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Old 13-08-2015, 14:46   #1
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and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

Hello all,

I am soon getting onboard a privilage 48 to sail across the Atlantic with my family. We are very much knee deep in the preparations between getting shore life sorted and making sure that the yacht will be ready too.
A big boat riddle for now is the Tecnicomar watermaker onboard. It is a 120l/h 220v unit, but I don't know yet the model. The issue is that apparently it was not started nor maintained since about six years.
I am wondering how much of work will have to be done to get it going. What is left of the membrane? what parts might have to be changed? the biggest question: how much is it going to cost to get it going??

I will highly appretiate any suggestions, ideas, similar experiences.

It will be another two weeks before I can get onboard and get my hand dirty but I am trying to prepare myself mentally (and financially)
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Old 13-08-2015, 15:50   #2
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

It depends how old it is. I had a 1995 Tecnicomar that needed new parts for the pressure vessels and was not able to obtain them so I had to ditch it. At a minimum you will need new membranes and seals for the pressure vessels. If you are on the east side of the Atlantic close to Italy the parts will be easer to come by.


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Old 13-08-2015, 15:54   #3
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

Not trying to be facetious but it seems to me the best info would come from the manufacturer. Why not e-mail or give them a call. They will probably give you a list of parts and procedures. Perhaps they will also give you the reference to a local rep and there will be one less item on your list.

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Old 13-08-2015, 16:17   #4
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

In most cases you can just buy universal pressure vessels. You can just buy another similar size unit or even different size units, which may effect how much water you make.. No big deal.
-You don't have to have the manufacturers ones.
-Find out if you can turn the pump by hand to ensure it's not seized.
-Is there a way to flush it with fresh water? plugs? ports?
-Your pressure vessels may be fine, might not.
- Remove the membrane from the pressure vessels and you will be able to determine condition of the end caps etc of the vessels. Often they just have Orings which you can buy. A standard Buna N oring will work way above watermaking pressures. I've used them as high as 8000 psi in industry.
-The membrane (s) are shot. So either find ones to fit your vessel or get both.
- I rebuilt a 120V system on my catamaran. It had three 24" pressure vessels and some of the end caps were corroded and bad etc. For cost savings I just bought one long pressure vessel and membrane instead. It down rated my system to something like 20 gallons an hour but that was more than I needed anyway. No big deal, just plumbing.
-I also eliminated the "automatic sensing/testing system" as it was always problematic according to the previous owner.
My unit worked great when done.
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Old 14-08-2015, 09:23   #5
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

Don't want to hijack the OP question because I have the same concerns....would it make any difference in people's answers if the water maker had been properly flushed and pickled before it went into 'non-use' for the six years? Thanks
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Old 14-08-2015, 09:44   #6
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

I recently fired up a water maker in Tortola that had been pickled properly six years previously. I ran it for a half hour before cranking up the pressure and it worked perfectly during my voyage back to Oregon.
Hope you have a similar experience.
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Old 14-08-2015, 10:17   #7
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Originally Posted by foothillsailor View Post
Don't want to hijack the OP question because I have the same concerns....would it make any difference in people's answers if the water maker had been properly flushed and pickled before it went into 'non-use' for the six years? Thanks
If I was taking off cruising it would get replaced. They say they should be pickled at least what.. every 6 months? In the scheme of things membranes aren't that expensive....
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Old 14-08-2015, 10:32   #8
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

The only way to know if you membranes are good (along with other parts of the water maker) is to RUN IT. If your TDS is below the 500ppm threshold (I would personally want lower...like 300ppm before casting off on a big cruise) then the membranes are good. It doesn't matter how old or new a membrane is...if it works it works and the only way to know it to run it. Now don't be crazy and just run it for 15 minutes one time and think all is well to cross the Atlantic. Get some hours on it and make sure all is really ok.
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Old 14-08-2015, 14:36   #9
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Originally Posted by foothillsailor View Post
Don't want to hijack the OP question because I have the same concerns....would it make any difference in people's answers if the water maker had been properly flushed and pickled before it went into 'non-use' for the six years? Thanks
Hopefully so, with fresh water...

Anyway, after long stop, a flush back operation must be done. Instructions needed by met.

Then with new vessels it should go. It is a pump, in the end, no more...
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Old 14-08-2015, 15:18   #10
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
The only way to know if you membranes are good (along with other parts of the water maker) is to RUN IT. If your TDS is below the 500ppm threshold (I would personally want lower...like 300ppm before casting off on a big cruise) then the membranes are good. It doesn't matter how old or new a membrane is...if it works it works and the only way to know it to run it. Now don't be crazy and just run it for 15 minutes one time and think all is well to cross the Atlantic. Get some hours on it and make sure all is really ok.
If you've got a half-functioning WM like you describe at 500ppm or more, could one run the output from that into a new WM and have the benefit of the new one lasting longer?
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Old 14-08-2015, 22:29   #11
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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If you've got a half-functioning WM like you describe at 500ppm or more, could one run the output from that into a new WM and have the benefit of the new one lasting longer?

Technically yes. A boat based watermaker can see up to 37,000PPMs of input sea water and still produce great water in the sub 400PPM range. If you could send let's say 2000PPMs from a system that has bad membranes producing that 2000PPM your new and properly working system would obviously be seeing up to 35,000 PPMs less at the input and would produce water in the sub 50PPM range. We actually build what are called double pass systems for larger boats. But what you are asking, though feasible, is not at all practical. Your first watermaker would have to produce enough product water to feed the input of the second watermaker. At a roughly (for easy math) ten to one ratio of sea water needed to make one gallon of fresh water. Your first system would have to be a ten times larger system than the second. The space needed, the energy wasted, the extra plumbing, and the complications of proper pressures and flows would not be worth the effort.

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Old 15-08-2015, 03:42   #12
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Originally Posted by Dave852 View Post
It depends how old it is. I had a 1995 Tecnicomar that needed new parts for the pressure vessels and was not able to obtain them so I had to ditch it. At a minimum you will need new membranes and seals for the pressure vessels. If you are on the east side of the Atlantic close to Italy the parts will be easer to come by.


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Old 15-08-2015, 09:33   #13
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
If you've got a half-functioning WM like you describe at 500ppm or more, could one run the output from that into a new WM and have the benefit of the new one lasting longer?
The output volume likely wont be enough to feed the second watermaker. No need to complicate the system anyway.
-Just make sure the mechanicals work, by running it.
-replace the membrane and or housing and your good to go.
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Old 15-08-2015, 11:12   #14
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

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Not trying to be facetious but it seems to me . . .
Facetious - all five vowels in order, what an awesome word
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Old 17-08-2015, 18:01   #15
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Re: and what if my watermaker was off for 6 years...?

The only thing better is Facetiously; sometimes!
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