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Old 10-12-2012, 01:18   #106
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Maybe I've just got this completely wrong. Someone correct me. I'm reading posts about 600 gal (gallons!!!) per day water makers.

Back to basics. My wife and I have a 40 footer. Big enough to go RTW, small enough for us to handle two persons. We'll have the diesel engine and solar panels. I've (so far) opted against have a wind vane because of noise issues reliability etc. It also has to do with the amount of juice gobbling equipment we have on board. We will have a big refrigerator (no freezer), but it is new so uses fairly little juice compared to older ones. We're not huge TV fans so we won't have one of those, and even if we did, it probably won't get used much. While sailing, we will have radar, chart plotters etc running (although when passage making, no chartplotter and the radar will be on "slumber".

All lights on board are LED. We will have 4 x 140 VA batteries, so off hand we should have enough juice to get by on. Since we do like to have hot water, I suspect we will run the engine every couple of days to heat the hot water tank (maybe not - we'll see). If we run the engine for that, we can use that juice to run the water maker.

Now, how big the water maker? I was thinking something like the smallest Spectra, 24 liters per hour. Running it a couple of hours each day means 50 liters in the tanks. Will we use 50 liters each day? I would say no, but from all the replies, I'm guessing I need to get something bigger.

I am really looking for something quiet (no backing down on this demand), and economical in terms of juice.

While I've looked at carrying a small genet, I've decided against it. Space, extra fuel and limited benefits.

So how much water do you all in 40-45 foot monohulls use?

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Old 10-12-2012, 01:30   #107
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

With moderate care we use 10g/day. Mostly with showering several times per day. On passages somewhat less. 2 people. Some careful clothes washing.

All the watermaker pressure pumps can be noisy. careful mounting can help tremendously. I once mounted one on a bulkhead. Oops...like a drum.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:33   #108
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Tom, I appreciate your technical advice - it's spot on. Please don't let the others dissuade you from contributing in the future. I look forward to reading more of your opinions.

Likewise, I appreciate Tellies advice. To be fair to Tellie - he never hides the fact that he is commercial and that he is a fan of Spectra. To me, that's full disclosure and all anyone can ask. There's nothing stopping another vendor form a competing brand adding their 2c to these threads.

If I were to buy a Spectra, I'd order one from Tellie. He does deserve some reward for taking the time to post here.

For now, I am looking at the simplest AC powered system with generic components..probably Echotec at this stage. The smaller ones (25GPH) will run off a 2Kw inverter. Thus a large battery and solar/wind my also still be viable on "good days".
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:53   #109
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
......
So how much water do you all in 40-45 foot monohulls use?
Two of us on board a slightly larger boat here. We use 25-30 litres (5.5-6.6 gallons) average per day, which includes large laundry loads once a week (small items are washed every day or two), fresh rinses after swims several times a day in summer and one shower per day (each of course LOL) in winter.
Since we installed a watermaker, we have not used any water from shore (including bottled water) for several years except on the hard stand.

Prior to that we used 17 litres per day plus extra for laundry.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:24   #110
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Lassie/Daddle,

These kinds of usages I can recognize. When we holiday cruise, we absolutely do not make an effort to conserve water. Good clean fresh water is available everywhere in DK for free. So there is no reason to conserve (aside from our guilty consciences). WE have 2 x140 liter tanks and we go through a tank about every 4 days. Note that this includes pressured water, hot water and everything. We generally don't shower on board, only rinsing off, if we have hopped in the big pond.

So we're using, say 30-40 liters per day? And that is not every day. the usage jumps.

How big are your water makers? how often do you run them?

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Old 10-12-2012, 02:35   #111
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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Lassie/Daddle,
......
How big are your water makers? how often do you run them?
We have a Spectra 150. It produces around 23 litres per hour. Power draw measures 9A. We run it off solar (we have a 330W bank) usually every second day for 2.5 hours (need to allow for the fresh water rinse) with an extra run for big laundry loads. Our house battery bank is 400 AHr.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:39   #112
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Seaworthy Lass.. So, you can have 2 x showers, cook, wash up and do your laundry with only 30 liters of water?

Outstanding!. Are you originally from Oodnadatta or Andamooka or Birdsville? (dusty dry, desert towns in Oz, to those who are wondering)
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:40   #113
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Every sailors bog I read who have a watermaker always state that bigger is bigger. Either it is to keep up with water use or just because it produces the water faster and is less trouble that baby sitting a smaller unit for hours.

So over the years I've cycled between a higher capacity unit like one from CruiseRO running off a Honda (I figure I'm going to be running the Honda pretty much each day for hot water or something else), or the smaller DC units. And if I run the smaller DC units should I go the energy recovery units and plan to run it off the solar/wind.

Seems depending on the lunar phase the correct answer in my mind changes. In 2 years when I "need" to decide I wonder the moon phase will be.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:51   #114
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We have a Spectra Cape Horn and like it. Used extensively the last 20 months. Until just recently, it was the only water to go in the tank. Don't want to make water in Cartagena harbor! The only problem we've had was "user error"...and it eventually was a cheap easy fix.

