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Old 03-03-2014, 12:24   #16
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Nope, am just a simple cruiser and a loyal customer with an honest interest in sharing my views about watermakers. I am not associated with any company mentioned in my posts.
When I read the first (mostly commercial interest driven) posts on watermakers on this site, I had the same feeling you get when you personally were on a crime scene and each of the newspapers write a different story about the same thing. That’s when you feel writing your story. So, no worries, I’ll lean back, go fishing and don’t disturb your harmony with too much insight. I hope I have still contributed with hard facts that seem too difficult to knock down, without coming off the technical platform.
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:02   #17
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Not all all....stick around post your thoughts, we all enjoy reading them.

Without competition cruiser's would have high priced low quality products...competition and differing points of view is what Capitalism is all about.

Regarding your thinking that I'm not addressing your rebuttle comments, I could and then you would and then I would and then you would and where would we be? It's called an internet circle jerk. I stated my case and then you stated your case for Echo unit. We both chose to see things from our own points of view, examining the crime scene as you mentioned above, like you not commenting on Echo selling a unit without a boost pump or Activated Carbon fresh water flush (absolutely essential components in my view) or charging $499 for an RO membrane.

You view expensive brick and mortar dealers with 20-30% pass through mark-ups as a plus for customer service, I see them as extra cost to the customer who wants to save the money. Times have changed in my view and the bick and mortar dealer network is extra baggage and cost that given a choice (Capitalism at work) I think cruisers like the cost savings...like Defender.com over West marine. When I can have any warranty or repair part shipped anywhere in the world using DHL in 3-7 days, it's just a totally different business plan with direct to client sales and service than Echo. Heck, who am I to say it is better than the old school Echo way...it is just different and comes with a cost savings. Some cruisers like being able to walk into their local store, others are comfortable calling or emailing.

We could go back and forth for days commenting on our systems but what would be gained? I think readers of the thread now have a pretty darn good idea of the Cruise RO approach and the Echo approach. They are smart enough to make their own decisions.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:39   #18
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

This is getting a bit tedious but again, you made my point. In my first post in this thread, I shared a good deal on an alternative product offered on eBay – not more. Asked by a member why I find the product high quality, I made my homework and supported my findings in detail. Surprisingly, every comment, not Cruise RO loyal got knocked down no matter how justified, to the point where facts were ignored or modified until they made sense in your favor. Your new post is a typical example. Now you state that Cruise Ro is 20-30% cheaper by cutting out dealers, omitting the clearly established difference in product quality. Nobody wants the cheapest possible product instead of best value for money. Where does your belief originate from that other (old school) companies do not support ex works or send parts directly to customers for cost and time savings. Your lines are misleading as they suggest CruiseRo had to invent the regular customer service in the battle against the watermaker pack. Bogus!
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:54   #19
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schaumburg View Post
This is getting a bit tedious but again, you made my point. In my first post in this thread, I shared a good deal on an alternative product offered on eBay – not more. Asked by a member why I find the product high quality, I made my homework and supported my findings in detail. Surprisingly, every comment, not Cruise RO loyal got knocked down no matter how justified, to the point where facts were ignored or modified until they made sense in your favor. Your new post is a typical example. Now you state that Cruise Ro is 20-30% cheaper by cutting out dealers, omitting the clearly established difference in product quality. Nobody wants the cheapest possible product instead of best value for money. Where does your belief originate from that other (old school) companies do not support ex works or send parts directly to customers for cost and time savings. Your lines are misleading as they suggest CruiseRo had to invent the regular customer service in the battle against the watermaker pack. Bogus!
Michael, you call Echo "better quality" to help justify the higher price which is your opinion, great no problem. I call it marketing hype to justify the higher cost. Hey, my opinion again, and I laid out my rationale for that opinion in almost 3000 words in a prior post. Because you don’t accept or agree with what I laid out, doesn’t mean I haven’t addressed the issues from a technical standpoint, I have. It’s there for everyone to see and either think it is bogus and I’m full of bovine excrement or appreciate my approach in combining Quality and Cost in a smart way.

Everyone knows I'm the Owner/Designer/Builder of Cruise RO water makers and they can take my comments and compare them to yours, easy...why the rub and getting upset? What's the calamity or problem with that? Some people will look at your comments and think, “this Schaumburg guy is great, he convinced me to spend about $1300 more on an Echo water maker over a Cruise RO”. Hey, if the features you highlighted are important to the cruiser for the extra $1300, then I am glad they bought an Echo and they will cruise with a great water maker, what’s the problem?

