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Old 16-03-2010, 15:34   #16
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Great reply John,

Couldn't agree more...theres a lot of waffle and mystery out there about water makers.

My Schenker is the same...the "computyer" is really just a control box that initiates autoflushing etc...the device can be run with the bypass switch which basically just turns the low pressure pump on...and voila..water !


Talking about water production..gals or litres per day is not really relevant. I don't know anyone that runs the watermaker 24/7.

More realistic is to look at gals or litres PER HOUR as that's really about how long you run it for ...and then the amp-hours consumption is significantly different...why use more Amps than you need to to ??

Cheers
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:08   #17
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John,
Great post. I'm in the computerized sewing machine repair business and I hear all the same "Don't buy a computerized sewing machine" stuff all the time from people who don't think a thing about buying a computer, a computerized car, washing machine, stove, microwave, telephone, Ipod ad nauseum.
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:25   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
Talking about water production..gals or litres per day is not really relevant. I don't know anyone that runs the watermaker 24/7.

More realistic is to look at gals or litres PER HOUR as that's really about how long you run it for ...and then the amp-hours consumption is significantly different...why use more Amps than you need to to ??

Cheers
GPD/24 = GPH. But amp-hours per gallon won't change.
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:31   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
Talking about water production..gals or litres per day is not really relevant. I don't know anyone that runs the watermaker 24/7.

More realistic is to look at gals or litres PER HOUR as that's really about how long you run it for ...and then the amp-hours consumption is significantly different...why use more Amps than you need to to ??

Cheers
Alan, whilst I agree the litres per day is not relevant the number of amp hours it takes to produce a chosen quantity is. You have a choice, run a small WM like the Katadyn 40E for example, for most of the day or run the larger 160E one for a couple of hours. Both are going to use the same number of amp hours that will need replacing, what varies is how quickly you make water. Some may be quite happy to sail along making water slowly, with the convienence of space and weight, others may choose to make it quickly and then turn it off for a bit of peace and quiet.

Pete
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Old 16-03-2010, 19:10   #20
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Both are going to use the same number of amp hours that will need replacing, what varies is how quickly you make water. Some may be quite happy to sail along making water slowly, with the convienence of space and weight, others may choose to make it quickly and then turn it off for a bit of peace and quiet.

Pete
Another not unimportant factor is the amount and TYPE of noise made by the unit.

We had 2 different Power survivors on the previous boat.

They made a nyow NYOW nyow NYOW sound.

Our current boat has a Spectra which makes a Hummmm,click,hummmm,click...
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Old 16-03-2010, 20:22   #21
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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
I've already posted quite a bit on this, but thought I should clarify a few things which aren't talked about much, but I consider important...

While "sailing now" mentioned this, I'd like to clarify/emphasize it....

1) I agree completely about computer-controlled devices being subject to failure.....and this fact applies to so much on-board these days, including GPS, Radar, Chartplotters, even stereos, etc.....that we shouldn't be surprised that it applies to watermakers as well....
2) BUT, we should all understand that the "Clark Pump" is NOT "computer-controlled", does NOT need a computer to work, and while it is expensive to replace (if ever needed) it is VERY reliable.....
3) The "computer" that controls the time of operation, controls the automatic flush, monitors the flow and salinity, and switches the product water from "reject" to the tank, etc. is NOT needed to run the watermaker.....does not run the Clark pump, feed pump, etc. and this "computer" is NOT needed to make water.....
In my opinion this is a misunderstood fact reguading Spectra watermakers and it is so very important to understand, that I should really emphasize it.....
You can operate a Spectra watermaker without its "computer" (MPC control), and they DO make/sell watermakers that do NOT even have a "computer".....
Please understand that nobody want to spend $$$ on a MPC control and then not be able to use it, but the simple fact is that with the flip of one switch you can be making water (in manual mode) and then figure out what was wrong with the control....
This is not well understood by those out looking at watermakers, and is sometimes overlooked by those selling competing brands.....
But, it is a fact....you do NOT need the computer to make water.....

