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Old 15-03-2014, 15:33   #1
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Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Where to begin? I began looking at water makers to upgrade from my Katadyn 160. It was working fine but with fresh water flush toilets and an onboard washing machine, its 6.7 gph output just wasnít cutting it and at 12 years old, it needed a new membrane. While at the boat show">Annapolis boat show last fall I saw the DIYwatermakers.com booth and it seemed like a reasonably good system at a very good price. I clearly understood that I would be buying a Chevy kit and not finished Mercedes, but Iím pretty handy and figured I could manage it. I was going to be in Florida for about a month before crossing over to the Bahamas and I figured that was a good opportunity to get it installed. I found their web site and tried calling their number, but it was not in service. I even posted a thread on the forum asking if anyone knew if they had gone out of business. I also sent an email to the address on the web site. A couple of days later I got an email explaining that DIY had been having trouble with their IP phones and they would have them up in a day or two. Since the phones were down I sent an email requesting dimensions of the AC 30 unit so I could determine if they fit. It took about 2 weeks to get an answer back, but it was around Christmas so I figured they might be a little busy. I finally got all the information I needed on Dec.31, but I was getting very close to my planned departure for the Bahamas. I gave DIY a call with plans to order a Waterpro AC 30 which their literature said would produce 30-40 gallons per hour. I talked to DIY and they told me that they could not accept credit cards and they wanted me to wire the money directly into their account. RED FLAG! He explained that he had been burned many times by people who used credit cards and had many units in the field for which he had not been paid. RED FLAG number two! I should have stopped right there, but he explained that if I needed to use a credit card he had a dealer who could accept credit cards and he gave me their web site and phone number. I will not tell you the name of the dealer because Iím not convinced any of the remainder of the problems were his fault. In any case, I made it clear to DIY that I had departure deadline and would not buy it if it could not be shipped by Friday January 3rd. They said no problem if I ordered today, which I did. On Friday afternoon I called DIY to confirm shipment. No one answered the phone so I left a message. The weekend came and went with no response and no information from DIY. I did get a shipping notice on the boost pump which was coming directly from the dealer. Monday came and went still no shipping information from DIY and no one answering the phone. The pump from the dealer did arrive. I finally called the dealer and asked him what was going on. He was able to call DIY on a private number and was told that stuff should have started arriving today (Tuesday) but it would arrive by tomorrow at the latest, but he could not give me a tracking number. Weds. came and went no parts and no tracking numbers and DIY was still not answering the phone. I finally called the dealer and told him if I didnít have parts or a tracking number by Thursday I would have to cancel the order because I could not wait indefinitely. Well on Thursday a box of parts did arrive, drop shipped from a vendor in California. The packing slip indicated it had been ordered shortly after my phone call at the end of business on Weds.(east coast time) threatening to cancel the order. So now I have some parts, which included all of the filters, filter housings, and the membranes. I still donít have any of the high pressure parts or the motor. So I decide to wait one more day for the rest of the parts or a tracking number. Friday comes and still no parts, but after a call to the dealer I get a USPS tracking number from DIY. Remember during this time Iím only getting a response from DIY by going through the dealer. RED FLAG three. Well the thing is in transit over the weekend, but on Monday morning I see that itís out for delivery. Iím now two days past my planned departure date, but so be it. I open the box and find a large Electric motor on a slab of wood, a box with a high pressure pump, some tubing, fittings, high pressure hoses and two pressure vessels for the membranes. What was not in there was any packing material. RED FLAG number 4. These two pressure vessels were banging around in the box with 40 lb electric motor and a 13 lb high pressure pump. This may or may not be significant to something later in the saga but keep it in mind. I then started to go through the packing list to make sure all of the parts were there. They were not. The packing list had a three way product water valve that was not in the box, there were no mounting brackets for the membranes, and there was no instructional DVD as listed in the product literature. So I again call DIY and amazingly someone picks up. Oops, he had not meant to answer my call, he thought I was someone else calling him back. But I had him on the phone. RED FLAG. He was sorry that he had not included the valve, but he had been in a rush to ship it (a week after he had promised to ship it), he no longer supplied mounting brackets for the membrane vessels but that I should hang them from large Cable ties, and the instructional video was now downloadable from the web site and he would send the passcode needed to download it. I was not happy about this as I pay by the byte for my internet and a DVD sized download would use my entire monthís allotment. It ended up this was not a problem, because he never sent me the information I needed to do the download. He never sent the product water valve either. Another concern is that the membrane pressure vessels do not look like the ones in the instructions and they definitely donít look like the ones I saw at the boat show. They also have the serial numbers 18 and 20 on them. GeeÖ DIYwatermakers has been in business since 2009 and is now shipping only Serial numbers 18 and 20? RED FLAG ( Iím going to stop numbering them because Itís boring me to have to count them).

