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Old 11-15-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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Fisher Panda Genset thoughts.

I have read lots of rehashed dissatisfied reviews online regarding FP ( I have also read dissatisfied reviews of most every brand of genny) but they mostly seem to revolve around earlier models that pumped saltwater through the system leading to corrosion issues.

They now pump fresh water through the newer models, so that problem should be gone if maintenance (anodes) are checked and replaced as needed.

I have the opportunity to buy a 10 year old one and it would have an overhaul done before fitting, but am trying to find out if they are a decent unit or not.

I realise they have limitations (light and fast spinning) but so do other brands (heavy and very expensive).



Thoughts?
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:40 PM   #2
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Well, I think that there are two schools of thought on F-P gensets today. One says that they are marvelously engineered examples of German ingenuity. Others say that they are too damn complex and simple but heavy engineering is better.

If you meticulously keep up with maintenance, you probably will be satisfied, maybe even very happy with a F-P. But if you want to just run it and do minimal oil changes, then you will be happier with a Northern Lights or similar genset.

David
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:22 PM   #3
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I'm an old school generator guy. big, heavy, and slow. 1800 RPM is great. 1200 RPM (if you can find one) is better.

I've personally seen several of the smaller Northern Lights units go over 10,000 hours. Generally something other than just wearing out kills them. Overheating is a big cause of premature generator replacement.

I bought a NL marine generator several years ago that was pulled out of a boat for replacement. The only reason it was pulled was because the generator tech that tried to fix it was incompetent. I fixed it by replacing the bridge rectifier in the transformer type voltage regulator (yes it was old). and had it running in less than an hour. The owner said the hour meter had turned over once, and it had 6,000 hours showing, meaning it had 16,000 hours on the unit.

I put it on a load bank and it still pulled its full rated load without excessive smoke.

You'll never get that kind of service life out of a panda unit.

Just a FYI...

Small 1800 rpm generators in continuos duty typically get between 25 and 30,000 hours before rebuild or replacement.

Drop to 1200 RPM and you can literally get a decade or more of continuous duty between rebuilds.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Well, I think that there are two schools of thought on F-P gensets today. One says that they are marvelously engineered examples of German ingenuity. Others say that they are too damn complex and simple but heavy engineering is better.

If you meticulously keep up with maintenance, you probably will be satisfied, maybe even very happy with a F-P. But if you want to just run it and do minimal oil changes, then you will be happier with a Northern Lights or similar genset.

David
As stated, weight is an issue
the difference being near 100kg

Secondly the cost.
The 2nd hand FP with a rebuilt engine and a tart up will owe me around $2500

The heavy metal (Kubota D1105-BG @ 1500rpm) will be around $16,000 (Australia) and I would imagine Northern Lights would cost a bit more again.

At those prices, gensets werent even in the ballpark as I would rather pump extra at solar.
But $2500? Thats a number that gets me leaning heavily towards genset
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:34 PM   #5
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I'm an old school generator guy. big, heavy, and slow. 1800 RPM is great. 1200 RPM (if you can find one) is better.
I am the same with primary propulsion, nothing faster than 1850 and 1100 (Gardner) is better again.
But, sometimes things change
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:54 AM   #6
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How are you going to use the generator? For vacations or weekends, the FP should be fine if you're diligent. If you are full time cruising, I would go with the 1800 rpm gen sets. How is FP supported in OZ?
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:00 AM   #7
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In the USA a simple gen head 4-6KW is well under $1000.

A nice Honda twin of about 18 hp is about $2k.

A coupler is $20, and a throttle control another $200. DIY

OR then there is the RV folks with a 6KW Honda at RV prices , that is water cooled (quiet) and can make hot water for a heater .

Price parts for the old German unit , as rare and as pri$y as Volvo.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
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How are you going to use the generator? For vacations or weekends, the FP should be fine if you're diligent. If you are full time cruising, I would go with the 1800 rpm gen sets. How is FP supported in OZ?
It was intended to be a daily use item
At a guess it would be running A/c for a couple of hours at night and charging the battery bank at the same time
Its an 8 kva genny.