In my set-up, if I needed to make water and had an MPC-5000 failure, I'd flick my "test/tank" valve to test and then switch the "auto/manual" switch to manual, and I'd be making water.....after a few minutes I'd test the product water and if it met my desired quality (either by taste or a pocket-sized TDS meter), I'd flick the valve to "tank", and be filling my tanks with fresh water.....
It's is simple as that......
The "computer" (MPC-5000) is nice to have (and i really love mine), but should it (or other electronics) fail, you can still make water....

Now, in my personal experience, in over 3 years and 12,000+ miles offshore with my Spectra Ventura MPC-5000, I've never had a problem with the MPC-5000 "computer" at all.....
(however, I did have a minor problem (or two) with my watermaker, covered under warranty, which I'll explain below....)





4) I won't try to quibble about this guys Spectra Catalina, but I DO know about salinity probe failures.....since I've had them as well....
a) The fact is that Spectra had a bad run of salinity probes, and notified their customers about this a couple years ago.....they thought they had it fixed with the new batch, but didn't and re-did them again last year....
This was covered under warranty, including the service call / labor to install the new probe and update the MPC software.....(or if you were out in the world somewhere, they sent a new probe and E-PROM chip, to you with instructions, or I believe they refered you to a "roving dealer"....)
Let me state that again.....it was covered under warranty, meaning it was FREE.....no matter how old you unit was.....if it had a bad salinity probe, the replacement and service call was FREE....

Yes, I would've preferred to not have had a failure at all....especially after spending big bucks on a watermaker.....but, nothing is perfect in this world, and the fact that Spectra stepped-up, admited the problem, and provided the solution for free, seems to be a fairly rare event these days....and I, for one, admire them for it......

b) Like the MPC-5000 computer itself, you can still make water without a working salinity probe, and use all the automatic features of the MPC as well....
Simply select "bypass" or "cancel" (can't remember the exact wording from memory) under the salinity probe alarm page.....and the unit will make water and do flushes, etc.....but you'll need to test the product water yourself, before putting into your tanks.....a very easy thing to do, in most installs (flicking a valve, after verifying the water quality)...

c) Now if this guy in the Bahamas actually has a new Spectra Catalina, I suspect that was "old stock", since this salinity-probe problem was solved last year.....perhaps his dealer didn't use the new probe (and new software)......
But, all it takes is an e-mail or phone call to Spectra, and he'll have his salinity probe problem sorted out....

d) As for his pre-filters?????
The question needs to be asked if the filters are in fact being fouled more often???? Or is it the MPC controller that is showing a "change pre-filter" message????
If it is the former (actual filter fouling/clogging) then it's possible there is something different in his locale or on his boat......such as a sink or head drain / discharge that is affecting his prefilters....or perhaps the raw water intake for his watermaker isn't very deep below the surface and he's picking up a good deal of floating debris that he shouldn't be......
The position on board, and the depth of, the raw water intake is something that is important for ALL watermakers, and is explained in the installation materials fairly well......
So, perhaps whoever installed this guy's unit wasn't aware or didn't care????

But, if the MPC-5000 is showing "change pre-filter", and the filters are NOT sufficiently dirty, then it is likely that one of the pressure sensors on the top of the prefilter modules is causing this....
As for the exact cause of this.....off the top of my head, here are some ideas....
Either a bad sensor itself (very unlikely on a "new" unit), a "scaled" sensor (also unlikely on a "new" unit, but possible if they've made water in some dirty harbors, etc...), or most likely a loose or corroded electrical connection on one (or both) pressure sensors.....


Now, please understand I'm NOT a watermaker dealer / installer......I'm a sailor / voyager......
So, if I can figure this out (from memory), from 200 miles away from my own boat and my own Spectra Ventura MPC-5000, I cannot understand how anyone who sells/installs watermakers wouldn't know all of this....and this is why I suspect that this guy with the new Spectra Catalina bought a "new old stock" unit, did NOT get a new version salinity probe and software update, and did the install himself without taking into account the many variables in watermaker installation, etc....


But, I just could not let the brief post from "sailing now" stand as-is, without some clarification......


