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Old 28-01-2008, 16:04   #1
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Watermaker Question

I just purchased a brand new, still in the sealed box, Pur (Katadyn) Powersurvivor 40E watermaker. While its new, it was originally purchased by the original buyer in 2001 and has been stored since purchase.

I talked with Katadyn and they recommend sending it in for maintenance to have the seals replaced and likely the membrane, since they believe these have likely dried out since it manufacture.

Since I'm a watermaker newbie, I'm checking here with the expert users of these things to see if this is good sound input from Katadyn, or if they're just looking to drum up some post-holiday revenue. It seems to make sense - you wouldn't expect an auto to run like new if its been sitting for 6 years.

But then again - I'm assuming they do some level of pickeling from the factory. How long does a pickeling last before it has to be "refreshed"?

Or...would I be okay to install it and try it out to see if it produces good water? Or would that just cause damage to the unit (dry seals probably do bad things).

Yet still, I'm fairly mechanical in nature so is this something I can do myself with a new seal/membrane kit? Seems like it wouldn't be that hard and would be good to know how to do this now rather than later.

Any thoughts/comments appreciated.

Cheers, Pat.
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Old 28-01-2008, 17:22   #2
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I'd try it first. After all, the same company recommends putting a small hand operated one in a ditch bag. Are they expecting 100% of customers to abandon ship within 6 years?

You can breadboard it without mounting it to anything. Just supply it with 12 volts and seawater. If you do, I'll bet it will run just fine.


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Old 29-01-2008, 00:38   #3
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Was that the one that was on e-bay a month or so ago?
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Old 29-01-2008, 07:38   #4
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I'm not sure, but I don't think so.
I didn't seen that auction.
Mine was a Craigslist listing.
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Old 12-02-2008, 15:17   #5
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shelf life

Hi: Membranes generally last about seven years whether they are in use or in storage. After that the thin film polyamide membrane material starts to break down and the water quality starts to get saltier and saltier. I once bought a PUR 80 brand new in the box in 1998 that was manufactured in 1995, and I had to replace the membranes in 2002, right on schedule. I would guess that your membranes are going to need replacement fairly soon even if they work right now. Rubber parts do indeed take a set and or dry out over time in any equipment, so I think PUR is giving you good advice, especially if you are going to take the watermaker somewhere where you will really depend on it or shipping of replacement parts will be expensive and time consuming. Starting a cruise with fresh equipment should be a high priority in my opinion. Dino
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Old 25-02-2008, 14:59   #6
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Katadyn

I live in Minneapolis and by coincidence just had a tour last week of the Katadyn (formerly PUR) N. American facility that is here. They were bench testing a bunch of military hand held watermakers as part of a re-certification program (every 4 to 5 years I think). I was incredibly impressed by the quality of the operation and the professionalism of those I met. I would trust their advice absolutely.
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Old 11-03-2008, 22:52   #7
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Thanks for all the feedback and advice. I decided to get it installed, then talk with Katadyn again.

Well, the anticipation was too much and once I had it installed I gave it a test. It produced water at a decent rate (a little over 1 gal/hr). For here in the Pacific Northwest, based on water temperature, it seems pretty reasonable.

Called Katadyn to have it sent in and they said if its producing water and not leaking, then its in fine shape. No need to send it in.

So that's the go-forward plan. I'll keep and eye on it just to make sure, but I think I'm good for at least a year or two.

Again, thanks for all the input....
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Old 12-03-2008, 00:41   #8
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I think it is totally faulty and ready to catch on fire buring your boat down to the waterline....You should really give it to me to dispose of safely.
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Old 28-05-2010, 17:59   #9
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Thumbs up A later comment

Although the post I'm replying to is a couple of years old, the questions it poses are still alive. Here are my thoughts:

I pretty much agree with all of the other replies, although I was surprised to hear about the supposed seven-year life of a membrane. After 14 years as the "cruising evangelist" for PUR/Katadyn and several lengthy visits to the factory, I've never run across that bit of info. I'm not saying it is wrong, I just never heard it before.

Katadyn recommends that a membrane, if stored and unused, should be biocided annually. That is advice that may err on the side of caution. On the other hand, I think it is worthwhile to not only biocide annually but, before doing so, run the watermaker and determine if it is still functioning OK.

I can offer two anecdotes from my own experience. First, during a visit to the factory many years ago, an experienced company technician said that annual biociding is really not necessary, and that he had knowledge of a number of membranes that had sat on a shelf at the factory for several years that were still quite good. Also, I have serviced some old model 35 watermakers, which use the exact same membrane element as the later model 40E (and 80E, for that matter) that had not been biocided for many years, and they were all fine.

Although I can't and won't speculate on the shelf life of an unused membrane, I can say that the main threats to membranes are (1) exposure to water with chlorine in it, (2) exposure to petroleum products and (3) membrane drying out. The last case is more likely with membranes that are located in hot engine rooms or that have been stored for lengthy periods of time and not sealed carefully in an air-tight container.

Finally, I should add that one is always taking a risk when buying a used watermaker (e.g., from Craigslist, Ebay, etc.). Personally, I would never do so unless I was able to actually run the unit long enough to determine if the water quality was good. Also, buying an older unit with the PUR brand name (e.g., 35, 40E, 80E) can be risky. There were a number of problems with those brand units that were corrected by Katadyn when they bought the company. If you want more info on those problems and what to look for, visit my website about them: www (dot) katadyn (dot) ishipaco (dot) com. You may want to send the unit back to the factory if it needs some of the redesigned components I write about there. If you have any questions I don't answer there, please feel free to email me at powersurvivorhelp (@) ishipaco (dot) com and I'll try to answer them.
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