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Old 04-05-2010, 15:38   #1
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Spectra Pre-Filters

I have a newer Catalina 300 Spectra watermaker. I am wondering if you can use pre-filters not made by Spectra. Spectra says you can void your warranty by doing so but is anyone using other prefilters succesfully? If so, shich kind are you using?

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Old 04-05-2010, 16:23   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
I have a newer Catalina 300 Spectra watermaker. I am wondering if you can use pre-filters not made by Spectra. Spectra says you can void your warranty by doing so but is anyone using other prefilters succesfully? If so, shich kind are you using?

Thanks
Mojo

Spectra does say that and there are good reasons backing their unwillingness to honor a warranty if you shop for cheaper, read cheap filters. But if you shop around the reputable water maker companies you can find good replacements at less cost. Do not buy paper or string wound filters or you will have problems, I promise. Do not buy cheap charcoal filters either. The Catalina300 is an expensive piece of equipment. This is not the unit to be penny wise and pound foolish with. If you ever have any questions about your unit feel free to PM anytime.
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Old 15-05-2010, 16:44   #3
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Tellie is correct about third-party prefilter elements. Most water treatment stores sell paper elements. DON'T DO THAT! You want POLYESTER filters (unfortunately, more expensive). And beware: often the clerks in those stores don't even know the difference, and paper elements LOOK almost identical to the polyester ones. As long as the form factor and micron size are the same, you should be able to use them with no problem. Elements made of paper are fine for normal household use, but tend to shed particles of paper over time, which will clog up your membrane(s).
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Old 18-05-2010, 21:21   #4
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I just finished helping work on a Spectra System and the pre-filters have special pressure sensors in each filter housing. These sensors will turn off the whole system if the pre-filters are not functioning properly. There must be something in the Spectra pump operation that makes it very sensitive to incoming water pressure/flow as other R.O. machines do not have these sensors. Changing to some other type/make of filter may or may not screw with these sensors and you will either not be able to make any water or you may damage the pump itself. A rather large and expensive risk to take.
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Old 18-05-2010, 22:27   #5
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The question about what pre-filters tro use has been answered accurately, above.....
But, I thought I should correct a few things in error here....

I have NO connection with Spectra at all.....(except that I own one and understand them very well.....)

Please don't take this personally....but, I've owned my Spectra Ventura MPC-5000 for about 4 years / 12,000+ miles, now......and have researched (and worked on some) watermakers on/off for years before that....
See my install here....
Watermaker



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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
I just finished helping work on a Spectra System and the pre-filters have special pressure sensors in each filter housing. These sensors will turn off the whole system if the pre-filters are not functioning properly.
Actually osirissail, this is not accurate at all......
1) Not all Spectra watermakers have these "pressure sensors", only those with the MPC-5000 automatic control......
2) And, if these sensors do fail, you'd get an "alarm" (a beep....beep....beep.....and a flashing red LED), but it does NOT prevent you from making water......(you can simply "disable" the pre-filter alarm, the beeping stops, and you make water as usual, until you find the reason for the "alarm"....)
3) Worst case.....you're not confortable with pushing a few buttons to "disable" the pre-filter alarm, and you simply flick the "auto/manual" switch to "manual" mode, and you make all the water you need as usual.....



Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
There must be something in the Spectra pump operation that makes it very sensitive to incoming water pressure/flow as other R.O. machines do not have these sensors.
Not sure how you speculate this????
But, again this is not accurate at all....
4) As mentioned above, these sensors are only on the "MPC" automatic versions......so, many Spectra owners do not have these sensors....
5) These sensors are there in order to allow the MPC-5000 control to display the "condition" of the pre-filters (as in, when do they cleaning/changing)......which is calculated by the feed water pressure drop across the filters......
6) And, in exact opposite to what you wrote, the Spectra Clark Pump (hi-pressure pump) is the most forgiving of feed pressures....and automatically compensates the pressure to the membranes based on the feed water press/temp/salinity, etc....




Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Changing to some other type/make of filter may or may not screw with these sensors and you will either not be able to make any water or you may damage the pump itself. A rather large and expensive risk to take.
There is NO risk to take.....
7) As others pointed out, using the wrong pre-filters may cause premature wear of the pre-filter element, but will NOT damage the pump....
8 ) And, while I suspect you'd not find much difference in watermaker performance/thru-put.....If you did use some off-brand paper filter elements (better than using nothing at all, in a pinch), you might need to adjust the pressure differential values (in the program mode) that the MPC controller uses to determine how much flow is going thru the pre-filters, and hence how soon you'd need to clean/change the pre-filters.....


Again, please don't take this personally.....
I understand the passion to help others, and assume that most "mis-information" that is spread is done with good intentions......but the original question was about what pre-filter elements to use (and nothing was asked about the pressure sensors), and was answered accurately already, so there was no need for me to chime-in.......
But, once I read the mis-information, I thought it prudent to correct it....

Fair winds....

John
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Old 19-05-2010, 02:24   #6
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Hi John,

Your post above is pretty accurate. In the spirit of your last paragraph above and that the chance you run into this in the future. I offer a bit of fine tuning.
Older Spectras also use the MPC3000. There are several upgrades to the programing since the original MPC3000 was introduced. Not all systems pressure sensor alarms can be disabled at the control panel. This is also true for the salinity probe alarms. You have the MPC5000 which probably displays A-31 or A-34 which is Spectras newer versions where it is possible to bypass the pressure sensors. If you run into an older version where you can't disable the alarm at the panel, simply disconnect the electrical connectors (red and green) from the pressure transducers on top of the 5 and 20 Micron pre-filter housings. The system will operate normally without of course the ability to tell the filters condition.
Many times these pressure transducers stop working because they get fouled with gunk that builds up over the years. Sometimes they can be removed and carefully cleaned out with a pick and cleared with a little air pressure. This doesn't always work but it's worth a try.
Also, I would never recommend paper filters. Only in an emergency. Where the Clark pump would most likely pass the fine pieces of paper filter, the membranes would not. In an emergency I'd try to clean an older set of fouled filters.
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Old 19-05-2010, 08:57   #7
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Ka4wja - please be careful of what you label "accurate" or "not accurate" - In the English language we have what are called "conditionals" which include the words "may, might, could" and other words. These make the statement a theoretical possibility - not a certainty. Most people totally ignore "conditionals" which is why many politicians get elected.
- - The unit I worked on without benefit of a manual or maintenance manual would not function until the sensors were disabled by disconnecting the wires to the sensors. The owner of the unit knew nothing of what all the various levels of menu options meant and didn't want to know. He just wanted to be able to turn it on and make water.
- - In many places in the world technicians do not have access to manuals/ tech manuals especially if the manuals are in a "foreign language." They must work on units to try to solve problems using common sense and experience from working on other similar machines. If all the other water makers that the technician has worked on do not have pre-filter sensors then there must logically be something in the Spectra system that requires the use of these sensors. The sensors did in fact turn off the machine - which is what happened in this case. Replacement of the filters with OEM filters resulted in the machine still not functioning. New sensors were flown in at enormous air freight costs and the sensor cost well over US$100 each.
- - The information you included helps very much to understand why systems do this or that - which is the value such forums like CF can provide to people without access to tech manuals. For that everybody thanks you for contributing - but please be careful of how you "refute" a logical supposition. We are all here to learn from those with first hand - hands on - experience.
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