If you wish to see my article (and photos) about watermaker choices and my installation.....have a look here...
Watermaker

And Jack's wonderful article on his watermaker choice and installation here...
Whoosh - Watermaker

Also see my article (and photos) on energy and solar panels, and my installation here...
Solar Panels


I hope this helps some of you out there....
John

Geesh John, if you ever need a job you're hired.
A couple of quick additions to a great post.
1) If you have a salinity probe from last year it might be a white SP-3. The newest generation of Spectras salinity probe is the gray SP-4. I believe this is finally the one to solve the problem.
2) Your qoute "and while it is expensive to replace ((the Clark pump)) (if ever needed) it is VERY reliable..... Just to let you know that a Clark pump, as you state, is expensive. But the Clark pump to the original purchaser is warranted for as long as you own it. Just don't listen to your boat buddies and pickle it with non-approved solution and don't shoot it with a 357 Mag and Spectra will always make good on it. I see it done all the time.
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Old 09-04-2010, 21:53   #22
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Looked into this a bit myself, although I am not yet in need.
The way I figure it,
If money was no object, then the spectra WM at around 9K would be ideal. Fully automated, good warrenty and people like Telle around to sell and service them no matter where you are. But expensive.

If handy, build you own. You can do it for several thousand bucks, all parts off the shelf, so easy to repair, but energy hogs. The most efficient would be engine driven the most energy hog a 110v 1.5 HP motor. Can't reallly expect that to last long in a marine enviroment.

The third option would be to go with this
PUR PowerSurvivor 40E
it only produces 1.5 gph, but run it for a long while and it will give you what you need. Watermakers need/like to be run a lot, to stay healthy. This option though will require a lot of amps. 3amps/hr or 96 amp per day. 2 solar panels and a extra 200 amps of battery will get you there.
Plus, it can be used in a manual mode if you take to a raft, or the electrical system goes down...

so for 3000 or 3900 with all spares and extras, you have a adequate water maker that can do what no other can, and provide more than enough water for most yachts. If you only ran it during the day when the sun was shining, you got 9 gal in your tanks, and most of use wouldn't use that much per day. If you wanted to run it all day, you have 96 gal. But I figure running it every other day for 4-6 hours should do it.

But if you can spring for the cash required, I say go with the spectra. I know I would.
But the Pur sure looks attractive.

Bob
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Old 28-02-2014, 10:51   #23
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Re: Have U considered the 12V Echotec?

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Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
I installed an Echotec watermaker made in Trinidad by a Canadian company. It runs off 12 V & produces up to 50l/hr. It is not as efficient as a spectra but was cheaper and all parts are easily obtainable from commercial pump / filter sellers. The Spectra parts are much more expensive. The after sales service here in Oz was great and they were very helpful with installation advice. I can send you photos of my amateur modular installation if you are interested.
ECHOTec. Marine Watermakers*- DC Watermakers for Yachts*12 or 24 Volt*(Modular)
I am going to order the Echotec for my boat. Please send me photos of your installation to dreamchanger@gmail.com.

thank you,

Curtis
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Old 15-03-2014, 18:09   #24
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Re: Have U considered the 12V Echotec?

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Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
I installed an Echotec watermaker made in Trinidad by a Canadian company. It runs off 12 V & produces up to 50l/hr. It is not as efficient as a spectra but was cheaper and all parts are easily obtainable from commercial pump / filter sellers. The Spectra parts are much more expensive. The after sales service here in Oz was great and they were very helpful with installation advice. I can send you photos of my amateur modular installation if you are interested.
ECHOTec. Marine Watermakers*- DC Watermakers for Yachts*12 or 24 Volt*(Modular)
Hello, We have heard that the Echotec is a cheaper, yet efficient alternative to a 12v Spectra. How has your Echotec been working? How much water do you use and what is the regular maintenance like?
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Old 15-03-2014, 18:44   #25
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Re: Have U considered the 12V Echotec?

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Hello, We have heard that the Echotec is a cheaper, yet efficient alternative to a 12v Spectra. How has your Echotec been working? How much water do you use and what is the regular maintenance like?
The "problem" with going with a 12v unit like Echo vs Spectra is the HUGE power usage differential, due to Spectra using an energy recovery pump and Echo using a standard piston pump. In my opinion being in the water maker business, once you make the 12v decision over a less expensive, higher output 120v water maker then the No 1 thing to consider is Energy efficiency! Planning to run a 30A, or 40A load from your solar panels is what I call a Cruisers Dream that reality turns into only being able to run the water maker while motoring or running the genset. And if you are having to run your genset to power your 12v water maker....why. When you can run the same genset (or a Honda 2000 generator) and make 30 GPH for $5000 with a 120v high output water maker?

