Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-08-2013, 11:04   #1
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Spectra Catalina Repair

Hi all, we have a Spectra Catalina 300 watermaker which I am told needs a new motherboard because it is not reading the saline sounder. We have tried changing this sounder but the problem is the motherboard.
I have tried checking online what this part will cost but cannot find any info and am afraid of being overcharged. Does anyone know what this should cost?

Also, we have a HEM 220v watermaker that runs off generator and makes 150 lph. I dont know why the previous owner fitted a 12v and a 220v system but seems unnecessary. Although I prefer a 12v running quietly in the background does anyone have any strong opinions on these alternatives?

If the Spectra is too expensive to fix (it does work but will not shut down if too much salt in end product) I'm thinking just stick with the HEM and forget the Spectra...

As usual, thanks in advance for your input!
__________________

__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2013, 10:32   #2
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra catalina repair

Hi Sander, I'd be careful before you condemn the control board. Hopefully you have a factory trained Spectra guy looking at this. I'm assuming what you are calling the "Saline sounder" is the "Salinity probe" There are several incarnations of these probes. Depending on the age and what control board is in your Catalina it is not a one probe fits all. I run into this problem a lot when someone puts an upgraded probe in an older board and it does not work. Matching the right probe with the right board is essential and it usually takes someone who knows these system well to get it right. I'm on vacation right now in the NC mountains and have limited Internet access but I'll PM you my cell number and you can call me if you like and we can discuss what's really happening. There's a big difference between a $100 probe you can do yourself and easily paying a $1000+ parts and labor bill.
The reason the PO probably had two systems is that many people on the hook rather not listen to a screaming 220V unit and save it for when they are motoring and the sound doesn't make a difference, and of course some redundancy, back up and a generator failure that would put the watermaker out of business as well.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-08-2013, 10:39   #3
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra catalina repair

Thanks for this Tellie. We have a Catalina 300 which was installed in late 2009.
The guy who checked the system for us was an official dealer.
The salinity probe (yes, I got the name wrong, sorry!) shows a reading of less than 100ppm which this guy said was unlikely. He then attached another probe he had with him to test and got the same result. His conclusion was that the motherboard was the problem. I dont know enough to know if there is another possible cause.
But it does work, only that if it, for some reason, starts pouring salt water into our tanks it wont detect it and wont shut down...
The water quality overall seemed pretty good as he tested this also and it was at around 200ppm of whatever is bad. I'm not sure whether to spend the money to have it all working perfectly or just switch to our HEM...
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-08-2013, 13:37   #4
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Salinity probes can be calibrated. Has he attempted this?
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 01:10   #5
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Hi Tellie, sorry I didnt call but Im in South Africa and calls are at $5 per minute!
He tried our salinity probe and it gave a sub 100 ppm reading which he said was wrong.
He then connected another salinity probe ha had with him and this also gave a sub 100 ppm reading leading to the conclusion that the problem was the motherboard.
I'm assuming that trying 2 salinity probes and getting the same "impossible" reading means the problem may indeed be the motherboard?
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 09:24   #6
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Hey at $5 bucks a minute, no problem, we can chat it out here. You didn't think this was a cheap hobby did you?
The fact that two salinity probes read below 100ppm doesn't mean the board is bad in and of itself. In fact I would think it somewhat rare. Depending on which control board you have depends on how they can be calibrated to whatever TDS reading you are getting from a reliable TDS meter. So if a TDS meter says the real ppm is for example 180 then the board is calibrated to that number. Some boards have pots for adjusting, some can be adjusted at the control panel or using a lap top with the Spectra programing. Also there are several generations of salinity probes. You can't just install a new SP-4 on and older system an expect it to work, it won't. I need to know what series control board you are using. When you hit the "STOP" button on your control panel it should display "SPECTRA WATERMKAER and then a letter followed by a number" Let me know the letter and number and I'll know which salinity probe you should be using and how the calibration on your system works.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 09:53   #7
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Hi Tellia, its an A36 if that means anythign to you!!!
Tks
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 11:12   #8
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander View Post
Hi Tellia, its an A36 if that means anythign to you!!!
Tks
Yes, it does, the A-36 is the newest version of the MPC control board with a battery backup. That board did not come out in 2009 with your original watermaker so it must have been replaced along the way fairly recently. But it does use the new SP-4 salinity probe plugged directly into the board not the little small green sub board that may have come with your original control board. (These salinity probes are either grey or black, not white)

