-out corresponds with the circuit diagram. To correct the light circuits in the mast, connect the mast wires to the correct deck pins. This will keep the connections kosher in case you ever sell the boat in future.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Stratford & Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 07/17/2017 21:07:58
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