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Old 09-07-2014, 11:20   #16
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Pure, distilled water falls from the sky. It's free.
We use about 4000 gallons a year.
Tastes great.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:23   #17
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

With all due respect, watermakers are generally not hard to install, not particularly difficult to maintain, and, in many places you might cruise, are cheaper to operate than to buy water.....and let's forget about the delights of hauling jerry jugs, and cleaning contaminated tanks. A couple of decades ago, I used to give occasional lectures to cruisers about watermakers, and I would draw a parallel between their maintenance and the maintenance a friend of mine gave her car....believe it or not, after driving it about 50,000 miles, and being down three quarts of oil (I checked), she professed ignorance of the fact that a car even had oil, much less needed it to be changed! She did know that you had to put in gas.....!

My point is that watermakers really DO need routine maintenance, but it's not that hard, if you read the manual. So does your car, or everything else on a boat. Occasionally, a watermaker will leak internally, but there are usually symptoms and it's not that frequent for it to matter. "Microbes" (if that means viruses and bacteria) are too large to pass through the membrane, so are not a problem. Yes, our legal system causes many companies to refuse to certify various technologies to do what they are designed to do - read the disclaimer that your GPS is not to be used for navigation - but product water from a watermaker is some of the purest, best tasting water you will ever drink, which is why the best bottled water uses the exact same process. Put your product water back through the watermaker, and it's good enough to put in batteries. The biggest reason your water might not be pure or taste good, is, as previously noted, your tanks, which must be kept clean, not hard to do.

With regard to size, either too big or too small is a hassle. Buy small enough to give it a workout - the membrane would actually last longest if in continuous use - but big enough to fill your tanks in the time between dirty marinas. If you run your watermaker in dirty harbors, the main consequence is much more frequent changing of pre-filters, which is a hassle, and in very rare cases, you can damage a membrane.

I have had a Power Survivor 35 and 40, and Spectra 300 and 400 gpd units, on various boats. I currently have a Spectra 400 gpd unit in my 45 foot catamaran, which I run in the crewed charter trade in the BVI and it saves me time, money, and hassle. Almost all of us here have them, and it's not because we want to make our lives more difficult or expensive! Although I understand the arguments in favor of a 110 (or 220) volt system, I prefer to have many ways to generate the power. In my case, the DC current originates from the alternators on either engine, from the generator, or from solar panels, so I am not out of action when the generator has a blip, which would make life really difficult. My tanks carry 265 gallons - remember that it's a charter boat for six liveaboard guests, so we use lots of water - but I generally sail with them about 100 gallons down, for better sailing performance. I actually trim the boat with my water tanks. However, before going into a harbor, I run the watermaker sufficiently to fill the unused storage. You could always do the same with jerry jugs.

I think you will really be happy you got a watermaker, should you do so. If you have the types of problems described, look in the mirror. And I would be surprised if the watermaker was the only thing malfunctioning on your boat!

For full transparency, I have had watermakers on boats for 24 years, and also operated a land based system that made 40,000 - 50,000 gpd and provided all the water for the marina I ran...we weren't even connected to the city water system. On that scale, and with fuel prices ten to fifteen years ago, we made money at 2 cents a gallon...probably not possible these days! Anyway, my comments apply to that unit, too. And no, I don't work for a watermaker company, never have, and don't sell them. Just a very convinced user who has spent quite a bit of time around them. Best of luck.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:26   #18
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

By the way, the comment about manually controlled systems being far more trouble free is absolutely true of watermakers, as well as many other things. The problem is that in order to make automatic watermakers idiot proof, there are lots of things that can go wrong and it's impossible to optimize for a particular installation. I would much rather be the idiot, and learn how to use my stuff. Much simpler and more idiot proof, in the long run! Then again, I like to be the brain between my GPS/Chartplotter and my autopilot so your mileage my vary, as they say!
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:29   #19
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Pure, distilled water falls from the sky. It's free.
We use about 4000 gallons a year.
Tastes great.
Yes, we have a built in catchment that can gather 100gph during a frog-choker. We have also spent many 4-6 month periods without any rain at all. In addition, we have spent many days/weeks without rain during rainy season.

Rain catchment and watermakers are not mutually exclusive. Most everyone I know with a watermaker also have some preparations to catch rain and use it when available.

They are complimentary - when it is raining, there is no solar and often no wind for power to run a watermaker. For those using a generator, any chance to not burn fuel is welcomed.

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Old 09-07-2014, 11:30   #20
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

There is lots of rain water in certain parts of the world, and very little in others. The tropics are usually pretty wet, however, it is certainly not anything like distilled! Apart from bird droppings, there is common industrial pollution, not to mention dust that blows all the way from the Sahara, if you are talking about the Caribbean. It works for some, but not for others. And it should be filtered. It is, of course, free.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:55   #21
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
There is lots of rain water in certain parts of the world, and very little in others. The tropics are usually pretty wet, however, it is certainly not anything like distilled! Apart from bird droppings, there is common industrial pollution, not to mention dust that blows all the way from the Sahara, if you are talking about the Caribbean. It works for some, but not for others. And it should be filtered. It is, of course, free.
Our catchment goes through a 0.5 micron charcoal block filter before the tanks.

Even throughout the Caribbean, it goes months without rain during the dry season.

We find water catchment and watermaker to be complimentary.

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Old 09-07-2014, 12:00   #22
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
" lifestyle, comfort, and convenience "

You gotta be pulling my putz, dude. The damn things are a nightmare to install, operate, and maintain.