Unfortunately, we see where these types of threads go when people don't agree. I never said that Echo doesn't provide direct to client service, in fact I said more than once that Echo provides good service…what are you reading? I just said that Cruise RO provides direct customer service rather than maintain an extensive dealer network at substantial cost to the customer. It was you, remember, that bragged on the vast dealer support network to justify the higher cost. All I did was point out the old school thinking in this brick and mortar approach (citing www.defender.com). Direct manufacturer to client sales and support saves everyone money, both the client and the company. To not come off as judgmental on Echo, I even said:

“Heck, who am I to say it is better than the old school Echo way...it is just different and comes with a cost savings. Some cruisers like being able to walk into their local store, others are comfortable calling or emailing.”

We didn't invent direct from factory sales and customer support, all we did was make it better by offering it 7 days a week. Actually you should thank us for that because Echo followed our lead on that and now you can get support on the weekend from Echo.

Ok, I’ll admit it…the smart-ass in me had to make that last line comment about Cruise RO dragging Echo into providing 7 day a week customer service. It was just too good to pass up after the water maker pack “bogus” comment. I know I shouldn’t have done it, it goes to who I am and how I got here...which…heck I don’t have any client emails to answer at the moment and I sure don’t feel like working on the next boat project today, so I might as well explain just who I am and my business philosphy.

On November 12, 2005, after working 70 hour/weeks for the last 10yrs (with a record 114hr week) and spending 168 nights a year at the Sheraton hotel chain, I woke up on my birthday morning in the hotel and looked around and didn’t like what I saw. By the World’s standards, I had it all: corner office, money, house, over a dozen US patents hanging on the office wall to make me feel important, along with all the trappings of “success”. But as I lay there, where were the things that mattered? Where were my kids, my wife, and my life? It was that morning from a Minneapolis, MN Sheraton suite that my wife and I started planning our escape for an early retirement. The hard work meant that we both didn’t need to work anymore, and continuing to work for ego and the trappings we were accumulating was thrown out the window into the zub-zero Minneapolis cold. Commitments and responsibilities wouldn’t let me go immediately, but the date was set for my wife and I to quite our jobs, pull the kids out of private school and cast off to Mexico on our boat, of course we needed to buy a boat first!

Fast forward a bit skipping the usual boat refit trials and tribulations (which can be read all about on our blog) and two years into our Mexican cruise while floating in Tennecatita Bay on the Gold Coast of Pacific Mexico, I was bored. Being a Type -A personality is a blessing and a curse, it helped bring past success but it also made relaxing in paradise a torture at times. I was failing at retirement as my wife told me. What was I going to do? I wasn’t going to go back to “work” but I wanted and needed something to do and equally my wife needed to have something for me to do to keep from driving her crazy. The answer came that morning when another cruiser came over in the dinghy and asked me if I would come over to try and help him fix his water maker. He was a good friend and knew that my past life was in water filtration and RO. He also knew that I had built my own 50GPH water maker. As I was ripping out his electronic controls and reconfiguring his high priced water maker to run in a simple manual mode, he asked why all that electronic **** was in there in the first place if it wasn’t needed. Bingo... from an anchorage in Mexico, with my head in his engine room and leg falling asleep, Cruise RO Water was born.

I got back to the boat, told my wife the plan and then used my sat phone to call my former partner Charlie Hammel in San Diego. Charlie had over 25 years of industrial design and installation experience and I knew he had some extra time on his hands because when I was burning out at 70hrs in the week, he was just getting going! Charlie and I already owned a small R&D facility together that we could turn into the Cruise RO Water build and test facility, so we burned up the rest of my sat phone minutes going over the design and parts for him to start ordering for testing. What started out as a hobby business has grown into a full-fledged cruising gear company: Water Makers, CoolBlue Technautics Refrigeration, DC Power Solutions Alternators, KISS wind gen…etc. We have been truly blessed.

Despite the growth and success with our water makers, I’m not interested in running the business in the typical corporate, maximize profits way. I got out of that rat race and if I had to worry about that again, quite frankly, I would have sold out to my partner Charlie already. It’s not just that the company overhead is low…but my personal overhead is low. We donate more money to our favorite charities and causes than I take in salary from Cruise RO, it drives my accountant nuts every year, but it’s what important to us now. Heck we live aboard on our Hudson Force 50 on the mooring ball we own at a cost of $89/mo for our “live aboard fee”. How much profit do I really need to pay the bills, buy some food, and wait for the kids to get out of high school so I can get my self-described bozo-self back to Mexico!?! (just 42 more months, but who’s counting).

