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Old 22-07-2016, 17:35   #1
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Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Greetings all. I am Jim from S/Y Laughing Buddha and in need of some advice/thought/commiserating. Get out your preferred beverage - it must be 5 o'clock somewhere!

BACKGROUND:
My boat is currently in S.E.A. while I wait out monsoon season here in the US. My current engine driven RO maker is pretty much toast and I want to upgrade to a low energy/high production unit, i.e., a Spectra for our planned crossing of the Indian Ocean. To that end, I have recently acquired most of a Newport 400 SPECTRA watermaker. The system is missing the Boost Pump and 3-way valve, Sea strainer, thru-hull, and some other minor components. I'll need to source and supply those.


All pre-filters and housings are in place. Filters and membrane will be replaced. We will hand carry these on our return flight.
I'll break down the areas I want to sort out into three subsystems; 1. Electrical/Electronic [the MPC3000, and sensors], 2. The Mechanicals [lift/boost pumps] and, 3. The Clark Pump.

PHOTO


First challenge; the Spectra unit I have is a 24V one, and my boat is 12V. So, here I am, developing and sharing a plan of attack, and want to get your thoughts before I go too far astray.

OPTIONS:
A. Complete the acquisition of the necessary components for a 24V Newport 400, and add a 12-24 up-converter. NEWMAR makes a 12-24 setup rated at 16amps continuous, or a larger (more expensive) one rated at 25 amps continuous. Or,
B. Replace components as necessary and make it a 12V system.

The label indicates it is an older unit.

PHOTO

The first order of business is to sort out the voltage issue. The solenoids are labeled as 24V, but could be swapped out to a 12V pump/system.
1. Is MPC3000 board voltage specific? Is there a 12v version and a 24v version?
2. Is the MPC3000 control/display unit voltage specific --or is driven by lower voltage from the board(suspect 5v)?
If the board and display are voltage independent (12v-or 24v) that would be outstanding! [doubtful-but possible]
3. Are the pressure, stroke, vacuum, and salinity sensors voltage specific?
Now, a big question:
4. Can the MPC3000 board and display be BIT checked without running any pumps? Or, asked another way can I confirm it is functioning, without a full system running? Is there someone, like Tellie that performs such a service?

OPTIONS:
If MPC is voltage independent, and I can BIT check it without running any pumps, then I might be keeping the MPC3000 as a key component. Else, I my opt for a more manual approach, a bit like the 300 series modular units.






Before I choose a path, I need to bench check the system and certainly want to check it before I ship it overseas to my boat. I'm sure many of you have had the experience of getting something to work in remote locations - It's Cruising, RIGHT???

Any comments/thoughts/admonishments/encouragement gratefully accepted.

Cheers -Jim
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Old 22-07-2016, 19:23   #2
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

I own (and really like) a Spectra 160 that is five years old and already way behind their current products. I recognize a few components in your picture, but basically, it looks far older. So does the logo, which suggests that it's a 14 year-old unit. The size is surprising for your needs - a 160 produces 20 gallons in three hours running. Messing with the voltage supply seems a very risky proposition, and taking it to SEA without running it as a complete system seems a formula for failure when you get there. No, I would not try running it off anything but 24v, and I'd get in touch with Spectra/Katadyn and see what support/parts they offer for this model. Yes, I'd finish the project and run it, on a dock if need be, before packing it up and heading West. Do you have a backup if it goes wrong side up in the middle of the Indian Ocean? I hate to be negative in a post, and I hope it all runs beautifully for you, but I can't say that I'm very enthusiastic/hopeful about this project.
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Old 22-07-2016, 20:01   #3
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Haven't used a Spectra before, but can't you remove all the solenoids and convert to a manual system? Since you need to order a feed pump anyway, it seems you can get a 12v pump ran to the Clark and install a manual product valve. Use a hand held TDS and get rid of all the other electronics.

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Old 22-07-2016, 21:43   #4
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

I've got the same unit in 12 volt format purchased used for a song a little while back. I don't think you need a boost pump for this system allows as long as the the feed pump is not too far above the waterline. They are also easy to convert to manual, you just need some three way L valves. Software can be downloaded from the spectra site that allows monitoring and control of the mpc3000 via a db9 serial cable. I don't know if the same control board runs 12/24 but plugging into a lower voltage for test shouldn't hurt. I also tested my Clarke pump independently by hooking it to a garden hose as the spectra feed pressure is only around 130psi, from memory. Second getting in touch with Tellie as he is the spectra guru.

