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Old 20-12-2010, 01:52   #16
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Hi Lunasea,

There are several posible things going on here. First on the repairs you have done. Were you getting advice from someone on what to repair yourself? Usually people don't get into annualar rings, spool valves etc. on their own. Second the news is good and somewhat bad. If you have been happy with your water maker over the years, the good news is that your 200C is repairable at far less cost than a new one. 200Cs are one of Spectras first units built, so it is around eight years old as you state. When the production drops off as you indicated over to half in a few months chances are good that it was not the membrane. Now if the membrane you replaced was the original then I would say that you got a very good service life from it and it would have been time to replace it anyways. Eight years on a membrane tells me that the water maker was very well taken care of. At this point with a new membrane installed and production still at half there is only two possibilities of what is going wrong. It is either the feed pump or the Clark pump or considering the watermakers age a combination of both. The first to look at is the feed pump. You say it is good, how did you test it. There is a quick test that must be performed to to check for a bad feed pump. First, with the unit running, pinch off the brine discharge hose with a pair of pliers or kink it off if you have enough hose. Watch the pressure guage closely while you are doing this. With a good feed pump the pressure should quickly climb to the 125psi range (give or take 10psi) and shut off and on momentarily. If this happens your feed pump is good and it is delivering enough pressure. If it does not climb to those pressures and lets say it hovers around 40-80psi and keeps running then the feed pump head needs to be replaced first. If all is well with the feed pump and production is still only half then it's the Clark pump. The important question here is, are you the original owner of this watwer maker? If you are then you are in luck because Spectra warranties their Clark pump to the original purchaser for as long as you own it. If you send it in to them they will pull it completly apart and repair anything that is wrong with it they find. Your only cost would be shipping. If you are not the original owner then I suggest that you take advantage of their exchange program you refered to. It is no longer$350 but rather $450. Also if the cylinders are badly scored they will charge you an additional $200 for new cylinders on top of the $450. I would higly recommend you send your Clark pump back, it's a lot cheaper than buying a new Clark pump and it will be like new when you get it back. You will need to call Spectra directly and ask for an RMA number. Also you will need to provide the serial number on the Clark pump, it is below the pressure relief valve. It is a four digit number followed by a "-" and either a 7 or a 10. Also the voltage of your unit, probably 12V.
This is important as well. Before you remove the Clark pump you must pickle the system to protect the membrane. (Only use the SC-1 storage compound to maintain the warranty) Remember this is done with the pressure reielf valve open. So even with a weak Clark pump it will still pickle the system no problem. Once this is done carefully remove the Clark pump from the system. Remove the mounting bracket/s on the bottom of the pump and keep them and the bolts. Also remove the brine discharge quick disconnect and keep it as well. It can take about three weeks for a normal return. Once you do all the above you should be fine. If you have any further questions either now or later you can give me a PM as well.
PS. Don't worry about your water maker becoming obsolete. Once you are done with the above you will still have all the same parts used in a new Spectra water maker.
Good Luck Tellie.
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Old 20-12-2010, 03:23   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasea.ds View Post
...Our Spectra 200C Watermaker production has been on the decline from 8 gph to 4 gph over the last few months. We chemically cleaned the membrane and the output didn't change so we replaced it and found the old one was bio fouled. But the output still didn't improve. The feed water pump is in good condition...
Are you sure the pump is in good condition? Tellie's excellent advice offered one test, but if you ping Spectra they'll offer you more. Like how much brine you get per minute, & how much you're pumping with the Clark Pump valve open.

Your simptoms sound much more like a worn feed-pump to me. One of Spectra's dirty little secrets is that their pump heads wear out pretty quickly. Ours last about 700 hours, or perhaps 2 years. The pump motors are usually fine (ours are original 2001 motors) but the pump heads will wear out. Symptom is declining production. Bad membranes are usually indicated by poor water quality (high salinity).

The pumps are specially souped up ShurFlo pumps, but I'm not sure you can get replacements from ShurFlo. I think you have to go through Spectra. Spectra used to give us a break on the heads but they're starting to tighten up now.
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Old 20-12-2010, 03:42   #18
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Originally Posted by lunasea.ds View Post
We are wondering how to proceed. In Spectra's 2002 manual they declare they have a refurbish program for $350. If it's still available should we send the Clark pump to Spectra and rely on a refurbished older model; or if replacement parts are available try and fix it ourselves (not knowing what else could be wrong); or stab ourselves in the wallet for a costly newer model? If we get a newer model which one? Would it be wise to have Spectra refurbish our existing Clark pump to have as a spare.