After I dingy the kids into shore and drive them to school, I still approach each day and phone call as I did while floating in Mexico, when fellow cruisers would come over in the dinghy asking for some help. Not doing this job and selling water makers because I have to, but because I want to changes everything, it’s not an evil job anymore sucking the life out of you Monday-Friday from 9-5. 7 day a week customer service isn’t a bummer of who mans the company phone this weekend but rather is fun to me rather than work. I took a service call at the Thanksgiving dinner table not because I had to, but because I wanted to and it was a great experience for me to really be Thankful for what I have. The client, who was just expecting to leave a message to be returned on Monday, was surprised and after taking care of the issue we talked about the great food he was having aboard later that day from an anchorage in the Caribbean while I bragged up my mother-in-laws famous sweedish potatoes. Ya I know this may seem cheezy…but it’s what excites me, it’s who I am.

My life has changed dramatically since that November day in 2005, since the days in the corporate world. Rather than defining myself by the first class airline upgrade, big office and salary, I’ve learned just how “Bogus” that world really is in the end. So now what defines me is my faith and relationship with God, my family, my friends and it may sound hokey and over the top, but my client relationships.

Whew…I know there are a lot of words there and many now may have had their “Rich is Crazy” thoughts confirmed, I am and admit is happily. It actually feels good to verbalize why I get up each morning and what my life is about since getting back to the States from Mexico. I’ve been having trouble explaining it on our blog when I look at the daily chaos and culture taking place just 200ft from our mooring ball onshore. Thanks for providing the opportunity Schaumburg and thanks to the rest for listening.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:42   #20
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Getting back to parts, my background is in analytical chemistry instrumentation, of which many types use swageloc needle valves to very precisely control fluid pressures and flows from 3,000-5,000lbs. These needle valves work very well and are extremely rugged in this type of application.

The claim that a larger radius 90* bend in a connector decreases the power needed to run the system to any appreciable amount is bogus. Particularly given where these connectors are located and how few there are (2).

I am confused by these conflicting statements in describing the EchoTec: "I donít know about any Echotec component that cannot be replaced with off the shelf products" and "Building quality machines is simply impossible without using proprietary parts".

The prefilter media debate is silly. The EchoTec filters are not proprietary and are commercially available - if you want to use them in any brand of watermaker, then simply buy them and put them in. They are standard consumable items.

While the point about dissimilar metals in the membrane endcaps is theoretically interesting, our previous watermaker was 20yrs old with no problems with the stainless steel and aluminum NPT fittings either in corrosion or leaks.

I think both EchoTec and CruiseRO make good watermakers and use quality components. In our specific case, we made the choice for CruiseRO based on cost (it is a significant difference), as we did not feel the need for some of the extra pricing reasons in the EchoTec. Others may have a different opinion/need.

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Old 04-03-2014, 14:11   #21
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

As I wrote before, I am not on Echos payroll nor associated in any other way than being a satisfied customer with a bit more than average knowledge about desalination systems. Presently, I cruise San Blas and frequently assist boaters with their watermaker issues. My interest discussing watermakers is not about winning a competition but tossing facts for the sake of sharing genuine experience.
I do not agree with many technical views discussed here (aluminum or brass with 316 in warm seawater under pressure) but appreciate things the way you nicely describe in you latest post and are happy for the success of your company.

Hi Mark (colemj), All Echotec proprietary components such as a fitting lost in the bilge could be replaced with of the shelf parts. There are 4 high pressure fittings in a single membrane system and large radius versus sharp elbow can be easily measured as pressure differential. The filter comparison supports that a cheap item must not be more cost efficient. I find it important to mention that Harmso premium quality filters are supplied with Echotec systems.