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Old 22-07-2016, 23:44   #5
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Contact Tellie. at Halden marine services , he's a regular here and a god among mortal watermaker people 😂

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Old 23-07-2016, 01:31   #6
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

I did exactly what you are doing. Tellie helped me find a dead Newport unit in Fl. While I was in Mx. I left the boat in Mx and got back to my home in Ca, where the unit was waiting for me. Sent the Clark pump to Spectra and they went through it entirely, charging a flat rate around $500. It had a single 40 inch membrane which checked out ok. With Spectra's recommendation, I added 2 high pressure boost pumps...giving me the option of 8 or 16 gal@hr.
If you're interested, I show my spectra set up in my blog...

Adventures of Joli' Elle: Inspired by my progress

I became so interested in the Spectra, I signed up for their Roving Technician class. I have been of moderate help out in the field in Mx. Looking forward to really knowing these things.
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Old 23-07-2016, 07:55   #7
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
I own (and really like) a Spectra 160 that is five years old and already way behind their current products. I recognize a few components in your picture, but basically, it looks far older. So does the logo, which suggests that it's a 14 year-old unit.
Yes it is a 2002 model and 14 years old.

Quote:
The size is surprising for your needs - a 160 produces 20 gallons in three hours running.
The NEWPORT is rated at 15-17 GPH, more than adequate for crew of 2 on ocean passage. Our engine drive system was 22 GPH.

Quote:
Messing with the voltage supply seems a very risky proposition, ... No, I would not try running it off anything but 24v...
The technology for an up-converter is well proven. Many 12 "power supplies" (you may have one for a laptop) are 12v to 19v. As an added point of interest, the Spectra AC unit appears to have an AC to DC converter to power the DC motor!

Quote:
Do you have a backup if it goes wrong side up in the middle of the Indian Ocean?
hmmm, I guess; thanks for your concern. But, having crossed the Pacific and several seas since, our cruising experience and system redundancies should serve us well. We are no "Arm-Chair" sailors, or newbies.

Quote:
I can't say that I'm very enthusiastic/hopeful about this project.
Sorry 'bout that.

funjohnson
Quote:
...remove all the solenoids and convert to a manual system? Since you need to order a feed pump anyway, it seems you can get a 12v pump ran to the Clark and install a manual product valve. Use a hand held TDS and get rid of all the other electronics.
Matt - that is "spot-on" to the diagram of the modular setup. I'm interested in the "educational" aspects afforded by debugging the MPC3000, and an interesting aid to otherwise boring routine of run and flush cycles. As a side note, our engine drive system did have a few solenoids for working flow, worked well for a long time.

reefmagnet
Quote:
Software can be downloaded from the spectra site that allows monitoring and control of the mpc3000 via a db9 serial cable. I don't know if the same control board runs 12/24 but plugging into a lower voltage for test shouldn't hurt. ... I also tested my Clarke pump independently by hooking it to a garden hose as the spectra feed pressure is only around 130psi, from memory.
I've followed your system development here on the board -- guess you did not do the "downgrade"? Good tip on the software - I will go chase that down too. Hopefully Tellie will jump in here - that is why I asked those questions so specifically about the MPC3000.
You have jumped ahead on the Clark pump test - but have answered a question I had planned asking -- Garden Hose! I'll revisit it when we get to "Part 3."


Celestialsailor
Quote:
I did exactly what you are doing. Tellie helped me find a dead Newport unit in Fl. While I was in Mx. I left the boat in Mx and got back to my home in Ca, where the unit was waiting for me. Sent the Clark pump to Spectra and they went through it entirely, charging a flat rate around $500. It had a single 40 inch membrane which checked out ok. With Spectra's recommendation, I added 2 high pressure boost pumps...giving me the option of 8 or 16 gal@hr.
If you're interested, I show my spectra set up in my blog...
Thanks for sharing your blog and your system build. We loved Baja Mexico, bet it has changed a lot since we left in '99. Congratulations on becoming a Roving Tech!


And yes, I've read almost all of Rich's and Tellie's postings here. Both highly regarded on the two separate approaches for RO production.

Cheers - Jim
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Old 23-07-2016, 12:52   #8
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Hey, Laughing Buddha, I'm sorry if I implied newbie status on a person of your accomplishments. Part of my career was helping graduate students make their scientific expeditions to way-the-heck-out be successful. After horror stories that are off-topic for cruisers net, I became really down on anyone going into the field critically dependent on anything electronic, and particularly anything inadequately tested at home. That attitude has carried over to my feelings about navigation and all the other electronic joys of modern cruising. Too many people out there with no Plan B, but you're not one of them.
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Old 23-07-2016, 14:09   #9
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing Buddha View Post
Greetings all. I am Jim from S/Y Laughing Buddha and in need of some advice/thought/commiserating. Get out your preferred beverage - it must be 5 o'clock somewhere!