Of course budget is always a concern. I'm weary of investing in something that's going obsolete. Since today is Sunday we don't have the cost breakdown yet. Just trying to get educated on the options. Thank you.
I would go with spectra, That cost will rebuild the pump and test it and it will be a much better job than you guessing what part. They really do a fine job.
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Old 20-12-2010, 16:44   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Are you sure the pump is in good condition? Tellie's excellent advice offered one test, but if you ping Spectra they'll offer you more. Like how much brine you get per minute, & how much you're pumping with the Clark Pump valve open.

Your simptoms sound much more like a worn feed-pump to me. One of Spectra's dirty little secrets is that their pump heads wear out pretty quickly. Ours last about 700 hours, or perhaps 2 years. The pump motors are usually fine (ours are original 2001 motors) but the pump heads will wear out. Symptom is declining production. Bad membranes are usually indicated by poor water quality (high salinity).

The pumps are specially souped up ShurFlo pumps, but I'm not sure you can get replacements from ShurFlo. I think you have to go through Spectra. Spectra used to give us a break on the heads but they're starting to tighten up now.

Hi Jon,

Just a few quick points. On a Spectra system with a shurflo head the pressure test is the quickest and best test. Even a worn pump head will many times flow to spec with the pressure relief valve opened. It's how it operates under resistance that is the key to whether it will flow under the required pressure. The flow tests are really more effective on the larger units that don't use the Shurflo heads. In defense of Spectra I don't think there is really any dirty secrets about their products. They are pretty open about any of their systems issues if asked. I see a lot of worn out pump heads. I've also see many go for twice as many hours as yours before needing replacement. When a water maker goes through pump heads at an unusally high rate it's a good idea to re-cheack the system and perhaps gently inquire about owner operation for problems. You are also correct that these pump heads are propriatary to Spectra and can only be purchased through them.
Also when Lunasea stated he saw badly scored cylinders and scored piston rods there's a good chance that there is a filtering problem and it's pretty much a sure bet that the Clark pump is due for a overhaul.
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Old 20-12-2010, 20:00   #20
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Tellie, I've asked Spectra several times & they have no answers to why my heads go so quickly. I've even asked if I should put a pre-filter before the pumps. I DO tend to run both pumps, which I know puts more wear on them (but the higher pressure produces better quality water). And I try to run it only in clear (8' viz) water.

And I like your test - I hadn't heard that one before! Very cool (& fast)
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Old 21-12-2010, 10:07   #21
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Clark Pump and other Spectra bits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
Hi Lunasea,

There are several posible things going on here. First on the repairs you have done. Were you getting advice from someone on what to repair yourself? Usually people don't get into annualar rings, spool valves etc. on their own. Second the news is good and somewhat bad. If you have been happy with your water maker over the years, the good news is that your 200C is repairable at far less cost than a new one. 200Cs are one of Spectras first units built, so it is around eight years old as you state. When the production drops off as you indicated over to half in a few months chances are good that it was not the membrane. Now if the membrane you replaced was the original then I would say that you got a very good service life from it and it would have been time to replace it anyways. Eight years on a membrane tells me that the water maker was very well taken care of. At this point with a new membrane installed and production still at half there is only two possibilities of what is going wrong. It is either the feed pump or the Clark pump or considering the watermakers age a combination of both. The first to look at is the feed pump. You say it is good, how did you test it.
We're not the original boat owners so we don't know if the membrane was the original. It was so fouled even after the chemical cleaning so it was time to replace. Dave was a maintenance person in his other life so he is willing to follow technical manuals and delve into boat repair mysteries.

While installing the membrane we discovered new hoses and fittings were needed because the old fittings made of brass were corroded and the threads didn't match the port.

Initially our feed pump was tested by open flow measurement and shut off pressure. We further tested it using Tellies recommended brine discharge hose test and it passed. But 2 hours later it screeched, the drive and motor bearing died. Our rebuilt spare went on and we ordered a backup one.

We found out from Spectra that their website, under "Support", is where we do our RMA return. There is an option to have a refurbished unit sent in advance and for us to send ours back for a credit after it arrives. This allows us to keep making water at the lower rate. Knowing that we're getting a unit from Spectra we know the unit will be as up to date as possible. Overall we're very happy with our Spectra unit.