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Old 04-03-2014, 19:42   #22
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As someone who has been in the solar biz (commercial, residential and military) and living wholly off-grid for 38+ years, I find the idea of a more energy efficient means of making water to be of primary importance. Knowing the amps draw and production ratings of the respective pump systems, I would choose the most energy efficient of the selection(s), all other things-like quality, workmanship, warranty considerations, parts availability, etc.- being equal. Cost difference comes into play when considering how I'm "paying" for the product (water) energy wise. Am I making water from solar or wind or running $5/gal diesel through a (-dead dinosaur, borne-to-break-down) internal combustion engine. In the final energy analysis. I don't care if the electricity is AC, which I can make from DC with my inverter ( the current models are in the 97% conversion efficiency range), or DC, which I can pull directly from the batteries when I flip a switch. Proper sizing of the solar system will allow for all needs provided you can come up with the real estate needed to mount the panels.
So, I'm sitting in my cabin in the Rocky Mountains thinking of going back to sea again and was wanting to pick out a water-maker for the boat I've made an offer on and I thank you all for providing me with plenty to think about in choosing a suitable unit. Rich, your unit sounds like it is well constructed and targeted to a pragmatic scheme and the echo system sounds like a possible solution with respect to energy efficiency and the reference to Spectra as best DC unit with recovery pump as being most energy efficient has me a bit puzzled. Any efficiency involved has to take into account energy units required to produce equivalent amount of product-water. Where are we in that respect. I would like to get a copy of the CruiseRO manual as well, if I may. Thanks again for shedding so much light on the subject.
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Old 04-03-2014, 21:01   #23
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Just to be clear, the CRO and ET systems primarily being discussed here are AC powered, not DC. The one reference to the ET DC system shows it to not be energy-efficient compared to Spectra (in fact, it is pretty much run-of-the-mill in that regard - our previous Village Marine unit had that energy use).

The AC versions of the CRO and ET systems appear to use the same amount of power per gallon of water produced.

If you are going pure solar/wind, go DC with an energy recovery unit like Spectra (there are others also). Unless you have a huge amount of solar, and possibly LiFePO batteries, the AC units will be difficult to manage practically with solar - inverter efficiency has nothing to do with it.

The energy efficiency of the Spectra-type systems is from the specialized pump system they use that recovers some of the energy lost in the cycle. These systems produce water at a cost between 1-2 DC amps/gallon, compared to 3-5 for most other systems.

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Old 04-03-2014, 22:24   #24
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piloto View Post
Any efficiency involved has to take into account energy units required to produce equivalent amount of product-water. Where are we in that respect. I would like to get a copy of the CruiseRO manual as well, if I may. Thanks again for shedding so much light on the subject.
Hey Piloto, a simple questions sure returned a lot of info!
For a copy of the manual just email me at Rich@CruiseROwater.com and I will send it off.

In terms of power usage per gallon of water produced, lets start by reviewing the SM30's production and power numbers, which is our most popular selling unit and compare them to the best 12v water maker out there, Spectra. To keep the math easy, lets look at an hour of run time. The SM30 will produce 33 gallons per hour and consume 1250W (high pressure pump plus the boost pump). Run the water maker for an hour and you have used 1250watt/hours to make 33 gallons of water, so that works out to 37 Watt/hours per gallon (1250/33=37.8). The Spectra’s published number on their Ventura 200T (8GPH using 10A) is 16 watt/hours per gallon. Tellie our Spectra expert can comment here to make sure I’m quoting the numbers right, I grabbed those off the Spectra site specs.

The numbers don’t lie, the Spectra is about 2.3 times more efficient in terms of the power used per gallon of water produced. Mark touched on it, but the AC 120v water makers are NOT using an energy recovery pump that recycles the work of taking the sea water to 800PSI. We simply dump that energy overboard with the brine discharge and use the brute force piston pump. We do use the same RO Membrane, just a different way of supplying 800PSI sea water to the membrane.

To really boil it down to the nut of the issue:
The argument for the 120v AC water maker over the 12v DC is High Output for a Lower cost.
The argument for the 12v DC water makers over the 120v AC is dramatically less power usage.

I saw this mistake time and time again while out cruising, so I really want to make this point again, even if Piloto with his solar experience understands this. Trying to run a 30A, 40A or 80A water maker from a battery bank of a cruising boat is a disaster, plain and simple. Even if your daily power usage in/out balances on paper, that spreadsheet doesn’t take into account how real life cruising batteries operate and the struggles most cruisers have in keeping them at an acceptable state of charge. Most cruising boats just don’t have room for enough solar to cover their daily needs. I do run my SM30 off of our 900AH battery bank through a 2000W inverter, yes, but ONLY when we are motoring and only once the batteries have floated up and the high output alternator is then able to carry the power load. It would crush my battery bank to try that sitting at anchor for an hour. I won’t sell one of our units to a cruiser that expects to power it from wind and solar alone, I just know from experience he won’t be happy, so I try to educate him to save us both the headache!

