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Old 19-12-2008, 03:55   #1
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Watermaker Recommendation?

Hi:

We're outfitting our Orana 44 catamaran for a round-the-world cruise, and we've narrowed our watermaker choice down to two: the Spectra Cape Horn -- two pumps, minimal electronics; and the Spectra Newport - one pump, very automated.

Any thoughts? We like the redundancy of two pumps, but wonder if we'll miss the fancy controls of the Newport.

Thanks.
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Old 19-12-2008, 07:20   #2
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I wouldn't worry about the fancy controls. Makai carries an SK watermaker without any electronic controls. A switch to turn the pumps on and a knob that lets us bring the pressure up to operating and a valve that allows us to switch from overboard/test to the tanks. SImple, inexpesive, easy to install, easy to maintain, it is easy to use.

Though I like the toys we ran into several cruisers who had problems with the fancy controls (key pad failures) and it took months and months to get the problem identified and then get parts. This is not comment on the watermaker but on items that you can repair or test while away from civilaztion.

So chose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
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Old 19-12-2008, 10:46   #3
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I would get one with a large enough flow to fill your needs with the time it takes to charge your batteries. Example: if you are going to run your engine 2 hours a day to charge your batteries then the water flow in two hours should refill your water needs. Its better to run the water maker every day that once a week. just a thought.
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Old 19-12-2008, 11:58   #4
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Thanks -- less is more, an d make sure we have enough! Any other thoughts on the trad-off between redundancy and electronics? Apparently, keeping these working during periods of non-use requires regular flushing etc., which the electronics apparently takes care of ...

Interestingly, the larger capacity/redundant model is significantly cheaper than the smaller/electronic model ...

/j
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Old 19-12-2008, 12:50   #5
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All the ones I have seen cost a huge amount! Sea Recovery $15,000

I guess its sea baths forever

Are there any good options for less than $5,000 professionally installed?
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Old 19-12-2008, 13:49   #6
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On the comments on low complexity of the system and making lots of water when charging ... does anybody have experience of using Echo2Tec or Little Wonder products while long term cruising?
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Old 19-12-2008, 15:51   #7
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Old 19-12-2008, 17:34   #8
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Spectra without a doubt

We have the Newport and are very happy with it. All the bells and whistles actually do something and are useful....for a change. Do go the bit more and get the Z-Brain installed it actually helps in the tropics above all. Service is great. We just had them send us an up grade kit at their own expense and our unit is not exactly the newest or under guarantee. Anything will work if you are making water all the time. But we don't so the things get bunged up with sludge etc et al. That is where you will love that automatic flush!
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Old 21-12-2008, 06:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglauds View Post
Hi:

We're outfitting our Orana 44 catamaran for a round-the-world cruise, and we've narrowed our watermaker choice down to two: the Spectra Cape Horn -- two pumps, minimal electronics; and the Spectra Newport - one pump, very automated.

Any thoughts? We like the redundancy of two pumps, but wonder if we'll miss the fancy controls of the Newport.

Thanks.

Jon you have a PM (Private Mail)
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Old 21-12-2008, 06:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H/V Vega View Post
We have the Newport and are very happy with it. All the bells and whistles actually do something and are useful....for a change. Do go the bit more and get the Z-Brain installed it actually helps in the tropics above all. Service is great. We just had them send us an up grade kit at their own expense and our unit is not exactly the newest or under guarantee. Anything will work if you are making water all the time. But we don't so the things get bunged up with sludge etc et al. That is where you will love that automatic flush!
Vega,

I just googled your Spectra Newport, nice... and if does everthing it says, it is the cutting edge machine.
Can you share in the cost of the unit? Installation cost or time you spent installing the unit. How about real time power consumption? Got any pix of it in your boat?

Thanks
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Old 21-12-2008, 09:32   #11
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This has been posted before, but here's some free plans for one: Watermaker
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Old 21-12-2008, 10:25   #12
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I went to the spectra field tech school. I had never used them before and was pleasantly surprised as to how quiet they are compared to other brands. The best thing I learned was in watching them rebuild the ones sent in for repair. Most were damaged by using the wrong stuff to pickle them, not any fault in manufacture or design. Just follow the directions for spectra and not another unit. Some of the other brands dont plan on sleeping.
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Old 21-12-2008, 11:14   #13
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I have a four year old smaller Spectra (the Catalina) with the fancy controls. It's been trouble free. While I'm sure that the electronics could fail, I think operator failure (me) with a manual system is far more likely. Besides remembering to do a flush the electronics also monitors the water flow and filter condition and shuts the unit down (with an alarm) to avoid damage to the pump. Clogged filters are the primary headache of a watermaker - in some waters with lots of plankton (Maine) I get only four hours before cleaning is needed. Someone - either you or the electonics - has to keep a regular watch of the filters whenever the system is running. You will usually be running the watermaker underway when there are a lot of things besides the watermaker to watch.

As mentioned, the Spectra is remarkably quiet. Mine replaced an AC driven unit that was very loud. In the salon the old one was as loud as the engine (admittedly the engine was behind a lot of sound proofing). I typically run my watermaker for 3 hours. The noise can really get to you.

Also, as noted, the new Newport has a couple of great features I wish were on my Catalina. The fresh water flush goes both ways, into the unit and back through the strainer. This should keep stuff from growing in the intake hose if you don't run it every day. It also has a second feed pump that should keep the intake pressure good and high. When I first installed my Catalina I wasn't getting the full rated output. Spectra technical support (which was very good) had me shorten and straighten the intake hose. This probably wouldn't have been needed if there had been a feed pump.

Finally, if the controls ever failed I could easily rewire my Catalina around the controls and run manually. I carry a hand salinity probe for just this eventuality.

Carl
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Old 21-12-2008, 12:14   #14
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Village Marines Little Wonder is the simplest unit avail. 4 or 5 different models pump 7-15 gph on 12v systems. They are built with military spec components of titanium and SS (most of VM units go to the military) and are geared down so the pump works less than other units-for a longer life. And they are about 1/2 the price of Spectra. If you want a 110v unit they have simple ones as well. The only advantage to the Spectra units are that they use a few less amps to produce the same gallonage. But you are paying a premium to save a few amps. Bob
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Old 21-12-2008, 13:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
All the ones I have seen cost a huge amount! Sea Recovery $15,000

I guess its sea baths forever

Are there any good options for less than $5,000 professionally installed?
eBay Motors: Build your own 12 Volt DC Watermaker (item 180314280729 end time Dec-22-08 06:25:51 PST)

I bought these plans and they look to be complete and understandable. I have not built a unit yet, but the author claims like $1600 for what I am looking for.
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