Apparently it was running and producing 110v when taken from the boat but it does need work.
It presents well appearance wise and can be wound over by hand, so no seizure, but it has an oil leak somewhere that needs to be repaired and it appears to have done a head gasket, which is why I am suggesting it needs a rebuild.
This is represented in its near giveaway price.

A picture I took on inspection, Is that green radiator fluid around edge of oil filler hole , signs of rust and is the white substance inside what happens when water and oil mix?



If weight wasn't an issue I would be looking at a heavier, slower unit , especially if I could get one on the cheap.
Unfortunately, weight is an issue.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:16 AM   #9
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Run don't walk away from that POS. See the rust on the valve lifter shaft. That is from salt water.

Salt water damage is one of the signature failures of F-Ps. The rw pump seal starts to leak and sprays sw through out the enclosure. Everything gets soaked and the engine sucks it in. Out of sight, out of mind for a few hours until the engine comes to its final stop.

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Old 11-17-2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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Run don't walk away from that POS. See the rust on the valve lifter shaft. That is from salt water.
Yes, but if we are doing a rebuild on the engine, should not that issue be taken care of?

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Salt water damage is one of the signature failures of F-Ps. The rw pump seal starts to leak and sprays sw through out the enclosure. Everything gets soaked and the engine sucks it in.
Signature FP failure???
The raw water pump is external to the motor and appears to be a Johnson pump.
How can a seal on that pump be blamed of FP?

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Out of sight, out of mind for a few hours until the engine comes to its final stop.
By that you mean seizure?

This has not seized, I could turn it by hand.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:46 AM   #11
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You seem to really want to buy and rebuild that engine. And don't forget rebuilding the generator end as well.

Every machined steel and aluminum part in that engine is probably corroded and must be replaced. Everything but the block and maybe the crank. Even buying Kubota (I think that is a Kubota) parts from a tractor dealer will cost as much as a new genset. The electronics on the generator end are junk and can only be purchased from F-P.

Seals fail certainly. But it is F-Ps fault how the raw water pump is mounted so raw water gets slinged everywhere. That is not the case on my generator.

It may not have been a bad seal. It could be a bad exhaust system design (part manufacturer, part installer's fault) that allowed sea water to back up into the engine. Often that locks up the engine when you try to start due to hydraulic lock. But I wouldn't expect that kind of corrosion.

I don't know why it stopped. I doubt if the crank seized and if it now turns, it turns. Maybe a corroded valve stem got stuck open.

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Old 11-17-2013, 09:38 AM   #12
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You seem to really want to buy and rebuild that engine. And don't forget rebuilding the generator end as well.
Actually, I want to save $16,000 (the price difference between this and a new heavy genny or a new FP in the same size)

I wont be doing the rebuild, I'll have a mechanic to that for me

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Every machined steel and aluminum part in that engine is probably corroded and must be replaced. Everything but the block and maybe the crank.
You're really just guessing aren't you.
You cant possibly now that for a fact.

The motor visually appears fine, the only corrosion visible is a bit around the exhaust elbow - an easy fix or replace






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Even buying Kubota (I think that is a Kubota) parts from a tractor dealer will cost as much as a new genset.
Yes it is a Kubota
A well respected diesel mechanic reckons about $1500 for a refurb ($500 parts $1000 labour)
Thats considerably less than a new genset
FP 8kva here is $19,000
http://bla.com.au/default/shop-onlin...r-iseries.html

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The electronics on the generator end are junk and can only be purchased from F-P.
Says who, you?
You just told me the parts for a rebuild would cost $19,000

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Seals fail certainly. But it is F-Ps fault how the raw water pump is mounted so raw water gets slinged everywhere. That is not the case on my generator.
Well, just about every diesel engine I have seen has the raw water pump bolted to the same part of the engine for the drive.
Logic says that they to would have a similar issue if a seal failed

Quote:
It may not have been a bad seal. It could be a bad exhaust system design (part manufacturer, part installer's fault) that allowed sea water to back up into the engine.
Once again, you are guessing.
Who said it was sea water, ther eis green water ound the lip in the pic, to me it looks like cooling fluid.
The unit was also mounted under the sink on the previous vessel, so it may be water from there.