We use 12 gallons a day in conservation mode (2 people), more like 20-25 gallons per day when in good clean anchorages. Generally run the watermaker once a week overnight for 14-18 hours overall. Usually run just one of the pumps for 9 gal/hour at 9 amps 12VDC.

Even though we have and run a generator daily to charge batteries, it would be a loading problem to add an AC watermaker for the first hour while we cook, charge and cool the cabin for the evening. So we like the 12V operation.

In the Defever community there have been several happy owners of the 12V Little Wonder, I'm sorry to hear Parker is having a negative impact on Village Marine.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:45   #115
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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Seaworthy Lass.. So, you can have 2 x showers, cook, wash up and do your laundry with only 30 liters of water?

Outstanding!. Are you originally from Oodnadatta or Andamooka or Birdsville? (dusty dry, desert towns in Oz, to those who are wondering)
LOL, yes, 30 litres of water is it for two of us. I think the usage would be significantly higher in even Andamooka .
I grew up going camping frequently.
Holiday home as a kid had a rainwater tank drawing only off a small tin roof.
Our last boat had a 40 litre (10 gallon) water tank (no zeros have been left off).
Perfect training grounds for cruising now .

We have salt water supplied to the kitchen sink, so only rinsing is done (sparingly) with fresh water. As we are never in polluted harbours, using this is not a concern.
Tea, coffee, cold drinks (I have a soda syphon) and cooking use several litres a day.
Showers use 3 litres of water each in winter daily. In summer I rinse with fresh water after every swim (1.5 litres several times each day), but much less laundry water is needed then as I live mainly in a bikini and hubbie in light shorts.
Winches are rinsed with a little fresh water if they have had salt water on them, but decks are simply wiped down each dewy morning (they keep spotless and salt free doing this), so no fresh water is needed there.
Laundry is the killer, but this has been refined after a lot of trial and error. It has been well over a year since I used any facilities ashore as I actually find it more trouble now finding places and lugging bags back and forth, than it is to do it by hand on board, and I actually do a better job at getting things clean. Whites are always dazzlingly white.

We could always run the water maker an hour extra every second day and this would increase our water supply by 50%, but if we can't have 10 minute showers, we really don't need just a bit extra water, so we haven't bothered doing this. Work well for us, I don't feel in any way deprived (thats deprived, not depraved LOL ) .
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:26   #116
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Every sailors bog I read who have a watermaker always state that bigger is bigger. Either it is to keep up with water use or just because it produces the water faster and is less trouble that baby sitting a smaller unit for hours.

So over the years I've cycled between a higher capacity unit like one from CruiseRO running off a Honda (I figure I'm going to be running the Honda pretty much each day for hot water or something else), or the smaller DC units. And if I run the smaller DC units should I go the energy recovery units and plan to run it off the solar/wind.

Seems depending on the lunar phase the correct answer in my mind changes. In 2 years when I "need" to decide I wonder the moon phase will be.
After over 4 years of full time cruising, our next watermaker will be an AC powered larger capacity one. We will probably be replacing our perfectly good 6gal/hr DC one next year for the above.

This is only our experience and preference, but when full-time cruising, you use more power and water than you think. Or you wish you could. We have been cruising where obtaining shoreside water is cumbersome and difficult, although it is always possible with enough effort and going out of ones way.

It is certainly easy to economize and conserve both water and energy, but then you are camping and this becomes old.

Regularly washing salt off the boat, doing laundry often and at will, showering frequently with fresh water after swimming (or just because it is hot and feels good), etc becomes more important the longer we are cruising.

The only cruisers we have ever met who didn't want more watermaking capacity already had higher output watermakers (>20gal/hr).

Particularly since the equipment that allows this is available and costs no more, and often less, than smaller capacity DC powered units.

Here is a dirty little secret about DC powered units: they only produce their rated output and quality when the voltage at the unit is 13.8V. That means you will have a charging source going anyway when running these units, and that charging source will be running longer to bring the batteries up to charge due to the simultaneous battery drain from the watermaker.

Almost everyone we know with DC units plan their use during motoring or running a generator. We have 480W of solar and that is enough to run the watermaker or charge the batteries, but not both unless we limit the watermaker to just an hour or the batteries are mostly full anyway. And we have a full sunny day.

So, if getting a DC unit, definitely go with an energy recovery type - you will either get the same output with half the energy input, or double the output with the same input. Particularly if you plan to run it off solar, as that will leave more power to recharge the batteries and you will have a fighting chance of running without needing a generator or engine run.

In contrast to much of what Tellie's experiences are, most of the people we meet with watermaker problems have Spectra units. However, and I want to be very clear on this, we don't meet many people whose watermakers have any problems at all (despite what everyone says about the fragility of these things) and for all we know, the majority of people out here may have Spectra units, which would make the few with problems actually rare, percentage-wise. And the Spectra problems are always the same ones: feed pump bad and automation controls messed up - both either easily fixed (carry spare pump) or avoided (I'm not a fan of automation here).

