Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season '06
Replacing the Cabin Lights Project

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The three cabin lights -- two in the cabin and one in the V-berth -- aboard Chip Ahoy work, but barely.  The switches need to be toggled until a good contact is made and the light comes on, most aggravating. Last year, I bought a pair of used lamps from one of the guys on the discussion group list, but never got around to installing them.  Over the past winter I picked up a pair of florescent lamps at HomeDepot that I thought might work better, or in conjunction with the standard lamps.  (May 25, 2006)

I replaced the regular bulbs the halogen lamps from Catalina Direct a few years back.  They supposedly draw less current for better light.  Looking at the installed lamps, compared to the replacements I'm planning to install (below photo), the mounting holes don't line up.

The "new" lamps I'm planning to install -- different hole pattern for mounting.

One of the two new florescent lamp "packages" I put together over the winter, which I plan to install on both the port and starboard side of the cabin.  The wiring kits have the plugs to connect to the lamps; I'll cut off the cigarette lighter adapters and hard wire them into the cabin lights circuit.  With the adaptor wired into the existing connections, they'll run off the boat's 12 volt system -- and they also have their own independent battery power: eight AA batteries each, contained within the lamp's base.  Keep in mind that Chip Ahoy has two batteries aboard with a battery switch -- and an oil lamp when all else fails.

The old lamp removed, wires exposed.  (May 28, 2006)

To drill the holes for the "new" lamp's hole pattern within the cabin shelf I needed to get a drill bit up beneath it.  For $20 I bought an offset drill attachment.

It looked like it'd do the job, but still required a bit more room.  After a bit of maneuvering, I was able to finally get it into the shelf space barely and drill the new holes.

The new lamps mounted and wired.

The new florescent lamp, forward in the cabin where I do most of my reading at night while anchored or moored.  Its plug needs to be plugged in still.

The new florescent lamp connected.  That's when I discovered it didn't work!  It's getting power to the plug, but still doesn't work.  I removed it and filled it with the eight AA batteries, and it still doesn't work, nor did the other one I planned to install.  I drove to HomeDepot for new florescent tubes for my brand new lamps, replaced them, and still they don't work!  They'll go back to the manufacturer (Amerelle/AmerTac, Monsey, NY) tomorrow. A most frustrating day, to say the least: a whole lot of work in a tight spot for very little results.

But the "new" stock lamp works fine.  I replaced the standard bulb with the halogen bulb that I'd replaced a couple years ago from the old unit. The switch on it works great, so at least I made some progress.  I simply put the old, original starboard side stock lamp, still wired, back up and called it a day -- gave up on wiring the starboard side florescent lamp. (I know when I'm beaten!) Fortunately, the one florescent lamp I mounted and wired is fastened with strips of velcro, so was easily removed for return.

Moving on with Season 2006 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring has arrived and Sailing Season '06 is in sight

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