So now I have all of the parts I need to do the install, minus the product water valve, but I can work around that because I still have one from my Katadyn and with few fittings from Lowes I can make it work. So I set about installing the unit with just the provided paper instructions. Not to worry though, remember Iím handy. In any case, first I have to choose where to install the pumps and run the lines which I had pretty much decided on before buying the unit. My installation worked best if one mounted the motor vertically. Could this be done? Nothing specified vertical or horizontal in the instructions. I went out to the Comet pump web site. Some models were specifically vertical some were specifically horizontal, for my pump it did not say one way of another so I went with vertical. It ended up that this would have been a problem in the long run, but since we never got to the long run it was inconsequential. So after about 10 hours of work Iím and numerous trips to the hardware store Iím ready to test the system, but not in the marina. So I move the boat out into the Indian River Lagoon. I know that this will toast one set of filters but I bought the consumables kit and have lots of spare filters. So Iím ready to start the test. I turn on the boost pump and see the filter chambers fill with water, but nothing seems to be coming out of the brine line. Now every pressure washer pump Iíve ever used passed water through when one turned on the tap. I therefore theorize that there might not be enough water pressure coming from the boost pump which is a Jabsco Water Puppy. But I have an alternative source of pressure. Per the instructions I have tapped into my fresh water system for flushing the membrane which has a 60 psi pump on it. I turn on the fresh water side and I have flow, I now go back to the raw water side and I still have flow but I have flow coming through the side of the first pressure vessel as well as out the Brine line. This is majorly not good. I call DIY and they say that it might have been damaged in shipping (remember what I said about no packing material) and these are their new and improved carbon fiber pressure vessels and they are sensitive to impacts and surface damage. He also told me to be careful and not to scratch the surface. Now in keeping with the CF be nice policy I wonít say what I think of the intelligence of someone who would sell such a delicate piece of equipment for installation on a boat, especially since their instructions are filled with danger warning about the pressure in the system possibly being deadly. In any case he will replace the unit if I will ship it back to him. In the meantime I need to get moving to the Bahamas. He says I can run the system on one membrane with no difficulty. So I remove the offending membrane vessel and turn on the boost pump again. Well I start getting a few drips out of the end caps so I take them apart and regrease the O-rings again. After three tries I manage to get the drips stopped under boost pump pressure. I would note that I have lots of experience with O-rings and have never had this much trouble. I also would observe that every O-ring sealing surface I ever dealt with on a commercial product was a smooth machined surface. The aluminum end cap O-ring grooves were well machined, but the inside of the pressure vessel was not. It had numerous small imperfections and made a poor sealing surface. I run the boost pump for two hours to wash all of the shipping fluid off the membrane.

Well now Iím ready for the big test, Iím going to turn on the High Pressure pump. I double check to make sure the product water valves are set to waste and turn on the high pressure pump. What no pressure? Ok I need to close down the needle valve on the brine line to bring the pressure up so I start turning finally the pressure starts to rise just as the needle valve bottoms out. This doesnít seem right so I quickly open it a fraction of a turn and magically fresh water starts coming out of the product port. Well the needle valve being almost closed doesnít seem right but weíre making waterÖÖfor about 30 seconds. Suddenly the compartment is filled with salty mist. The high pressure hose between the pump and the membrane housing has failed at the pressed on fitting and is spraying high pressure seawater all over the compartment. Well I shut things down and get back on the phone. Again to the dealer, and then get a call back from DIY. They tell me they have had some problems with their hose supplier in the past but had been assured that they had solved their quality problems and they will overnight me a new pressure hose. Sure enough it arrives the next day (who says there are no such things as miracles). Ok a new hose 10 minutes of installation and Iím producing water again. Iíve now got a couple of slow drips from the end caps but I can deal with them. Product water is coming out but it is only about 3 gph. I also have water that seems dripping from somewhere but doesnít seem to be the end cap. I wipe down the tube and soon find a weeping leak coming through the side of the second membrane vessel. Another call and now he will send me two membrane vessels as soon as he gets some more in. In the meantime Iím over a week past my planned departure date. I have to get something going so I can get going. I look closely at my Katadyn pressure vessel. Miracle of all miracles (here we go again) the fittings are all the same size as on the DIY pressure vessels and it doesnít leak. It also takes the same size membrane the DIY so I can use one of the new membranes while Iím waiting for them to ship my new vessels. I talk to DIY again and find that the Carbon Fiber vessels are a new design (much stronger that their old fiberglass ones Ö Yeah right) and they found a problem in their coating process, as carbon fiber is not inherently waterproof and must be coated with epoxy. I told them I wasnít really interested in beta testing their new design and would appreciate it if they would supply their old style membrane vessels. They assured me that they had found the problem and the new ones would work fine. In the meantime I called the credit card company to see what I have to do to stop payment on a defective product. I wonít go into detail about that now.

So now I to make the product water side of the Katadyn work with the new fittings on the old three way valve itís another trip to the hardware store. But a little work and we are making water again, but only three gallons and change an hour. Iím also having to run the needle valve almost closed. Itís still not right. More phone callsÖ.OMG you should not have mounted the pump vertically. So deinstall and rearrange everything so the pump is on the horizontal. Iím still only getting 3 gallons and change an hour, but I have to get moving as I have commitments in the Bahamas and time is getting short so Iíll troubleshoot it on the way to Miami. Another email and Iím told that sometimes the internal check valves in the pump get stuck while they are on the shelf and that drastically affects pump output. They send me a procedure for unsticking them. (could this be related to the problem with the pump not passing water when it was first installed?). I took the pump apart, but the valves seemed to be free. Anyway I put it back together there was no change in output. By now Iím headed down the East coast of Florida in nice clean ocean water. I replaced the filters I had been using in the Indian River just in case they are adding to the problem. The water is substantially warmer in the ocean and product water output has gone up to almost 5 gph. But the pump seems to be having a hard time keeping up. I get on the internet and look up the membrane specs. They are rated at 300 GPD each plus or minus 20% depending on temperature. Oddly enough the output percentage increase is just about right for the temperature difference between the Indian River and the ocean . Thirty GPH is 720 gpd so itís clear to me that the 30 GPH rating of the unit is a stretch rating not a nominal one. Marketing. I can live with this however, though at that temperature I should be producing 12.5 gph, not a little less than 5. Something is still wrong with the pump in my estimation so itís back to the internet to check the pump specs. The pump delivered with the unit is a Comet model AXS 0415E. So I find the specs to the pump and hereís the kicker. It is rated at 0.4 gallons per minute at 1750 RPM or just 24 gallons per hour! 30 Gallons per hour output from a 24 Gallon pump. Thatís 125% efficiency. Wow Iím impressed!! Since membranes are at their best about 20% efficient a 24 GPH pump could be expected to put out a little less than 5 gph. Where have I heard that number before? Oh yeah, that was what I was getting out of my unit. Well my reaction is that DIY has sent me the wrong pump. At this point I am doing everything by email so I have a paper trail. I send them an email asking them to confirm that they have sent me the correct pump. Here is a key excerpt from their response;

ďNow, that model of the pump is what we have in units all over the world. It is rated at 2.5gpm at 1500psi and the flow increases as the pressure goes down.
Also can you please verify with me the model number on the pump. It should be a AXS 0415E.Ē

This was my response to him.

ďI donít know who did your engineering for this system and you may only be the sales guy, but this system cannot work as claimed. I have done all of the tests you asked me to do and I just did one final one that confirms what I suspected all along.

The pump is a comet AXS0415E and you say it is the correct pump. It is not rated at 2.5 gallons per minute, it is rated at 0.4 gallons per minute. You can look it up on the comet web site yourself. 0.4 gallons per minute is its maximum output at any pressure. It is a piston pump and the pistons are a fixed volume and the only way to vary their maximum output is to change the RPM you run them at and the rated output is with the unloader valve wide open. Comet does not even sell a 1750 RPM pump in the AX series rated at 2.5 gallons per minute.

So for the confirming test. I got the system up and producing water at 800 PSI I then captured the output from the brine line and from the product water line for 2.5 minutes. I then poured them into the same container and it measured 1 gallon. Divide this result by 2.5 and one gets 0.4 gallons per minute, not coincidentally the exact rated output of the pump.

In my opinion this has now gone from a simple case of poor product quality to one of outright fraud. I feel that am left with no alternative but to call my credit card company and dispute the charge.Ē

There were a few lines in this email that I left out relating to the dealer who I do not hold at fault in this matter.

Here is the product specification from the Comet pumps online Catalog;

PART # MODEL # GPM PSI RPM SHAFT PISTON WT
6502.0009.00 AXS 0415 E 0.4 1500 1750 5/8Ē Hollow 14mm 13.0


The effect of this email was similar to hitting the mule between the eyes with a 2x4. Now my phone calls were being answered without the dealer being involved and emails were answered promptly. DIY of course denied any fraud, but promptly offered to drop ship me another model pump as soon as I got somewhere that I could get a shipment. A wise man once told me to never ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity so I decided to give them one more chance. It looked like I would be stuck in Miami for a few days waiting for a weather window so I pulled into Dinner key. After all my principal interest was in getting a working water maker so it seemed like an opportunity to get the replacement pressure vessels as well as the new pump. Though it took a day longer than planned due to a blizzard where the pump was coming from, I did get a new pump and new pressure vessels. To make the nightmare more complete the new pump used British Standard PP fittings instead of the NPT fittings!!! DIY did come through on this and had a Miami vendor courier the proper fittings to the Dinner Key Marina the same day.

I proceeded to install the new pump and pressure vessels. The pump seemed to work as advertised though at a rated 2.11 GPM it was on the minimum size for a 30 GPH water maker, but could probably handle the nominal 20-25gph I was now going to expect from this unit. What difference the pump made. The pressure jumped to 200 PSI as soon as the high pressure pump was turned on with the needle valve wide open. At that pressure I had a few minor drips from the end plates but nothing major. I ran the system at this pressure for over an hour to clean the shipping fluid from the second membrane which had never been adequately washed. I then slowly cranked up the pressure by closing the needle valve. It ran at 800 PSI for a few minutes then I started noticing three weeping leaks from the side of the second membrane. In my installation the second membrane is mounted at 90 degrees to the first. While looking at the weeping leaks in the second membrane housing I was suddenly hit in the side of the face my by a high pressure stream of water from the side of the first membrane. It is fortunate for me that I was at least a foot and a half away when the housing let go. 800 PSI water in a tight stream can cut and penetrate the skin causing serious injury. Of course I jumped back and the stream of water was coming out about 3 feet before breaking up into a saltwater fog. My opinion is that these pressure vessels are not only inadequate to the requirement, but are also extremely dangerous when operated at seawater RO pressures.

I notified DIY of the failure and he agreed to ship me a pair of HCTI pressure vessels (they stated that this is what they previously shipped) when I next reached a place I could get a shipment which at that moment seemed to be Georgetown, Exuma in about 3 weeks. In the meantime I put the Katadyn pressure vessel back in and was getting 12.5 gph with the new pump. It seemed to me that with adequate pressure vessels and the new pump I could get to an adequate output though a bit short of the advertised output unless there were very unusual circumstances. I any case I agreed to let him ship me the HCTI membranes.

Much to my dismay the night before crossing to Bimini I checked the oil in my sail drives and found water in one of them. The closest haul out I could find was in Key Largo (cats are sometimes a pain) but it presented an opportunity for him to ship me the new pressure vessels. So I sent him an email. No response. Another, no response. In any case I donít get new pressure vessels while Iím in the boatyard and neither do I hear from DIY. I have to get going to Georgetown because I have friends and family who have already bought tickets to come visit us while there, so we leave. Over the next two and a half weeks I get no response at all from DIY, so I finally contact the dealer again. He tells me that DIY will contact me tomorrow. The next business day comes and goes and I send DIY a note reminding them that Iím in the Bahamas and my cell phone does not work there and if they have been trying to call me they needed to send an email. Well a few hours later I get an email stating that because I had not dropped the credit card claim, they would not send me the HCTI pressure vessels that they had promised and that they would not be offering me any warranty support unless I dropped the claim. To be clear I was warned by the credit card company once a claim was retracted it could not be reinitiated and to only retract the claim action when the unit issues were resolved to my complete satisfaction.

At this point it was clear that the issue could not be resolved before the claim action was dropped and I was not about to drop the claim action without the operational parts in my hands. I contacted the dealer and specifically requested return instructions and my money back. I was then informed by the dealer that DIY was refusing to accept a return based on the fact that the 30 day money back guarantee period had elapsed. I told him my position was that since DIY had not shipped all of the parts on the parts list to me and had made no attempt to ship the missing parts that as far as I was concerned the shipment had yet to be completed and the 30 day period had not even started yet. The dealer eventually sent return instructions.

In keeping with the CF policy of not intervening or getting involved in disputes with vendors I ask that no one pass judgment in the forum on who was right or wrong in any of the interactions with the vendor related here. I simply provide them for informational purposes only and not for further discussion in the forum. I keeping with this policy I will not respond to any questions regarding DIYwatermakers.com in the open forum, but will be happy to answer any specific question about the product.

My key point is that the system as delivered to me was not even close to meeting its advertised output and could not be made to do so because the pump was inadequately sized for the requirements. Furthermore, the pressure vessels were not only inadequate to the task but were potentially dangerous. DIY warns in its own literature to take care with the high pressure parts as the pressures involved have the potential to cause serious and even fatal injury. In that, I take them at their word. Further issues that while annoying and are simply resolved are that some of the fittings supplied are not stainless steel or plastic and began significant rusting of the first day they were used. Stainless steel equivalents are available and can be ordered online for less than $30.

Contact information for DIYwatermakers is available on their web site at www.diywatermakers.com .

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Old 15-03-2014, 18:55   #2
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Bill, thank you for the review, and I am sorry that you had those problems.

We recently bought a new watermaker and DIY was considered. However, some of those very same red flags you mentioned turned me off of them. I too had lots of problems getting any specific information from their website or from them personally. In addition, during the time I was researching, their website completely changed to some type of "eco/charity/save the world" thing that just screamed "scam" to me.

I also was turned off by their use of brass pumps and by the unbelievable low power specifications of their DC systems. Somehow they are besting Spectra in power/gallon usage without using any energy-recovery system. Maybe it is because when you buy one, you "enter into the earth-concious cruising world" - where power is apparently stronger than in the normal world.

In the end, it came down to price - their prices are so low that "you get what you pay for" was clanging loudly in my head. Now, I'm not an easy consumer sheep, and I hunt hard for bargains and am willing to take tradeoffs and inconveniences that many others would not, but that price is pretty much what I would pay for sourcing the parts myself - even considering volume discounts, I could not see a business model in there that made any sense to me.

So we went for another vendor. While the unit is installed, it has not been tested yet so I can't give a review. However, the schmuk who runs the company will do anything if you wave a taco under his nose, so I feel comfortable that the unit will be supported if something goes wrong in operation.

From reading other threads here, it seems like one of the Spectra reps will run around and give advice and help on watermakers if you just splash some beer around him. So if you need to reenter the decision making part of acquisition, maybe spring for a 6-pack and run it up a flag halyard when you return to FL - it will probably get his attention and bring him right to your dock.

