I'm 95% done with installation
of my home-made watermaker
. It runs off 12V power and should produce 6.5 gal/hr. Today I tested all my connections for leaks
, ran the boost pump, turned on the pressure pump and pressurized the system to 800 psi. The only leak was a missing o-ring in one of the filter housings... found it on the floor. The next step is to install the membrane in the pressure vessel, but since membranes have a shelf life, I'm waiting till fall to purchase
If you are considering making your own, here are some of my observations:
The cost is much less. I will have slightly over $1,900 invested after buying
I used readily available components that are not sole source items and are reasonably priced; e.g., membrane $164, pressure vessel $215, 3 filter housings with filters and mounting bracket $49, etc.
I'm now an expert on my own watermaker
since I know what makes it tick.
I did a custom installation
of all the components and the Admiral is happy that I didn't fill up one of her storage
lockers. For example, I mounted the charcoal filter housing under the head
sink where it took up very little useable storage
The plans I bought were simple and all the major components were easy to find, but fitting them all together and making tons of different plumbing
connections was a challenge. This was a time consuming job, so it's not something to tackle on one weekend. If you don't have lots of time, write a check and git-R-done.
The electric motor
and pressure pump are mated together and are very robust industrial components, but they are not energy efficient. The 1/3 HP electric motor
looks like the starter motor
of a Peterbuilt. The more efficient commercial water
makers with the same output may only draw 8 amps DC while mine will draw about 28 amps. I bought two extra solar panels
for $400 using some of my DIY savings, but I will burn lots of amps making water
. When I make water underway, that will not be a big deal for me. If the sun is out and the wind
is blowing, I can run the system off my solar panels
gen. Would it be nice to burn only 8 amps? Sure enough!
My watermaker isn't a flip the switch and forget it deal. I have to manually turn valves and flip switches. After making water, I have to turn another valve to do a fresh water flush. It's not that complicated, but it is a hands-on operation. I made a checklist so the Admiral and other non-builders can still make it work.
Here are some pics: