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Old 01-07-2010, 07:54   #1
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PRO Watermaker

Does anyone have any experience with PRO Watermakers? They appear to make relatively inexpensive, basic watermakers. Here is their website: Home Page - PRO Watermaker

We are considering the PRO 500, a modular 20 gph unit:
PRO 500/900/1200 GPD Modular Watermaker System - PRO Watermaker
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:27   #2
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They appear to be very high quality units using easily obtainable parts in case repairs are necessary. Stainless is used and very little plastic. I especially like the gauges and RO units. If I didn't build my own, I'd be very tempted to purchase one of these units instead of the higher priced one's that I personally feel have a lot of unnecessary "bells & whistles" which only serve to complicate things. And... we all know that simple is better.
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Old 01-07-2010, 15:27   #3
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Did you get actual prices on the units? All the parts that make up a R.O. watermaker are readily available from the component manufacturers. Outfits like PRO Watermaker simply assemble them into packages or units for you. That saves an enormous amount of time and effort on your part - but, what do they charge for this? Currently water maker prices have tripled and quadrupled over the last 10 years for the exact same units. Most of the escalation is simple "supply and demand" economics. Everybody wants one so the prices go up until buyer resistance kicks in.
- - Currently the small popular units start near $5K and go up to $8K to $10K for full featured moderate sized units. It would be interesting to see what these folks are charging.
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Old 01-07-2010, 20:27   #4
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Did you get actual prices on the units? All the parts that make up a R.O. watermaker are readily available from the component manufacturers. Outfits like PRO Watermaker simply assemble them into packages or units for you. That saves an enormous amount of time and effort on your part - but, what do they charge for this? Currently water maker prices have tripled and quadrupled over the last 10 years for the exact same units. Most of the escalation is simple "supply and demand" economics. Everybody wants one so the prices go up until buyer resistance kicks in.
- - Currently the small popular units start near $5K and go up to $8K to $10K for full featured moderate sized units. It would be interesting to see what these folks are charging.
Price on their website is $3899.

You're right, the parts are available and I get the whole "make your own watermaker" thing. No doubt it could be done as the internet is full of many who have done it before. But it's worth something to me to have someone (or some company) assemble a package of components that work well together with all the fittings and proper hoses etc along with some instructions and support.

Yeah I could make one myself, but as you say it would require a great deal of time and effort. Also, as Clint Eastwood said "A man's gotta know his limitations." Although I'm sure I could eventually get the job done, I'm eqully certain that someone who has made several watermakers (or in this case hopefully hundreds) could do it better than me. Maybe even a lot better than me. So the question is how much is the company's knowledge, experience and support worth? If anyone has bought one of these before, they may have some information that would help place a value on it.
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Old 01-07-2010, 21:40   #5
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Those prices are a little bit too good to be true for what they are listing. Be sure to get a listing of people they have sold units to and see if they really got what they ordered. And check they out carefully to be sure they have a physical location and factory or storefront. If they are legitimate then that is an excellent package price. But be aware they are sending you boxes of parts that you have to assemble into a system.
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Old 01-07-2010, 22:33   #6
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how many amps does the unit draw, i see its 110 volts , im wondering if an invirter will work?
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:11   #7
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how many amps does the unit draw, i see its 110 volts , im wondering if an invirter will work?
I was wondering the same thing. All this information is on the website.

The smallest unit (which is supposed to produce 79 liters/hr) needs 15.2 amps @ 110 volts or 7.2 amps @ 230 volts. That's about 1.7kW. You'd need a pretty big alternator to drive this thing off an inverter. 1.7kW @ 12 volts is about 142 amps; at 24 volts it's about 71 amps.

I'm guessing that my big 110 amp (nominal) @ 24 volt Leece-Neville will not quite manage it. Under perfect conditions at its optimum speed it can theoretically produce about 2.4kW, but in reality with heat considerations and not running the main engine at redline and so forth, quite a bit less. Probably more like 1.5kW on a continuous basis without overheating, and at normal cruising engine speeds. Then you have the losses introduced by inverting the power.

So I'm guessing that trying to run this unit off an inverter on my boat with the engine running would result in gradually running the batteries down and/or overheating the alternator.