Mark
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Old 16-03-2014, 01:03   #3
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Thanx for posting this Bill... I'm really sorry you had to go through all that.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:30   #4
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

I sent DIY a few emails a year ago asking how they could be so much lower than everyone else. I didn't really get any answers beyond "lower overhead" and in the end just decided to put it aside till later when I was closer to buying.

I'm not sticking up for them, but lets all keep in mind that we are reading 1 review.
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Old 16-03-2014, 09:29   #5
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I sent DIY a few emails a year ago asking how they could be so much lower than everyone else. I didn't really get any answers beyond "lower overhead" and in the end just decided to put it aside till later when I was closer to buying.

I'm not sticking up for them, but lets all keep in mind that we are reading 1 review.
The answer to this is pretty simple, he uses pretty inexpensive parts. Had he sent me the old stye membrane vessels and the second pump he sent me he could have bought all of the parts for about $1800 if he paid retail prices for them. If he has any wholesale arrangements at all he would have paid significantly less than that. The original pump he shipped was about $200 less. I have no idea what he paid for the carbon fiber pressure vessels, but what ever it was he paid too much. Several of the parts were drop shipped from other vendors so his overhead is probably quite low.

I bought the unit based on what I saw at the display at the Annapolis boat show. I had been looking at building my own watermaker for some time and recognized many of the parts in the display as standard off the shelf parts, though with a DIY sticker where the original label was located. I had no illusion that I was doing anything but buying a collection of off the shelf parts that I could buy for less money than the kit I would be buying from DIY. At one time in my career I did systems integration and know that getting all of the right parts you need to make something work and getting them to all work together to get the desired result can be a pain in the butt. I was willing to pay for what I thought was a kit in which all of the parts supplied had been integrated and tested. What I mean is that someone integrated and tested the equivalent parts to those supplied, not the actual parts I was shipped. The charitable view of this is that this was not done. The non-charitable view would probably get me in trouble with the moderators.
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Old 16-03-2014, 13:13   #6
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Painful story. If good engineering was easy anyone could do it. A basic functioning system is way more than the sum of its parts.

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Old 16-03-2014, 13:25   #7
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
lets all keep in mind that we are reading 1 review.
Not necessarily a product review, but certainly Sailing always is not a happy customer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing always View Post
Recently,I purchased a watermaker system form DIY Watermakers.After installing it the membrane housings gushed water from the end caps due to badly engineered parts even at low pressure 40psi,the boost pump promised by the company never was sent,and the HP pump put out zero water.The company supplied new end caps which were remachined.They leak between the high pressure and output flow.The suggestion by the company is to wrap electrical tape around the membranes and reinsert them.The new HP pump also did not output a drop.It was found to have sticky valves.I have asked for a full refund as I cannot trust this company.Has anyone else had dealings with them?
Between helping clients of ElectroMaax and DIY Watermakers get their failed units up and running, I’m already at 8 and working on 9 just this year alone!

I feel horrible for these folks that were taken advantaged of and don’t charge a dime for my help in getting their water makers up and running. Unethical or incompetent vendors in the marine industry give us ALL a bad reputation. Friday night while the kids were watching the classic “Ferris Buellers’s Day off” for the first time, I was on Skype to a poor cruiser in Malaysia with an ElectroMaax water maker sold to them as a “15 GPH 12v water maker using 40A of power”. In reality they are using 60A at only 650PSI (with a rated PSI of 850-900 listed in the manual). After a few photos of the equipment, I was able to see that the 12v motor is dramatically undersized for their Hp pump. A 1.0GPM pump and a 0.5Hp motor simply goes against the basic laws of physics and engineering for pumping water at pressure.

The heart of the problem here is that anyone can assembly a collection of parts and call it a water maker. The basic technology of how water makers work is not rocket science, but there are engineering principals, test data, and proper materials selection that if ignored or simply not known or understood can turn the bargain water maker into heartache. It’s also a lot harder than many DIY cruisers think or want to give credit for to get all the parts to match up and work together and not against each other. We have piles of R&D test gear representing tens of thousands of dollars in the trash heap to show that not all parts are equal and things that look good on paper and when talked about by a “sales guy” often don’t pan out in the proving grounds of a cruising boat.