The advantage of 12v is the energy recovery low amps per gallon...once you take away the energy recovery pump and just slap a DC 12v motor on a piston pump...it's pretty hard to make that energy/water ballance work.

As a maker of 120v high output water makers, I'm partial to the high output approach, but for folks looking to power their water maker off of solar alone...I send people to Spectra with my strongest recommendations.
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Old 15-03-2014, 19:03   #26
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Re: Have U considered the 12V Echotec?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
The "problem" with going with a 12v unit like Echo vs Spectra is the HUGE power usage differential, due to Spectra using an energy recovery pump and Echo using a standard piston pump. In my opinion being in the water maker business, once you make the 12v decision over a less expensive, higher output 120v water maker then the No 1 thing to consider is Energy efficiency! Planning to run a 30A, or 40A load from your solar panels is what I call a Cruisers Dream that reality turns into only being able to run the water maker while motoring or running the genset. And if you are having to run your genset to power your 12v water maker....why. When you can run the same genset (or a Honda 2000 generator) and make 30 GPH for $5000 with a 120v high output water maker?

The advantage of 12v is the energy recovery low amps per gallon...once you take away the energy recovery pump and just slap a DC 12v motor on a piston pump...it's pretty hard to make that energy/water ballance work.

As a maker of 120v high output water makers, I'm partial to the high output approach, but for folks looking to power their water maker off of solar alone...I send people to Spectra with my strongest recommendations.
Rich, I was the one emailing you about the portability of the unit and the use of the raw water wash down use with the unit. Appreciate the reply.

Debating on getting the unit that runs off the engine vs the honda generator just because I'd already have the engine running when running the raw water wash down station. Thoughts? I have a volvo penta 18hp.

Thanks and great customer service!
-Aaron
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Old 15-03-2014, 20:36   #27
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Re: Have U considered the 12V Echotec?

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Debating on getting the unit that runs off the engine vs the honda generator just because I'd already have the engine running when running the raw water wash down station. Thoughts? I have a volvo penta 18hp.
-Aaron

Engine Driven Vs Generator Driven.
Like almost every gear choice on a cruising boat, the answer to what makes the most sense varies based on how you use your boat and how you cruise. While we do sell about 15 engine driven water makers per year (less than 10% of our electrically driven units) I personally don't like using my main engine to drive the water maker. Now this is totally based on my 4yrs of cruising experience in how WE CRUISED...but others may have a different style where the engine driven unit is a good choice. We tended to stay in one place for longer periods, so more time at anchor meant we powered our water make with the Honda 2000 or our ships 8K genset. For us not moving often, having to run the main engine at anchor all the time to make water wouldn't have been desirable for us.

Now for other cruisers that moved more and didn't homestead anchorages like we did they were spending more time motoring, or motor sailing so they had more opportunity to essentially make water for "free" while using the engine to move the boat.

Regarding installation:
Helping customers get their engine driven installations right is always a pain in the rear end quite honestly. What starts as an easy, "oh ya, I will have my buddy weld me up a bracket to mount the pump on the engine" turns into multiple re-do's and eventually having a skilled fabrication guy come out and take over the project. By the time they are done the mount costs about $1000, something they didn't plan on our budget. Compared to bolting down a 1.0Hp motor the engine driven water maker is a lot more difficult of an installation But of course the allure of the engine driven approach is being able to make 45-50GPH from a dual 40" pressure vessel set-up compared to a same cost 1.0Hp motor powered by the Honda 2000 or ships genset producing 33GPH.

At the end of the day, I think the decision point is this:

Is it ok for you to run your main engine to make 45 GPH of water with all the maintenance, heat in the boat, and negatives of running your main engine at anchor?
OR
Would you rather run a $950 Honda 2000 Generator to power a 33GPH water maker or a ships genset?

It's a personal decision and you can find cruisers that swear by either approach, along with some that say anything besides a 12v Spectra is craziness. Who's right? Who's wrong? That's for the client to decide after gathering all the options.
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