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TOPIC: Watermakers

Watermakers 4 years 10 months ago #412

  • DariaBlackwell
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One of the things we want to add in the coming year is a watermaker. We researched them a few years back and were leaning toward a Spectra ( www.spectrawatermakers.com/ ), but we saw lots of new models at the Southampton Boat Show. Now we are confused again. We would appreciate any advice, pro or con, about watermakers with which you have personal experience. Others to consider - any to stay away from.

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Daria Blackwell
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PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Re: Watermakers 4 years 10 months ago #413

  • jimthomsen
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We have a Spectra Newport 400 and have used it nearly full time over the past 6 years.

We have had minor problems and the technical people in the California headquarters answer emails immediately, with excellent answers and when I needed a small part it was sent that day. Their "how to toubleshoot" manual is great, easy to use and seems to cover everything.

We are now in New Zealand and had to have our first real work done on it. The local service person had been trained in California. I know in the Med, in the Caribbean and now New Zealand finding trained Spectra people is possible.

We continue to be very happy with it and would buy a Spectra again.

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Re: Watermakers 4 years 10 months ago #421

  • chrisdevans
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Hi Daria

we have a Dessalator D100, AC model . Makes 100L/hr and has been running flawlessly for two years. Uses around 2-2.5AAc (on 220V system) when operating. Pretty much maintenance free, and what maintenance is required is very simple (filter changes/rinsing of membranes etc), totally reliable so far and used pretty regularly as we live aboard full time. Small footprint and easy to install.

I know I am tempting fate, but of all machinery aboard, this has been an absolute dream. Obviously though, I would never recommend to anyone else, just pass on my observations/experience!!

Chris
S V Tulu.
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Re: Watermakers 4 years 10 months ago #428

  • DariaBlackwell
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Chris & Jim,
Thanks for your insights. You've both been using yours continuously from the sound of your answers. We may actually be laying up over the winters while in the Med over the next few years. Were there periods when you didn't use your watermakers, and if yes, what was your experience with "pickling"?

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Daria Blackwell
Rear Commodore
PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Re: Watermakers 4 years 10 months ago #430

  • chrisdevans
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You are correct, we have never 'pickled'. I believe the process is very simple with a chemical cartridge to insert in the main raw filter and just wash through to the membranes with fresh water, and then rinse at start of use again. We rinse in fresh water from tank every month for 15-20 minutes if not in regular use, just to keep membranes fresh and moist - all seems good so far.

Good luck with your deliberations
Chris
SV Tulu

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Re: Watermakers 8 months 2 weeks ago #3189

  • Wild Bird
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I love watermakers. The freedom they provide and the comfort of knowing where your water comes from is great.
I built our watermaker from Ebay parts. The total cost was £1500. We make 130 litres/hour in the Caribbean warm waters. Having had a12v system on our last boat i didn't want to go that route again.
The current watermaker runs off the generator although if we didn't have a generator i would have gone engine driven. Our watermaker consists of a 1.5kw 220v motor and a cat 247 pump. We currently use a 40" and a 21" membrane. The system has no electronics and the only electrics are the power supply to the motor. The system is super simple and we love it like that. This summer we plan to add a second 40" membrane that should take our output close to 200 litres/ hour for no more power consumption.
The reason we went for this set up is the inherent problems with 12v installations. To achieve reasonable output from the watermaker, say 50-70 litres per hour you are likely to be pulling serious amps at 12v even with the energy recovery pumps that are typically installed on these systems. It is not unusually to see 40amps at 12v. The size of cables at this kind of current is getting pretty meaty. You need to use tinned wire as the risk of high resistance in plain copper is a possibly in the moist environment of a boat.
Finding a reliable 12v motor that can deal with this load is a major problem. There just aren't many reliable 40amp 12v motors and they are expensive. Compare to the availability of standard 1.5kw motors and the 12v motors seem to be a rip off. You can buy a standard 1.5kw motor just about anywhere in the world.
Just about all the guys we have spoke to that run 12v watermakers run there engine whilst they are making water. The reason is two fold. Because the 12v watermakers make so much less water than a 220v system you need to run them twice as long as least. Whilst you are making water you are likely to be depleting your batteries unless you have a very large solar set up. Even if you solar or wind turbine can keep up with the watermaker load you are not charging your batteries so you still end up with depleted batteries on the day you run the watermaker. In my opinion, if you need to run the engine then a 12v watermaker was the wrong solution. 12v systems are inherently less reliable and complex when you start to use high amps.
The alternative would be to install a cat pump off the engine using an electromagnetic clutch and a pair of 40" membranes. This would give circa 170-180 litres per hour. The run time of the engine would be about half the time you would spend with the 12v system if you needed to run the engine to keep up with the battery demand and you would make more than twice as much water. The system would have no electronics or electrics apart from the power supply to engage the clutch. Have a look at the Echotec watermakers. They make a nice simple watermaker that i would have purchased if i had built my own on very similar lines.

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Re: Watermakers 8 months 2 weeks ago #3191

  • Hasbun
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While we do not have the manual skills necessary to build one, we very much appreciated the videos at

www.cruiserowaterandpower.com/Water_Maker_Videos.php

This company sells standard parts, that could also be sourced anywhere in the world from others, so one can build water makers of various capacities.

Anyway, we used these videos to learn about water makers in general and to learn to not fear our Desalator water maker, which works quite well.
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Re: Watermakers 3 months 4 days ago #3517

  • alanfym
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In 2006 bought a new Desalator Duo, 12v and 250vac. Smart and great flexibility power-wise but freewheel pulleys "slipped" (poor interference fit freewheel to casting) and also auto "purity" test software limit set too high. Good response from UK agent but not much use 1000 miles from Antigua. Yes there are work-rounds, but not convenient. Several software upgrades, and new pulleys supplied without problem from UK - probably later Duo's more reliable as a result of feedback.. As usual KISS comes to mind - and will apply to imminent new installation.

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Re: Watermakers 3 weeks 6 days ago #3755

  • the Admiral
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I have fitted a few of these in the past and had the same problems that you describe. The pulley/clutch arrangement was a pain and in the end was welded together as a fix. The other issue was the pressure control. It was almost impossible to leave it without the pressure creeping up and causing the unit to stop. At least this function worked. For our own boat I built my own system. Basic and uncomplicated. 140 ltrs/hr and reliable.
With the OCC in mind I called it Ocean Water and even used the Club colours.
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Re: Watermakers 3 weeks 6 days ago #3762

  • alanfym
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And I thought it was just me unlucky! ditto the weld job and 240v ac rules!

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