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Old 08-10-2018, 08:34   #1
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$205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

I recently bought an older "Survivor 35" watermaker off of Ebay. It appears to be old military surplus and had service records from 1997 all the way up to 2012.

I bought with the idea of keeping it in a ditch bag and having for emergencies and figured it was worth $205 to give it a shot and see how it worked. I also thought others might be curious about what I found.

Here is what I found:

The thing looked brand new when I opened it. Clean, zero wear or marks and included a little documentation of service dates. I did not disassemble it, but there was no liquid in any of the hoses and when I pumped it nothing came out.

Pumping felt like everything was "tight" and functioning well. No grinding, no sticking, just buttery pumping motion.

***Disclaimer: This is not a super controlled lab test. The intent was to get a rough idea as to whether this thing worked and would be useful a survival situation. Yes, I could have done many things to make this a more accurate test, but the effort vs reward lead to this "caveman" test. If you think I should have done something else, I encourage you to buy one of these cheap units and do whatever it is that you would like to see***

I made some saltwater (I live in Utah) using distilled water from the grocery store and morton table salt. I added 35g of salt per liter of water and made one gallon. After adding the salt, the PPM was beyond the measuring capability of my TDS meter.

I pumped the salt water and tested the output water in 1/3 liter batches. I had to rout the brine back into my "seawater" gallon to keep everything running without running out of water. This would affectively increase the concentration of salt as I continued to pump water.

The fresh water out of the watermaker varied from 900 TDS to 1300 TDS per my cheap chinese TDS meter. I took a sip of the last 1/3 liter. It had the slightest hint of salt taste, and a little chemical taste.

I stopped pumping after making one liter of water and did not try to figure out the concentration of the saltwater that was left. I ran some biocide through the watermaker and put it away ready to go in my ditch bag.

A few statements:
1300 ppm is super high for drinking water. FDA says everything should be below 500ppm.

I would not drink the water output from this watermaker every day. In fact it would have to be quite an emergency for me to voluntarily drink this water.

According to the USDA, 1 portion (6-8 nachos) of nachos with cheese has 816mg of sodium and the recommended amount of sodium for an adult is 2300mg.

Assuming the concentration of salt stayed at 1300ppm, me, my wife, and my 3 kids would get 1300mg of salt per liter of this water we drink.


My conclusion:

I will not be spending $450 for a new membrane for this watermaker, but I will bring this with me on my 12 month trip starting this May.

If we get into a situation where we need to use this the ability to make water (albiet with a higher than ideal level of salt) will be a "lifesaver"

$205 well spent
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:34   #2
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Any used watermaker I would not buy without budgeting for a new membrane

They are a consumable, at some point even if you'd paid the new price, you'd need to spring for one.

Maybe by the time you **really need** to use it, the results will be much worse?

And I bet you don't need to spend that much.

Try https://www.wateranywhere.com/membra...ter-membranes/ ?
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:06   #3
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

The PPM probably would have gotten better if you had mixed up several gallons of water and not returned the brine discharge to the original mix.
One gallon is not much to work with before making a judgement call.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:16   #4
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgw50 View Post
I recently bought an older "Survivor 35" watermaker off of Ebay. It appears to be old military surplus and had service records from 1997 all the way up to 2012.

I bought with the idea of keeping it in a ditch bag and having for emergencies and figured it was worth $205 to give it a shot and see how it worked. I also thought others might be curious about what I found.

Here is what I found:

The thing looked brand new when I opened it. Clean, zero wear or marks and included a little documentation of service dates. I did not disassemble it, but there was no liquid in any of the hoses and when I pumped it nothing came out.

Pumping felt like everything was "tight" and functioning well. No grinding, no sticking, just buttery pumping motion.

***Disclaimer: This is not a super controlled lab test. The intent was to get a rough idea as to whether this thing worked and would be useful a survival situation. Yes, I could have done many things to make this a more accurate test, but the effort vs reward lead to this "caveman" test. If you think I should have done something else, I encourage you to buy one of these cheap units and do whatever it is that you would like to see***

I made some saltwater (I live in Utah) using distilled water from the grocery store and morton table salt. I added 35g of salt per liter of water and made one gallon. After adding the salt, the PPM was beyond the measuring capability of my TDS meter.

I pumped the salt water and tested the output water in 1/3 liter batches. I had to rout the brine back into my "seawater" gallon to keep everything running without running out of water. This would affectively increase the concentration of salt as I continued to pump water.