BACKGROUND:
My boat is currently in S.E.A. while I wait out monsoon season here in the US. My current engine driven RO maker is pretty much toast and I want to upgrade to a low energy/high production unit, i.e., a Spectra for our planned crossing of the Indian Ocean. To that end, I have recently acquired most of a Newport 400 SPECTRA watermaker. The system is missing the Boost Pump and 3-way valve, Sea strainer, thru-hull, and some other minor components. I'll need to source and supply those.


All pre-filters and housings are in place. Filters and membrane will be replaced. We will hand carry these on our return flight.
I'll break down the areas I want to sort out into three subsystems; 1. Electrical/Electronic [the MPC3000, and sensors], 2. The Mechanicals [lift/boost pumps] and, 3. The Clark Pump.

PHOTO


First challenge; the Spectra unit I have is a 24V one, and my boat is 12V. So, here I am, developing and sharing a plan of attack, and want to get your thoughts before I go too far astray.

OPTIONS:
A. Complete the acquisition of the necessary components for a 24V Newport 400, and add a 12-24 up-converter. NEWMAR makes a 12-24 setup rated at 16amps continuous, or a larger (more expensive) one rated at 25 amps continuous. Or,
B. Replace components as necessary and make it a 12V system.

The label indicates it is an older unit.

PHOTO

The first order of business is to sort out the voltage issue. The solenoids are labeled as 24V, but could be swapped out to a 12V pump/system.
1. Is MPC3000 board voltage specific? Is there a 12v version and a 24v version?

( No, all MPC boards will operate on either 12 or 24Volts.)

2. Is the MPC3000 control/display unit voltage specific --or is driven by lower voltage from the board(suspect 5v)?

(The control panel is operated off the lower voltages any MPC control board produces)

If the board and display are voltage independent (12v-or 24v) that would be outstanding! [doubtful-but possible]
3. Are the pressure, stroke, vacuum, and salinity sensors voltage specific?

(Again no, they will all work off any MPC board)
Now, a big question:
4. Can the MPC3000 board and display be BIT checked without running any pumps? Or, asked another way can I confirm it is functioning, without a full system running? Is there someone, like Tellie that performs such a service?

( It would be best to send it to Spectra for that. But more on that below.)

OPTIONS:
If MPC is voltage independent, and I can BIT check it without running any pumps, then I might be keeping the MPC3000 as a key component. Else, I my opt for a more manual approach, a bit like the 300 series modular units.

This is an older NewPort400. In my experience the cost to replace and repair the electronics might not be worth the cost for the convenience gained)



( Forget the above plumbing diagram. This is for a different system and there are better ways to make your system manual)


Before I choose a path, I need to bench check the system and certainly want to check it before I ship it overseas to my boat. I'm sure many of you have had the experience of getting something to work in remote locations - It's Cruising, RIGHT???

Any comments/thoughts/admonishments/encouragement gratefully accepted.


Encouragement. Do what I suggest below first. Worst case scenario you make this a manually operated system and scrape the electronics. But it will still work without them. Investing in electronics on a 14 year old watermaker will likely cost you as much hair on your head as money in your wallet. But you may be lucky and all the electronics work.

First thing, there was never a boost pump on this model of NewPort400. I would think adding one is money better spent first before going after the electronics. Then I would test the feed pump motor and yes getting a 24 to 12 volt converter will work but I would suggest at least one that will give you 25-30 amps at 12Volts. This will operate the system fine. Then you will have to make sure the feed pump itself is working. This older system used a direct drive pump. It is simply held on by a clamp at the base of the motor. Remove the clamp and drop the pump head off. There is a small brass tang that connects the motor drive to the pump head. It just sits in there so make sure it doesn't bilge dive and place it into the slot on the pump head. If you can turn the tang then the pump may be good. If it is frozen and you can't turn the tang even with a pair of pliers then it will have to be replaced. Start the motor first without the pump attached. It should run smooth and very quiet. Then re-attach and connect a input and output hose and direct it into a five gallon bucket of water and test the motor and pump together. You should be moving 2.8-3 gallons per minute. If you do then the pump and motor are good. Do this first and then report back and we'll move on from there.

