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Old 07-22-2019, 01:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by FlyFast-Boat Slow View Post
Hi John,


A bit late to the party but here's one other simple thing to try if the coolant temp switch is not the problem. I had very similar symptoms with my NL 5 kW generator stopping randomly. It would start normally and then run for a while and then die. As time went on the periods of "on" became shorter until it would not even start.



The culprit was the foam air filter. It had been deteriorating over time and was clogging the air intake. I removed it, used a shop vac to clean out all the bits from the airbox I could reach and installed a new filter that I had. Working great now!


NL recommends annual removal of the foam air filters and washing in warm water and dish soap. Like twistedtree, if it helps don't thank me, we both have the same source at Northern Lights!


~Christopher
Hey Christopher.

Good tip. Thanks. Cleaning the air filter is a good standard maintenance item, anyway.

As it turns out, we got the temp switch but ran out of time to install it last weekend before our guests arrived. We went out for a cruise Sunday and the generator ran flawlessly for ten straight hours. One of the mysteries of life.

I will be sure to clean the foam air filter as soon as possible. This boat and this generator are still new to us. As I recall, the filter is located on top, behind the heat exchanger, under a metal box or plate held down with four bolts. That part of the sound box is in a hard to get at spot, not easy to remove the top. Can the bolts and cover be removed and the filter removed from the side with the sound box top in place? There is probably three inches of clearance between the top of the engine and the roof of the sound box. I can barely squeeze a forearm in there. Do I need more room to get the air filter out?

Thanks.

John
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:01 PM   #22
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Had same problem with my NL Genset. Took awhile, but finally, the supply water hose got old and collapsed after usage. Made Genny run hot and it automatically shuts off. Just replace hose, and all is well. Hope this works for you.
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:04 PM   #23
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Had same problem with my NL Genset. Took awhile, but finally, the supply water hose got old and collapsed after usage. Made Genny run hot and it automatically shuts off. Just replace hose, and all is well. Hope this works for you.
We wondered about that but ours always has good water flow, even when shutting down, and temp is always in the normal range.

John
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Old 07-22-2019, 05:56 PM   #24
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I chased an identical problem on our NL 16KW gen for 18 months. Finally posted here, and had my solution in a day. In my case it was the resettable fuse that I think Ski is talking about. I just jumpered around it initially, and since that solved the problem, I got a new fuse. That was well over a year ago and no problems since.
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:28 PM   #25
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Following closely as I just had a genny problem on my 15kw Onan (Cummins)...

A week ago I shut it down after noticing less water output and steam flashing indicating higher exhaust temps (at least in my mind). I pulled the intake pump and found the impeller in bad shape as anticipated.

I had a spare impeller from PO as this is a new-to-me boat, and I changed it out and fired up to normal operation. Being dockside on shore power, I switched the load gradually to genny and let it test run with full loads for about 20 minutes and all seemed normal. As a side note... although this Onan has oil pres., temp., and DC volt guages on both the genset in the ER and on remote panel in main AC/DC panel, the temp guages do not work on either.

So the other day, we left for an all day cruise and all was working fine as usual, both ac's running, full size fridge, ice maker, water heater... and for about 7 hours nothing unusual. I think I looked over the port side a thousand times watching water/exhaust flow...

At some point, in the last 45 minutes of the cruise, she stopped. I was not aware until I went down below while underway and noticed no ac working.

I have yet to be able to start any troubleshooting at all due to having company at the time and started work the next day. Thursday is my day off so will start checking into things, and am glad this thread started as there are some great ideas here. I haven't even tried a restart, as I haven't had a chance to break down the sound box for even a 1st step visual check of things.

Sorry for any derail/hijack of your thread, OP... glad there's so much knowledge here to tap into. I have no problem starting a separate thread after initial observations if that is the proper thing to do.

