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Old 18-04-2014, 21:36   #16
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
A bike is kinda boring and cumbersome (Ha! from someone who made bikes for a few years!) I have seen a stair stepper however that is 10 by 14 inches and easily portable. What if we could attach one of those to a flywheel and power up our water maker/or generator.
I've seen a very compact stair stepper that was basically 2 shock absorbers for resistance. If one took the shocks off and either modified them with check valves to work as hydraulic rams or installed a pair of hydraulic rams (like brake master cylinders) one could make a lot of pressure just with a person's body weight. If you pumped let's say - a cup of water per step, it would add up pretty quick.

Here's one at Walmart for $40, it's really compact.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/14472151?w...794350&veh=sem

With a 60 psi pump feeding both cylinders, 2 check valves, 1 on the outlet side of each cylinder, and a bit of playing with cylinder diameter and mounting point, one could get enough leverage to produce a pretty good amount of pressure. If you have kids, you have an endless source of power! LOL
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Old 18-04-2014, 21:42   #17
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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Look up how few watts a human can make and you'll be surprised
On a bike, yes, but on a stair stepper, you're using gravity to push the step down. The more you weigh, the more gravity helps! LOL

OK, you guys are going to force me to make a direct current power adapter that pulls 12 or 24 v directly from the human body. Imagine waking up every day with a full battery bank and losing another 5 lbs!

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Old 18-04-2014, 21:53   #18
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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On a bike, yes, but on a stair stepper, you're using gravity to push the step down. The more you weigh, the more gravity helps! LOL

OK, you guys are going to force me to make a direct current power adapter that pulls 12 or 24 v directly from the human body. Imagine waking up every day with a full battery bank and losing another 5 lbs!

TANSTAAFL. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to use to get your CofG back up for the next step
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Old 18-04-2014, 22:14   #19
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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TANSTAAFL. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to use to get your CofG back up for the next step
Well, the point is to get some exercise. The more you weigh, the more you need to exercise. But a stepping motion is more natural than a bicycling motion. If you get really tired, you just shift your weight from one side to the other.

Properly designed, this thing could actually be less resistance than the original shocks.
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Old 18-04-2014, 22:36   #20
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
I asked myself the same question. Maybe it's a matter of higher pressure = greater volume of water. I know my 60 psi system at home only makes like 10 or 15 gal/day, while these high pressure ones make that in an hour or less.

I'd like to have an RO system powered by a stairstepper. Get your exercise while making water!

You can drive fresh water through an RO Membrane at a low pressure (45-65PSI) because fresh water (300 parts per million of salt) has a much lower osmotic pressure than does sea water (32,000 parts per million of salt). How much lower? Well you start driving sea water through the RO Membrane at about 600PSI, so roughly 10 times. There is a range of RO Membrane pressure operation, but 800PSI is the pressure that DOW Chemical uses as a standard to rate the flux rate of their membranes.

Exercise on a cruising boat...that's what boat chores and going provisioning is for...ha ha ha.

You really don't need a degree in chemical engineering to understand or build a water maker, as we say on our website, it isn't rocket science!


Can you save some cruising kitty cash by building your own water maker? Sure you can and for some people it's a great way to go but for the majority of cruisers, it's more "project" than they want to take on. We sell water maker parts as well as complete ready to go out of the box systems. As someone who built their own water maker before casting off cruising and starting up Cruise RO Water, I don't look down my nose on DIY cruisers. To the contrary, I have no problem helping them! If you want to give it a go, just shoot me an email at Rich@CruiseROwater.com and I will send you a copy of our 20 gallon per hour water maker manual to use as a template. There's No obligation to buy anything from me, I just look at it as giving something back to the cruising community that has given so much to me and my family. Just realize that this isn't a Saturday afternoon project and I get calls from people all the time that bought a 1/2 done water maker "from a friend" looking for someone to help complete it...you know how that story goes.

I've heard a lot of complaints from cruisers in anchorages over the years, but something I've never heard is a complaint about having too much water, too much rum, or too much Solar Power!
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Old 18-04-2014, 22:44   #21
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

Well that makes sense! Yikes, 800 psi! So much for that pipe dream! LOL
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Old 18-04-2014, 22:47   #22
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

To the OP's question:

Yes, I built my own 4 gph RO watermaker.
I did it about 25 years ago with another guy who
figured it all out for us both.