Anybody try this? I'm guessing that if you want to run a watermaker that way, you would be better off with one of the more efficient (more complicated, much more expensive) units with the Clark pump. Best of all, one which runs on 12 volt (or 24 volt) power.

This unit would want to be run off a generator. Which is one way to go on my boat. And it looks like an excellent unit for an excellent price.

If you want to run a watermaker without using a generator, then you'd probably be better off with something like the Village Marine "Little Wonder". The LWV-200 runs directly off DC power and is incredibly efficient -- needs only 9 amps at 24v, so will comfortably make water all day long on the output from your alternator. It produces less water -- 30 liters per hour -- but that might not be a big disadvantage since you don't have to have the generator on to power it. In fact you don't even need to have your engine on if you have a decent battery bank. It costs only $5200.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:59   #8
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Amps are everything, and there are hundreds of variables when deciding the right watermaker for your personal use and your boats capabilities. If you have a generator, a 110/220 watermaker is no problem. As soon as you consider running one with 12/24v you will limit yourself to the size (gallons per hour) of product water made. Forget using a inverter. The energy cost to each gallon of water made will be too great. The cost of getting the used amps back into your batteries will far, far outweigh the cost savings of a less expensive watermaker. I also agree with Zydecos second post. Buying the right basic DIY watermaker with all the parts is a huge time saver well worth the difference in cost.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:22   #9
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Remember, what they are selling for that great price is a "modular" unit which you have to put it together. Sort of a "kit" watermaker. It is not difficult and sometimes more advantageous than a "totally assembled" unit in that you can locate the individual components in corners and close by areas where a bulky single unit would not fit.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:27   #10
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Amps are everything, and there are hundreds of variables when deciding the right watermaker for your personal use and your boats capabilities.
It seems to me that there are two rather different ways to approch this.

Either plan on making water intensively during a generator run. Or plan on making water over longer periods of time, using DC power.

Plan "A" doesn't care much about efficiency of power use. It cares about having enough capacity in liters per hour to make your required amount of water in a reasonable generator run. Here power efficiency can even be a bad thing, considering that generators need to be loaded up. A simple, inexpensive but high capacity unit like the one the OP mentioned is ideal here.

Plan "B" cares a lot about efficiency but can tolerate a rather lower rate of production. Something like the Little Wonder, or maybe the Spectra Catalina, use so little DC power that you can run them off your batteries while sailing, and replace the power used with a short bit of motoring or a short generator run. Downside here is noise over a longer period of time, greater complexity of the equipment, and higher cost (nearly double the cost of Plan "A"). Upside is you don't need a special generator run and you don't even need to have the engine running; you just switch on the unit whenever you're in clean water.

I kind of like Plan "B" better. Plan "A" still requires some hours of generator run to make a decent quantity of water, and this can be a pain in the butt. Can't run the generator when you're sailing heeled over, and don't want to run the generator at cocktail hour in the anchorage. The Spectra Catalina makes about 50 liters an hour, which is not even that much less than the mid-sized Plan "A" watermakers.

We use about 200 liters a day of fresh water with four or five non-sailors on board not being too careful with water, not counting any clothes washing. That would mean four hours a day and 36-odd amp/hours of power (at 24 volts) with the Catalina, which sounds entirely reasonable to me. That's less than 10% of our battery bank's capacity and can be replaced in half an hour or so of motoring. A largish Plan "A" watermaker would require two to three hours a day. I guess if you are always in clean water at anchor every day you can do this along with your regular morning generator run, but what if you're not? What if you're on passage, for example, and heeled over?
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:47   #11
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Wow I was suprised how many have posted on this. When I asked the same question a couple of months ago I got nil. Anyway I ended up getting the pro 500 and I'm in the process of installing it. So far it has been a good experince all the parts look good and the whole thing was well packaged.
The instuction book is a little vague I thought there would be more info but I have to say so far all my questions have been answered in a very timely manner. I will be running mine as I charge my batteries with the genset so power in not a problem. Being a modular unit makes it easy to install just about anywhere on the boat.
I was looking to build one myself even bought the manuals you can get on line on how to build, as I started to search out all the parts to build I came across the Pro 500 and for the price it seemed to me to be a great deal as I already spent a lot of time searching for parts and I was still searching.
I'll get back to report how it performs when I start it up but that may be awhile from now, as I'm not going to start it up until we cast off sometime this fall
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:12   #12
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Thanks Capden, keep us posted.

