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Old 09-01-2014, 13:40   #1
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little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Hello,

I am in the Bahamas needing water and my little wonder 200 which has worked flawlessly for many years has stopped making ANY pressure. I mean zero, no pressure. It is not the gauge as the motor is not working hard like it does when it builds pressure. I have the modular system. It was preserved for about a month. Worked great when I pickled it but now a month later won’t produce any pressure.

Have checked that pump is primed, it is. Have tightened everything. Belt not slipping.

I am suspicious of low pressure pump but it does work, I mean if I remove the high pressure side it will fill the pump. But it takes a few minutes to fill the 5 micron filter assembly, I thought it used to fill it faster than that but I might be imagining that.


Pump has oil to mark. Sea water inlet is not blocked and strainer is clean. Belt motor to pump is not slipping. No leaks that I have seen. The 12V motor is NOT working hard like it should when it builds pressure.

The gauge is suspect, the top hole is open and the liquid in it has leaked out. But I have plugged the connector where the gauge screws into in the plumbing and still no pressure, no load on engine, no sample water coming out.

But while we are on the gauge should I replace it? What is the liquid it is filled with? Can I just add the liquid?

In the trouble shooting guide for “low pressure” (I am getting NO pressure) it says possible causes: belt slippage, leaky discharge hose, pressure gauge not working, inlet strainer clogged, relief valve stuck or plugged, worn or dirty valves, worn high pressure seals.

Could someone help me trouble shoot this problem of no pressure. I am desperate for some water?

Thanks, in advance

Ricky
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Old 09-01-2014, 14:03   #2
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

The liquid in the gauge glass is really just there to damp the needle's oscillations. If the liquid is gone the gauge may have failed though. Even if so you'd still hear the high pressure pump loading up though.

You do need that gauge, so you don't overpressure the membrane. If you think it's faulty, best replace it.

I'd check out the low pressure pump first, as it's easier than checking out the piston pump. Also, the low pressure pump has a magnetic coupling, so if anything is blocking the impeller it won't turn, even though the motor is running, and so won't pump. It should be filling the 5 micron filter bowl in a few seconds rather than minutes.
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Old 09-01-2014, 16:29   #3
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

The pressure gauge is important. The fluid is simple mineral oil found in most women's make up section at your local drug store. If the needle is not moving it is either a bad guage or you have problems elsewhere. I'd suspect by your description that the high pressure pump has given up the ghost and it is time to pull it apart and re-build.
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Old 09-01-2014, 17:05   #4
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Isn't the fluid glycerine? Last time I re-filled a gauge it could be had at a drug store for almost nothing
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Old 09-01-2014, 17:50   #5
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Trust what Tellie says on this. He's pretty sharp when it comes to these things. The liquid is mineral oil. Replacement gauge is around $100 from Parker/Racor. They now own Village Marine. All the rebuild parts are available at their store in Ft. Lauderdale. SPS Marine Supply (Southeast Power Systems). Talk with John there. He's a wealth of knowledge, as well as a really nice guy. Phone number is (954) 523-4900. Good Luck

Cheers,
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Old 09-01-2014, 18:00   #6
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Interesting, never seen mineral oil used, but why not? I think the cheapest most available source of mineral oil is Baby oil?
Usually glycerine or silicone oil is used
http://www.wika.us/service_FAQ_en_us...eID=14921#PM_1
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:56   #7
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
Trust what Tellie says on this. He's pretty sharp when it comes to these things. The liquid is mineral oil. Replacement gauge is around $100 from Parker/Racor. They now own Village Marine. All the rebuild parts are available at their store in Ft. Lauderdale. SPS Marine Supply (Southeast Power Systems). Talk with John there. He's a wealth of knowledge, as well as a really nice guy. Phone number is (954) 523-4900. Good Luck

Cheers,
Will

Well this is embarrassing.
It is glycerine not mineral oil that I meant. But it is still found in women's makeup sections at stores though.

But I do thank you for such a nice endorsement Will.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:11   #8
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Either way whats in the gauge it's not going to fix his problem. It sounds like his HP pump may have a valve problem? Do these things have a safety relief valve? If so could it be stuck?
Pardon my ignorance, I don't know squat about a watermaker, but I have some experience with hydraulic systems.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:38   #9
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

I am sorry to hear about your issues with the equipment, hopefully it turns out to be something simple. It is nice in this day and age when you can say that a product "Has worked flawlessly for years". Never herd of Little Wonder water makers before this thread, however have had a lot of experience with Parker over the years with my business, very high quality products.

