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Old 20-11-2013, 11:03   #1
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PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

I have a brand new (uninstalled) Katadyn Power Survivor 40E that came with my Aries 32 . . . I am preparing her for extended cruising in the South Pacific and want to get peoples opinions on if I should install this unit or sell it for more cruising funds.
I have a stainless 35 gallon tank and 5 six-gallon plastic gerry cans. Crew will be two of us and the boat has no pressure (foot pump only) water and salt water tap at galley sink . . . longest passage would be 30 days . . .

The Katadyn unit puts out 1.5 gals per hour at 4amps . . . I have a good 12 volt house system fueled by 75 watt solar and Ampair 100 wind generator . . . and the house system can be refueled by my 48 volt bank that runs my electric engine (2-200watt solar panels) . . . .

So I would love to some opinions . . . worth installing? more trouble than it's worth? sell it and get a small hand pump water maker for the ditch bag?
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Old 20-11-2013, 11:17   #2
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

I had a 35 on a similar boat in the pacific. In some areas like Tongas Hapaii good water is not that available. We would then run it for 24 hours or so at a time when it was windy.

It's a tough call. If you're thinking of spending time in really remote areas it is worth it.m
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Old 20-11-2013, 11:25   #3
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

I've been with and without a watermaker. The more you're talking about far-away places the more you want a watermaker. They're really not a lot of maintenance. The cost, installation issues, and electrical demand are the biggest concerns for most people.

I have a 40e and the output I could best describe as anemic, but in the ~4amp draw range you're not going to find anything amazingly better. I think some of the Spectras will do maybe 30% better, but that's hardly a gushing faucet and would mean reducing your run time from six hours to four hours; sort of negligible or a big deal, depending on your boat.

Also your consumption-to-tanks-size matters. If it's just you and you're burning 2 gallons a day with a 100 gallon tank, the relevance gets lower.

My vote: keep it, bring some spare hose and 10 gauge wire to run it, wrap it in plastic bags, and stow it. You will have no problems selling a watermaker in a far flung place. All the people who didn't buy one will pay retail for yours.
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Old 20-11-2013, 11:49   #4
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

You cannot stow away a watermaker for long (>6 months). The membrane will go bad, at which point you are better off without it. Either install and use it or get rid of it.

The smallest Spectra is ~8gph and uses 10A/hr. So to make 8gal of water, the Spectra runs for 1hr and uses 10Ahr. The 40e runs for 5.5 hours and uses 21Ahr. That is a 210% better efficiency for the Spectra - not 30%. These small units are actually inefficient - certainly compared with Spectra, but even when compared with larger non-energy recovery like the VM (8gph at 2.1 amps/gal).

Frankly, these small units do not make a lot of sense. If your water needs are very small and you have a lot of extra power, then maybe if you already have the unit and don't need to sink money into obtaining it. Below 6gph, none of the math really works well for watermakers in regards to output, run times, power requirement and cost.

I have yet to meet someone with one of these that either has not already replaced it with a higher output unit, or planning to do so, or wishing they could. However, I am sure there are those who have it perfectly balanced with their water needs and power generation - I just haven't met them yet.

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Old 20-11-2013, 12:17   #5
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

We have one as it came with the boat. Was planning to get rid of it and upgrade as we had a Spectra on the last boat. We used it for the last 6 months and decided it was going to do the job. Yes it runs for a long time but its much better than not running and with our 500 plus watts of solar we turn it on after our service bank has been topped off so its using power we wouldn't get anyways plus our water use is kept tight, around 6-7 gal per day for the 2 of us.
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Old 20-11-2013, 12:18   #6
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

Meant to mention that we would not cruise the South Pacific these days without a watermaker, water is just too sketchy
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Old 20-11-2013, 22:26   #7
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