I made an extra power
take off on my Universal 25 which
ran the low pressure pump through the prefilters.
Then it also powered my high pressure pump to
about 900 psi if I recall. The water went through the
membrane and fresh water came out at my sink where I
put the water into jugs.

In 6 months in Mexico, we made all our drinking
water and gave away much of it to other
cruisers along the way.

It took a calculated 1 hp off the engine.

The other guy went on to start a watermaker
company. I recently saw him at the Seattle
boat show and he said: "Hey, here's my
first customer!"

It can be done. Not too hard. The benefit of
doing it yourself is if something isn't working right
you understand why.

A few years ago I saw my old Kettenburg 41 that I made
it on and it was still on board.
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Old 19-04-2014, 00:24   #23
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

My start in the the watermaker business years ago was fueled by my wifes statement that she wasn't going sailing with me any more if we didn't have a watermaker on board. I was fine with the two pint showers and hauling blue jugs in a dingy, but women, well... So I built a watermaker. Then I built another and another. Engine take off, A/C, D/C, powered. Way back then I was still a member of the SSCA and though I heard a lot a talk from the guys about building their own watermakers the members there were for the most part watching my progress and then asking me to build one for them. Which I started to do. Every one built would see a bit of improvement. But the real lesson is that if you want to build yourself a watermaker to save money you must remember one very important thing. You can not value your time. My first build, which I actually accounted for every cost, set me back about $2,838 ( I know I read somewhere on the Internet that it could be done for less than a thousand dollars) that was actually used on the final watermaker. This is with a lot of E-Baying, recycling old parts, and trips all over town. My time spent was well over 200 hours. I think minimum wage was about $6 back then so another $1,200-$1,500 at the least. If I used the pay scale I was making as a commercial electrician at the time that number would be closer to $6,000-$7,000, but I knew what I was doing with electrical work and had years of training so I'll stick with a minimum wage figure. Also, I don't count the lost expenses like the engine bracket that needed to be built and re-done three times to fit right, the Yanmar pulley that wouldn't match the clutch pulley, which Yanmar didn't want back no matter how much I pleaded and that went through a dozen belts. The parts I bought I didn't use, the parts I broke experimenting with, not even counting the fuel and wear and tear on my vehicle. But I had one working within a few months. I learned how to rebuild a Cat pump the first day I started the thing when I forgot to open the thru hull and let the pump run for over fifteen minutes while scratching my head wondering why my creation wasn't pumping water, $380 more. So sure you can build your own, in fact there are a few more guys around that have and will give you good advice on how to do it. But they are hard to find, even harder to find when their advice doesn't work out so well. But if you still want to build one, take Rich up on his offer and let him set you up with the parts you'll need and free advice, it's worth the few dollars extra you think you're going to save by going it alone. Like Rich says, a basic unit is not rocket science but it takes either some guidence or a lot of good hands on mechanical experience to build one yourself without help. I've yet to meet anyone, myself included, that ever built one for the first time and saved anything worthwhile.
Speaking of watermakers and rocket science. A favorite true story of mine. I was called out to a boat by a very nice woman who was at her wits end with her husband who was trying for the past three days to fix their watermaker. She begged me to come right away. I came out to the boat and her husband was having a fit over the "DAMNED THING" He claimed he had done everything possible and checked the system from one end to the other and it was just unrepairable. Fifteen minutes later and one wire identified and re-connected and the watermaker was purring along like new. Of course the husband demands to know what was wrong. I told him a simple wire. I then said it was a simple fix and that watermakers are not rocket science. His wife starts laughing uncontrollably. After a moment she says between giggles, "He just retired from NASA, he IS a rocket scientist. Made my day.
