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Old 18-09-2014, 09:00   #1
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Watermaker

I'm in the market for a good quality watermaker. I have Catalina 42Mk2 yacht and often cruise the east coast of Australia with a total of 4 adults on board. I would probably want to make about 100L of water per day at the rate of no less than 50L per hour. I am looking for a unit which operates from 12VDC, is energy efficient and reliable. I have heard that the Spectra water makers have a good reputation.

Any advice and/or recommendations, would be most welcome.
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:06   #2
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Re: Watermaker

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Originally Posted by meshugah View Post
I'm in the market for a good quality watermaker. I have Catalina 42Mk2 yacht and often cruise the east coast of Australia with a total of 4 adults on board. I would probably want to make about 100L of water per day at the rate of no less than 50L per hour. I am looking for a unit which operates from 12VDC, is energy efficient and reliable. I have heard that the Spectra water makers have a good reputation.

Any advice and/or recommendations, would be most welcome.
The Spectra is good. For a complete discussion of almost all watermakers and any other assorted relevant/irrelevant information, here is some bedtime reading. It will answer all your questions

carsten

Which Watermaker To Choose
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:39   #3
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Re: Watermaker

The "best water maker" really depends on how you set your boat up and what are your needs. I think your 100L/day water usage is pretty good. We are a family of 4 and over the last 7 years of cruising/living aboard have used on average 25 gallons per day. That's daily showers for all, SCUBA gear rinse downs and I don't have an evil salt water rinse down, I use fresh water because I can.

If your requirement is for a 12v DC water maker with the desire to power it from only wind/solar energy, then your best choice by far is with a Spectra and there are thousands of happy cruiser with them around the globe. It's a great unit with great support. The important thing about a 12v DC water maker is L/Amp because you are stressing efficiency over production rates and nothing can beat a Spectra on this metric....nothing.

But (isn't there always a but) if you have a generator aboard for battery charging or other 120v AC power needs, then going with a 12v DC water maker just doesn't make sense in my opinion and that's where a 120v AC water maker is the way to go. The important thing about 120v AC water makers is making as much water as quickly as possible to tie into your generator run schedule. You don't want to run your generator extra time or just to make water, but do it while handling other loads. With 120v AC power available, you can make 125L of water per hour for literally thousands less than a 12v DC 50L/hour water maker and run it 2-3 times a week to keep the tanks topped off.

I'm partial to the 120v AC approach not just because that is the type of water makers I make but due to my thinking that most cruisers want more water for less money and the newer boats tend to have a 120v AC generator anyway...so why not use it.
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Old 18-09-2014, 10:04   #4
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Re: Watermaker

Thanks for your reply. I have solar panels for auxiliary battery changing and a Honda 20i, 2000W portable generator on board for the odd occasions when I am anchored somewhere on a hot and humid night and want to run my cabin top air conditioner. But I only bring it up to the cockpit and run it on odd occasions. (it is usually stored in the spare head, which doesn't get much use). Therefore its not really an option for running a water maker.

That's why I think I should buy a 12VDC unit and go for a model that has the lowest possible current draw in order to limit the amount of time I need to run the diesel engine to charge the batteries. When I'm cruising I usually run the engine for at least 2 hours a day, especially when I'm leaving or entering anchorages and the batteries get topped up during those times. The Spectra appears to be the way to go.
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Old 18-09-2014, 10:05   #5
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Re: Watermaker

I have a brand new , in the box Searecovery Aquamatic 900-2
142 lt per hr. It runs from 110v or 220v , 50/60hz
I am selling because I have abandoned a project
Looking to recover $10k USD
They sell for about 18k AUS
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Old 18-09-2014, 10:22   #6
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Re: Watermaker

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Originally Posted by meshugah View Post
Thanks for your reply. I have solar panels for auxiliary battery changing and a Honda 20i, 2000W portable generator on board for the odd occasions when I am anchored somewhere on a hot and humid night and want to run my cabin top air conditioner. But I only bring it up to the cockpit and run it on odd occasions. (it is usually stored in the spare head, which doesn't get much use). Therefore its not really an option for running a water maker.

That's why I think I should buy a 12VDC unit and go for a model that has the lowest possible current draw in order to limit the amount of time I need to run the diesel engine to charge the batteries. When I'm cruising I usually run the engine for at least 2 hours a day, especially when I'm leaving or entering anchorages and the batteries get topped up during those times. The Spectra appears to be the way to go.



This goes to that boat set-up question of managing power loads.
Why put hours on your expensive diesel engine daily at anchor when you can charge the battery with your Honda 20i and make water at the same time? It was this reality and seeing so many Honda generators out on the decks of anchored boats in Mexico that lead us to design our water maker to run off the Honda for 5hrs on the gallon/tank of gas. If you have the Honda already...heck...you can't charge the battery with your diesel as efficiently as running the Honda.
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Old 18-09-2014, 10:27   #7
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Re: Watermaker

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Originally Posted by meshugah View Post

1. ...and go for a model that has the lowest possible current draw in order to limit the amount of time I need to run the diesel engine to charge the batteries.

