NORTHERN LIGHTS PUTS ON SERVICE TRAINING FOR THE MOORINGS

During the week of 27 July Parts & Power, the Caribbean Distributor for Northern Lights Generators, put on 2 training classes for the Mooring Service staff.

Technicians, Supervisors and Managers from all the Caribbean bases attended the Training Classes. The training was conducted by Parts & Power Technical Director, Dan Durbin.

The training consisted of:

  • Product familiarization and the design philosophy of Northern Lights (Reliability, Durability, Simplicity)
  • Diesel Engine theory and design
  • Engine Maintenance and Repair
  • DC control logic troubleshooting and repair
  • AC theory, troubleshooting and repair
  • marine exhaust systems troubleshooting and repair.

The Moorings has a large number of Northern Lights generators in their fleet of Catamaran Sailing Yachts and Power Cats. They have used a number of different generators in the past and so have experience with many different makes.

The comments from all the participants were overwhelmingly positive. They felt that Northern Lights generators are the most reliable generators that they have worked on. The training gave Parts & Power the opportunity to get feedback from the Moorings staff on application challenges they have. They were able to discuss possible solutions, and also got field information that will be passed onto to Northern Lights Inc factory.

The Moorings can put up to 3-4000 hours per year on some of their generators. Yet, after being phased out 4-5 years later, most are still reliably running generators.

Moorings Northern Lights Training Moorings Northern Lights Training Moorings Northern Lights Training Moorings Northern Lights Training

 

New Northern Lights S3C panel

The new Northern Lights S3C panel is p/n 22-91216.  The older version was 22-91211. The 22-91211 is the panel in most of the current parts books.

Here is a parts breakdown of the new 22-91216 panel: 22-91216 panel Parts breakdown.  Please be aware that the gauge bezels do NOT come with the gauge.  They are a separate part number.

The only way to determine which panel the customer has is by looking at the back of the gauge.  

Below is a photo of the back of the new style gauge.

The back of the new style gauge

 

Contact Parts & Power if you have any questions concerning parts for the new or old S3C panels.

FREYA GETS A NEW HEART

From Marine Maintenance Services, BVI.

Last week we installed a new heart in ‘Freya’, an Irwin 52.  The old Westerbeke had done its time so out it came and in went a shiny new 9kw Northern Lights set.

It was a tight job to get her down below and into the hole, but once in the owner was very happy with the load handling & noise level.  The decision to put in a Northern Lights generator was based on the owner’s research as to reliability.  The couple are planning to take the boat around the world.

We wish them the best of luck & safe sailing!

Here are some pictures of the installation work underway:

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender (1)

 

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS CARIBBEAN DEALER SERVICE TRAINING HERALDED AS GREAT SUCCESS

Dealer participants attending the Caribbean Service Training, hosted by Parts & Power and Northern Lights Inc from 14-16 July 2015 in Tortola BVI, were all positive in their reviews and comments. There were 6 ratings of “Excellent” (5 out of 5) and 6 “Good” (4 out of 5). There were the inevitable complaints about Service Trainer and Technical Director, Dan Durbin’s notoriously bad drawings. But he always managed to get his point across. The participants were unanimous in the fact that the quality of the instruction was very good to excellent.

In addition to his decades of field service experience, Dan has been doing Service Training since the 1960’s for such organizations as the Army Engineer School, several Colleges and a variety of Diesel Engine/Generator manufacturers. He still does training for Northern Lights at customer training events in FL. Northern Lights SE Regional Service Manager, James Newball who has been with the company of over 6 years, said he even learned a few new things at the Training. James attended the training to support Dan’s efforts, and to explain Service issues that the factory is seeing around the world. It was also James first visit to the Caribbean to meet the Dealer network and hear, first-hand, the challenges faced by NL Dealers and Customers in the Caribbean.

All the participants learned about changes to the CaribbeanNorthernLights.com website. It recently received a major face lift thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Dowling and Scott Putnicki at NL factory headquarters in Seattle, WA. Information for customers and dealers is available on the website, as well as links to NL Parts & Operators Manuals, the Dealer Secured website, “Ask a Tech” inquiry link and Service Tips. A Parts Special was revealed that is only available to customers who visit the CNL.com website.

Northern Lights Dealer Service Training is challenging because of the various backgrounds of the dealers participating. Some are Mechanics looking for more information on DC and AC electric. Others are Electricians looking for more information on Diesel Engines. Dan is very good at getting the theory and hands on training across though.

Diesel engines are a continually changing product these days due to the changes required to maintain emissions compliance by the EPA, IMO and various other regulatory organizations. Although AC and DC electricity is constrained by the laws of physics, there are new products being introduced every year to meet customers increasingly sophisticated power demands, which make generators more complicated. “One of the best features of Northern Lights Generators,” commented Parts & Power MD Tom Gerker, “is that their DC logic has remained largely unchanged for over 40 years.” It worked well in the 1970’s and works well today. Despite that, NL is always striving to improve their systems, so the product continues to evolve.

That is the reason that Northern Lights and Parts & Power puts on regular Regional Training for their Caribbean Dealers.