For a cruising boat that only wants wind and solar, I should be a Spectra dealer because that is exactly where I will send them! But if their boat has a generator or if they plan to carry a Honda 2000 then I think it’s an easy decision because then they can make water and charge their battery at the same time. I’ve said it before, I don’t think there is a “wrong” way to go here…each boat is different, each cruiser is different, so you have to pick what works for you and your budget.
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Old 25-03-2014, 22:42   #25
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

We need to be careful about what we put out on the Internet and the consequences of the comments. Suggesting that the universal DC watermaker solution is to employ complex energy recovery is simply counterproductive because in most cases energy can be produced with less complicated/costly equipment than the energy recovery device that saves it.

The times of kerosene lamps and ice boxes are over; Nowadays passage making sail boats are in the 40+ foot range and equipped with 100 - 200 amps alternators, Hydrogen generators, wind generators and more efficient solar panels / charge controllers. Catamarans with more space for solar array become increasingly popular. Producing energy is much easier and cheaper than it was when energy recovery watermakers were thought to become the Goldilocks solution. Purchase and installation cost, prices for spares and consumables, ease and cost of repairs and maintenance should be carefully reviewed before giving preference to any type or brand of watermaker.

Obviously, it’s a bad idea to convert a power hungry AC watermaker in a DC watermaker by swapping the motor and then run it off the solar panels but I never heard about anyone doing this. Advanced conventional DC systems draw in the 20 to 40 amps range and even Peukert would not object if only a 200 – 400 amps battery bank is available. Because there are so many considerations apart from highest possible energy efficiency, there are so many choices of watermakers.
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Old 26-03-2014, 09:35   #26
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

I don't know why I need to be careful about which opinions and statements I place on the internet, or the consequences of such. Is there new policing in effect now that I am not aware of?

In my opinion you are not correct here. DC watermakers run at their specs when the battery voltage is 13.8 and above. I have made voltage curves for output and quality of the water from our DC watermaker.

If you plan on running some type of fuel generator or engine to run a DC watermaker, then I don't see the point of the DC watermaker. There are few solar setups, and no windgens, that produce >40A regularly to keep the voltage high enough while also replenishing the non-watermaker house current deficit they are meant to replace. If you are going to run a generator or engine, then an AC system gives you the ability of running directly from an AC generator or through an inverter with the batteries being fed with a DC charging source.

Energy recovery solutions kind of bridge the gap by using half the current draw to produce water. This gives windgen and solar sources a chance to produce enough amps to not only cover the watermaker use, but keep the voltage up on the system and replenish deficit amp hours.

Most high output DC watermakers ARE simply converted AC systems with a DC motor. Either that, or they are low output pumps chosen to allow a lower current DC motor to be used with them.

A 2hr 40A drain just for the watermaker on 200ahr house batteries would not be a smart power management strategy for a cruising boat.

Almost every single boat I know with non-energy recovery DC watermakers struggle with coordinating water production with daily house energy replenishment. The others simply struggle with water production.

I grant that water usage can be rationed to better fit a high-current DC system with solar and wind power generation, but that is a different topic.

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Old 29-03-2014, 19:27   #27
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

Mark, is your sarcasm meant to support your point and undermine my reasoning?

Your argument against conventional watermakers is based on re-arranging my numbers to the worst case scenario: running a 40 amps watermaker for 2 hours from a 200 amp-h battery is in fact silly. A more common practice is running a 20 amps watermaker from a 200-400 amps battery (I never came across a cruising boat with a 200 amps house bank). At a production of 8 gallons per hour, this is only 10 amps extra per day for the benefit of using a simple and economical machine. Not everyone will be satisfied with 8 gallons but larger capacity watermakers work under the same principle.

My point is, I like simplicity. Before you decided for a high output conventional AC system, you got 20 years service from your conventional Little Wonder DC watermaker (even with its stainless steel and aluminum NPT fittings). Did you gain the same experience from a recovery machine?

If I would not run a generator, I would always decide for a belt driven watermaker or conventional DC watermaker. They are work horses and most are very cost efficient and as reliable as watermakers get.

Not all boatsí charging systems may be laid out to produce some extra energy to run conventional DC systems without sacrificing output. This would be one of the applications where energy recovery becomes a good option - not a universal solution.

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Old 29-03-2014, 19:57   #28
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Re: Sea Maker Watermaker.

I don't see any sarcasm in my post. I wasn't attempting to undermine your reasoning - I just disagreed with it and listed specifically where and how. I don't think I could have been any clearer.

I think you will find the majority of boats do not have non-petrol charging systems sufficient to produce extra energy and a DC unit without sacrificing output.

Mark
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