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I don't know why it stopped.
Who said it stopped?
If you read my post I said
Quote:
Apparently it was running and producing 110v when taken from the boat but it does need work.
Its pretty obvious that you have a major issue with them but I wonder why?
Have you ever actually had one to be able to comment with such conviction?
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:54 AM   #13
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You are getting good advice here. It seems as though are set on buying this unit. So buy it. I see hours of frustration in your future
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:55 AM   #14
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Boy, I know Oz prices can be surprisingly high, but $19k for that gen - yikes, no wonder you guys still pay huge shipping and other transaction costs for boats from elsewhere.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:13 PM   #15
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Why bother asking for advice if you don't like what you get? Just buy the damn thing and take pictures while you rebuilt it so you can impress us with a fait accompli.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:39 PM   #16
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The water in the innards is enough to case one to walk away. But several engine only sinkers have been brought to life, not sure about gensets though. Any way you can deduce if the genset end is OK? How about a Honda 3000 KW gas or small diesel portable unit?
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:50 PM   #17
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How about doing an analysis on the chocolate mousse looking oil. If it comes back with high sodium and potassium in a 20-30:1 ratio, then it is seawater. Otherwise if it is only sodium, then it is probably antifreeze.

If it is salt water then the oil analysis will almost surely show very high Fe and Al content due to internal corrosion.

Then make your decision to rebuild.

I must agree the external pics don't look anything like the one looking down into the valve gear, so maybe the water in the oil isn't a result of a failed raw water seal. This would mean that the generator end is probably good.

You can buy a brand new 5.5 KW NextGen, 2 cylinder Kubota based genset in the US for about $8,000 including sound enclosure. It isn't as good as a Northern Lights but it isn't a bad generator for casual use.

David
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:07 PM   #18
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Boy, I know Oz prices can be surprisingly high, but $19k for that gen - yikes, no wonder you guys still pay huge shipping and other transaction costs for boats from elsewhere.
I paid $12K for a new with warranty Northern Lights 9KW with the sound shield in 2011

The westerbeke 8 kw was $8k at the time
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:34 PM   #19
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How about doing an analysis on the chocolate mousse looking oil. If it comes back with high sodium and potassium in a 20-30:1 ratio, then it is seawater. Otherwise if it is only sodium, then it is probably antifreeze.
Not enough time unfortunately

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Then make your decision to rebuild.
I am thinking that even if it is rooted internally and I have to buy a new motor, which are around $2000, I will still be well infront Vs buying new.

Quote:
I must agree the external pics don't look anything like the one looking down into the valve gear, so maybe the water in the oil isn't a result of a failed raw water seal. This would mean that the generator end is probably good.
That is what I was thinking as well
And, if you can believe the seller/owner, it was working on removal, he just needs more power.
On his boat it was hard to get out and difficult to access so he thought it wise to overhaul it before re-installing.

Quote:
You can buy a brand new 5.5 KW NextGen, 2 cylinder Kubota based genset in the US for about $8,000 including sound enclosure.
And if I could do that here I would probably be going down that path
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:42 PM   #20
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Any way you can deduce if the genset end is OK?
No, but from their website they say
Quote:
Fischer Panda warrants the rotor, often the most sensitive part of other generator systems, with a lifetime guarantee.
so seeing as it hasn't been drowned you would like to think it would be fine
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How about a Honda 3000 KW gas
There will be limited petrol on board and it'll be for the dinghy
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or small diesel portable unit
That was an option I looked at but have you heard the noise from them?
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