Northern Lights Inc and Parts & Power want to extend their gratitude to the 12 participants who made the sacrifice in time and expense to attend the training, and become more knowledgeable about the product. Their Dealerships will receive a “golden wrench” next to their Dealer name on the NL Dealer Directory and on the CaribbeanNorthernLights.com website. We also want to extend thanks to the hard working staff at Parts & Power for making the event such a great success.

Northern Lights Service Training 14-16 July 2015

Northern Lights and Caribbean Distributor, Parts & Power Ltd of Tortola, will be hosting Service Training for Caribbean Dealers from 14-16 July in Road Town. 12 Caribbean dealers from 10 countries will participate in the training.

The training will be put on by Parts & Power Director of Technical Services, Dan Durbin, and Northern Lights SE Regional Service Manager, James Newball. Dan has over 40 years’ experience in Diesel Electric Service training, having taught for such companies and Cummins Engine Co, Ford Lehman and Northern Lights. Dan served as Northern Lights International Service Manager and Service trainer prior to joining Parts & Power in 1993. He continues to put on factory sponsored Service and Product training in Florida 3-4 times per year.

The focus of the training will be on current Northern Lights generator production, identification and serial number understanding; Northern Lights and CaribbeanNorthernLights.com website navigation; Engine troubleshooting & repair; DC theory, troubleshooting & repair; AC theory, troubleshooting & repair; Stand maintenance practices; Warranty training and processing; Marine exhaust systems; and a discussion of common and recent Service Issues.

The purpose of the training is to make sure that all Caribbean Northern Lights dealer technicians have the most up to date training so they can better service Northern Light customers in the Caribbean. To that end, all dealers participating in the training will receive the prestigious “Golden Wrench” next to their name in the Northern Lights Dealer Directory. This indicates that dealer has undergone the most recent training procedures offered by Northern Lights.

SUMMER TIME IS ANNUAL MAINTENANCE TIME FOR YOUR NORTHERN LIGHTS GENERATOR

Summer time is the off season for many in the Caribbean, whether you are a cruiser sitting out Hurricane Season or a Charter vessel taking a well-deserved break.  Before you put the boat up on the hard, or leave it at the dock for the summer, do your diesel engines a favor.  Before you leave your hard working Northern Lights generator for the summer, be sure to change the oil.  The oil is the life blood of your engine.  It holds all the dirt, acids, soot and by products of combustion in suspension.  That contaminated oil sits on all the surfaces serviced by your oil and expedite corrosion if left for prolonged periods.  In addition, oil oxides when left exposed to the air, reducing its effectiveness at lubricating your engine and holding contaminants.

So do your engine a favor and change the oil before you put it in storage.  While you’re at it, why not do your Annual Maintenance?

Annual Maintenance?  What is Annual Maintenance?

If you look at your Operator’s Manual, you will notice a section that says “Every 12 Months”.  Everything in there is due every year.  Generally this includes: Oil Change, Valve Adjustment, Air Filter replacement, Fuel filter replacement and Injector Testing.  Check your manual to see if there is anything else included, but the above are fairly common with most diesel engines and Northern Lights generators.

We discussed the oil change.  Even if you don’t have the 200 or 250 hours dictated by the oil change interval, remember that oil oxidizes even if not being used.  So changing oil makes sense, but why check the valves?  Besides making sure that your engine is “breathing” properly in terms or air in and exhaust gases out, it also can pick up signs or engine wear.  If the valve clearances are narrow, that can mean that the valve in question is wearing the valve seat.  This may be a sign that your engine is getting ready for a top end overhaul.  If caught early, this is fairly routine.  If caught too late, the repair could be far more costly.  You could be looking at a new cylinder head, or a “dropped valve” which can be catastrophic.

You might think that, because your engine is clean, you don’t need to change your air filter.  Many Northern Lights generators have foam air filters which, not only filter the air, but aid in noise dampening.  These filters deteriorate with heat and over time.  If not changed, they will start to turn into powder and fall apart.  The foam will not hurt the engine but we have seen cases where large pieces of the air filter were sucked into the intake valves. In such a case, the engine loses compression (because the intake valve will not close completely) and will not start or run.  This is not only difficult to troubleshoot, but requires the removal of the cylinder head.  So the $20 spent on a new air filter is a very good and wise investment.

Not everyone checks injectors every year.  If you are not putting a lot of hours on the generator, it starts quickly and is running clean, you might be able to skip this.  But the service interval on injectors can be as low as every 700 hours (or once per year).  In addition, an injector nozzle that is “squirting” rather than “spraying” can melt a piston in a very short period of time.  So if you have a shop that can test the injectors, the process can offer great peace of mind.

Take the time to review your Operator’s Manual or discuss its maintenance with your local dealer.  Your generator was an expensive investment.  If given reasonable maintenance and operated properly, your Northern Lights generator should give 20,000 hours of operation or more.  But we’ve seen improperly maintained units struggle to provide half that life.  Doing your Annual Maintenance is a good way of assuring that your generator will give you the reliable life expectancy Northern Lights customers have come to expect from their product.