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Old 08-12-2012, 18:11   #91
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Geesh guys as much as like this place I'm not here all day. Well, sometimes I am.
OK, there's a lot of new information here that would take a very long post to address so just to hit a few highlights.
1) I really don't want to comment too much right now on Parker Racor since they have taken over VM. I like the smaller VMs that were originally designed for cruising boats. I've tried to have discussions with Parker Racor about new policies but I'm just a little gnat not worthy of consideration. They have also taken over Sea Recovery and HRO.
2) I said earlier in this thread, I don't like to get into the pros and cons of engine take off systems nor off the shelf systems. It always seems to veer off track like anchor threads and opinions get strong either way. It seems as though the lines are starting to be drawn in this thread. If anyone really wants my advice on these type of systems I prefer to be PMed. I like everybody here and I truly want to keep it that way.
3) I admit a tendency to push Spectra over other systems but not because I'm trying to make a sale. I can sell anyone just about any watermaker made, off the shelf or custom designed if they insist. Sailing cruisers present a different direction than do motor boats, mega yachts, land based systems, emergency disaster systems, oil platforms, etc. Prices and intended designs are all over the place with dozens and dozens of different makes, models, brands, and new people who think it's easy to build commercial systems come and go every year in this business. Though RO technology is simple in theory, every boat, every sailor, every need, and every want, is going to be different. Also there are very specific rules here on CF and I try my best to adhere to them.
4) What looks like a simple design at the boat show is a result of years of R&D, thousands of mistakes, and tons of cash. These are not Toyota's where millions are made and sold every year. It is for the most part a niche business that is not easy to survive in.
5) Ozbullwinkle is spot on "Most but not all others who are commenting only have exposure to the watermaker on their vessel or maybe from those they have read about." I understand and respect the passion one has for their own system and the process that brought them to that choice. But it is usually true that it's tough to get a larger perspective on what's good for others based on one or two experiences with ones own system.
6) I ain't perfect, or I'd call myself an engineer. But I did excel in all my diesel classes driving my instructors bonkers. I try to speak in simple terms and use basic explanations that everyone understands.
7) I make mistakes. I've made a ton of them. It's one of the reasons I try my hardest to walk people through this watermaker decision process because I think I've probably made all of them. But there's always tomorrow to make a new one. But I can say with confidence that I've experienced more boat related watermaker mistakes than most. I think it qualifies me a bit to help others to avoid them.
8) Lastly, I really do look like the pic above and can kick the crap out of anybody.
OK, now I'm fibbing....just a bit.
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Old 08-12-2012, 18:34   #92
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
8) Lastly, I really do look like the pic above and can kick the crap out of anybody.
OK, now I'm fibbing....just a bit.
I can imagine!

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Old 08-12-2012, 18:57   #93
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

My opinion is my Village Marine (VM) water maker is well made junk. And the water it makes, to specification even, is barely adequate. The energy consumption and noise is intolerable. One must constantly fiddle with the inaccessible pressure control to keep the pressure and quality in a safe region. The manual and support are dismal. That's my opinion. My other boat has the littlest Spectra with all the automation features. It is the best thing ever. In 6 years the salinity sensor was replaced once. Spectra sent me a new upgraded sensor for free after one phone call. Unlike the VM it quietly produces almost pure (70ppm) water. It runs off solar no problem. My only complaint is the software interface is kinda awkward, but I have a cheat sheet on the wall next to it so I can remember the few goofy keypresses.

There is a huge difference in watermaker brands.
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Old 08-12-2012, 19:44   #94
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
Love the pic Steve, looks like time for an Avatar change. Thanks for the great compliments.
Hey Tellie, I'm glad that you like the pic. I thought of you as soon as I saw it & I agree that it would make a great new avatar for you.

Mate you deserve all the compliments for all the help you gave me as has already been endorsed by others.
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Old 08-12-2012, 21:32   #95
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This thread is helpful.
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Old 08-12-2012, 22:29   #96
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
Spectra hands down. Installed under a bunk with the A/C running you'd have to listen hard to even hear it. A plunger pump can make quite a racket.
Have really enjoyed this updated clarifying discussion and especially Tellie’s patient posts.

I am in the market to replace my R/O, which is a 1990 HRO System 9 /500gal/day unit.
Still works but system is showing its age and monitoring parts have failed.
HRO/Parker did not respond to my repeated request for replacement parts, so I will look elsewhere.

I fall into the diesel generator category (Northern Lights 10kw @ 220/50hz).
I normally run watermaker daily at anchor, usually for 2-3 hrs while charging my 24v House AGM Bank (1,120AH) via 2 large 24v Victron Charger/Invertors

From experience, I would like to increase capacity to about +600 gal/day if practical for module installation, since my toilets now are FW flush and we do our light tropical laundry on board for 5 to 6.