After reading some of these posts, I'm now not sure if our 2000 watt generator can run the PRO 500. The generator is the Honda 2000i which I think can put out 16.7 amps max, but is only rated at 13.3 amps continuous. The specs on the PRO 500 says it draws 15.2. I've emailed the company to see if that's peak or continuous or what. No word yet.

Also, I found the PRO 500 on ebay for $2,999.

In the meantime, I found a similar 10 gph unit by Quality WaterWorks also on ebay for $2,695:

10 GPH Deluxe Watermaker/Desalinization : eBay Motors (item 320554240643 end time Jul-06-10 20:27:23 PDT)

Quality Waterworks has its own website:

http://qwwinc.com/page8.html

Very few specs, but the ebay listing specifically states it would run off of a 2000 watt generator which is not suprising since the a/c motor is probably smaller that the similar PRO 500 20 gph version. Their main business seems to be home/commercial water purification systems. Somewhere on the website it says the owner of Quality Waterworks made one of these for his Morgan O/I 41 in 1997 and later started selling them.

I agree with Dockhead: essentially what we are talking about is a trade off between cost and efficiency/convenience. You can go the Plan A cheap and dirty route of using a generator to run an a/c watermaker or the Plan B route of efficient/convenient d/c watermaking.

The Little Wonder LWV 200 makes 8gph at 17 amps or about two amps per gallon. It can do about the same job that the Waterworks unit does, but the Little Wonder is much more efficient and offers the convenience of dc power. But it costs almost twice as much. The Spectra units are even more efficient and more expensive.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:13   #13
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Keep in mind...

If you note, many of their systems use very high quality, (expensive), pumps. If you have less the mountain top expectations then you could easily build your own for considerably less. In example... one of their systems uses a GP Companies pump WM2315C which usually sells on the open market for about $2,000. but you could easily buy a $700 pump that would work just as well.
The choice is yours.
So when you pay $4000 for a system keep in mind that half of that price is just the high pressure pump.

Also, note that in many cases, a marine environment is pretty 'hostile' to mechanical things and buying a top quality pump may be what you need to do, but I think I could easily replace my "throw away" $700 pump almost three times for the cost of the higher quality one they use.
The choice is yours...
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Old 02-07-2010, 16:24   #14
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From someone who is out there and has made many mistakes anticipating what will be used and learning now what is used in real life - go with the 12VDC systems like the Little Wonder or the Spectra Systems. Stay away from the 120VAC systems.
- - More and more harbors, bays, coves, etc. where you will be anchoring and spending time are getting more and more polluted and turbid. Tropical rains and storms put tons of mud and debris into the waters around islands, etc. All this adds up to not being able to effectively run your AC water maker for long periods of time.
- - The most effective and easiest time to run a water maker is while underway when you are out in "clean" ocean water. When means 12VDC units. And they are not noisy at all - even the 120VAC units are not noisy except for the genset necessary to supply power to them which is noisy.
- - I frequently see many anchored cruisers having to up anchor, move out to a clean water area and "make water" and then return to the anchorage.
- - Large water tanks are a given and modern boat manufacturers are putting them into their latest boats. Installing larger water tanks in an older boats should be a priority during a re-fit unless you are going to be willing to "jerry-jug" water from shore every few days.
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Old 24-05-2011, 11:57   #15
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Re: PRO Watermaker

What I've found with these guys is that once they sell you a watermaker they aren't much interested in you. When mine arrived without all the parts I asked them to express mail the rest. When they didn't arrive(the parts) I was told that "we accidentlly sent them regular mail." They haven't answered emails about setting it up either. My feed pump just went out and I discovered that their feed pumps can be bought at Grizzly Tools for $39 and they are cast iron, hardly what you want for salt water. I paid for the whole unit ahead of time and they kept putting off delivery. DON'T PAY AHEAD OF TIME! After my experience I think I would build my own. Damn--that felt good!
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