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Old 10-02-2023, 06:46   #1
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Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

If I were to buy a generator around the 6 kW, which would be the better choice:
Phasor K3-6.5KW
Northern Lights M673L3G

They both are 3 cyl, 1800 rpm generators.
Phasor uses a Kubota engine (D1005-E4BG)
Northern Lights uses a "Lugger", which is a Shibaura E673 engine

Engine spare/replacement parts seem to be easier to source for the Phasor because it's a D1005 Kubota and I have the necessary cross-reference files for Kubota engines.

I did a search for spare/replacement parts for the Shibaura E673 and the results were hit-and-miss. Most sites advertising "northern lights" parts seemed grossly overpriced (i.e. > $100 for a fuel injector) vs ~$30 for kubota.

Is there a difference in the generator head or the electronics that manage the generated electricity?

From their sales literature:
NL: "...uses reliable relays instead of an unrepairable printed circuit board...."
Phasor: "Single Series Circuit Control System with No Printed Circuit Boards"
I don't know the significance of those statements, but I presume those are positive features. Are they the same? Is one better than the other?


The price difference seems to be between $2000 and $3000
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Old 10-02-2023, 06:56   #2
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Northern Lights is the bigger brand with a generally excellent reputation. But from everything I know, Phasor also makes good generators. Both make fairly simple, rugged units with control systems that are intended to be serviceable rather than being a computer bolted to the genset for control (which can be an issue years later if the manufacturer doesn't do a good enough job of supporting the control system).



I'd look at some details like physical size and weight of the units to see if that points to one being a better fit than the other.
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Old 10-02-2023, 16:38   #3
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Thanks.

The discussion might be moot because the Phasor specs show a 18" width, which is 1" wider than my hatch. I am awaiting a reply from Phasor for a dimensional diagram. I want to see the diagrams to find out what is pushing the 18" width and if it can be easily removed, then put back on after installation (something as simple as a hose or air filter inlet).

One glaring deficiency with Phasor is the lack of info on their web site: no manual, no dimensional drawings, no installation details. In addition to that, the remote control panel is not in the standard package and the Phasor does not have a high exhaust temp shutdown trigger, only low oil pressure and high coolant temp (NL has all three). We'll see how long it takes for Phasor to respond and whether or not the info is requested.

From the end user perspective, the customer service aspect (prompt return calls, details available on web, etc...) between the two companies if very interesting and, at NL, understands that this aspect can be the determining factor, even with a price difference.
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Old 10-02-2023, 17:23   #4
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

In my experience they are always very responsive. But note they are a very small operation (I have been to their shop to pick up parts).

I have the 3.5kw Phasor. Has run great for 22 years... Until this week!! But overall I have been very happy with it, it has been rock solid reliable, those Kubota engines seem to be very solid overall. A generator this old is bound to have problems, and so far this is only the second.

I did burn out a generator end in the early days when the cooling fan died - I had a "sound enclosure" which relied on a big fan to bring in fresh air. The fan died near the equator, then the generator end burned out. Since then, I've removed the enclosure and am not disturbed by the noise much (compared to being disturbed when things break).
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Old 10-02-2023, 18:21   #5
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Thanks Jordan.

I guess what I'm looking for is for someone to point out a design flaw in the Phasor system that would rule it out and make the NL worth the additional $2k. I favor the Phasor because of the Kubota engine, I am leery of being trapped into high-priced NL engine parts vs. lower priced Kubota. This is more from the perspective of spares rather than failures because they both seem relatively failure-free.

Not sure if I'll find what I'm looking for regarding one vs the other, so it will probably come down to whether it will fit or not and what the total cost is, with remote control panels and whatever options I need to make the equivalent comparison.
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Old 10-02-2023, 19:36   #6
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Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Iím a big fan of the Northern lights generators but as pointed out up thread the Phasor has a few advantages like the stainless steel mixer elbow. I know the width of the Phasor is greater but Iím not sure that the NL width includes the sound shield ..... it might just be the bare genset dimensions. I like the Kubota engine too, and frankly thereís not much between these 2 gensets .....Iíd seriously consider the Phasor given the suggested price difference.
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Old 10-02-2023, 20:00   #7
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

I think it short sighted to focus on the engine vs the marinization. Alaska Diesel and Northern Lights have been marinizing engines big and small for a very long time. Failure rates are due to marinization, not wearing out an engine. Relays, power head, etc. Look no further than Fisher Panda. Here is a video on NL approach to marinization.

https://youtu.be/xLF5oIxhbA8

Over the years, NL have made many advances including SS elbows and reduced the number of connections thereby reducing leaks. There is so much more than Kubota vs Shibuara.
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Old 10-02-2023, 22:00   #8
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Agreed with Fischer Panda but Volpi Paguro and Lombardini also deserve a mention. Iím generally averse to 2 pole marine ac generators and the race to build the smallest genset package requires high rpm and tiny engines packed into a minuscule sound capsule. A single cylinder engine running a generator at 3,800 rpm under full load often has a short life.
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Old 11-02-2023, 05:05   #9
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

worth looking at next gen as well nearly same a phasor
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Old 11-02-2023, 05:13   #10
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Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Persistent View Post
worth looking at next gen as well nearly same a phasor


Yes, i did my own NG 5.5 install. It also uses SS elbow. No pcb, small footprint. Kabuta motor, Jabsco rw, i can get all filters at NAPA stores. Oil changes are easy. Only the front sound shield has to come off for oil change. I dont like brushed dc cooling fans generally. Will be looking for a 120v fan.
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Old 11-02-2023, 11:01   #11
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Thanks y'all for the advice. I have several questions for Phasor on Monday and we'll see how it goes. I'm not in a hurry and have time to make a non-hasty decision. I'll get updated quotes to see how they all compare, including a NG 5.5 (thanks karst).

y'all have good weekend.
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Old 11-02-2023, 11:10   #12
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Have you checked out the Cummins Onan 5kw genset? Not sure how competitive the pricing is but believe they use a Kubota diesel.
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Old 11-02-2023, 11:13   #13
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

I did look at Onan, but those are about 4" too wide.
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Old 11-02-2023, 12:50   #14
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

I've had a Northern Lights 6KW for over 24 years with 1800+ hrs. on it now. At 1K hrs. I replaced the cast iron mixing elbow with a stainless one. Next time I'll source it from HDI Marine as theirs has a longer neck and better formed tip to provide a more secure exhaust hose connection than the OEM. While out of the cabinet I also replaced the motor mounts. Other than that I just keep the fuel clean and change the oil/filter. VERY reliable and I figure under full load about a qt./hr. fuel consumption max. Great genset. JMHO
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Old 11-02-2023, 15:48   #15
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Re: Phasor or Northern Lights (~6kW)

Installed the phasor k3-8.5 (8.5kw) ten years ago. Have had good service. Parts are available. By the way has same engine as smaller 6.5. Otherwise can’t speak to 6.5.
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