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Old 26-03-2003, 10:57   #1
Rod
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Thumbs down Spectra Watermakers

The small container of 'cleaning material' sold by Spectra dealers appears to be ridiculously expensive and they do not make a larger more economical pack size available.

1. Does anyone know what the Spectra Watermaker cleaning material is comprised of?

2. Is there an economical substitute that works without causing any damage to the Spectra system?

Cool clear water!

Happy drinking
rod@nitrosol.com
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Old 03-04-2003, 20:33   #2
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Biocide

West Marine sells a watermaker "Biocide" for about $15USD - enough for about 10 treatments (pickling). I think it's a 4 ounce bottle. West's product is manufactured for "PuR" watermakers, if they are available in NZ.
How much is "Spectra" asking?
I "pickled" the membrane any time the R/O was out of service for more than a week.
A treatment will prevent bacterial growth for at least 6 months.
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Old 15-06-2003, 13:07   #3
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SC-2 & SC-3

Spectra Watermakers SC-2 Alkaline (anti-biological) & SC-3 Acid mineral (scale removal) cleaners are proprietry chemical formulations. They claim that they don't, and insist that you don't, use Trisodiumphosphate (TSP).

Since all membranes are alike, you might try products from other manufacturers.

Specified for use every 400 - 600 hours, they don't seem to represent a huge investment (to me)

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Old 17-06-2003, 01:07   #4
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Hi Gord

Thanks for your feedback on the cleaning materials. Spectra claim that any chemical other than their proprietory ones will damage interior components of their Clarke Pump. What annoys me is the US$20 cost of their tiny pot of alkaline biological cleaning material, that is only sufficient for one clean. The cost of is material is totally out of proportion to competive cleaning products, as you correctly point out, and could well make a potential purchaser of the Spectra System select an alternative brand. I suspect that their formulation is really one of any number of commonly available cleaning materials all of which are inexpensive! But by packing it off into tiny pots it ends up at an unrealistic price.

Rod
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Old 14-01-2007, 08:02   #5
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Rod, Maybe you can remove the spectra pump from the system and flush just the membrane inside the pressure vessel. My membranes are Dow Filmtek SW3025-40 and they have a wealth of material on how to do alcaline and acidic cleaning and pickling.
Petar
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Old 14-01-2007, 08:39   #6
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I don't know if this will help you. I have a Village Marine watermaker. They don't sell biocides. They recommend that I back flush with fresh water (out of my fresh water tank) for 3 minutes before shutting off if I think the watermaker will not be used for the next 30 days. It's as simple as turning a valve on the plumbing. Maybe that will work for your system too.
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Old 14-01-2007, 11:42   #7
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Alohaboat has it exactly right. I've had 3 different watermakers over the last 15 years or so in 2 boats, a used PowerSurvivor 35, a used PowerSurvivor 80, and the Spectra 180. The Spectra is by far the best, and have owned it for 7 years without ever using any biocide. I just backflush it with product water if I'm not going to use it for awhile. It goes for 6 months at a time without being used (winter) and I just start it up in the spring, rejecting water for ten minutes. It never lets me down, and makes water to spec.

I had to take the Clark pump apart to replace the pump shaft for freeze damage (my own fault). There are no parts I can see which would be sensitive to sodium metabisulfite. That's the stuff that is used in PUR watermakers. If you really need some sanitizer, you can buy 4 oz of it at wine and beer brewing supply stores for about $2.00. A little goes a long way. I'd use maybe a teaspoon in a gallon of non chlorinated water. That should be good for pickling in a hot climate. All IMHO, of course.

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Old 01-05-2007, 10:29   #8
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Pickling & Cleaning Spectras

I have been lucky enough to end up refilling the cruising kitty by working at the Spectra factory for a couple years. Here is the scoop on chemicals. The black plastic parts of the Spectra watermaker are made of Acetal Resin (high grade Delrin). This material is rapidly attacked by acids below pH 4. It is very important to use Spectra pickling compound because it is specially made for Spectra with pH balance so that as it ages it stays nuetral. Citric Acid (Katadyn/PUR) and Sodium Meta Bisulfite (HRO) preservatives are acidic enough to ruin the Clark Pump. In fact Sodium Meta bisulfite breaks down into Sulfuric Acid. As far as cleaning solutions are concerned they only stay in the machine a short period of time so the use of other cleaners probably won't hurt anything. I will check this thread occasionally so if you have questions you can post them here or you can e-mail me direct. Dino
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Old 01-05-2007, 13:54   #9
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I've been running a Spectra for six years and have run cleaner through it four times. I back flush until the pressure drops to about 20 psi each time I use the unit. I am about to re-commission the beast, and I'll report back if there are any problems, but up until now back flushing has been as good as cleaning for us. Also, a number of people, including one Spectra repair man, have reported that pickling can cause the membrane to go into "shock"... This sounds bad to me, so I avoid the chemicals. I keep pretty scrupulous notes on the system and I have noticed a slow but steady rise in the average TDS readings over the years, as long as it is in the acceptable range I'm happy. At any rate, I'd think the chemicals that come with the machine are good for a year or two which makes them a bargain in boat terms.

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Old 01-05-2007, 14:25   #10
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Tom,
What kind of TDS numbers are you getting? Mine gives me about 170 ppm after it runs for 15 minutes or so. The water tastes fine.

Steve B.
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Old 01-05-2007, 14:42   #11
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Steve,

Our meters must be calibrated differently. I get mid 100's when back flushing, but when running with warm salt water the system started in the 400's when new and has migrated to the 500's. The water smells and tastes fine at those numbers and they are lower than typical tap water. I have a 200c (8 gph) system and it runs the membrane at a relatively low pressure. Bigger systems probably get better numbers.

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Old 01-05-2007, 15:08   #12
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The EPA Secondary Regulations advise a maximum contamination level (MCL) of 500mg/liter (500 ppm - parts per million ) for TDS.
When TDS levels exceed 1000mg/L it is generally considered unfit for human consumption.
TDS (as tested by conductance) is NOT an infallible indicator of microbial contamination, which (if present) would require a sanitizing (/w biocide).
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Old 01-05-2007, 15:32   #13
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That's useful information. I should note that I have no confidence that my meter is at all well calibrated and I know its readings are seriously effected by battery state and temperature. I just use it to see if there is relative change in the output quality.

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Old 01-05-2007, 16:17   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsmwebb
I just use it to see if there is relative change in the output quality.
Output quality of either the watermaker product, or tester battery (or probe cleanliness) ....
TDS is a wise test, but does not obviate cleansing.
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Old 01-05-2007, 16:22   #15
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Gord, thanks for that. Spectra also has a decent set of articles here: Spectra Watermachines - Clark Pump is World's Most Efficient Marine Watermaker and they suggest that: " World health standards deem water of up to 1000 PPM of total dissolved solids acceptable for drinking consumption. We consider any thing below 700 PPM acceptable but not ideal and anything below 500 PPM excellent." And "We do not recommend cleaning your membrane unless you are sure that it is indicated." ...

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