2. When I'm cruising I usually run the engine for at least 2 hours a day, especially when I'm leaving or entering anchorages and the batteries get topped up during those times. The Spectra appears to be the way to go.
1. Not necessarily: a friend wrote this, it's a compromise, since it's a boat, but your design criteria should really factor in the "most bang for the bucks"

The watermaker was a great investment. I've seen the other side - people buying their water in 5 gallon jugs and trying to sneak in a little shampoo as they steal a beachside shower from a resort. It doesn't look like fun. We love the watermaker. Capacity is important. The cheaper low volume Katadyne units have to run forever to make enough water. Something in the 150 gpd range is much better. We have a Spectra unit.

2. As long as the water is clear. Sometimes heading into and out of anchorages does not have the clearest waters and could foul the filters. Be careful.
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Old 18-09-2014, 10:30   #8
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Re: Watermaker

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Originally Posted by meshugah View Post
...

That's why I think I should buy a 12VDC unit and go for a model that has the lowest possible current draw in order to limit the amount of time I need to run the diesel engine to charge the batteries. When I'm cruising I usually run the engine for at least 2 hours a day, especially when I'm leaving or entering anchorages and the batteries get topped up during those times. The Spectra appears to be the way to go.
When you are running the diesel, either to motor or charge the batteries, are you providing the engine with enough load? Would the power requirement for an AC water maker provide a better load on the engine?

How long does it take to run the engine to charge the batteries?

Could you get an AC water maker that would generate all of your water needs in the time you are motoring the boat or when charging the batteries?

These are questions for you to answer for your given circumstances and they might help choose a DC or AC powered water maker.

At first I thought I wanted a DC power spectra but now I am thinking AC powered and with more easily sourced replacement parts.

Later,
Dan
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:08   #9
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Re: Watermaker

S/V Third Day, Rich, I'm interested to learn more about your water makers set up for the portable Honda generator. I have a Tayana Vancouver aft cockpit with no room for an installed genset. I already use the honda for recharging the batteries. We've been living aboard and cruising SoCal for 10 months now and would really appreciate a water maker.

I have questions about,
A. Price and installation (I already have a salt water supply from a sea chest)
B. What is needed for ongoing maintenance
C. What is needed for pickling for periods of disuse?
If these questions are already answered on a web sit just direct me there.


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Old 18-09-2014, 16:35   #10
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Re: Watermaker

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
S/V Third Day, Rich, I'm interested to learn more about your water makers set up for the portable Honda generator. I have a Tayana Vancouver aft cockpit with no room for an installed genset. I already use the honda for recharging the batteries. We've been living aboard and cruising SoCal for 10 months now and would really appreciate a water maker.

I have questions about,
A. Price and installation (I already have a salt water supply from a sea chest)
B. What is needed for ongoing maintenance
C. What is needed for pickling for periods of disuse?
If these questions are already answered on a web sit just direct me there.

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Hola amigo.
You can download a copy to our most popular selling water maker at this link:
www.cruiserowaterandpower.com/uploads/sm30.pdf
Reading through the manual will give you a pretty good feeling for the units installation and operation. Of course you can always shoot me an email at Rich@cruiserowater.com or call me at 619-609-3432 and I'll be happy to answer questions all day long. While living aboard here in Morro Bay any diversion from boat projects or entering my CC receipts into Quickbooks after the Newport, RI boat show is a welcome distraction!
Our office is in San Diego, and you are more than welcome to come by and talk to us and check out the system.

To your specific questions that may be of value to other as well:

1. Our 20GPH water maker is $4395 and the more popular 30 GPH water maker is $5250. Downloading the manual should take care of the big installation questions; mainly "Can I do it myself". We designed the water maker and manual so that the average cruiser could do the installation themselves. But we also have a great guy in Long beach if you want to hire someone for the installation.

2. For some reason, water makers have a horrible reputation for being hard and expensive to maintain. I think that was true for older unit when the technology was “new” to boats, but today I just don’t see a water maker being any more difficult to maintain than any other boat system. The water maker needs to be Ran or Flushed once every 5-7 days. OR you can pull a pickling preservative into the water maker and leave it along for 6 months at a time. Fresh water flushing is turning a 3-way valve and pushing a button. While some water makers do this automatically, our concept is manual is good…electronics are bad. So we save cost, complexity and future repair issues by turning valves by hand rather than letting a computer brain do it for us. So for real ongoing maintenance, you wash the prefilters out monthly and then change them every 4 months. The cost of a prefitler since we use a non-proprietary size is $7. Activated carbon filter for fresh water flushing, you change out once every 6 months, $7. And for the big expense you have a $187 RO Membrane to swap out once every 5-7yrs. It’s fully warrantied for 3yrs. Why is our RO Membrane $187 while others charge $400, $500 or even $700 for one? Because we simply don’t look at the RO Membrane as a way to make money from our clients, but just support them for already giving me some of their money in the first place. We have had other companies tell clients we are using “seconds or reject membranes”, or that theirs are “special”. Theirs are special all right, special at draining your cruising kitty. The Dow SW30-2540 membrane is the Gold standard and the one we use, but what else do you expect someone say I guess when they are trying to charge $500 for the same $187 membrane…they have to say something right….

3. Pickling seems to be a scary complicated term but all it really means is pulling in a preservative to keep the bacteria from growing wild in the system when not in use. You can go years without ever needing to pickle, or if you leave your boat for weeks or months, just pull in the preservative and relax, you are NOT hurting your membrane by leaving it pickled (another cruiser myth). Just turn a 3-way valve, suck it into the system, a 5 minute job at most. To unpickle, you just run the water maker for 10 minutes when you want to restart it and it’s back in business.
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