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Old 22-12-2017, 04:21   #1
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Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

We are looking at installing a diesel generator on a Sailboat with limited space.
The choice comes down to a Northern Lights M673L3 (6Kw) or a Fischer Panda mini 8 (7.4KW).
Price is not a big factor. Which would you choose?







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Old 22-12-2017, 04:48   #2
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

This is not even a close choice Google Fischer Panda and see what people have to say about that. The northern lights will provide you with long and reliable service
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Old 22-12-2017, 04:50   #3
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

Northern Lights. Loved mine. Many consider them to be the Cadillac of generators (though I'm certain others on here will now flame me).
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Old 22-12-2017, 05:04   #4
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

No contest...NL.
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Old 22-12-2017, 06:12   #5
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

I've owned neither, but the opinions above mine accurately reflect what I've read and heard over the years. Get the Northern Lights.

I will say, though, that you're talking about a LOT of power for a Caliber 33. I have owned a Nextgen 3.5kw, and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. Smaller and cheaper by half compared to your current pair of options.
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Old 22-12-2017, 07:16   #6
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

I concur with thoughts above, that you are talking about rather large generators. Most boats your size have a 30 A shore power service. If that suffices for you, why would you look for a generator with nearly twice that capacity?

There is also the question of finding the space for such a large unit, and the impact the weight will have on the trim and sailing performance.

Have you considered a smaller unit? Have you done an electrical summary to determine actual loads?

And be advised that running such large units at low demand will shorten their service life.
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Old 22-12-2017, 07:45   #7
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

Have had two of each in different yachts.....
NO CONTEST.....Northern LIghts......
A FP is a “toy gen set”.....
Current yacht has NL 21 years old.....just had the electrical end rewound and runs like new......
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Old 22-12-2017, 07:49   #8
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

Had a FP. Never again. Enough said
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Old 22-12-2017, 08:14   #9
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

I have Northern Lights 5KW on my Hunter 356. Have 3258 hours in 15 seasons. 3 cylinders, 1800 RPM, .25gal/hr fuel used. Highly recommend.
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Old 22-12-2017, 08:18   #10
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

A number of the boats that I looked at had FP generators. The broker I was using always advised that in his opinion, the boat about x hrs left on it before the generator needed replacement. x was always 1000 hrs minus the current hours on the generator. I argued that with a Kubota drive, how could it be that bad. He held his

Luckily, we ended up with a boat with a Phasor Marine (basically the same as an Onan with less instrumentation) 3 years later, other than adjusting tappets, oil changes and alternator belts, I didn't have to touch a thing. It just started and ran every time - and had over 3000 hrs on it when I sold the boat.

During that same time, virtually every boat we spent time with that had a FP pretty much confirmed that my broker's assumptions on them was pretty good and even possibly optimistic. A couple of them simply gave up and carried a Honda 2000 portable.

Other's may chime in with their success stories, but based on my observations, my next boat won't have a Fischer Panda
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Old 22-12-2017, 08:41   #11
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

We have used Northern Lights for our last two generators.

It is essential that you install the exhaust line according to their instructions. The life of our earlier Northern Lights was cut short because water came in through the exhaust. In our case we had run the exhaust down into the bilge and then back up to the aft exhaust above the water line. Water therefore pooled in the exhaust. That year, when we lost the generator, we had exited a lagoon on the south side of Vieques where we transitioned from shallow depths to deep submarine depths quickly. The boat had violent pitching. This we believe caused the water in the bilge portion of the exhaust line to ram it's way into the generator. Damage was not immediate, but eventually the water entered a cylinder and the generator broke a crank arm on start-up, busting through the cylinder wall.
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Old 22-12-2017, 09:01   #12
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

I have had a Fischer Panda in our yacht for 11 years. It has done just over 2000 hours. I regret that I have had a number of problems including a seized generator rotor on two occasions when the yacht has been left 6 moths or so. I don't know Northern Lights but for sure I would not go with Fischer Panda.
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Old 22-12-2017, 09:13   #13
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

now have a new northern lights dont look back tossed the FP
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Old 22-12-2017, 09:29   #14
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

We installed a FP mini 4000 two years ago and it has been problem-free. It's probably too soon to tell, given we have low hours, but so far we really like it. The routine maintenance is easy (the wife does it all), and it is stable under a variety of loads and easily manages air our Webasto air conditioner's cycling on and off. We get good parts & tech support from the FP office in FL. My pretty extensive experience with all things electro-mechanical is that if you take care of them (clean oil, filters, etc.), run them regularly, and read and follow the tech manuals, they will take care of you.
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Old 22-12-2017, 09:40   #15
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Re: Northern Lights or Fischer Panda?

By the way, as some of the other replies have suggested, you don't want to get more generator capacity than you need. Diesels like to run near full load. Running them for extended periods at lower load will cause severe carbon buildup in the cylinders and drastically reduce the life. Figure out your need and get just enough capacity to carry it. It is better to manage load (i.e., by turning off some unneeded load, such as a water heater) to keep the genset around 90% load, than to have excess capacity and run at light load. Without knowing what you've got on board, it just sounds like a 6KW or 7.4KW machine is too big for a 33 foot sailboat. We've got a FP Mini 4000 on a 43' sailboat and I have to be careful to make sure it's got plenty of load even when the a/c is running. Something to think about before you take the plunge.
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