The fresh water out of the watermaker varied from 900 TDS to 1300 TDS per my cheap chinese TDS meter. I took a sip of the last 1/3 liter. It had the slightest hint of salt taste, and a little chemical taste.

I stopped pumping after making one liter of water and did not try to figure out the concentration of the saltwater that was left. I ran some biocide through the watermaker and put it away ready to go in my ditch bag.

A few statements:
1300 ppm is super high for drinking water. FDA says everything should be below 500ppm.

I would not drink the water output from this watermaker every day. In fact it would have to be quite an emergency for me to voluntarily drink this water.

According to the USDA, 1 portion (6-8 nachos) of nachos with cheese has 816mg of sodium and the recommended amount of sodium for an adult is 2300mg.

Assuming the concentration of salt stayed at 1300ppm, me, my wife, and my 3 kids would get 1300mg of salt per liter of this water we drink.


My conclusion:

I will not be spending $450 for a new membrane for this watermaker, but I will bring this with me on my 12 month trip starting this May.

If we get into a situation where we need to use this the ability to make water (albiet with a higher than ideal level of salt) will be a "lifesaver"

$205 well spent
how long did you pump the unit for prior to testing the product water ?
From your statement of it having a chemical taste you did not run long enough to flush the biocide out and by recycling all of the water you would never completely flush the system due to recycling all of the water.
My powersurvivor35 takes about 15 minutes of run time in clean sea water to produce drinkable water in the 250 to 300 ppm range. Which means to properly test your unit you would need at a minimum of 10 gallons of raw water to run the unit . And not recycle the brine or product water.
Side note : I paid 150 for mine off fleabay
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:11   #5
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

The cave man way is how many honest sailors will tell you they test and fix many issues on the fly. The 900-1,300ppm means nothing unless we know accurately what the input ppm is. If your input concentration is too low then these numbers are extremely high. If your input is too high then these numbers could be great. If you lucked out and got the salt water concentration right these numbers are still too high and time sitting in your ditch bag will increase these numbers. You'd be surprised how much salt is actually in sea water. Getting this right is fairly important and fairly simple. Table salt is usually a bad idea in recreating artificial ocean water. Go to any pet store that sells salt water fish and aquariums. They will have "Artificial Ocean" and an inexpensive "$20" hydrometer for testing the salinity fairly accurately. Mix your solution to 32,000ppms, about 3-4 gallons worth, and then operate your watermaker for at least 15 minutes with the brine discharge not returning to the solution then test your product water. If you are still getting 900-1,300ppms, spring for a new membrane. $645 for a working emergency watermaker, $440 for the membrane and only $205 for the watermaker, is cheap. Now, that being said, buying a $200 surplus Pur/Katadyn watermaker on E-bay is a crap shoot at best. The issues these have is usually the membrane and the seals. Membranes are easy but Stainless Steel crevice corrosion is frequent on these used units because they never get used and sit for years unused. Once this happens the unit can get very expensive to fix , usually on the order of the cost of a new unit. The funny thing is bad seals and crevice corrosion usually don't show up on the performance of these units until about an hour or so run time. Works great for the people that sell them cheap on E-bay. I rarely work on these because they are a pain and there's no real profit in them for us. But I don't discourage owner repairs on any $200 watermaker. Now that being said my best advice to anyone looking to stuff a ditch bag, make sure you spend your money first on a EPIRB, that'll get you fresh water in a life raft faster than an E-bay watermaker.
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Old 08-10-2018, 16:01   #6
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$205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

I bought an old PUR survivor 6 and will replace the membrane.
However just to get an idea of if the pump was good or not etc, I gave to a try here at the boat. Iím in brackish water and the raw water tested about 900.
I pumped that little bugger for what seemed like forever and finally got about 1 Oz of water to test, it tested at 85 PPM, which shocked me.
Now Iím pretty sure the membrane was dry to start with, this Watermaker has apparently been in its sealed bag since 1994 until I opened it, or that is the only date on the tag where your supposed to annotate the yearly service.

A question I have is once I replace the membrane, is it OK to pickle it in a 50/50 mix of RV antifreeze, just like the bigger watermakers? Or do I need the sodium metabisulphate or whatever it is?
I have lots of the powdered stuff, but if itís OK Iíd rather use the RV antifreeze
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Old 08-10-2018, 16:06   #7
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I bought an old PUR survivor 6 and will replace the membrane.
However just to get an idea of if the pump was good or not etc, I gave to a try here at the boat. Iím in brackish water and the raw water tested about 900.
I pumped that little bugger for what seemed like forever and finally got about 1 Oz of water to test, it tested at 85 PPM, which shocked me.
Now Iím pretty sure the membrane was dry to start with, this Watermaker has apparently been in its sealed bag since 1994 until I opened it, or that is the only date on the tag where your supposed to annotate the yearly service.

