Ensure the Reliable Operation of your Generator Set with Proper Coolant and Cooling System Maintenance

Certain types of coolant may adversely affect the functionality of Northern Lights generator sets. The Northern Lights Service Department offers the following troubleshooting tips:

  • Straight water with additive is not recommended on Northern Lights generator sets as they may cause damage to the engine.
  • Some brands of Hybrid or OAT type coolants have been reported to cause the OEM thermostat to stick, leading to overheating. In addition, some extended life coolants have been found to cause leaks in the generator set’s pump seal. In such conditions, flush the coolant system thoroughly and refill with an approved Northern Lights coolant.
  • All engines with wet liners require a supplemental coolant additive (SCA) to prevent liner erosion and pitting in the circulating water pump impeller. Northern Lights recommends heavy duty diesel rated coolants, which include an SCA. If a heavy duty diesel rated coolant is not available, add an SCA to prevent the symptoms noted above.
  • It is the responsibility of the customer to understand that the use of incompatible coolant may cause damage, so please help educate them.

For use in Northern Lights generator sets, the following coolant types are approved:

  • Conventional Propylene Glycol based coolants.
  • Conventional Ethylene Glycol based coolants.

Please refer to your operators’ manual for your specific unit’s coolant requirements and specifications.
Should you encounter of the above conditions, or have additional questions about Northern Lights coolant recommendations, contact your Factory Service Representative.

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Proper Loading of Marine Diesel Generator Sets

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.

 

If you encounter any of the above problems, or just want more information, contact your nearest Caribbean dealer, visit wwwCaribbeanNorthernLights.com or call Parts and Power at 284-494-2830

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.

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