General discussion on Generators and exhaust elbows

Craig Briggs

Hey Alexandre,
     I've found the Northern Lights to be really good. Mine has 7500 hours, doesn't burn a drop of oil and only routine maintenance needed (never rebuilt). I'm now installing my 3rd set of brushes and a new generator end bearing, all per the maintenance schedule. Have always done oil and filters right on schedule.
     A few pesky problems with DC connections over the years (easily fixed once found), but they've re-engineered that on the newer models. Interesting that their advertising now features the fact their DC system is not solid state and, therefore, can be owner maintained - basically 4 relays and no solid state. I think the marketing boys call that featuring your weaknesses, but after all the posts here about trying to decode and interpret the Onan solid state blinking lights, they may have a point.
     I switched to a Stainless Steel exhaust elbow after earlier ones corroded through and that's now at 2500 hours. The brand is well supported world wide. 
     We've got friends who have been "off the grid" for 10 years now on a Bahamian island and they also have this genset, which they swear by, although they are almost 100% solar so only kick in the generator on rare occasions.
     Almost caught you when you were in Ft Lauderdale a few years ago, but got way-layed.across the canal at Playboy Marina up to my elbows in maintenance. Will keep an eye out in the future.
Cheers,  Craig

---In amelyachtowners@..., <uster@...> wrote :

Hello Craig,
Wow the fisher panda runs that high!!!
How do you like your Northern Light? (asking as I am thinking about buying a house and will consider putting a small genset).
Nice you have the Amp meter too!
Hope we get to meet one day, always wanted to visit a Santorin!
Sincerely, Alexandre


On Fri, 3/16/18, sangaris@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Subject: RE: [Amel Yacht Owners] Black Smoke From Volvo Penta Engine Exhaust
To: amelyachtowners@...
Date: Friday, March 16, 2018, 11:46 AM

Hi Alexandre,Yes indeed, my oops;
indeed it's 1500/1800 rpms. I was thinking of the
Fischer Panda generators that run at 3000/3600 rpms. My
genset is a 4.8/6.0 kw Northern Lights at
1500/1800. My AC panel (from Paneltronics, not
original Amel) includes an ampmeter so I can see the load on
the genset (or shore power).

---In amelyachtowners@...,
<uster@...> wrote :

morning Craig,

If I may step in, the Onan actually run at either 1500 or
1800 rpm depending on its frequency setting.

The load is the issue, which why several owner (Bill, Gary,
Eric, etc.) have add Alternate Current Multimeter.

Illustration of the installation on NIKIMAT:

Sincerely, Alexandre


On Fri, 3/16/18, sangaris@...
[amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>

Subject: RE: [Amel Yacht Owners] Black Smoke From Volvo
Penta Engine Exhaust

To: amelyachtowners@...

Date: Friday, March 16, 2018, 8:48 AM
Eric,You bring up an

interesting point when you say you had the same carbon

up problem in your genset exhaust elbow, caused by not

running at high enough rpm's. Unless you've got a

variable speed genset, it always will be running at a

rpm (3000 or 3600 depending on Hertz), so rpm may not be

only issue. Isn't it low load that's the

issue? So

when Yanmar says to run the engine way up, no doubt

they're assuming it will be in gear and will present

full load from the propeller. I think the genset analogy

would be to load it with not just battery charging, but

get the Admiral to run her hair dryer, make toast, wash

clothes and iron your shorts. Not a bad regimen,

actually.Sound about


Craig SN#68 Sangaris



wrote :

Hi,I had his problem with my

genset. It is caused by not running a diesel at about 80%

its redline. Diesels like to work hard. Our diesels are

run that hard so is the main engine.Yanmar suggests to

the engine way up. In my case 3000 rpm for 15 minutes  a

few time a dayThis blows the carbon out

of the turbo and the exhaust system.    The carbon is

glass hard.However if the elbow is

not perforated due to corrosion, I would try  to break

the carbon.You might try something

like a dremel tool with a hard steel bit, or even better

carbide bit ,or a small cutoff disk. Being that they have

ordered a new elbow for you,  you could go Medieval”

the elbow.  On eBay there is a fellow

that makes beautiful Yanmar elbows out of stainless

They are much better than the factory unit. Possibly he

makes elbows for your engine.Fair

WindsEricKimberlite Amel Super

Maramu #376  




Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:16




Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Black

Smoke From Volvo Penta Engine

Exhaust   I removed

the elbow in Point-a-Pitre and it was almost blocked with

very hard carbon deposits.  I'd guess that it was

30% open. Even so the engine ran well. The turbo turns

freely so is probably OK.  Unfortunately, they don't

have the elbow here and must order it.  Will be at least

week.  The mechanic who looked at it said the elbow

be replaced every 3 years. He says that it is not

to just clean out the carbon, but I don;t understand why

not.  It's the first I'd heard about the 3 year

removal requirement and saw nothing in the Operating

which has all of the routine maintenance identified. Just

sending this to close out the question.  Thanks for all

good suggestions.  

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