We sell water maker parts as well as full ready to install systems for the “Do It Yourself” cruisers out there, heck I’m one myself, so I understand the need and desire to save valuable cruising dollars. There is, however, a myth that continually floats around cruiser chat rooms of the $1500 or $2000 “Do it yourself” 20 GPH water maker. And that myth gives credence in people's mind when they see one for sale for $2200 from companies like DIY watermakers.

Oh sure there is always the guy (especially in internet chat forums) that finds used parts on Ebay or is an expert rummager and finds part for cheap. You can use pressure washers from Home depot (I’ve tried it and it failed) along with parts not made or intended to see and hold up to sea water. There is also a reason that you don’t see those cheaper parts used in water makers by commercial companies with real 3 year warranties and good reputations for customer service. We simply know that we would be eaten alive in warranty costs and unhappy clients with failures. For example, to date we have NEVER asked a client to pay for shipping on a warranty part, no matter where he was (Tahiti, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, you name it). DHL gets the warranty part there in 4-7 days and we eat the international shipping costs because, well because I take my warranty and customer service seriously.

I know how to work an excel spreadsheet to total up what my raw materials cost me for our 20 gallon per hour water maker. So when I see the list price of the DIY 20 gallon per hour unit on their website for $2200 (far less than my raw materials cost even without incoming shipping or assembly costs), I know the pricing difference just isn’t an issue of overhead, but of something else that I think Mark on svreach touches on, "you get what you pay for".

I’m happy to help folks with other brands of water makers trouble shoot or repair them. I also help people who would like to build their own water maker and would like the advice of someone who knows what they are doing. They can buy just parts from me or nothing from me and just use our manual as a template to build their own unit from parts they source from Ebay, craigslist, swap meets or dumpster diving! I look at it as giving back to a cruising community that I love and enjoy being a part of myself.
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Old 16-03-2014, 18:39   #8
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Jesus Captain Bill.

I feel for you man. Just sorry I can't help.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:07   #9
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Yes, the DIY company was about as bad as they come. However, being an experienced sailor you should know not to install any new complex equipment on route or just before departing. That is absurd! Any new complex equipment needs to be installed at least 6 months before departing to give you plenty of time to install, test and replace. It seems today most boat stuff rarely works right out of the box.

I applaud your work ethic and never give up attitude, but at some point you just have to realize it's not going to work and you are just causing yourself a lot of stress.

I am very happy you got your money back, but you didn't get your time, effort and stress back.

Seriously, As soon as the package showed up incomplete you should have sent it back and asked for that refund as you only had 30 days. Then put the old system back in place and if it failed, well, then I guess you'd just have to use the on shore washing machines like the rest of us and use salt water flushing. Come'on man, boats are not houses.

I guess even the very experienced sailors have lessons to learn.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:49   #10
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Fresh water heads AND a washing machine? Have you considered cruising the Great Lakes?


Just kidding. I feel for you. Really. Where I live "warranty" is largely an empty term. It involves shipping and exporting stuff back to the US and it rarely works out. Usually cheaper to junk the bad part and buy another one from someone else.

And I was considering DIY Watermakers until I read this. You've put a torpedo below their water line. Thank you.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:53   #11
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Sad story indeed. The water production claims they make are a bit absurd.

Its not a myth. A 12 to 15 gph 12 volt watermaker can be built for $2000 if you do the research and invest a lot of time. Cruising full time let me do that.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:39   #12
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

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Originally Posted by FranklinGray View Post
Yes, the DIY company was about as bad as they come. However, being an experienced sailor you should know not to install any new complex equipment on route or just before departing. That is absurd! Any new complex equipment needs to be installed at least 6 months before departing to give you plenty of time to install, test and replace. It seems today most boat stuff rarely works right out of the box.

I applaud your work ethic and never give up attitude, but at some point you just have to realize it's not going to work and you are just causing yourself a lot of stress.

I am very happy you got your money back, but you didn't get your time, effort and stress back.

Seriously, As soon as the package showed up incomplete you should have sent it back and asked for that refund as you only had 30 days. Then put the old system back in place and if it failed, well, then I guess you'd just have to use the on shore washing machines like the rest of us and use salt water flushing. Come'on man, boats are not houses.