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Old 19-04-2014, 01:10   #24
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I have seen that stairstepper watermaker sometime. Going to try and find it.
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Old 19-04-2014, 01:33   #25
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
My start in the the watermaker business years ago was fueled by my wifes statement that she wasn't going sailing with me any more if we didn't have a watermaker on board. I was fine with the two pint showers and hauling blue jugs in a dingy, but women, well... So I built a watermaker. Then I built another and another. Engine take off, A/C, D/C, powered. Way back then I was still a member of the SSCA and though I heard a lot a talk from the guys about building their own watermakers the members there were for the most part watching my progress and then asking me to build one for them. Which I started to do. Every one built would see a bit of improvement. But the real lesson is that if you want to build yourself a watermaker to save money you must remember one very important thing. You can not value your time. My first build, which I actually accounted for every cost, set me back about $2,838 ( I know I read somewhere on the Internet that it could be done for less than a thousand dollars) that was actually used on the final watermaker. This is with a lot of E-Baying, recycling old parts, and trips all over town. My time spent was well over 200 hours. I think minimum wage was about $6 back then so another $1,200-$1,500 at the least. If I used the pay scale I was making as a commercial electrician at the time that number would be closer to $6,000-$7,000, but I knew what I was doing with electrical work and had years of training so I'll stick with a minimum wage figure. Also, I don't count the lost expenses like the engine bracket that needed to be built and re-done three times to fit right, the Yanmar pulley that wouldn't match the clutch pulley, which Yanmar didn't want back no matter how much I pleaded and that went through a dozen belts. The parts I bought I didn't use, the parts I broke experimenting with, not even counting the fuel and wear and tear on my vehicle. But I had one working within a few months. I learned how to rebuild a Cat pump the first day I started the thing when I forgot to open the thru hull and let the pump run for over fifteen minutes while scratching my head wondering why my creation wasn't pumping water, $380 more. So sure you can build your own, in fact there are a few more guys around that have and will give you good advice on how to do it. But they are hard to find, even harder to find when their advice doesn't work out so well. But if you still want to build one, take Rich up on his offer and let him set you up with the parts you'll need and free advice, it's worth the few dollars extra you think you're going to save by going it alone. Like Rich says, a basic unit is not rocket science but it takes either some guidence or a lot of good hands on mechanical experience to build one yourself without help. I've yet to meet anyone, myself included, that ever built one for the first time and saved anything worthwhile.
Speaking of watermakers and rocket science. A favorite true story of mine. I was called out to a boat by a very nice woman who was at her wits end with her husband who was trying for the past three days to fix their watermaker. She begged me to come right away. I came out to the boat and her husband was having a fit over the "DAMNED THING" He claimed he had done everything possible and checked the system from one end to the other and it was just unrepairable. Fifteen minutes later and one wire identified and re-connected and the watermaker was purring along like new. Of course the husband demands to know what was wrong. I told him a simple wire. I then said it was a simple fix and that watermakers are not rocket science. His wife starts laughing uncontrollably. After a moment she says between giggles, "He just retired from NASA, he IS a rocket scientist. Made my day.
Great advice, and a great story!
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Old 19-04-2014, 01:43   #26
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
You can drive fresh water through an RO Membrane at a low pressure (45-65PSI) because fresh water (300 parts per million of salt) has a much lower osmotic pressure than does sea water (32,000 parts per million of salt). How much lower? Well you start driving sea water through the RO Membrane at about 600PSI, so roughly 10 times. There is a range of RO Membrane pressure operation, but 800PSI is the pressure that DOW Chemical uses as a standard to rate the flux rate of their membranes.

