You've Got Power

Quieter, smarter and safer marine generators are on tap for 2005.

Whether your yacht is gasoline or diesel powered, chances are good that your electrical power needs are on the rise. As sophisticated digital equipment comes aboard, and as systems for increased creature comforts become standard, the need for dependable 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC power continues its upward curve. Marine generator manufacturers are responding to these needs with new technologies that feed our power-hungry marine lifestyle. Here's an overview of some of the new gear you'll see this year.

Kohler

Kohler, a company that built its reputation for innovation and design in plumbing fixtures and products, today counts among its well-diversified businesses the manufacture and supply of power generation products for marine, home and industrial use. Kohler offers marine diesel gensets ranging from 3.5 kW to 150 kW, and gasoline generators ranging from 4 kW to 20 kW, as well as a full range of optional sound shields and other custom-power handling accessories. Diesel gensets are powered primarily by Yanmar and John Deere engines, with Kawasaki and Ford power plants in the gasoline models. To supply precision voltage and frequency regulation required by modern marine electronics, Kohler recently began offering advanced microprocessor controllers on its range of marine generators. The Advanced Digital Control (ADC) is a standard feature on Kohler's new 8 kW to 32 kW diesel generators, as well as three new gasoline generators: 10kw, 13kW and 15kW. Easy-to-read, enhanced diagnostic and monitoring information keeps the captain advised of running conditions (kW output, battery voltage, oil pressure, engine hours) and system-fault conditions. For the owner who prefers to have this information displayed at the helm, Kohler now offers a three-inch Remote Digital Gauge that also facilitates remote genset starting and stopping.

Mase

Mase Generators of North America, a division of Mase Generators S.p.A of Cesena, Italy, makes power systems for marine, RV, residential and industrial customers. In just a few years since entering the U.S. market, Mase has established 120 dealers and 11 distributors for its line of Yanmar-powered diesel generators. New for 2005 are the 12.2 kW and 42.0 kW models, both of which incorporate Mase's standard sound enclosures and signature Intercooler System that is designed to keep the unit operating at an optimum temperature for maximum efficiency, while minimizing thermal and vibration effects. Mase's aim is to have a genset that can be mounted anywhere in the boat with no adverse effects on living conditions. The new 12.2 kW unit is designed to function as standby power for air conditioners and appliances, particularly useful for those lower power-demand situations when there is no need to run a larger genset; it offers high output in a small package size for installations where space is at a premium.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights' enviable reputation as a supplier of generators and Lugger propulsion engines, built to fill the demanding needs of Alaskan commercial fishing vessels, has made it a well-known player in the marine power propulsion field. Two new gensets, an innovative series with auxiliary windings, new enclosures and an innovative sound suppression system are in the news from this Seattle-based company.

The 12 kW M844K2 and the 16 kW M844LK2 are powered by U.S. EPA Tier-II-certified Lugger diesel engines and designed for primary power generation aboard yachts ranging from 60 to 100 feet. Notable features include extensive noise attenuation, ease of maintenance and precision power output. Northern Lights' new W-Series generators incorporate an auxiliary stator winding, delivering dedicated power to a new automatic voltage regulator that will not be affected by load changes on the engine or power corruption. This new feature, which will eventually be on all Northern Lights gensets from 8 kW to 33 kW, helps ensure a consistent supply of power to onboard electronics and other equipment.

Noise from the genset and its exhaust are reduced noticeably by Northern Lights' InSep sound attenuation system. Available for state-of-the-art Northern Lights generators from 26 kW to 240 kW output, the system bundles the exhaust cooling and muffling system within the sound enclosure. Easy-to-trigger latches, dual-sound dampening barriers and dampened-internal air ducting are vital features of Northern Lights' new sound enclosures, available for gensets from 4.5 kW to 330 kW.

Onan

David Onan founded this Minneapolis-based company back in 1920 to provide power generation equipment, and later engines, for all kinds of applications. Acquired by Cummins Engines in 1989, Onan serves marine, RV, home, portable and commercial needs worldwide through a large, well-established sales and service network. Onan caused quite a stir when it showed a prototype of its new e-Series generator technology at last fall's Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. For 2005, Onan has incorporated e-Series features in its entire line of diesel and gasoline marine generators, which it calls e-Series Networked.

The new e-Series is offered in three configurations for display on remote instrument or computer screens: Onan's proprietary e-Series network, Mercury Marine's SmartCraft network and an industry standard SAE J1939 CAN network. All deliver real-time genset status information detailing AC voltage, AC frequency, coolant temperature, oil pressure, battery voltage and genset hours. All will alert the operator to pre-alarm and alarm conditions that threaten to shut down the genset, and display text notifications of system diagnostics.

This self-monitoring, networked ability is now available on the entire line of Onan e-QD, or electronic Quiet Diesel, models from 4 kW to 99 kW. Single-side access for easy maintenance, precision-engineered vibration-isolation mounts and electronic frequency control are all standard features. Onan's e-Series Digital Display is provided as standard equipment, mounted on the genset. Sound enclosures and remote digital display panels for multiple locations are just two of a wide range of options and accessories.

Westerbeke

Dedicated to serving the marine industry since 1937, Taunton, MA-based Westerbeke marinizes gas and diesel engines from several manufacturers for its wide line of gensets that are supplied to 130 boatbuilders, including Chris-Craft, Cabo and Jefferson Yachts. The company's diversified product line also includes marinized diesel and gas main propulsion engines, commercial power generation sets and Rotary Aire climate-control systems. Westerbeke's generators range in output from 4 kW to 95 kW, and are served by 65 master distributors and a large dealer network worldwide. A new line of Sound Guard SST enclosures is now available, engineered to withstand the harsh marine environment with five power-coated aluminum panels and a stainless steel base and frame.

In 2004, Westerbeke introduced an award-winning series of gasoline gensets called Safe-CO that slashed carbon monoxide emissions by more than 99 percent. By combining innovative, proprietary engineering with electronic fuel injection on 2-, 3- and 4-cylinder gensets, Westerbeke now offers nine models that seriously reduce the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning on yachts.

Contacts: Kohler Power Systems, (800) 544-2444; www.kohlerpowersystems.com/marine. Mase Generators of North America, (954) 327-0234; www.masenorthamerica.com. Northern Lights, (206) 789-3880; www.northern-lights.com. Onan Corp., (800) 888-6626; www.onan.com. Westerbeke Corp., (508) 823-7677; www.westerbeke.com.