Thanks, and good luck getting to the bottom of it OP...
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:24 AM   #26
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Although I feel sure earlier suggestions will lead you to your solution, I have one more thing to say regarding summer heat. My little bitty 3.5 KW generator runs my 13.5 KBtu rooftop and my 10 KBtu marine ac units simultaneously at 80% load when the water is not near ninety degrees, but it overheats and stops suddenly (with no sputter) right now in mid-summer at that load. It will run either unit all day long, not both, at closer to 50%. The manufacturer says that he has people in south Florida running Barnacle Buster through them 2-3 times a year to keep them cooling properly. Being a brand new genny with only 70 hours on it and run with freshwater cooling before every shutdown I pooh-poohed that idea. And then I did it anyway - holy cow was that water murky with scale!
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:38 AM   #27
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Although I feel sure earlier suggestions will lead you to your solution, I have one more thing to say regarding summer heat. My little bitty 3.5 KW generator runs my 13.5 KBtu rooftop and my 10 KBtu marine ac units simultaneously at 80% load when the water is not near ninety degrees, but it overheats and stops suddenly (with no sputter) right now in mid-summer at that load. It will run either unit all day long, not both, at closer to 50%. The manufacturer says that he has people in south Florida running Barnacle Buster through them 2-3 times a year to keep them cooling properly. Being a brand new genny with only 70 hours on it and run with freshwater cooling before every shutdown I pooh-poohed that idea. And then I did it anyway - holy cow was that water murky with scale!
That would be your temperature switch shutting you down. We suspected ours was doing the same thing after the Northern Lights factory tech support guy said there was a known issue with those switches. However, the generator started and ran for ten straight hours last Sunday with three a/c units, a refrigerator, an ice maker, and a wine cooler all running. No shutdown issues. We have a new switch but haven't had a chance to install it yet. Very strange situation.

But you're right about critter growth this time of year in Florida waters. Need to stay on top of it. A Barnacle Buster (or equivalent) flush twice a year, spring and fall, is part of our routine.

John
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:14 AM   #28
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Last summer, my NL 5kw would start and run for a few minutes and shut down. It turned out to be a faulty auto shutdown switch for high temp. The genset is 12 years old, 1500 hours. NL said it was a rare problem but that it happens.
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:57 AM   #29
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Based upon direct readings of the heat exchanger surface with my no-touch thermometer, I was actually overheating at 225F which is the shutdown setting of the thermal switch.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:04 PM   #30
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The switches on the NL genset are NO, they short to ground when activated. so to test one or the other, just disconnect it from the “grey wire” circuit and tie off the loose connector so it can’t touch the block.
If you do not believe an actual fault exists, then you can disconnect the oil pressure, coolant, and exhaust water temp switches and bypass them.
Most likely is oil pressure, and then coolant temp. If it shuts down with all three switches disconnected, then more likely a relay. They are cheap, replace them all. Next, the diodes between two of the relays. They are leads components like from a through hole circuit board, soldered together and then connected to the relays. Leads can break.
This is not a fuel issue. It is electrical. Everything stated here is a relay from various NL tech support. I would ignore well meaning suggestions that are not specific to NL gensets. Good luck. PM me if you like.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:41 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybull View Post
Following closely as I just had a genny problem on my 15kw Onan (Cummins)...

A week ago I shut it down after noticing less water output and steam flashing indicating higher exhaust temps (at least in my mind). I pulled the intake pump and found the impeller in bad shape as anticipated.

I had a spare impeller from PO as this is a new-to-me boat, and I changed it out and fired up to normal operation. Being dockside on shore power, I switched the load gradually to genny and let it test run with full loads for about 20 minutes and all seemed normal. As a side note... although this Onan has oil pres., temp., and DC volt guages on both the genset in the ER and on remote panel in main AC/DC panel, the temp guages do not work on either.

So the other day, we left for an all day cruise and all was working fine as usual, both ac's running, full size fridge, ice maker, water heater... and for about 7 hours nothing unusual. I think I looked over the port side a thousand times watching water/exhaust flow...

At some point, in the last 45 minutes of the cruise, she stopped. I was not aware until I went down below while underway and noticed no ac working.

