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Old 17-10-2009, 22:01   #1
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Watermaker - My Last Pre-Cruise Purchase - Any Advice?

I'm getting ready to shop around for a watermaker; planning on leaving the dock at Christmas. Wondering if anyone wants to help steer my decision. I've been inclined to go for a 110v system, as I have a Kohler 5K generator (which I don't use for much) and like the idea of not running the watermaker for super long stretches, but I also have 6 85watt solar panels so could go with 12v. I have just over 100 gals. capacity in tankage. Don't want to spend any more than is necessary, but don't want a system that is a pain in the butt either. Space isn't a concern. Appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 17-10-2009, 23:22   #2
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Last January, before my wife and I headed to Mexico for 5 months, I installed a Spectra Cape Horn watermaker. This unit has no electronics - everything is done manually. To start making water, I throw 2 circuit breakers and let the product water discharge into the sink for a couple of minutes. Then I switch one valve and let the water divert to the tanks. At 18 amps at 12 volts DC per hour, I get a solid 17 gallons of fresh water. When I've made all the water I want, I throw a different valve and let the system flush itself. Then I turn the circuit breakers off. Very simple, very reliable and economical to use. Just for the record, I am not nor is anyone in my family or circle of friends employed by Spectra or any of their dealers.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 18-10-2009, 12:20   #3
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I've owned 3 different watermakers over the years on 2 different boats (Powersurvivor 35, 80, and Spectra 180).

Spectra is hands down the best and most efficient.

Steve B.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:03   #4
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We don't have a watermaker so I am eminently qualified to comment

You will always use it while the engine / Genset is on as it draws too much.

So you have a conflict of noise/fuel issues.

I would go for a BIG GPH model. Whats the biggest you can afford? 100pgh? 200?

Then you only have to run it one or 2 hours.

Your water use will not double... it will multiply 6 times!!!!!!! Our 440 litres can last 6 - 8 weeks. You will zap through it in 1 week.

Most importantly USE IT!!!!!!!!!!

We know quite a number of people who don't use theirs and scriimp on their water usage! One boat has a bath on never use it!
Pay the exorbitant price for it and shower every day, enjoy it! Splash it around. Do the dishes with lotsa water.

And if you ever want to make a life long friend: when you are in an anchorage and you get on with someone well and they don't have a water maker just say to them: Come over tomorrow and raft up and I'll top up your tanks.

For $2 of diesel you will see a 'lil cruiser smile
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:13   #5
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We have a Spectra Ventura 150. Makes 6.5-7 gph. Simple manual operation. So far our biggest problem has been using the water up fast enough to warrant running it at least every 4-5 days so we don't have to pickle the watermaker. Poor us, huh?
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:29   #6
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We have a Spectra Ventura 150.
Quote:
V150 Current Draw 12V= 9 Amps


How many hours do you run it for per day or week? Aprox. And do you use it only with the engine? Or solar panels etc?
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:37   #7
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I will be installing a 12V Spectra Catalina 300 in November. I ordered it last week. After having done all the homework on watermakers this was my decision. I like this one because it makes 12.5gph and is low enough amp draw to run off of house bank/solar panels in the middle of the day. I have a big generator but don't like to run it unless I have too. The Spectras are also very light weight compared to most others and I am always trying to keep the weight down in my cat. They are also one of the quietest while running.

Just be prepared to pay a lot for a Spectra because they are far from the cheapest watermakers.
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Old 18-10-2009, 20:02   #8
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Get the biggest you can afford. I use A Village Marine that makes 38g/hr and refill my tanks faster than I can recharge my batteries. I replaced the three membranes afetr six years - no other maintenance costs.
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Old 18-10-2009, 21:37   #9
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Spectra!
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Old 19-10-2009, 07:40   #10
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I installed a Spectra 200T last year before cruising the Bahamas. We run it when charging the batteries (every 2 days) or when ever we are motoring. we get 8 to 9 gal/hr at 12 amps (you'll get less if the batteries aren't topped off). Works great and allows us to hang out in the remote areas longer than most. I love the looks we get while washing down the boat with fresh water.
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Old 19-10-2009, 12:51   #11
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Thanks everyone for the word. Seems like Spectra is the favorite, but with warnings that it's also a little pricey. My boat neighbors here in Marina del Rey want me to go with Village Marine because they toured the factory and were very impressed. And it's perhaps not as pricey a unit, so right now my notion is it's between these two.
A question for specialD: do I assume correctly that your VM is 110 volt?
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Old 19-10-2009, 14:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff H. View Post
Thanks everyone for the word. Seems like Spectra is the favorite, but with warnings that it's also a little pricey. My boat neighbors here in Marina del Rey want me to go with Village Marine because they toured the factory and were very impressed. And it's perhaps not as pricey a unit, so right now my notion is it's between these two.
A question for specialD: do I assume correctly that your VM is 110 volt?

If you'd like Geoff, I could arrange a tour of the Spectra facility in San Rafael if you'd like.
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Old 19-10-2009, 14:43   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff H. View Post
Thanks everyone for the word. Seems like Spectra is the favorite, but with warnings that it's also a little pricey. My boat neighbors here in Marina del Rey want me to go with Village Marine because they toured the factory and were very impressed. And it's perhaps not as pricey a unit, so right now my notion is it's between these two.
A question for specialD: do I assume correctly that your VM is 110 volt?

The Villiage Marine watermaker is very reliable and cheaper to buy than Spectra.
Cons are it is very loud when it is on, weighs a lot (which is not a big deal for some boats) and is better suited for 110 volt.
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Old 19-10-2009, 14:49   #14
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Regarding your original question: Most 110v units are large and heavy. If your gen set goes down, you wont be able to make water. So go with a 12V unit and use the gen set for charging if you need to. That way you will be able to make water with or without the gen set...
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Old 19-10-2009, 15:25   #15
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Thanks, I like this advise a lot, going with 12v. Weight not a huge concern, but not in love with idea of a noisy watermaker. Hmmm.
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