Noise is a big issue for me, as the plunger pump does make a racket so would appreciate any suggestions or ideas that are both cost effective and quiet!
  1. Is there a big difference in Noise between the expensive energy efficient pumps rather than the plunger CAT/CLARKE Type?
  2. Has anyone ever built a sound box over the AC Motor/ Plunger Type Pump?
  3. Would there be a heat issue if I tried that in the new installation.
  4. With my large 24v house bank, advantage to switching to a DC Motor is that I can make water without use of Gen, but....
  5. If I did. Any major cost, size, noise issues, switching to 24v DC Motor?
What would be your choice for my requirements keeping in mind I am in Asia with limited yacht size support?.... Thanks to all!
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Old 08-12-2012, 23:04   #97
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Have really enjoyed this updated clarifying discussion and especially Tellie’s patient posts.

I am in the market to replace my R/O, which is a 1990 HRO System 9 /500gal/day unit.
Still works but system is showing its age and monitoring parts have failed.
HRO/Parker did not respond to my repeated request for replacement parts, so I will look elsewhere.

I fall into the diesel generator category (Northern Lights 10kw @ 220/50hz).
I normally run watermaker daily at anchor, usually for 2-3 hrs while charging my 24v House AGM Bank (1,120AH) via 2 large 24v Victron Charger/Invertors

From experience, I would like to increase capacity to about +600 gal/day if practical for module installation, since my toilets now are FW flush and we do our light tropical laundry on board for 5 to 6.

Noise is a big issue for me, as the plunger pump does make a racket so would appreciate any suggestions or ideas that are both cost effective and quiet!
  1. Is there a big difference in Noise between the expensive energy efficient pumps rather than the plunger CAT/CLARKE Type?
  2. Has anyone ever built a sound box over the AC Motor/ Plunger Type Pump?
  3. Would there be a heat issue if I tried that in the new installation.
  4. With my large 24v house bank, advantage to switching to a DC Motor is that I can make water without use of Gen, but....
  5. If I did. Any major cost, size, noise issues, switching to 24v DC Motor?
What would be your choice for my requirements keeping in mind I am in Asia with limited yacht size support?.... Thanks to all!
Hi there,

So that we dont change the focus of the OPs search for a low output watermaker I direct you to take a look at my post Higher Capacity Watermakers which should answer most of your questions or you can get the thread going again.

BTW the Spectra system that we installed is very quiet.

Regards,
Steve
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Old 09-12-2012, 00:12   #98
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Hi Steve,

Thanks for directing me to your own thread, which I just read.
Glad that Tellie and others were able to help you decide.

FYI 600 gal/day or 25 gal/hr is not really that high a capacity R/O, so I think my questions 2 to 5 will be helpful in this general discussion.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:46   #99
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

A friend recently traveled to Mexico from Vancouver, BC on his C34. He wrote:

The math is interesting. Oriinally, I thought I would go with a Katadyn unit that does 40 gallons per day. It consumes 4A compared to the Spectra unit's 9A and would have more than met our 15 gallon per day consumption requirement.
The dealer actually gave me a good education. We only need to run the Spectra unit for a couple of hours a day instead of 9 or 10 hours a day on the lower output unit. More importantly, The Spectra unit is about 1.5 Ah per gallon compared to 2.6 Ah/g for the Katadyn.


He sold his WM when he returned for 80% of what he paid for it.
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Old 09-12-2012, 19:23   #100
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

The entire Cruisers Forum watermaker section seems to spin around Tellie and customers, his shop and his favored watermaker brand Spectra. Tellie, I don't believe that this forum was intended as a sales platform. Imagine the amount of biased traffic if a few others (apart from already very active Cruise RO and associates) would also blow their horns.

Commercial views are lead by stronger motives than the simple exchange of cruisers’ experiences with individual brands and therefore must unavoidably mislead readers new to the matter. It actually reads as if there were only two watermaker brands to choose from. This is not so. The mainly promoted players (only in this forum) have a very small appearance in the real cruising world and there are many good watermakers out there and good reasons to choose them instead. By the way, that Volvo race boats are equipped with Spectra explains why they are so expensive but not why they are selected. The Volvo race is all about marketing, so is their choice of equipment.

In the attempt to update my views about watermakers, I came across Tellies’ months long sales correspondence (why not via e-mail?), successfully convincing the forum and captain of the advantages to equip a 60 foot cat with a 24 V DC energy recovery watermaker. The boat has a massive 13.5 KW genset running every day to perform the multiple energy tasks. The energy savings of the Spectra within this scenario would be hard to even calculate.
There are other 24 VDC systems with even higher output than the Spectra NPMKII 1000 but why would anyone suggest this for a boat with large generator? With all respect, this approach is pure nonsense. Being an engineer myself (with diploma) and having assisted and witnessed many fellow cruisers’ in their repairs on “high tech” watermakers, I support the idea that every technical goal must be accomplished with minimal necessary effort and cost.

