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How quiet is Northern Lights 5 kw genset

Discussion in 'Generators' started by Delfin, May 14, 2015.

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  1. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    May 28, 2014
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    Anacortes, WA
    That's true. Currently I have only a single 4kw inverter, so for 240 (stove, a/c, washer/dryer) we have to spin up the 20kw genset. This is silly inefficient, and you are correct that what I would like to have is a small set that will deliver house current while re-charging FULLY the house bank. The latter takes around 8 hours with 75% of that time spent dribbling the final 10% of charge into the AGMs. These batteries will last a very long time if fully charged between cycles but that takes a long time to accomplish, hence my wish for a small footprint 5kw that could still be reasonably loaded when doing its job.

    Others have suggested the Onan, which is a 2800 rpm vs 1800 for the NL, but is also 40% of the price. I have no clue why there is such a big differential.
  2. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    Yes, it is pretty limited space wise. When I bought Delfin she was an empty shell but the PO had put a new NL 20kw in. His idea was to power all the hydraulics with that unit, and there wasn't room for a sound enclosure, so while it isn't uncomfortably noisy because the ER is so well insulated, it is certainly not quiet enough to run for 8 hours at a time without wishing you could turn it off. And perhaps it doesn't matter that much, but running a 20kw to get 10 amps doesn't sound very efficient. Coming from a sailing background, I designed Delfin's electrical system to be as efficient as possible, so over 24 hours our typical consumption is under 8 kw without re-charging of the house bank going on. That will change when we head south and the a/c will be running at least some of the time...
  3. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    May 28, 2014
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    Correction - The Onan price I was looking at wasn't real. The Onan, NL etc. are all about the same price. Thanks again for all the input!
  4. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    ...you just beat me to that.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Another thought is either a solar bank or wind generator or both to charge the battery bank. Solar is quiet, wind will generate a bit of noise. Perhaps you have that and are looking for a boost from the 5kw generator at night. What you've found on Fischer Panda in the US is exactly what I've heard here in South Florida. I'd want a 2 cylinder generator, if not for vibration dampening over a 1 cylinder. I would be looking at NL, Onan, and Kohler. Have you tried to contact those manufacturers for sound readings while running? Another consideration given your engine room space, would be where items are mounted on each manufacturers unit and how it lines up with your available space to service it.
  6. P46-Curaçao

    P46-Curaçao Senior Member

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    Curaçao (CW), Hollywood (FL) and Amsterdam (NL)
    As you say Capt J, I'm very happy with my Solar system...and new Onan 9kw, Onan just for AC (and it automatically charges the battery banks at night when we overnight... if necessary)
  7. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    Thanks Capt. When I asked the NL dealer, he said they didn't publish sound values, which seemed odd to me. Onan, as someone noted is around 70 db. If located in the ER, my guess is it would be very quiet. I'm taking your advice and considering a 24v DC generator, although I have heard mixed reviews on the long term reliability of the small Kubota 2 cyl engines typically used, and being able to run the a/c on the hook will seem pretty appealing when we're in the Sea of Cortez.

    I have considered solar, but with 1250 amps in the house bank, I run out of places to put panels pretty quickly. A nice supplement for sure, but not a complete solution, especially when cruising here in the Northwest. Florida, maybe different. Same with wind. Intriguing but as you say noisy and a better solution for lower power consumption than we seem to have and I think we are pretty thrifty.