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Old 13-08-2009, 16:51   #31
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Originally Posted by Dreaming Yachtsman View Post
Our Catalina 300 model Spectra Watermaker is the second most useful piece of equipment we installed to prepare our boat for cruising. (The number one most useful is the chart plotter.) It has a nominal capacity of 12 GPH so with just the wife and myself aboard, we typically run it 4 hours every 3 days to keep our tanks topped up. On a sunny day we can make water without discharging the battery, powering the watermaker with our solar panels. The MPC 5000 Controller takes almost all the work out of running the system. It even flushes the unit automatically every 5 days when not used.

Since our unit was installed in March 2005, the only significant problem with it was a blown high pressure fitting on the inlet to the membrane chamber about a month after we started cruising. Replacing that fitting resolved the problem. A few months ago another fitting started leaking but was easily stopped by tightening it with a wrench.

Therapy, I strongly encourage you to go to the Spectra web site and download the operation bulletins found there (http://www.spectrawatermakers.com/su..._BULLETINS.pdf). They contain a wealth of information not in the Owner's Manual that can enhance operation and extend the lifetime of your unit. One specific example concerns filter replacement: If you read only the manual, you'll run your system until you get an alarm telling you to change one of the filters. Operation bulletin OP-2, however, recommends changing filters after each use, especially in warm water.
Hi Dreaming Yachtsman, I'm glad you're happy with the Catalina300.
The advice you give to go to Spectras site is spot on. I should have said that myself. There is a wealth of information there that does not all appear in the individual manuals. I wish more people would take the time to review it. Knowing Therapy, I'm sure he has. But, there's always a but. Two things, when you had your second leak you said you tightened it down with a wrench. I winched a little. You probably know this, but for other owners info, most of the fittings on the Spectras are sealed with either teflon tape or O-rings. Our first instinct when we see a plumbing related leak is to grab a wrench. When you are working on the Clark pump or the membrane vessel, tightening down a leaking fitting can be a costly mistake on Spectras. For the most part if you have a leak it is usually a bad O-ring. It's better to remove that fitting and replace the O-ring. Over tightening a fitting even a little can lead to a crack in the end caps or main block. You'd be surprised how little tightening is required where the fittings meet the pump and vessels. Of course the two piece SS tube fittings are a different issue. You must carefully use two wrench's here as not to again over tighten the part of those fittings threading into the unit. Second, do you change your pre-filters out after every use? You'd be the first I met that does. OP-2 is a little unclear. Though it is true, leaving salt water in your pre-filters for more than a day in the really warm climates can lead to anaerobic bacterial growth you have the MPC5000. After each use your unit will fresh water flush the unit including the pre-filters. In areas with really high fertile areas you will need to pay closer attention and will need to change out the pre-filters more often. In the Carib you should be fine. Look at it this way, if it were a forgone conclusion the fresh water in the pre-filters would go bad in a day, where does that fresh water come from? You'd have the same problems there as well.

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Old 13-08-2009, 18:11   #32
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Therapy, I strongly encourage you to go to the Spectra web site and download the operation bulletins found there (http://www.spectrawatermakers.com/su..._BULLETINS.pdf). They contain a wealth of information not in the Owner's Manual that can enhance operation and extend the lifetime of your unit. One specific example concerns filter replacement: If you read only the manual, you'll run your system until you get an alarm telling you to change one of the filters. Operation bulletin OP-2, however, recommends changing filters after each use, especially in warm water.
I'll do that.
I think something I have mentions changing the filters more often. It specifies three sets in rotation. One soaking, one drying, one in use. I don't know about changing them for every use but then I am not cruising.........yet.

<edit>

I just skimmed that.
I am pretty sure it is all in the "newer" manual I have. Will do a complete read though.
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Old 13-08-2009, 18:27   #33
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I am a major proponent of the Spectra watermachines. My only issue has be their cost. ALL desalinators are expensive it seems. I still like the old 380c. Mostly off the shelf parts and very serviceable.

Having said that, a couple of observations. Many folks don't treat their desalinators very well. I believe op's came with the boat? No telling the usage it received prior to getting it. So, the fact their was a significant amount of "deferred" maintenance, should probably not detract from the brand. Spectra has always been first rate when I have dealt with them. And having purchased a VERY old version, on eBay none-the-less, I didn't really expect much, but go a lot more.

On of the major considerations, if you're considering a Spectra is the energy efficiency factor. It is outstanding in its usage of the same. I sized my on maximizing energy efficiency of all things. I was planning on running my generator 1-2 hours every other day or so to top up the batteries. I sized my desalintor to produce the water I needed within that window. We use about 12 gallons of fresh water per day. So we wanted to produce 30 gallons in under 2 hours. Our 380c does that pretty much that. Actually a little more, so we end up only running it a little more than 1.5 hours every other day. An added benefit is that it consumes small enough energy that we can run it pretty much from our solar panels (At least over the daily product of our panels).
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Old 26-09-2009, 11:05   #34
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Hi ID,

I don't like the practice at all for the reason you stated. I have met people that do exactly that as well. It's penny wise pound foolish and the effort to do so seems more of a hassle than it's worth. There are certain givens when you own a watermaker and one is that you have to account for making enough water for you and a fresh water flush. You just can't really get around it if you want to take proper care of your unit.
Hi Tellie
Thanks for the great advice. I have my new watermaker installed and am just waiting for electrical installation when I return to theboat from being shanghaied by an overseas job that took much longer than planned. I was planning on running my watermaker at least every other day if not daily for 2 to 3 hours. Do I need to freswater flush after every use if I am using it that often?
Paul
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