Thank you Tellie and others for your excellent advice!
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Old 21-12-2010, 14:38   #22
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Just want to make it clear.Spectra warranty the Clark pump for defective parts only.Wear and tear,neglect,faulty maintainence ,are not covered for free.
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Old 21-12-2010, 18:14   #23
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Watermaker Membranes

Since this thread is nominally about where to purchace watermaker membranes, I thought I'd publish where NOT to get one.

Our membrane died (after 6 years) in the middle of the Indian Ocean & we couldn't replace it until the Seychelles. Big Brand Water Filter had good prices so we ordered 2 from them, 1 for a friend. But BBWF waited so long that our friend left, so we told BBWF to cancel one filter. Even though we got to them before they shipped, they still sent 2. The 2 were packed together in a thin box made for one & shipped clear across the world. When they arrived, the plastic bags were torn & all the protective fluid had run out. BBWF would accept no responsibility & actually got quite rude & condescending. We sent the email thread to our credit card company & they sorted it out, but I would never deal with BBWF again.

Replacing the filter was much easier than I thought it would be. Unscrew the end of the housing, pull out the old membrane, a little silicone grease on the sealing surfaces, put the new membrane in, & screw the end-cap back on. The biggest pain was disconnecting & reconnecting it.

BTW, the symptom of our membrane dying was gradually increasing salinity - that we didn't notice! Cruising friends who like our sweet water noticed, & when I checked I found that our Total Disolved Solids had jumped from 350 to 1300ppm.

So don't count on being able to taste poor quality water. Drinking 500+ppm water is bad for you long term, but you probably won't notice it until it gets at least twice that bad. TDS meters are only ~$30, & well worth it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 16:38   #24
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Re: Where to Purchase Watermaker Membrane ?

What's the story on new membranes only last 12 months? Does Allied Membranes and Spectra throw all their membranes out every 365 days?
Can someone explain to me what's this all about.
Can't one just buy one say vacuum seal and store away?
I really a don't understand the what appears to be the extreme anxiety I read on the net concerning water makes, the scariest bit about them is the price to buy one? Obviously we are still paying for the original R and D to design them in the beginning.
The spectra venture 150 that came in our cat seems to be extremely simple but a very clever design. Have a read at the site below to maybe help get a better understanding of the whole story.
http://www.thetwocaptains.com/engine...er_OpNotes.pdf
Re changing the membrane see utube Check out this video on YouTube:

Check out this video on YouTube:



Well that's my 20 cents worth for today
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:09   #25
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Re: Where to Purchase Watermaker Membrane ?

Membranes have a shelf life of about one year + or - outside of a watermaker. Buying a stored spare is usually a bad idea and a waste of money. Vacuum sealing one would not make a difference. Watermaker companies try, as any company does with time sensitive products, to have on hand what they hope to sell. They do have some that are not used after a certain time that have to be discarded. Also you are not still paying for old R&D but on going R&D. It's true watermakers are expensive, but it ain't cheap to run a niche business like a watermaker company and keep the doors open. You could always build your own in an atempt to save a few dollars, but it's been my experiance that road usually doesn't finacially work out for the average cruiser. It is also not true that Applied makes all membranes, Village Marine makes their own propriatary sized membranes.

PS Dons article is good but a bit dated. If you ever need any help with that Ventura 150 you have, don't hesistate to ask me.
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Old 12-03-2013, 21:54   #26
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Re: Where to Purchase Watermaker Membrane ?

The confusions comes because Applied Membranes does roll their own membranes and sells them as their own brand "API" at their Vista California facilility, I've watched them do it. But in addition to rolling their own they also sell about every brand of RO Membrane on the market including the industry standard Dow Filmtec SW30-2540 40" membrane.

Managing membrane shelf life is why we have a standing order for 36 SW30-2540 RO Memberanes per month. That way we can cover the membranes we put into new water makers plus sell them stand alone for $187. I can honestly say that we don't make money by selling a DOW SW30-2540 for $187, but we do it as a way to get better membrane pricing, keep our inventory fresh and quite honestly for marketing reasons. But I'd make more money collecting cans along the side of the road than I do on membrane sales even at 10/mo. Now if I could get away with charging $499, well sha-zam...California maybe wouldn't be going bankrupt from my income tax bill!
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Old 01-05-2013, 13:17   #27
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Re: Watermaker Membranes

I have had similar experience with other online sources. Eastern RO in NC is where I get them now.
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