Mark is right, these 40gpd watermakers don't make any sense when you start to figure in the energy used to produce one gallon of water along with the run times and unit cost differences. A PS40E at 1.5 gph it would take 23hrs of run time and use 140amps to fill your 35 gallon tank. Now I am a Spectra dealer so you know up front. But the Spectra VT150 is the best real fit for your situation. You can fill that same 35 gallon tank in just over 5 hours using 45.5 amps. That's a little over 300% difference. not counting 300% less wear and tear time. I couldn't sell you a watermaker because of where you are so there is zero financial gain for me in giving you the following advice. If you are really serious about having a watermaker on board, do yourself a big favor and sell the new PS40E and put that money towards a Spectra VT150. Anything bigger is going to be over kill. You are going to be 300% happier with the extra water making capacity because you won't be looking at nearly the on board conservation you will be subjected to with a PS40E. Especially in the South Pacific.
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Old 20-11-2013, 22:47   #8
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

The VT-150 costs nearly 10K (based on my google'ing) and uses more than double the power; it's a little unfair to compare them. And he already has a 40E.
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Old 20-11-2013, 22:58   #9
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

Lets cut to the short strokes...in my opinion you would really benefit with having a water maker for the South Pacific.
You own one and should you decide to sell it and upgrade to a higher output the costs will really be a factor because you'll be lucky to get 50% of the price back on the 40E.
This is exactly the position we were in. The little watermaker was not the choice I would have made if starting from scratch but I had it and the big question was with some compromise would it do the job. After several months of using it we decided that the answer was yes. If we were larger users of water as many cruisers are then it would not have worked out. So if you are conservative in your freshwater use I think you can get by with the 40E.
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Old 21-11-2013, 00:28   #10
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

If it's a brand new unused PS40E resell value is about $2,500-$3,000.
A new VT 150 Deluxe about $5,000

You're not looking carefully at the numbers Rebel. The power usage per hour on the VT 150 is 9 amps an hour. The power usage for the PS40E is 4 amps per hour. The VT 150 makes 6.5 gallons per hour the PS40E makes 1.5 gallons per hour. The VT150 is far more energy efficient per gallon made.
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Old 21-11-2013, 05:31   #11
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

Personal experience suggests the 40 is a much more reliable unit and will chug along happily all those extra hours needed whilst you FedEx spectra main units back and forth and crazy prices.

Also, check any battery specs you get way more power out of a battery drawing lower amps longer than higher amps shorter.

On a personal note, I bought a 160E for my last boat as I felt that was the best unit available in the size range. My cost was 1/3 that of a spectra and they use stock sized membranes and are user rebuildable.
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Old 21-11-2013, 05:51   #12
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

Peter, interesting dilemma. Worth having a read of Ishipaco's website if you decide to keep the 40e. He is a member on here too.

Katadyn and PUR Watermakers: Installation, Maintenance and Troubleshooting

I suspect the final decision will come down to space and if you have somewhere to mount a larger WM on a 32ft boat, we couldn't.

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Old 21-11-2013, 07:47   #13
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

FWIW,

We've had a 40E for 15 years, and it still works well (though slowly). We did have to replace the membrane once, maybe ten years ago, but I think that was mostly our fault. Following directions on use and care is important. I replaced the seals once, two years ago.

In our small boat we couldn't really consider a bigger one. If we run it ~ 6 hours/day and use water frugally, we can go a week or two without having to fill the tank, so we never have to come into town to get water before we need to get fuel or groceries (unless we screw up and forget to turn it on). In SE Alaska, and especially in BC, that's a pretty nice benefit.
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Old 21-11-2013, 08:26   #14
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Re: PowerSurvior 40E . . . Worth it?

given the size of your water tank and your plans to cruise the south pacific and the fact that you already own the 40, i think it's a no brainer. keep it. it takes up less space than one more 6 gallon water jug.

1.5 gallons an hour may not sound like much but it's a lot better than zero gallons per hour when your tank is running dry while you're becalmed in the middle of the pacific....
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