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Old 03-10-2018, 19:08   #1
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Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Hi everyone,

After way too many hours comparing watermakers, reading every post and going back and forth on PowerSurvivor, Spectra, Little Wonder, Cruise RO....., I finally decided to buy the Spectra Ventura 200T. Our plans are to spend 3 or 4 months sailing the Sea of Cortez. Since this is a trip we've been planning for several years, I want the boat to be ready and I don't want to schedule around water.

Two parts to this post: 1) my reasons for the Spectra Ventura 200T and 2) my thoughts on installation. Comments are most welcome!

Why the Spectra Ventura 200T? For us, it came down to wanting to run the watermaker on 12 VDC while at anchor. We have 260 watts solar, Honda EU2000i, and there's a lot of motoring around Baja. With the 12 volt units, I can run off solar (couple hours each day), Honda generator or diesel/alternator (while motoring). This gives us power redundancy and flexibility. The Ventura 200T makes 8 gallons / hour at 10 amps. I can budget around 10 amps -- I can't see drawing 20+ amps with our batteries for other brands of watermakers.

Assuming 2 people, 5 gallons/day water use, we'll need to run this a couple hours / day. Looking at the PowerSurvivor 40e, 1.5 GPH at 4 Amps, the 80e 3 GPH at 8 Amps, I'd be looking at running the 40e 5x longer, and the 80e 3x longer. These would be running most of the day. As mentioned numerous times on the forum, the Spectra units have a cost premium; I think this is offset by the higher water output, efficiency, convenience and time, and potential resale value. I probably could have gotten by with the Spectra Ventura 150; for the couple hundred dollars difference in price, the 200T produces more water and is more suitable for warmer waters. Anyway, I'm looking forward to having the watermaker on the boat!

Where to install the Ventura 200T on a 35' sailboat? My options are pretty limited. I don't think the Clark pump will fit under the aft bunk. The hull tapers rapidly and gets very narrow and short. One option would be to install under the forward v-berth -- there's lots of unused space; however, I don't want the weight that far forward or the noise in the master cabin. That leaves the aft cockpit locker or under the settee. I also don't want to give up the cockpit locker, where we store the stern anchor, liferaft, and it seems everything else. That leaves under the starboard settee. Will it fit? I think so. I have 12" on the front side and 9 1/2" on the backside, with the bottom hull slopping. I think this is the best location, for convenience, use and operations. Yes, we give up a convenient storage, but as my wife pointed out, we won't be carrying around extra cases of water!

Point 1 - Clark pump installed under the starboard settee. Thoughts?

Until I see the Clark pump, I can't tell how to securely mount to the curved hull. I'm thinking about building a level platform along the inside of the hull and screwing the Clark pump to these supports. I may just 5200 wood blocks or glass-in wood blocks. How does one secure this to the inside of the hull?

Where to install the feed pump? My options are even more limited. At 15" wide and 12" tall, the only option is under the galley sink or aft cockpit locker. As mentioned before, I don't want to sacrifice the aft locker, so I think the galley sink is my best option. This is not as simple as it sounds - I have to relocate the sink hot/cold plumbing and diverter valves. Again, there's a lot of wasted space with the angle of the sink, counter top and refrigerator, with a dummy board holding the fresh water valves. Fortunately this is all Pex, so I think I can reroute without too much trouble. This would be pretty convenient location for use.

Thru-hull -- Everything I've read indicates I should install a new thruhull for the watermaker. I'm keep thinking about tee'ing off the head intake, but think I'll be better of with a dedicated thruhull closer to the centerline. What do you think about a new thruhull, mid-ship, just to the starboard side of the keel, right under the galley sink? Would I be better off more forward or back, where the engine intake and sink-discharge are located?

I have a spare Forespar Maralon 3/4" thruhull. Oddly enough, the thruhull is labeled 3/4", but the size of the intake is slightly larger than 1/2" diameter. The barbed fitting is slightly less than 3/4". The 200T instructions state either 1/2" or 3/4" dedicated thruhull -- I guess I'm ok with the Maralon thruhull. 5/8" hose will probably fit nicely on the barbed fitting.

