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Philosophy of Keeping it Simple

Simplicity in any piece of machinery, particularly marine equipment, directly relates to service costs and reliability. The more complex a system is, the more likely you are to have a failure and the more costly it is to repair.  Complex systems have more expensive parts and require more labor to fix.  If it isn’t there, it can’t fail.

You can apply this rule to virtually any marine product.  Take generators for example, one of your vessel’s most important pieces of equipment, and one you can least afford to let fail.  Here are the characteristics of a marine generator set that is made NOT to fail:

Minimal common failure points, including belts and hoses.

Exhaust manifolds should be made of marine-ready components.  No aluminum.

No plastic should be used in intake manifolds or plumbing components.

Use Gear driven sea water pumps.  They result in better impeller maintenance and greater reliability compared to belt-driven designs.

Foam air filters that can be cleaned and reused.

Single-side service points, multiple oil fill locations and a built in oil drain hose for easy routine maintenance.

Use of a self-venting fuel system eliminates the need for expensive electrical components.

Inexpensive, reliable and commonly available relays eliminate the need for complicated and expensive printed circuit boards.

An automatic voltage regulator with built in breaker means no fuses to replace.

Base frames that serve as a built in drip pan to contain fluids and keep the engine room clean.

Northern Lights generators are designed to be maintained by the operator.  If the system is too complex, this becomes difficult.  Our customers comment often that their Northern Lights generator is simple to operate and easy to maintain.  It isn’t easy to design with simplicity in mind but the end result is a higher quality and more reliable generator.


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