I have yet to be able to start any troubleshooting at all due to having company at the time and started work the next day. Thursday is my day off so will start checking into things, and am glad this thread started as there are some great ideas here. I haven't even tried a restart, as I haven't had a chance to break down the sound box for even a 1st step visual check of things.

Sorry for any derail/hijack of your thread, OP... glad there's so much knowledge here to tap into. I have no problem starting a separate thread after initial observations if that is the proper thing to do.

Thanks, and good luck getting to the bottom of it OP...
UPDATE:
Finally was able to get to the genny issue on Thursday. The fault breaker was tripped, which trips for water temp, oil temp, oil press. Pulled the sound shield box and removed inlet side hose to water pump to inspect impeller without pulling... it looked really good after bumping start switch a few times.

What I found upon restarting the generator with no load was that the intake hose from the strainer was collapsing from the suction. Strainer was clean. The hose felt very soft and was restricting flow to the pump.

After replacing the intake hose with new, she's throwing water out of the exhaust at a higher rate than I've ever seen since owning this boat, and we were out all day yesterday at heavy load with no issues.

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Old 07-27-2019, 09:43 AM   #32
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UPDATE:
Finally was able to get to the genny issue on Thursday. The fault breaker was tripped, which trips for water temp, oil temp, oil press. Pulled the sound shield box and removed inlet side hose to water pump to inspect impeller without pulling... it looked really good after bumping start switch a few times.

What I found upon restarting the generator with no load was that the intake hose from the strainer was collapsing from the suction. Strainer was clean. The hose felt very soft and was restricting flow to the pump.

After replacing the intake hose with new, she's throwing water out of the exhaust at a higher rate than I've ever seen since owning this boat, and we were out all day yesterday at heavy load with no issues.

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Old 07-27-2019, 01:56 PM   #33
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Nice job! And a good easy fix.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:50 PM   #34
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Glad it was a simple repair.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:11 AM   #35
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This is not a fuel issue. It is electrical. Everything stated here is a relay from various NL tech support. I would ignore well meaning suggestions that are not specific to NL gensets. Good luck. PM me if you like.
Agreed. When I had my problem (16kw NL), I looked at the schematic about a hundred times, to try to figure out what to test. Finally, I wrote out a detailed description of exactly what all those relays do, at what stage of operation (Pre-heat Button on, Start button on, etc.). Also, at each stage, what the electrical status should be of each terminal on each relay (12v or GND). Once I had it written up, I was able to step through it and test each connection, and quickly found that one of the diodes was blown.

I have attached a PDF copy of it, for anyone who has a NL gennie.

P.S. - This solved only one of the problems. The other, more perplexing, problem was the intermittent failure of the resettable fuse. I don't know how to test for that, other than to jumper around it.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Northern Lights Schematic Explanation.pdf (33.0 KB, 22 views)
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:40 AM   #36
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Thanks, Brian
Very thorough. I went through years of problems with mine and this would have helped. First issue was an oil temp switch. Then some other weird action that was solved by moving the oil temp switch from the block to a Tee off the same line as the oil pressure switch.
This last issue was a diode that had a broken lead under the potting. Vibration would cause it to open randomly.
I hope OP's recent success holds...but mine didn't. It would run fine for months, then fail every other hour. We would fix one thing, then another gremlin would raise its head.
During the diode period i would go down and re-seat the relays and it would work for a week or so. Fixed maybe? Nope. I pulled every connection on every relay, after I replaced the relays. How I actually found the broken wire under the potting is a story too long for this thread.
Over the years had a succession of techs on the boat. Each insisted on fussing with the fuel system. Wasted lots of hours and money. Hard to get efficient help when the fault shows up every 3-4 hours, or 3-4 days. Finally took over myself, with advice from NL techs over the phone. Did get some good help from Washburns in Solomons.
One common failure with the older models has been mentioned before by others here and that is the circuit breaker on the outside of the electrical box. Redesigned before my genset was built.
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