Brine discharge -- I'm not prepared to drill another hole in the boat for the brine discharge. I'm debating between 1) running temporary discharge hose to the galley sink, 2) tee'ing to the galley sink discharge or 3) tee'ing to the deck scupper/bilge pump drains. Note, on the Tartan 3500, all the deck drains, bilge pump and sump-pump combine together to a junction box, above the waterline, center, aft, under the swim-step. I could tee into either the galley sink or the drains. The only difference is the deck hose drains are about 12" higher than the sink hose. Any preference?

Product water output -- I haven't decided whether I want to connect to the water tank, or use a jerry can. I'm leaning towards tee'ing into either the port or bow water tank. The port tank is 35 gallons stainless; the bow tank is 40 gallons plastic. The bow tank might be easier to tee into, since the port tank plumbing is all under the settee or behind cabinets.

Electrical -- I'm not worried about running 10 amps. I have a 'spare' circuit on the electrical panel. It is only a few feet from the electrical panel to galley sink.

That's where I'm at -- waiting for the Ventura 200T to arrive so I can double-check the size and finalize the fit. Any comments on installation are most welcome.

Thank you
Don
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Old 03-10-2018, 21:28   #2
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Iíd PM Tellie and see if he minds schooling you on it, there may be some specific considerations that he would know that others donít.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:39   #3
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Don,


Congrats on your choice.


Although our Dragonfly hull is longer than your boat, it's still quite narrow.
We put the Clark pump in the center under the saloon deck, just enough space.
It's almost completely quiet, making a click once about every 8 seconds.
The feed pump is installed under the v berth and is pretty muffled by the mattress.
If there's any other noise going on, we need to set a timer to remind us it's running.

Being modular in design, you can put parts where they fit and are easy to access.
Filters, 3 way valve and meter panel are really the only bits you need to easily reach.

PM me if you would like pics of our install.
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:50   #4
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

For your purposes I think you have made the best decision possible. The 200T is simple and reliable and doesn't have any of the troublesome electronics that plagues other models/brands. The last one I installed for a client I mounted the Clark pump and membrane against the hull in the quarter berth. Not pretty and even though I had other options of mounting it out of sight it suited the owner. The feed pump and flush filter were mounted inside a cabinet that involved losing some storage space but the admiral concerned had very long black hair so was quite happy to reduce her sauce storage for regular hair washing water. The only thing that grinds my gears about this series Spectra is the 5/8" hose they use (hence the 1/2"-3/4" dilemma). It may be obtainable in the US but is a rare beast in the rest of the world, as are extra fittings if you need them. I would also love to see them provide a mounting template so people in your position could decide ahead of time where best to fit the Clark unit.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:27   #5
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Thank you for the comments. Still waiting for unit to arrive to finalize the location. I've been re-reading every post and blog regarding use and installation. Good to know about the 5/8" hose -- hopefully I can find the proper size tee's and fittings.

I agree, templates and more detailed measurements would be nice. I had an issue with the width of the Clark pump to verify fit (before purchase). It would also be nice to know if the components can be separated (e.g., prefilter from feed pump, membrane housing from the Clark pump...).

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Old 06-10-2018, 09:09   #6
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

We ran our Spectra 150D in the afternoon, when the batteries were full, and the solar panels (240 watts) fully covered the watermaker draw while the batteries essentially set untouched. I would plan to run it longer, but less frequent. Your plan for a couple of hrs per day will make 16 gal, but then you pull 3 gal from the tank for flush. We'd run every 2-3 days for four hours (making 28 gal, minus 3 gal flush). Our daily usage was about ten gal. We weren't frugal with fresh water. Two people. We kept our Spectra when we sold the boat, and are going to install on the new one. Fantastic trouble-free unit, so far!
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:35   #7
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailjumanji View Post
We ran our Spectra 150D in the afternoon, when the batteries were full, and the solar panels (240 watts) fully covered the watermaker draw while the batteries essentially set untouched. I would plan to run it longer, but less frequent. Your plan for a couple of hrs per day will make 16 gal, but then you pull 3 gal from the tank for flush. We'd run every 2-3 days for four hours (making 28 gal, minus 3 gal flush). Our daily usage was about ten gal. We weren't frugal with fresh water. Two people. We kept our Spectra when we sold the boat, and are going to install on the new one. Fantastic trouble-free unit, so far!
Exactly what I'm thinking - glad to be in good company!
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:41   #8
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Specific question - after reading the manual (again), states the freshwater flush is connected to the "pressurized fresh water system". That would imply this not drawing from the bottom of the product-water tank and is connected after potable water pump. Can't the feed-pump draw direct from the tank and not involve the fresh water pump/system? Seems simpler just to pull from the tank.
Thanks for all the comments,
Don
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:58   #9
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Don View Post
Specific question - after reading the manual (again), states the freshwater flush is connected to the "pressurized fresh water system". That would imply this not drawing from the bottom of the product-water tank and is connected after potable water pump. Can't the feed-pump draw direct from the tank and not involve the fresh water pump/system? Seems simpler just to pull from the tank.
Thanks for all the comments,
Don

