Northern Lights, Inc. is dedicated to manufacturing the industry’s best marine products. As part of our commitment, we offer training courses to our dealers, clients and captains to ensure that the world’s best built marine generator sets are the best maintained and serviced as well.
Contact your nearest Northern Lights branch location to sign up for any of these classes, or for more information. Together, we oﬀer clean power and complete solutions.
Among the most common issues people report with their marine generator sets are dirty exhaust or “wet stacking”. Most frequently, this condition is caused by cylinder glazing and carbon build-up. The root cause is simple: underloading the genset.
Diesel engines in marine gensets should typically run at least 60-75% of their maximum rated load. Short periods of low load running are permissible providing the set is brought up to full load, or close to full load on a regular basis.
Running a diesel engine under low load conditions causes low cylinder pressures, and consequent poor piston ring sealing. The ring-to-liner seal relies on combustion gas pressure to force the piston rings against the oil film on the cylinder bore. Low cylinder pressures result in low temperatures and poor combustion, leading to soot formation and unburned fuel residues and ultimately clogging of the ring grooves. Advanced cases of this condition can even cause the rings to stick in the grooves, further damaging the cylinder bore.
Cylinder glazing occurs when hot combustion gases blow past the now poorly sealing piston rings, causing the lubricating oil on the cylinder walls to flash burn, creating an enamel-like glaze. This smooths the bore and minimizes the effect of the honing marks machined into the bore surface.
Hard carbon is highly abrasive, and is also formed from poor combustion. It wears the honing marks on the bores, leading to increased oil consumption, evidenced by blue smoke. Poor combustion also clogs injector tips, resulting in black exhaust smoke.
The problem is further exacerbated by the formation of acids in the engine oil from condensed water and combustion by-products which would normally boil off at higher temperatures. Acidic buildup in the lubricating oil causes damaging wear to bearing surfaces.
Running your generator set lightly loaded will inevitably shorten the service life of the engine, and results in pollution that is unacceptable to you, to port authorities and to neighboring vessels. Prevent costly repairs and downtime by maintaining adequate engine load on your genset.
From 5-9 December members from the Northern Lights family visited customers at the 54th Annual Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting (ACYM).
The Charter Yacht Show was very successful with 105 yachts ranging in size from 62 ft to 296 ft. In addition there were another 40-50 yachts in Falmouth Harbour which were not in the Show.
Mike Prado and Nils Nelson, from Deerfield Beach, Vice President/General Manager, Brian Vesely, from Seattle, and Tom Gerker from NL Distributor Parts & Power visited vessels on Falmouth Harbour Marina, the Yacht Club Marina, the Dockyard Marina and the Catamaran Marina.
They found many of the yachts had Northern Lights products on them, both generators and Lugger propulsion engines. In most cases they received nothing but favorable reports from Engineers and Captains. A few vessels had questions or problems on their equipment that the team was able to address. In many cases the NL representatives found a recurring theme that they had discovered at previous shows. Many of the NL customers simply needed advice on how to maintain their Northern Lights equipment, and where to go to get information. In some cases, issues that Engineers and Customers were having in the field were recorded by Brian so he could make changes in Production at the Factory to make Northern Lights products even better.
They found that, in some cases, customers were overhauling their generators prematurely. Because they had owned competitor’s products in the past who recommended overhauls at 10, 15 or 20,000 hours, they felt that they had to do the same on their NL product. Several customers had done overhauls or repairs at 10 or 15,000 hours to find so little wear that they questioned the value in having done the work. Brian and Tom recommended using oil analysis and valve adjustment measurements to monitor wear, as many Northern Lights generators run well past 30,000 hours with nothing but routine maintenance.
Northern Lights were, once again this year, the only engine or generator manufacturer who attended the show. They have been attending the Show for over 15 years, to meet their customers and get feedback on the performance of their equipment. Customers who attend the ACYM typically own generators that run for extensive periods of time, and are more often than not in distant locations far away from a repair facility. So their generators must run reliably.
Having the new General Manager at the show allowed Brian to hear the Voice of the Customer in order to make changes and improvements to the current product, and get an idea of what customers were looking for in future products.
Two weeks ago, three factory-new Bavaria Monohulls arrived in the BVI to join a fleet of yachts for a major BVI yacht charter company.
The Bavarias arrived as basic yachts, but 7-days later they had full air conditioning, shore power upgrades & generators. Parts & Power dealer Marine Maintenance Services performed the installation work on all three yachts.
The generators chosen by the yacht charter company were the mighty 6kW Northern Lights M673L3. They were installed with sound shields and remote start using the S-3c remote panel. These tough and compact units are quiet and easily handle the load requirements for the air conditioning & charging on the yachts for charter guests.
