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Old 10-07-2015, 07:32   #16
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
the biggest thing the op didn't say was what his daily water usage would be.
Nor did he mention the size of his solar. I agree that both of these are necessary data points for answering his question.

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Old 10-07-2015, 08:55   #17
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

My first question would be, "Why do you want a watermaker?" If you will be in teh North Atlantic and/or Caribbean, I would not use a watermaker. They just aren't worth it. I've sailed North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Caribbean, S. Pacitic, and I could get water almost everywhere except the S. Pacific. The owner of the boat I delivered to the S. Pacific (from C. America) later ran the numbers and realized that he had paid over $12.00 per gallon of water made, including cost of the RO machine, installation costs, maintenance costs, cost of additional filters, pickling juice, and repairs, and cost of fuel - it ran off of the gen set. I looked at his numbers, and I could not disagree.
If you're willing to pay $12/gallon - or more - when you can buy local water for $.10, then go at it!
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:16   #18
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

For $12/gal you also get to stay on the hook and not spend a lot of time moving water. Hmmm. This is my dilemma, too, I'll be on the N.Atlantic/Caribbean for the next few years and have been back and forth about watermakers (and solar v. genset). I guess I would want a watermaker so I could relax my water usage anxiety, sometimes that can be worth a few bucks. So far I've been marina based weekend or week-at-most sailing. OTOH, 6M will get me alot of marina time over the next 3 years . . . hmmm.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:23   #19
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

Water makers never make financial sense, but that is the wrong way to measure their worth anyhow. Lots of things on a boat do not make financial sense. For all of these things, it is a personal matter with no right or wrong as to have/have not.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:28   #20
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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Water makers never make financial sense, but that is the wrong way to measure their worth anyhow. Lots of things on a boat do not make financial sense. For all of these things, it is a personal matter with no right or wrong as to have/have not.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:36   #21
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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Water makers never make financial sense, but that is the wrong way to measure their worth anyhow. Lots of things on a boat do not make financial sense. For all of these things, it is a personal matter with no right or wrong as to have/have not.
The nebulosity of the term "shore independent" cannot be underestimated.

We seek a watermaker because we have a full keeler. Full water tanks are part of the ballasting, so it might as well be drinkable. We are also fixed on going to distant atolls and anchoring out most of the time, so there's that, too. So, "small, simple and most of all, robust" is our mandate. Hell, all the taps aboard will be foot powered.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:51   #22
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

I have a watermaker, but the membrane is not installed. I can install it at any time. Most of the time I think it's not worth having a working watermaker: it's less work and expense to just fill the water tanks with the hose when I go to in for fuel. So far it hasn't happened, even with two couples aboard.
Please realize that once you start using the watermaker, you either have to back flush it every five days, or pickle it, which entails shortening the life of the membrane. And don't back flush it with water that has any cholorine!
If you've got lots of women on board, if you have a big gen set, if you never go to a marina or get fuel, or you're in a part of the world that doesn't have much water, and charges an arm and a leg for it, then by all means, spend a half-dozen thousand dollars and get one. Just be prepared to maintain it on a regular basis.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:54   #23
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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So far, your answers have been wide of the mark on your criteria.

You asked: "Is 5K the norm for RO water makers that can be run by solar alone?"

Spectra - 5K+

Cruise RO - can't be run on solar alone

Any commercial system <<5K that can be run on reasonable solar alone will not be worth your money.

The answer to your question is essentially no.

Mark
Mark, how do come to that conclusion? We run our water maker from solar and have done so for many years.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:04   #24
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

I recently installed a RO watermaker that produces 25lt/hr and takes less than 10A at 12 volts, so runs from my solar panels, and it cost 2,995 Euro. The maker is a Spanish company Eco-sistems.

25lt/hr may seem a bit on the low side for some, but there is a benefit from running it regularly - it removes the need for flushing.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:08   #25
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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Water makers never make financial sense, but that is the wrong way to measure their worth anyhow. Lots of things on a boat do not make financial sense. For all of these things, it is a personal matter with no right or wrong as to have/have not.
As you say, many items do not make financial sense. For us, remote area's, that when water is available it has a question mark hanging over its quality. Frequently, there is no such thing. It also assumes that we are happy to trudge sometimes substantial distances carrying jerry cans back and forth and then to repeat this until our tanks are full - plus the necessity to be very cautious immediately suggests that a water maker is part of our equipment. We like to shower daily and with six of us that soon uses up even a large water tank. We also fresh water flush our outboards regularly and also wash various equipment regularly - especially our scuba kit.
The water maker does not need to be cleaned every five days - we usually fresh water backwash after every five days or so but as our water maker is used daily, and this is a simple activity, it just part of our routine.
I would agree that a water maker in some places is an added complexity but in other places the convenience and benefits cannot be measured. In yet other locations it is just about mandatory if you want to be independent.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:11   #26
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

Not sure what you mean - I didn't say that water makers can't run off solar. I was saying that many DC systems that use 25-40 amps can't be run by solar while making enough water and fully charging the batteries while handling normal day time power loads. Unless one's water needs are modest, or one uses little daily power, or one has a honking big solar array.

I don't consider the 1 gal/hr systems as worth the time, money or trouble. That statement is opinion and arguable.

If one is looking for a commercial system that makes a reasonable amount of water and can be powered off a typical 300-400W solar array which can also keep up with daily power use and charge the batteries, for under $5,000 ($4,750 doesn't count) - then no, I don't think these exist.

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Old 10-07-2015, 10:11   #27
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

So am I understanding correctly? If you have an RO water maker, and you don't run it for five days, you have to pickle the membrane, and that in turn shortens the life span of the membrane? I have not had anything to do with water makers, but I am considering installing one.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:15   #28
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

Bulawayo, just so you don't have the wrong impression, we have a 30gal/hr water maker that is in regular use.

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Old 10-07-2015, 10:17   #29
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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I recently installed a RO watermaker that produces 25lt/hr and takes less than 10A at 12 volts, so runs from my solar panels, and it cost 2,995 Euro. The maker is a Spanish company Eco-sistems.

25lt/hr may seem a bit on the low side for some, but there is a benefit from running it regularly - it removes the need for flushing.

How do you find this unit works. Have you checked the output and power consumption? I briefly looked at those but was put off by some problems the company were having at the time with delivery. They look like a good simple unit on paper.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:24   #30
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Re: Fresh water makers best price and performance?

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So am I understanding correctly? If you have an RO water maker, and you don't run it for five days, you have to pickle the membrane, and that in turn shortens the life span of the membrane? I have not had anything to do with water makers, but I am considering installing one.

Not quite. If you don't use it for 5 days, you should just flush it with fresh water and it will be good for another 5 days - repeat every 5 days (flushing generally consists of opening a valve for a minute and then you're done). This can go on for years. Some water makers have an automatic flush that allows one to leave the boat for extended times and have the unit regularly flushed.

If one needs to leave the system for an extended time, then it needs to be pickled. Pickling causes no appreciable damage to the membrane. People here have confused pickling with cleaning the membrane with acids and bases. This latter almost never needs to be done (usually never), but it does do some slight damage to the membrane over time. However, if one finds themselves needing to clean their membrane so often as to shorten its life, then they have a larger issue that needs to be addressed - it is not normal operating procedure.

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