A question I have is once I replace the membrane, is it OK to pickle it in a 50/50 mix of RV antifreeze, just like the bigger watermakers? Or do I need the sodium metabisulphate or whatever it is?
I have lots of the powdered stuff, but if itís OK Iíd rather use the RV antifreeze
use the rv antifreeze just don't dilute it StarBrite Winter Safe -50√ā¬įF/-46√ā¬įC Anti-Freeze Antigel - 1 gal. - Michigan Motorz
Any version will work just be sure its food grade and contains no alcohol.
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Old 08-10-2018, 16:10   #8
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I bought an old PUR survivor 6 and will replace the membrane.
However just to get an idea of if the pump was good or not etc, I gave to a try here at the boat. Iím in brackish water and the raw water tested about 900.
I pumped that little bugger for what seemed like forever and finally got about 1 Oz of water to test, it tested at 85 PPM, which shocked me.
Now Iím pretty sure the membrane was dry to start with, this Watermaker has apparently been in its sealed bag since 1994 until I opened it, or that is the only date on the tag where your supposed to annotate the yearly service.

A question I have is once I replace the membrane, is it OK to pickle it in a 50/50 mix of RV antifreeze, just like the bigger watermakers? Or do I need the sodium metabisulphate or whatever it is?
I have lots of the powdered stuff, but if itís OK Iíd rather use the RV antifreeze



Sorry I didn't get back to your PM sooner. It's been crazy busy here with the boat season upon us. But I would use the PG. Glad your PPMs came down to 80. I'd say the membrane is fine. But it does take a lot of pumping on those units to get to the lower PPMs, so that's normal. Just check it every year as these units tend to get forgotten buried in the ditch bag.
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Old 08-10-2018, 17:36   #9
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$205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Tellie, this thing has been sitting in a bag since 1994. It was a sealed bag, sealed from I assume the factory
It canít be good? I had to pump like a fool to get any significant water, I mean it seems like one drop a pump, had to pump a few hundred times to get the one ounce, but the reject water flow was a lot.
I assumed a dry membrane? I have it soaking in chlorine free fresh water now just as a lark to see what happens and will try again tomorrow
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Old 08-10-2018, 17:40   #10
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Tellie, this thing has been sitting in a bag since 1994.
It canít be good? I had to pump like a fool to get any significant water, I mean it seems like one drop a pump, had to pump a few hundred times to get the one ounce, but the reject water flow was a lot.
I assumed a dry membrane? I have it soaking in chlorine free fresh water now just as a lark to see what happens and will try again tomorrow



LOL, do you have the video? They call it a survivor for a reason. .06 gallons per hour if the fool,..uh operator pumps like mad for a full hour.
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Old 08-10-2018, 18:05   #11
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$205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

No, Iíve not seen the video.
We carried them in our tiny life raft when I flew over the Yellow Sea on missions, never used one of course.
I have seen where itís supposed to be enough to keep up to six people going.
So that is all youíll get, really? I guess after a week of two you wouldnít need pliers to do many mechanical tasks anymore, you would have phenomenal hand strength.
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Old 08-10-2018, 18:11   #12
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Just did the math, if I did it correctly, that is just under 8 Oz an hour
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:39   #13
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$205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

If anyone is interested, I put it together and went outside and ran it again and come up with these results. Just for comparisons sake, the marina water after being filtered through a carbon block filter, and then again with a seagull, is 155. Yes, Iím aware that carbon filters wonít remove dissolved solids, but itís as clean as your likely to get regular water.Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0469.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	63.6 KB
ID:	178724

Can this thing still be good, can I trust it?
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:45   #14
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
If anyone is interested, I put it together and went outside and ran it again and come up with these results. Just for comparisons sake, the marina water after being filtered through a carbon block filter, and then again with a seagull, is 155. Yes, Iím aware that carbon filters wonít remove dissolved solids, but itís as clean as your likely to get regular water.Attachment 178724

Can this thing still be good, can I trust it?
Dang sounds to me like it is brand new . Pickle it with rv antifreeze and throw it in your ditch kit. Just dont forget to do the anual maintance on it .
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:58   #15
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Re: $205 Ebay Survivor 35 Watermaker Test Results

There is no limit for nachos (assuming they don’t use pump cheese).
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