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Old 01-27-2013, 04:35 PM   #1
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9 kw generator suggestions

I am looking to replace my 7.5 MDJE. The units I am looking at are a Onan 9 MDKBL and a Northern Lights 9KW M773LW3. I would appreciate feedback/input regarding this decision.
Parts/service cost are all in the equation. I also currently power my water maker direct from the generator and would like to know if these two could do the same with a PTO.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Given your home waters, Northern Lights is the way to go, commonly accepted as the best regardless.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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FWIW, I've noticed that on forum discussions when generators come up, Northern Lights always gets good wraps.I have an Onan, which has worked very well over the 6 years that it's been in the boat. I doubt you would go wrong with either unit.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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The other thing to consider is do you have a sound shield or not.
They certainly vary in quality with the different brands,
here in Australia we don't have a lot of exposure to Northern lights and the popular brands here are probably local other than Mase (VG) Onan, Westerbeke etc.
I know Mase have very good silencing boxes and apparently so do Northern Lights.
Just re reading the onan specs and their sound boxes appear pretty impressive.
I am going thru the same process , thinking of replacing my perkins driven Stamford 9 KVA unit.
My 1 st choice is the Mase (Yanmar driven) and very competitive in price but I am in Australia and this does make a difference

You water maker HP pump is it electrically driven now and you want to change ?
Should be plenty of reserve to drive electric HP pump with 9 KVA
Cheers
Benn
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:09 PM   #6
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I too have a faithful old 20kw Onan, 5500 hours and going strong. I like their new ones also and would buy one given the extensive service network, but the NLs seem just a slight cut above. I spent a fair amount of time shopping for small generators, looking to get a lower kw "night" unit. Came down to NL, Onan and Norpro. On The List, but not there yet.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Onan MDKD 6.5, quiet, 3cyl dsl, Kubota engine I think. Reliable ,parts available,recently renewed start/stop solenoid. Hour meter is stuck, PO wore out 2 before this one, so it probably has some hours on it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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The water maker is directly driven from the engine on the generator. Is a pretty efficient setup. Would keep it that way however if I have to change I will. I have found that the 7.5 kw is good for my needs however it would be handy to have a little more power for laundry, etc. I do want a sound shield as well.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Westerbeke is tops where my info comes from..but like engines...it's all about opinion.,
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:51 PM   #10
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I love my Westerbeke.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:23 AM   #11
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For some reason NL has a mystique. Now if only they would do a better job on their exhaust elbow. Nothing like a bit of sea war getting into the cylinders to spoil your day or better said, summer.

MY 12.5 Westerbeke has done fine, well except for the raw water pump failure at 375 hours. But I probably cooked it when it ran for a few minutes with the intake water valve closed. This I know, the emegency stop circuit due to high temperature really works! For this reason alone I'm a Westerbeke fan for life.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:01 AM   #12
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We are NL fans. On both the NL generators we own (ed) we installed after market SS exhaust elbows. The dealer/parts network is good. Here in the Caribbean there are at least 16 service centers from Trinidad to the Turks and Caicos.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:48 AM   #13
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7.5 kw is good for my needs however it would be handy to have a little more power for laundry, etc.

IF the problem is just getting the motors started in these items a big following inverter will usually provide the current required.

This is a better solution than an over sized noisemaker , that will suffer under loading and burn more fuel 90% of its life..
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:00 AM   #14
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We are NL fans. On both the NL generators we own (ed) we installed after market SS exhaust elbows. The dealer/parts network is good. Here in the Caribbean there are at least 16 service centers from Trinidad to the Turks and Caicos.
Larry, just replaced the exhaust elbow on my 12 kw NL. Discovered a crack in the original during annual maintenance inspection. Glad we caught it. The unit has about 700 hours on it. I would recommend anyone with a NL to inspect theirs and do a preventive change. I was just lucky.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:47 PM   #15
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The problem with the 7.5 is that while running the watermaker, hot water tank, 12 and 32 volt charger/inverters, etc. running any additional load will cause the 32 volt charger to cease charging to support the other loads being demanded on the genset. I want to be clear on this...so the exhaust elbow on the NL's are a issue? What about any electrical problems with either one?
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bigsalmonfish View Post
The problem with the 7.5 is that while running the watermaker, hot water tank, 12 and 32 volt charger/inverters, etc. running any additional load will cause the 32 volt charger to cease charging to support the other loads being demanded on the genset. I want to be clear on this...so the exhaust elbow on the NL's are a issue? What about any electrical problems with either one?
The elbow has been the only issue with my NL. We changed it a couple of weeks ago. It runs strongly, and puts out clean power, It will run everything on the boat at the same time.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
Larry, just replaced the exhaust elbow on my 12 kw NL. Discovered a crack in the original during annual maintenance inspection. Glad we caught it. The unit has about 700 hours on it. I would recommend anyone with a NL to inspect theirs and do a preventive change. I was just lucky.
Don: Good catch. The exhaust elbow is a maintenance issue in my opinion. I was replacing them about every 18 months on our 5 kw unit. Our current NL 8 kw was changed to SS 5 plus years ago and is fine.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:56 PM   #18
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We also have a Northern Lights. Works great. Better get down to the Seattle Boat Show. They will be on sale. North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes sells them and had the best price when I bought mine.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:57 PM   #19
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Thanks all. I appreciate the feedback. Purchasing one of these is not a often task.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:04 AM   #20
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We also have a Northern Lights. Works great. Better get down to the Seattle Boat Show. They will be on sale. North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes sells them and had the best price when I bought mine.

I bought my NL fron North Harbor diesel as well.

Total man hours for the installation was around 20 if memory is correct.
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