I have a 5kw Northern Lights
, new in our Hunter
356 when we commissioned it in 2003. When I bought the boat I wanted the best continuous operating generator
made. I was told Northern Lights was the best and that is why I selected it. We use continuously when not at the dock
to run all our onboard AC systems. Our16000 BTUH HVAC
unit is our largest load and then our HWH when anchored. I have 3138.4 hours on it as of this weekend, and have just spent our 999 th day on the boat. All I have done are regular oil
changes, regular impeller changes, one belt, a valve adjustment and new injectors at 2124 hours. Most I have run continuously has been 99 hours. Commonly use it for 36-48 hours at a time. I have a soft sound enclosure that was custom made. It's fairly easy to service
. I can tell you it has met all my expectations for the last 14 years.
My only complaint is the oil filter
is put on sideways and it is tough to get off without spilling a little down the side of the engine
. I put it in a zip lock bag with a super oil
absorber underneath and jab a screwdriver in it to drain off as much oil as possible before removing the filter. That is the only small defect in my mind this unit has. I have seen kits that will enable me to change the filter to vertical and once I change the oil I forget about it until the next time. It is relatively quiet onboard and in the salon
. I get about 65 decibels from it. 10 to 15 feet from the boat you can't hear it due to underwater exhaust
burn is about .25 gph and 6 gallons per day. I figure we use just over 1 KW per hour when on shore power
and our maximum load is around 4KW when the HWH is heating
and the HVAC
unit is starting the compressor
with the TV going. We can max it out if the microwave was operating too, but it has never choked once. We operate without thinking about power management on generator
. On shore power
with one power cord (we don't use two but have two cords) we do occasionally trip our shore power 30 amp breaker when the HVAC is starting and the HWH is on and we use the Microwave.
To me, the reliability
and just turn on and forget is well worth the cost. My wife and I are 69 now and probably will keep this boat until we retire from sailing - which is not anytime soon. I imagine the Northern Lights will go on for many more years as I consider it just broken in good.
Sent from my iPad
using Cruisers Sailing Forum