If getting an AC unit, my preference is to size it so that it is possible to run it off our inverter if the genset fails. This is ~30gal/day, drawing ~120 DC amps. This allows us to run it while motoring or charging using the engines (180A from the alternators).

Another consideration is to size it to run off a portable generator like the Honda 2000 (BTW, these Hondas are available EVERYWHERE - I would not be concerned about being without one). The size is about the same ~30gal/day because of the limited output of these generators. Keep in mind that if you go this route, the generator will be dedicated to running the watermaker - you will not be able to charge batteries or do anything else at the same time as you make water.

Above all - before purchasing a watermaker, make sure you have maximized your ability to catch and process rainwater. There is nothing like a high-capacity, zero-energy source of water! If you cruise where it rains hard once/week and you have a good rainwater catchment system (one that doesn't require you to sit pans all around the deck), you will not need a watermaker. During a strong rain, our hardtop bimini collects over 100gal/hr and it isn't even optimized for rain collection (I estimate only ~1/3 of the rain is collected).

Again, these are only my thoughts and preferences and what works best for us. Every boat, cruising style and needs are different.

Mark
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:54   #117
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

Is anyone using the Spectra Z-Brane? Does it need to be energized 24/7? What does this mean in additional amp-hours/day?
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:59   #118
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

First off, Shaumburg, welcome to the forum. I appreciate your points and you have not stepped on my little toe nor offended me in any way. Though I may not be as big as the picture I joked about earlier, neither is my ego. I like to believe however that I am big enough to take what ever is thrown at me and take it in the light it was meant and to prove it, if we ever do meet, the first few rounds are on me. But a few counter points. You are right, I am at times biased towards Spectras, but certainly not always. Most of the major players out there make good watermakers, some not so good. I don't trash anyones product but I assure you after working on boat based watermakers for years, literally hundreds maybe a few thousand by now, there are issues with all of them, including Spectras. Some have a lot more issues than others. There is always someone who will swear by the worst watermaker made. But the devil is in the small details. If I may, the one thing I'd like to correct on the months long thread I believe you are referring to where a Spectra was installed on a large yacht, with a large generator, a watermaker by the way I did not sell to him, is the fact that this boat is going to be sitting at anchor, unattended, quite often for long periods of time. This means that the generator will not be run every day so it would not see fresh water flush on a regular bases and an AC unit would not serve them well. Knowing all the major players in the watermaker market I can assure you none of them would recommend leaving a boat weeks on end for a month or so without pickling the system for good reason. Many systems have multiple membranes, asking people to try it before they comment is a bit financially dangerous to them as well. As far as the Volvo boats, your assumptions are wrong. Every Volvo boat, and I have been aboard and inside them all, have a crew of International engineers (with degrees) on their support teams, pretty sharp fellows all of them. These boats all have a Spectra on them for weight and simplicity of offshore repair, weight of spares, and a system that is designed not from off the shelf parts but a system designed (again by engineers with degrees) to take a very rough pounding that these boats dish out. You might not even recognize a Spectra watermaker on a Volvo boat. These guys remove any non essential parts that adds weight, brackets etc. and build custom carbon fiber parts to replace them. But yet the basic system is the same anyone will get with a Spectra. It is not about money or marketing for them, it is about weight, power usage, and the ability to be thrown around upside down and still perform as rated. If A VM, Sea Recovery, HRO, etc could perform like these, or even weighed one ounce less, there would not be any Spectras aboard a Volvo boat. There is also a lot to be said for after sales service. Again, I am a bit biased, Spectra is second to none. Ask anyone who has recently needed warranty repair on another particularly large manufacturer of watermakers what their experiance has been. Don't forget, not everyone is an engineer with a degree. I'll venture to say that most of us here are mere mortals and do need a little back up and help here and there. This is truly really all I try to do here. If the Moderators ever think I'm over stepping my bounds, especially the ones with (engineering degrees) and that I am only trying to sell a watermaker to the unsuspecting I trust they will surely let me know. Ya see Shaumburg, some people are truly just nice people who get enjoyment out of helping others. I'd just like to be fortunate enough to be considered one of them, especially by you.
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Old 10-12-2012, 17:09   #119
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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If I were to buy a Spectra, I'd order one from Tellie. He does deserve some reward for taking the time to post here.

But you can't unless you go where he is. Spectra has lots of rules on who and what he sells. If I want one in Hudson, he can't sell it to me.

And he still will help anybody, anywhere. I used the phone........for hours. He couldn't even sell me filters once we left.

I don't know why he does it but he does.

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Old 10-12-2012, 17:16   #120
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Re: Which Watermaker To Choose

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Laundry is the killer, but this has been refined after a lot of trial and error. It has been well over a year since I used any facilities ashore as I actually find it more trouble now finding places and lugging bags back and forth, than it is to do it by hand on board, and I actually do a better job at getting things clean. Whites are always dazzlingly white.


(thats deprived, not depraved LOL ) .
Please start a thread with details on exactly how you do your laundry aboard.

Add depraved pics if you want. Heh.
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