I draw mine from the tank bottom, not the pressure side.
The way it's plumbed, the output of the unit goes into the tank supply line which feeds the pressure water pump intake.
When flushing the unit, that same line feeds the salt water intake of the Spectra filters.
A "Y" valve on the intake side for either fresh or salt, and a 3 way valve on the outlet side for reject, sample or save.
The "save" line is connected to the hose leading to the bottom of the tank (intake side of pressure water pump).



It's been trouble free for many years.


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Old 06-10-2018, 10:22   #10
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
I draw mine from the tank bottom, not the pressure side.
The way it's plumbed, the output of the unit goes into the tank supply line which feeds the pressure water pump intake.
When flushing the unit, that same line feeds the salt water intake of the Spectra filters.
A "Y" valve on the intake side for either fresh or salt, and a 3 way valve on the outlet side for reject, sample or save.
The "save" line is connected to the hose leading to the bottom of the tank (intake side of pressure water pump).



It's been trouble free for many years.


That makes sense to me -- I could see all sorts of complexity with the "pressurized" water system, selecting the proper tank, potable water pump running,.... If the feed-pump can draw seawater, it can certainly draw fresh tank water (possibly gravity pressure flow). Also, seems easier to tee into the bottom output of the tank.

I'm sure folks have used a 5 gallon bucket and a bit of hose. I could see situations where it is too much bother to drag out the bucket and hose, so you don't flush the system. If it is tapped into the product-water tank, then its easier to do, and more likely it will be regularly flushed.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:05   #11
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

I think the difference with the fresh water flush is the chlorine filter. You fresh water pump pushes the water through the filter, rather than the feed pump having to pull it through.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:10   #12
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Congrats, I think you'll do just fine with the 200 on your boat! I managed to get a Cape Horn on my 27' without too much fuss. It's the best boat purchase ive made.

One thing I think hasn't been discussed is the back-pressure on the brine discharge..you may want to limit the hose run to minimize the pressure it takes the clark pump to expell the discharge. I think the recommended limit is in the manual somewhere.

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I think the difference with the fresh water flush is the chlorine filter. You fresh water pump pushes the water through the filter, rather than the feed pump having to pull it through.
That's my thought as well, but if you're never planning on filling up the tanks with treated water it wouldn't be a problem. Surprised to hear other folks have had good luck bypassing the pressure system. I was under the believe during my install that the pressure water side was quite necessary.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:20   #13
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

Our community water system never uses chlorine.
We have an ozone treatment and the whole island is pretty much sand.
All our water supply is from rain and there are no rivers on the island.
The water always easily beats purity standards, so I've never worried about mixing it with our boat water when it is time to flush.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:38   #14
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

I hooked mine up according to the manual, because I figured Spectra new best. Tellie (JT) even instructed me to do that. As for using a bucket and hose to flush? What? You realize that it calls for flush after every run, and every five day period without running?

It's not a cheap piece of equipment. Not sure why you are RE-engineering the program. What's wrong with having it on the pressure water side for flushing?
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:43   #15
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Re: Finally made decision on watermaker -- ordered Spectra Ventura 200T

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Originally Posted by sailjumanji View Post
I hooked mine up according to the manual, because I figured Spectra new best. Tellie (JT) even instructed me to do that. As for using a bucket and hose to flush? What? You realize that it calls for flush after every run, and every five day period without running?

It's not a cheap piece of equipment. Not sure why you are RE-engineering the program. What's wrong with having it on the pressure water side for flushing?
I recently fitted a 200T to a boat that didn't have pressure water so it was extra plumbing and expense. I guess most yachties don't like potential points of failure and having a filter housing and hose under pressure the whole time just looks like a failure point to me. I now fit a valve to isolate the freshwater flush side when not in use.
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