I guess even the very experienced sailors have lessons to learn.
Those of us who are full time cruisers do not have the luxury of sitting around for 6 months waiting to see if a new item is going to work. I have almost $1000 in out of pocket expenses in the install i will never see again so I didn't get off completely. I was smart enough to keep the Katadyn on the boat, and like I said, it was working fine, so now all I have to do is go another season on it.

I like the boats are not houses view, unfortunately since we moved aboard full time the admiral doesn't see it that way.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:47   #13
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

I am a full-time cruiser too. I don't do any projects unless I know I am sticking around a while. Like now, I had to decide on if I was leaving Panama in November or spring because I had two projects that I wanted to get done and should have been completed in 2 weeks, but now 5 months later we are still working on them. I knew things never go smoothly so that was the decision I made...to stay.

A $1,000....outch. Bail Out Another Thousand
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:53   #14
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Fresh water heads AND a washing machine? Have you considered cruising the Great Lakes?

The great lakes are too cold! Endeavourcats are delivered with these features as standard equipment (very popular with the ladies). I looked at converting my heads to saltwater flush, but they share a fresh water line with the showers and sinks. There is not enough room in the chase to run another water line. So without ripping the interior out of one hull I'm stuck with freshwater flush heads. The washing machine doesn't get used much as the Katadyn has to run for 3 hours per load and the loads in the Splendide are not that big.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:56   #15
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Re: Product review DIYWatermakers.com AC Series Waterpro AC 30 watermaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by FranklinGray View Post
Yes, the DIY company was about as bad as they come. However, being an experienced sailor you should know not to install any new complex equipment on route or just before departing. That is absurd! Any new complex equipment needs to be installed at least 6 months before departing to give you plenty of time to install, test and replace. It seems today most boat stuff rarely works right out of the box.

I applaud your work ethic and never give up attitude, but at some point you just have to realize it's not going to work and you are just causing yourself a lot of stress.

I am very happy you got your money back, but you didn't get your time, effort and stress back.

Seriously, As soon as the package showed up incomplete you should have sent it back and asked for that refund as you only had 30 days. Then put the old system back in place and if it failed, well, then I guess you'd just have to use the on shore washing machines like the rest of us and use salt water flushing. Come'on man, boats are not houses.

I guess even the very experienced sailors have lessons to learn.

Just a couple of points. I'm Glad Bill got his money back as well. His time and stress as you say can not be refunded. These are the experiences we all learn along the way. Many times you truly do get what you pay for. I think Rich covered some good points in his post above concerning this. But I know without a doubt that there are big differences in the many watermaker companies out there. I agree it is a shame that many times equipment fails right out of the box. It adds to a lot of frustration, time, angst, and ruined sailing departures and schedules which adds even more cost to the product. But in the light of you get what you pay for, if you ordered a watermaker from me it will take a few weeks to arrive. We don't just pull new parts off the shelf pack them up and off they go then cross our fingers and hope for the best. We assemble each and every unit at the factory as they are ordered. They get a new fresh membrane and are completely tested at the factory to make sure that they are working and producing properly before they are stored and packed for shipping. We also include the test report with the unit which consists of all pressures, PPMs, production, flow rates, test voltages, the guys name who tested it, etc. So you know your unit, barring any extreme shipping damage, works right out of the box. Parts are shipped over night if need be at no expense to the customer. My phone is on 24/7. It has to be. We have customers all over the world in every time zone. I have been called on holidays, during vacations at my cabin in the NC mountains, on date nights with Mrs.Tellie, and 3am from Tahiti and I still pick up my phone. I have also helped many people with other brands of watermakers they bought that I wouldn't sell to anyone. Our reputation, service, and thousands of free hours on the phone with all kinds of customers is what makes my business viable. This type of business model does not come about by selling junk and the cheapest price tags. I learned long time ago that there are people out there that really do know what they are talking about. Seek them out, listen to them, then make a decision. If you make your purchasing decisions based on your wallet in the Marine world, you're gonna get bit on the arse sooner or later.
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