A tough but very satisfying installation.
In advance of the Christmas charter rush, the luxury crewed catamaran Lagoon 620 “Foxy Lady” decided to remove the existing Onan generator and replace it with a new M844LW3 Northern Lights set.
The work was performed by Marine Maintenance Services (BVI). It’s always a difficult installation due to constrained access, but the generator is now installed and the crew report it is happily carrying all loads quietly & efficiently!
On 8 November Parts & Power and Marine Maintenance Service, in cooperation with Northern Lights Inc, sponsored the 11th Annual Charter Yacht Society Annual General Meeting and Crew Party at Peg Landing Restaurant at Nanny Cay Marina. The Annual Event kicked off the 34th Annual BVI Charter Yacht Show. Over 125 members of the Charter Yacht Society (CYS) were in attendance.
Although Parts & Power had been sponsoring the Boat Show Crew party for well over 15 years, the format changed 11 years ago when CYS Executive Director, Janet Oliver, approached them with a novel idea. The CYS is comprised of members, who by the nature of their business, are transient. It was challenging to get a majority of members together to attend an AGM. So Janet proposed combining the AGM with the Annual Crew Party. The format proved to be very successful.
After welcoming remarks by CYS Chairperson, Ruth Ross, & Parts & Power MD, Tom Gerker, a financial appeal was made to membership by Phil Aspinall of VI Search and Rescue (VISAR). Following that, a buffet dinner was put on Peg Leg’s and the AGM was held. Among other issues discussed was the important role the CYS plays in promoting the Charter Yacht Industry with Government, and lobbying to prevent an increase in fees for their members. The Charter Yacht Industry contributes over $50 million to the local economy. Being comprised, in large part, by small single charter boat businesses, it is difficult for the owners or crew of those Charter Yacht Businesses to have their voices heard by Government. The Charter Yacht Society does an outstanding job of representing them.
Following the AGM, Tim Dabbs of Marine Maintenance Services and Tony Tucket of Parts & Power, held an entertaining Trivia Challenge for the CYS members. Winners were awarded promotional items supplied by Northern Lights Inc. Peg Leg’s Restaurant and Manager Luis Samuel did an impressive job of providing ample hospitality and refreshments in a beautiful, nicely set, facility. A good time was had by all.
On Monday, 9 Nov, the Boat Show began. The maximum capacity of 78 yachts were in attendance. Of those, there were 5 Monohulls, 6 Motor Yachts and 67 sailing catamarans, reflecting the changing nature of the Charter Yacht Industry. There were 135 brokers which is 30% more than the previous high. With more demanding qualifications to be a broker, and a nominal charge by the CYS, this is a significant comment on how important the BVI Boat Show has become.
Parts & Power, Marine Maintenance Services and Northern Lights were proud to be able support such an important organization as the BVI Charter Yacht Society, and such a successful event.
Parts & Power in the BVI received this testimonial from Bob Tetrault of M/Y Bjoyce:
“To the entire P&P crew; Our visit and work accomplished while in the BVI was above and beyond what is expected today. No one is better at getting parts to us as we roam the Atlantic.
Today I opened a delivery that was ordered three days ago. We are presently in the Chesapeake and the order was placed by email after a prompt answer to my price and availability request.
I have been a Perkins, NL and Lugger customer for 25+ years with nothing but stellar service to speak too. Carry on Tom and my best to the crew.”
Bjoyce is a Nordhavn 55 trawler.
Taza Mas, a 93 ft steel ketch, approached Marine Maintenance Services (BVI) with a challenge. She had 2 old Onan generators that were old & limping & needed replacing.
After reviewing all the options the owner decided to replace them with 2 new M864 25kw Northern Lights. This was a particular challenge as the old generators had been installed by cutting holes in the side of the hull & inserting the units, re-welding afterwards. After copious measurements we decided that the old units could be removed & new generators installed by walking them through the boat. This involved lifting under the aft covered cockpit roof, 20ft through the upper salon, down a flight of stairs, around a corner, down another flight of stairs then monkey swinging both units into place. Nothing like a challenge!
Both generators are now installed & purring away to the great satisfaction of the Captain.
The owner of a Leopard 46 Crewed Charter Yacht asked Marine Maintenance Services in the BVI to replace his faithful 9kw Northern Lights generator.
This unit had 15,000 hours on it & was still running well, but the yacht had only one generator, and with a full charter season ahead they decided to change this out for a new unit. The bonus was that we instantly found him a buyer for the old one!!
The unit is now in place, but we added the optional second mounting system to ensure he had the smoothest and quietest running possible! We expect him to get the same outstanding performance from this new unit and wish him all the best for the oncoming season.