Cheers -Jim

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Old 23-07-2016, 14:25   #10
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Thanks for clarifying that, and I am new to this forum, so I can understand members might make assumptions regarding experience. No worries, it gave me an opportunity to make an introduction - of sorts. I hope you took it that way.
Though off topic, I'll relate a VHF call heard as we were approaching Bora Bora in '99; "Hello. Hello. Anybody know how to get this GPS to work?"

Just 12 hours prior, another boat fell to grief, when they deleted a waypoint to save some time and cut short a reef on the south end.

Some people should not be "out there."
Tellie - Thanks for responding!! --I'll review your note carefully before opting for manual system. I would at least like to use the DC pressure sensors on the pre-filters. Would need to know something about them to source a monitor.

Cheers - Jim
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Old 23-07-2016, 16:19   #11
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing Buddha View Post
Thanks for clarifying that, and I am new to this forum, so I can understand members might make assumptions regarding experience. No worries, it gave me an opportunity to make an introduction - of sorts. I hope you took it that way.
Though off topic, I'll relate a VHF call heard as we were approaching Bora Bora in '99; "Hello. Hello. Anybody know how to get this GPS to work?"

Just 12 hours prior, another boat fell to grief, when they deleted a waypoint to save some time and cut short a reef on the south end.

Some people should not be "out there."
Tellie - Thanks for responding!! --I'll review your note carefully before opting for manual system. I would at least like to use the DC pressure sensors on the pre-filters. Would need to know something about them to source a monitor.

Cheers - Jim
No problem Jim, welcome to the CF. I can probably help you through getting this Spectra up and running the most cost effective and sensible way,..I've worked on one or two before.


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Old 23-07-2016, 17:38   #12
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Spectra Replacement Pump 12 volt
Don't know if this pump is what it says it is but here in Australia it would be 1/3 the price being asked for a Spectra replacement?
Shurflo 8008-943-839 Diaphragm Pump Spectra 125 PSI
Regards
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Old 23-07-2016, 17:46   #13
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Thanks again Tellie for ringing in with your expertise regarding the MPC3000. What a kind offer to help sorting this whole system out--I'll take some of that for sure!

First, it is good to know that the board and the controller will operate on 12 - or 24 volts. I can defer working that subsystem, as you suggest it might be money down the "gurgler," and I can work hobby-engineering on it later. Also, when I price the pvc valves -- they are 1/2 the cost of a 12 volt ones, a manual system becomes more inviting.

So, my next order of business is to tackle the mechanicals, i.e., assess if the feed (vane) pump is functional.

I recall from some other advice given by Tellie here on the board; to rotate the fan on the top of the motor to see it it turns over. I've removed the MPC3000 board and pre-filters from the module, and spun the fan on top of the 24V motor. Success. It rotates, so unless the connector to the PROCON pump is broken or missing, I should have an operational motor, and vane pump, not to mention a new/unused spare, a number of clamps and blade connectors.

This brings me to a question of cost/benefit.

I can readily source a NEWMAR 12-24-25 up converter. Price ranges from about $600-$650 USD. There would be little added complexity in using it, but am reminded by my admiral; "Weight. Weight.Weight." She has a good point. If we don't ship to ourselves, we hand-carry. The Newmar Up-converter checks in at just over 4 pounds. The 24v DC motor at (just guessing here) at about 20 pounds! Then add the spares an extra PROCON pump, motor brushes, etc. She has a good point!

A pair of Shurflo 8008-943-839 pumps, fans, etc. might weigh in at 10 pounds. Cost wise they'd be 2/3 the cost of the up-converter.

Then, I'll have the 24v motor available for resale, with its PROCON pump, and a spares. I can gang a couple of batterys together to check the motor turns over, and check flow rates before selling that gear off. Doubt that would pay for the Shurflos, but is an offset, and that is a good thing.

As a point to consider, I guess my Clark Pump is a 10% unit? The SN on the back of the pump is -10. Would 2 Shurflo 8008s be sufficient? Could they be run as singles or just in tandem? That is sort of suggested on Celestialsailor's blog; Adventures of Joli' Elle: Inspired by my progress

It looks like my path is pointed to a dual Shurflo pump setup, with manual controls. Less complex, more modular approach to installation, and can be bone simple electronically, but involves valves and checklists - not an automatic system. But it would be a system that could be placed in available cabinetry, and not requre a lot of modification. I'll need a better setup/installation drawing than the one I previously posted.

Tellie, as you have time shipmate, could you post me a lead? Once I settle on this path, next order of business--order up some bits.

Again, any comments/thoughts/admonishments/encouragement gratefully accepted.