Access the "Program Mode" from the remote display (simultaneously press and hold "STOP" and ALARM Displ buttons for 4 seconds) It should come up "Imperial units" Press Alarm displ to scroll through the menu until you reach "Salinity Cal" heading. This window is used to calibrate the salinity sensor. The number on the left is the real time salinity reading and the number on the right is the calibration setting. Increase or decrease the the setting until the number on the left corresponds to the number acquired from the handheld TDS meter reading. Let the control board go back to reading "SPECTRA WATERMAKERS A-36 (this may take a few moments)start the system normally then scroll through the control panel and check if the calibration is close to the handheld reading. 15-20ppm either way is OK. You may have to go through this procedure a few times to get it right.
Try this first before buying a new board, good luck.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 12:32   #9
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Hi again! I have a left reading of 4 and a right reading of 200. The 200 is the maximum, it only goes down. When I reduce it to 100 the left reading goes to 0.
Also I just got a quote of $1,100 incl tax and transport for a new board and salinity probe.
Its obviously not something Im going to be able to fix myself.
The HEM watermaker doesn't have a flush mode or a salinity probe and I'm wondering therefore if it should have these or if they are unnecessary on the Spectra!
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2013, 12:52   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 153
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Don't have a watermaker myself, but reading this, my scientific brain is screaming that you need a completely independent salinity instrument. Self contained. Nothing to do with the existing unit. I know they exist.......
__________________
SailPenelope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-08-2013, 01:18   #11
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

I think you have hit the nail on the head! Keep it simple! Thanks again.
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-08-2013, 10:31   #12
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Usually this is where I recommend I finally come out to a customers boat because it might be a simple fix or it is something a bit more complicated that the customer would have a hard time fixing himself or something simply overlooked. It's hard sometimes to diagnose over the Internet. Personally, and I never say never because it always bits me in the backside, I still think it's a simple adjustment and I would cringe at buying a new board at this point. But that being said, do not mothball this watermaker over this problem, it is relatively minor and shutting it down is worse. But here's another way to approach this problem for now. I recommend this to all my customers (regardless of watermaker brand)that you first route your product tube to underneath your galley sink. Attach the product tube to the input of a 3/way valve and route one output to a "J" tube faucet fixture on the sink and the other output back to your water tank">fresh water tank. Ths way when you run your watrmaker you can divert the product water to your galley sink and test it right there (Taste testing is easy, a TDS meter is a bit better) When you are happy with the product water you can then divert it via the 3/way valve to your tank. Your Spectra is designed for simple bypass solutions when something goes wrong like no other watermaker on the market. Many of these solutions are in the manual that usually collects a lot of dust. If everything else is working except the salinity probe and spending money on replacing a board + labor is not what you want to do then do the plumbing mentioned above. You can easily bypass the salinity probe on your unit at the control panel and test the water at the galley sink. Another advantage to this set up is ease of filling water bottles for the fridge and cooking water that doesn't have to go through further filtering after being dumped into your tank.
The major advantage of any electronically controlled watermaker is the automatic freshwater flush feature. This allows you to leave the boat for an extended period of time without pickling the system before you go. I assume your "AUTO STORE" is still working fine. If we bypass the salinity probe electronically then your system will work like it always does with all the other features as well. Even if you took a lightening strike and wiped out the electronics this system can easily be run manually after that.
What at this point would help a lot, besides a round trip ticket to the UK, would be a few pictures. Open the control board box (should be located on top of the feed pump module in a white box about 10" X 4" X 2" It will have the "RUN MANUAL" "AUTO RUN" toggle switch mounted on it. Four screws hold it down) and take a complete clear picture of the control board. (Not the control panel) Also a picture of the salinity probe where it is threaded into the watermaker. I'd like to make sure visually we are working with all the right components.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-08-2013, 10:44   #13
Registered User
 
Sander's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: UK
Boat: Lagoon 39
Posts: 117
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Yes, I think thats the smartest solution. I will look at diverting the flow with a tap. Thank you. As soon as I get back I will take some pics of the system.
Thanks very much for your advice!
__________________
Sander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-08-2013, 10:47   #14
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,046
Re: Spectra Catalina Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander View Post
Yes, I think thats the smartest solution. I will look at diverting the flow with a tap. Thank you. As soon as I get back I will take some pics of the system.
Thanks very much for your advice!

Your welcome. Anytime.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
catalina

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which Watermaker To Choose carstenb Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 474 26-08-2016 04:41
Can this hull be fixed? westernspirit Construction, Maintenance & Refit 73 20-07-2013 12:58
Hull/Keel repair ? TopperHarley Construction, Maintenance & Refit 5 08-05-2013 19:45
Problem with SSB Icom and Spectra Watermaker jpiebrig Marine Electronics 22 03-02-2012 20:14
Catalina 30' CE Cert 'A' storyinframes Monohull Sailboats 4 02-02-2012 19:43



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:20.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.