When I looked at the units on the internet it appears that the capacities are in the 100 gallon plus range. Are there Little Wonder units that would be suitable for a small sailboat and are they reasonably priced?
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:03   #10
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Little Wonder is a model name from Village Marine. I think they were the first on the market for consumer level watermakers and have been around for a long time. Parker bought them a few years ago, so now they are Parker.

That 100 gallon plus rating is per day, not per hour. So a 200gpd unit is producing about 8 gallons per hour. I think the smallest unit Parker makes is 150gpd (~6 gallon per hour). There are other brands that make smaller amounts, but the cost/efficiency and amps/gallon start to work against you below ~6 gallon/hr.

They are not reasonably priced - watermakers are expensive. You can save some money by making your own, but if you want a rugged piece of gear, you will not be saving ton of money - it will still be relatively expensive.

Mark
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Old 10-01-2014, 14:49   #11
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
Trust what Tellie says on this. He's pretty sharp when it comes to these things. The liquid is mineral oil. Replacement gauge is around $100 from Parker/Racor. They now own Village Marine. All the rebuild parts are available at their store in Ft. Lauderdale. SPS Marine Supply (Southeast Power Systems). Talk with John there. He's a wealth of knowledge, as well as a really nice guy. Phone number is (954) 523-4900. Good Luck

Cheers,
Will
A64pilot,

My apologies. You are absolutely correct. It is definitely glycerin that is used. I had been given this bogus info from a Village Marine tech, who actually used it in my pressure gauge. After reading Tellie's post I contacted Parker/Racor, and was told that you could use mineral oil only in a pinch, but glycerin is what they use and recommend. I hate to be "one of those guys" who passes off hearsay as gospel, and I am truly sorry. I'll make a point not to "shoot from the lip" next time.

Cheers,
Will
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Old 10-01-2014, 14:54   #12
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Good Lord man, it doesn't matter all it does is dampen needle vibrations anyway, I'm sure Maple syrup would probably be a good substitute.
I only made to post to prevent someone from buying a new gauge due to low damping fluid as the stuff is cheap and readily available, and these gauges, at least to me, aren't cheap.
I'm economically challenged you might say
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Old 10-01-2014, 16:30   #13
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

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Good Lord man, it doesn't matter all it does is dampen needle vibrations anyway, I'm sure Maple syrup would probably be a good substitute.
I only made to post to prevent someone from buying a new gauge due to low damping fluid as the stuff is cheap and readily available, and these gauges, at least to me, aren't cheap.
I'm economically challenged you might say

Actually, if you don't have to have a gauge that is branded they are fairly inexpensive off the net.

I do second the guys over at Parker in Ft. Lauderdale. They're a very nice bunch. Ask for Ralph and tell him J.T. sent you.
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Old 10-01-2014, 16:57   #14
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Thanks to everybody for all the ideas. I also spoke with the folks at SPS Marine Supply and Parker. I did anything anybody suggested. The valves on the manifold were nice and smooth, the impeller in the low pressure pump was good no blockage, checked all filters and flow and connections on the input side. Everything appeared to be fine, I mean I couldn't identify a problem area. But when I put it all back together, after doing everything, the system worked, it generated pressure! Not sure why or for how long.

I do think I need to rebuild the high pressure pump and when I am back on land will send the pump to the folks at SPS for that. Seems you need a special tool to pull the weep seal.

I am now running the system without a gauge, not a good idea, I know, as I pulled it out of the plumbing as I stupidly let all the glycerin (glad to know that) out (a cap is missing on my gauge).

I wonder what I can fill the gauge with until I find glycerin. Water? Oil? Rum? Maple syrup? I don't have many choices at the moment.
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Old 10-01-2014, 16:58   #15
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Re: little wonder 200 water maker - help troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Little Wonder is a model name from Village Marine. I think they were the first on the market for consumer level watermakers and have been around for a long time. Parker bought them a few years ago, so now they are Parker.

That 100 gallon plus rating is per day, not per hour. So a 200gpd unit is producing about 8 gallons per hour. I think the smallest unit Parker makes is 150gpd (~6 gallon per hour). There are other brands that make smaller amounts, but the cost/efficiency and amps/gallon start to work against you below ~6 gallon/hr.

They are not reasonably priced - watermakers are expensive. You can save some money by making your own, but if you want a rugged piece of gear, you will not be saving ton of money - it will still be relatively expensive.

Mark
Looked at the prices on these and I guess I am in the Pur Powersurvivor market.
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