Now if you happen to be selling those $6000 gizmos, no doubt you love them.
$6000 for a water maker.....that would be outrageous....more like $4000 and easier to run and maintain than your diesel engine. Without a water maker there is no "putz pulling" anyway without showers in the heat! Some like camping, some like cruising.
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Old 09-07-2014, 12:03   #23
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Although I understand the arguments in favor of a 110 (or 220) volt system, I prefer to have many ways to generate the power.
We sold our 12V system to get a 120V one (30gph). We have a diesel generator as its prime power source. We have high output alternators on two engines and an inverter large enough to run the watermaker. One alternator provides enough to be power neutral through the inverter.

But here is our ultimate, almost unlimited, backup - I am convinced that if we break our generator, both alternators and the inverter, I could easily borrow for two hours any of the hundreds of Honda generators whining away in an anchorage in exchange for 30 gallons of water.

Most of these people are running those things so that their small DC watermakers have enough voltage to get their rated 3-6 gph out of them. I think they will be happy for someone else to run them off their boat for two hours and give them 30 gal of water in exchange. It will save them 3 hrs of time on their generator and they won't have to pay for fuel!

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Old 09-07-2014, 12:07   #24
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Some like camping, some like cruising.
I doubt someone on a 63' trawler is camping. Most likely he has tanks larger than any smaller sailboat could carry and a genset to provide all other comforts. He is entitled to his opinion, but I don't think he has the perspective of living on a small sailboat with limited tankage, and has lost perspective on, or doesn't consider in the same way, the systems he relies on.

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Old 09-07-2014, 13:19   #25
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I doubt someone on a 63' trawler is camping. Most likely he has tanks larger than any smaller sailboat could carry and a genset to provide all other comforts. He is entitled to his opinion, but I don't think he has the perspective of living on a small sailboat with limited tankage, and has lost perspective on, or doesn't consider in the same way, the systems he relies on.

Mark
Rich has a point thou, we carry about 140 in our tanks and another 10 in a couple jugs. we use an average of 10 to 12 gallons a day for showers, cooking and washing dishes and clothes..
Now we could use less I'm sure, by altering our lifestyle, like washing in salt water and doing a quick rince in fresh, and the same with clothing, but to us, changing our lifestyle is like camping.. and at 10 to 12 gallons a day for the two of us, thats only a two week crossing..

concerning the size, we had a spectra 150 but every 4 to 5 days we had to run it for about 8 hours, and I didnt like the echo or the clark pump ossalating through -out our boat for 8 hours..
we've opted for a larger volume and a shorter run time on the new one.
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Old 09-07-2014, 13:29   #26
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

I built a water maker some years ago, built some automation for it too, sold it a few years ago. Non energy recovery units are in fact extremely simple and very robust in my experience, The real operating range of Dow Filmtec membranes is well in excess of their specifications.


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Old 09-07-2014, 16:05   #27
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

I installed the 40e it was easy job. However have since sold it. If your going to depend on it for water forget it. If your just planing to have it for an emergency then great.

Its easy to hook up and not much too it I just used pipes already on the boat. Didnt have to add anything new.

Problems we had where

1. having to run it too much to make too small amount of water.
2. cant run it in alot of places or you mess up the membrane.
3. membranes cant fit generic so pay 2x much for replacement.

Now we found just a good filtering system these days on board and we can fill up in most locations with anything but salt water.

Rain water is a big part of our water source.

Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2014, 16:37   #28
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

While I'm not sure the little 40 is a good choice, a bit of a toy.. (maybe others have used the recent ones though) . I think you should look at the installation diagrams, figure out where you will put things; thru hulls etc. and determine if you want to do it. It aint brain surgery, but likely a lot of work crawling into small spaces, making fiberglass dust etc etc.
If you are not living aboard put the watermaker in when you are. Once in you really should use it often to keep it in good shape.
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Old 09-07-2014, 16:39   #29
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
We sold our 12V system to get a 120V one (30gph). We have a diesel generator as its prime power source. We have high output alternators on two engines and an inverter large enough to run the watermaker. One alternator provides enough to be power neutral through the inverter.

But here is our ultimate, almost unlimited, backup - I am convinced that if we break our generator, both alternators and the inverter, I could easily borrow for two hours any of the hundreds of Honda generators whining away in an anchorage in exchange for 30 gallons of water.

Most of these people are running those things so that their small DC watermakers have enough voltage to get their rated 3-6 gph out of them. I think they will be happy for someone else to run them off their boat for two hours and give them 30 gal of water in exchange. It will save them 3 hrs of time on their generator and they won't have to pay for fuel!

Mark
You just talked me out of the engine-driven watermaker idea. Boat already has a mounting plate with threaded studs for an engine accessory. Orig was refrigeration compressor I think. The mounting plate is well installed for an engine driven something, but thinking about being up poop creek with engine issues made me immediately adopt your idea.

I'm planning to move the watermaker out of the compartment with the charging systems anyway. Previous owner installed the MPPTs and ac charger about a foot to the left of it. It's a PUR 35 and has a manual handle backup, so I can turn that into an emergency spare, or sell it. I got a Honda. Which ac watermaker did you choose?
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Old 09-07-2014, 16:48   #30
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Re: How Hard is it to Install a Water Maker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Pure, distilled water falls from the sky. It's free.
We use about 4000 gallons a year.
Tastes great.
1) That is neither pure nor distilled. It is most often potable, though.
2) It doesn't fall around here. Haven't seen it in months.
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