Exercise on a cruising boat...that's what boat chores and going provisioning is for...ha ha ha.

You really don't need a degree in chemical engineering to understand or build a water maker, as we say on our website, it isn't rocket science!


Can you save some cruising kitty cash by building your own water maker? Sure you can and for some people it's a great way to go but for the majority of cruisers, it's more "project" than they want to take on. We sell water maker parts as well as complete ready to go out of the box systems. As someone who built their own water maker before casting off cruising and starting up Cruise RO Water, I don't look down my nose on DIY cruisers. To the contrary, I have no problem helping them! If you want to give it a go, just shoot me an email at Rich@CruiseROwater.com and I will send you a copy of our 20 gallon per hour water maker manual to use as a template. There's No obligation to buy anything from me, I just look at it as giving something back to the cruising community that has given so much to me and my family. Just realize that this isn't a Saturday afternoon project and I get calls from people all the time that bought a 1/2 done water maker "from a friend" looking for someone to help complete it...you know how that story goes.

I've heard a lot of complaints from cruisers in anchorages over the years, but something I've never heard is a complaint about having too much water, too much rum, or too much Solar Power!

Thanks alot Rich, I just sent you an email
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Old 19-04-2014, 01:49   #27
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
My start in the the watermaker business years ago was fueled by my wifes statement that she wasn't going sailing with me any more if we didn't have a watermaker on board. I was fine with the two pint showers and hauling blue jugs in a dingy, but women, well... So I built a watermaker. Then I built another and another. Engine take off, A/C, D/C, powered. Way back then I was still a member of the SSCA and though I heard a lot a talk from the guys about building their own watermakers the members there were for the most part watching my progress and then asking me to build one for them. Which I started to do. Every one built would see a bit of improvement. But the real lesson is that if you want to build yourself a watermaker to save money you must remember one very important thing. You can not value your time. My first build, which I actually accounted for every cost, set me back about $2,838 ( I know I read somewhere on the Internet that it could be done for less than a thousand dollars) that was actually used on the final watermaker. This is with a lot of E-Baying, recycling old parts, and trips all over town. My time spent was well over 200 hours. I think minimum wage was about $6 back then so another $1,200-$1,500 at the least. If I used the pay scale I was making as a commercial electrician at the time that number would be closer to $6,000-$7,000, but I knew what I was doing with electrical work and had years of training so I'll stick with a minimum wage figure. Also, I don't count the lost expenses like the engine bracket that needed to be built and re-done three times to fit right, the Yanmar pulley that wouldn't match the clutch pulley, which Yanmar didn't want back no matter how much I pleaded and that went through a dozen belts. The parts I bought I didn't use, the parts I broke experimenting with, not even counting the fuel and wear and tear on my vehicle. But I had one working within a few months. I learned how to rebuild a Cat pump the first day I started the thing when I forgot to open the thru hull and let the pump run for over fifteen minutes while scratching my head wondering why my creation wasn't pumping water, $380 more. So sure you can build your own, in fact there are a few more guys around that have and will give you good advice on how to do it. But they are hard to find, even harder to find when their advice doesn't work out so well. But if you still want to build one, take Rich up on his offer and let him set you up with the parts you'll need and free advice, it's worth the few dollars extra you think you're going to save by going it alone. Like Rich says, a basic unit is not rocket science but it takes either some guidence or a lot of good hands on mechanical experience to build one yourself without help. I've yet to meet anyone, myself included, that ever built one for the first time and saved anything worthwhile.
Speaking of watermakers and rocket science. A favorite true story of mine. I was called out to a boat by a very nice woman who was at her wits end with her husband who was trying for the past three days to fix their watermaker. She begged me to come right away. I came out to the boat and her husband was having a fit over the "DAMNED THING" He claimed he had done everything possible and checked the system from one end to the other and it was just unrepairable. Fifteen minutes later and one wire identified and re-connected and the watermaker was purring along like new. Of course the husband demands to know what was wrong. I told him a simple wire. I then said it was a simple fix and that watermakers are not rocket science. His wife starts laughing uncontrollably. After a moment she says between giggles, "He just retired from NASA, he IS a rocket scientist. Made my day.
Thanks for sharing your experience. helps put things into perspective
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Old 19-04-2014, 01:58   #28
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

By the way, if any of you guys need anything engineered or designed with drawings just let me know. I have 20 years experience as a design engineer making everything from consumer gadgets to airplane products, and have high end CAD design software. I would be happy to be able to contribute to the cruising community. Im very busy now building out the Schooner, but when we take off next year I will have lots of time on my hands. It would be cool to start a forum on just coming up with ideas to help us cruisers make life more easier and safer.
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Old 19-04-2014, 07:58   #29
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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something I've never heard is a complaint about having too much water, too much rum, or too much Solar Power!
I have complained about having too much rum many times. It is always the day after I solve that problem.

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Old 19-04-2014, 08:08   #30
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Re: Anyone tried making your own watermaker?

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Well that makes sense! Yikes, 800 psi! So much for that pipe dream! LOL
Don't give up so fast- I still think we can do it with the wonders of hydraulics. If Katadyn can do it with arm strength, we can by bouncing our hips.
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