Tellie makes sure you understand that he sells various brands, and there is a watermaker for every need. However, miraculously, Spectra seem to be his universal remedy. Here is my recommendation:

You run your diesel generator once a day:
Conventional AC watermaker. Any recovery system is to be avoided like the plague. Conventional watermakers are from personal experience (and the net is saturated with evidence) much more reliable and your energy budget allows you to go this way. If you want the 12/24 V DC backup, use one of the more power efficient AC systems and run it from the inverter until your genset is fixed.

You want to use only solar panels and wind generator. You have space for one extra panel:
Conventional DC watermaker. Ad a panel and provide the extra power needed to run it. Do the maths and calculate how many solar panels you could buy for the extra cost of the recovery watermaker, then add the KISS factor. Solar panels are reliable.

You have no space for the extra solar panel, no diesel generator and no regular engine runs - mostly anchored:
Energy recovery DC watermaker. Any of the existing 9+ manufacturers in the 8 to 15 GPH range other than Katadyn. The latter is build around an outdated energy recovery device and special membrane elements. It is less energy efficient than modern conventional DC watermakers. Proprietary equipment complexity without gain does not sound right to me.

You have a gasoline generator:
Keep it for the emergency situation you bought it for. Any watermaker needs a steady supply of energy and operation cannot rely on a generator you have to tote from your cockpit locker. Gas generators are usually small (e.g., Honda 2000i) and have not enough power to charge batteries or any other equipment while the watermaker runs. Gasoline is another problem; apart from the added fire risk, RTW cruisers know that it is often a task to get enough gas only for the dinghy.

You run the engine regularly to charge batteries, freeze holding plates, go anchor up or
your boat is too small for sufficient solar power or diesel generator but you want unlimited water supply:

Belt driven. The bigger the better. Cheap, very reliable if the design is proven and works for everyone in this bracket. High pressure pump installation is fairly simple but should not be done by cruisers without technical experience.

What’s the best deal?
There is none; you get what you pay for. Lately, I see a few ”cheap” watermakers, mostly poor copies of the more successful designs. If you look closely into technical details, you understand that the 10 to 20% off on watermakers put together from the cheapest possible off-the-shelf components turns out to be very expensive compared to a thoroughly designed and purpose build machine backed with decades of manufacturing and field experience. However, the actual use of “chepos” is negligible even so it appears differently here.

As I am writing this; the automatic freshwater flush (together with the complete system automation) is against all high-tech bragging and common believe completely overrated. After properly flushing the membrane elements (replacing all seawater with freshwater) and removing pre-filters, I have successfully stored my watermakers for several month with better results than with the commonly used sodium metabisulfite (degrades membrane performance with each pickling). Don’t comment unless you have tried it! Polypropylene glycol is a good preservative but not space saving to store. The repeated automatic flush is neither needed nor practical as it requires keeping your electrical distribution panel and charger powered as well as the boats plumbing pressurized while you are off the boat.

Tellie, I hope I have not stepped on your little toe and you don’t feel to “kick the crap” out of me in case we meet one day - you wrote you are big. In your open sales correspondence you give many good and important recommendations but in my opinion, Spectra is an over-designed, complicated machine with a bible sized owner’s manual and definitely not suited for everyone.

Tom
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Old 09-12-2012, 19:55   #101
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Tom, welcome (I think) to CF.
However, if on your 2nd post, this is an example of your tone towards an open discussion that includes Tellie and any other’s whose commercial experience is of great value, that welcome may be short lived!

Your points are well taken and equally valuable, but please loose the attitude that we all have an ‘agenda’, or that decisions made by captains and/or owners are based on only one source of advice.
We are smarter than that and your public lecture on members, as a newbie, is not appreciated.

Again, welcome, hope you understand our play nice rules
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Old 09-12-2012, 20:18   #102
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Quote:
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The entire Cruisers Forum watermaker section seems to spin around Tellie and customers, his shop and his favored watermaker brand Spectra. Tellie, I don't believe that this forum was intended as a sales platform. Imagine the amount of biased traffic if a few others (apart from already very active Cruise RO and associates) would also blow their horns.
I've always suspected that the forum benefits more from Tellie than he does from the forum.
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Old 09-12-2012, 20:24   #103
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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I've always suspected that the forum benefits more from Tellie than he does from the forum.
AMEN! I didn't own a Spectra, but without Tellie's help with watermakers in general, I would have wasted a ton of time and money. Tellie is good people
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Old 09-12-2012, 22:23   #104
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

I haven't bought my watermaker yet, but I feel that Tellies advice and thoughts are a far cry from a "hard sell". I find them quite unbiased
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Old 09-12-2012, 22:42   #105
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Tom,
I think your impression of Tellie is way off. He's offered free advice to this forum for a long time now. Heck, he even referred me to another district dealer since we are on opposite coasts. I would not call that self serving!

As for Spectra, their design has proven to be more economic for smaller vessels, and repairs are a lot easier. Some are willing to pay the price for quality and the support we get! I'm speaking as a retired Maintenance Machinist & Hydraulic Tech. I've rebuilt cat pumps and its no joy!
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