Cheers - Jim

I'm not yet giving up on the MPC3000, just moving along to a solution that I can guarantee will work -- electronic playtime can wait.
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Old 23-07-2016, 19:24   #14
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Quote:
Originally Posted by poppyduc View Post
Spectra Replacement Pump 12 volt
Don't know if this pump is what it says it is but here in Australia it would be 1/3 the price being asked for a Spectra replacement?
Shurflo 8008-943-839 Diaphragm Pump Spectra 125 PSI
Regards
Steve
Shurflo sells a modified pump, especially designed for spectra. The output pressure, I believe, has been modified.
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Old 23-07-2016, 19:43   #15
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Re: Rehabilitating and (re)Installing a Spectra Newport 400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing Buddha View Post
Thanks again Tellie for ringing in with your expertise regarding the MPC3000. What a kind offer to help sorting this whole system out--I'll take some of that for sure!

First, it is good to know that the board and the controller will operate on 12 - or 24 volts. I can defer working that subsystem, as you suggest it might be money down the "gurgler," and I can work hobby-engineering on it later. Also, when I price the pvc valves -- they are 1/2 the cost of a 12 volt ones, a manual system becomes more inviting.

So, my next order of business is to tackle the mechanicals, i.e., assess if the feed (vane) pump is functional.

I recall from some other advice given by Tellie here on the board; to rotate the fan on the top of the motor to see it it turns over. I've removed the MPC3000 board and pre-filters from the module, and spun the fan on top of the 24V motor. Success. It rotates, so unless the connector to the PROCON pump is broken or missing, I should have an operational motor, and vane pump, not to mention a new/unused spare, a number of clamps and blade connectors.

This brings me to a question of cost/benefit.

I can readily source a NEWMAR 12-24-25 up converter. Price ranges from about $600-$650 USD. There would be little added complexity in using it, but am reminded by my admiral; "Weight. Weight.Weight." She has a good point. If we don't ship to ourselves, we hand-carry. The Newmar Up-converter checks in at just over 4 pounds. The 24v DC motor at (just guessing here) at about 20 pounds! Then add the spares an extra PROCON pump, motor brushes, etc. She has a good point!

A pair of Shurflo 8008-943-839 pumps, fans, etc. might weigh in at 10 pounds. Cost wise they'd be 2/3 the cost of the up-converter.

Then, I'll have the 24v motor available for resale, with its PROCON pump, and a spares. I can gang a couple of batterys together to check the motor turns over, and check flow rates before selling that gear off. Doubt that would pay for the Shurflos, but is an offset, and that is a good thing.

As a point to consider, I guess my Clark Pump is a 10% unit? The SN on the back of the pump is -10. Would 2 Shurflo 8008s be sufficient? Could they be run as singles or just in tandem? That is sort of suggested on Celestialsailor's blog; Adventures of Joli' Elle: Inspired by my progress

It looks like my path is pointed to a dual Shurflo pump setup, with manual controls. Less complex, more modular approach to installation, and can be bone simple electronically, but involves valves and checklists - not an automatic system. But it would be a system that could be placed in available cabinetry, and not requre a lot of modification. I'll need a better setup/installation drawing than the one I previously posted.

Tellie, as you have time shipmate, could you post me a lead? Once I settle on this path, next order of business--order up some bits.

Again, any comments/thoughts/admonishments/encouragement gratefully accepted.


Cheers - Jim

I'm not yet giving up on the MPC3000, just moving along to a solution that I can guarantee will work -- electronic playtime can wait.
If you are seriously thinking of going with the two Shurflo pump option then I would scrap the whole electronic set up. Those electronics never played well with this type set up. Going the Shurflo pump route is going to be easier and more cost effective in the long run. So Keep the Clark pump, the membrane vessel, the Charcoal filter housing, and the two black high pressure pre-filter housings. You'll only need one for a five Micron pre-filter and you can keep the second for a spare. You don't need to pre-filters with your intended set up. You are basically putting together a Cape Horn Extreme and we only now use a single five Micron pre-filter for this system. Your Clark pump is a 10% pump so the dual pumps will work as well as running either individually will work as well. This set up will be the most energy efficient watermaker designed anywhere. If you get the pumps before you leave we will want to set one up to test the Clark pump to make sure there are no issues with it before you leave. You'll need the old pressure gauge to do this. If you don't have one it will be vital to get one before hand. The Cape Horn Extreme is the knock down toughest watermaker built, designed for vessels that were going to experience the harshest of conditions. All the Volvo boats have the Cape Horn Extreme installed on them. So you are heading down a good path.


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