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Old 07-11-2012, 00:06   #1
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Spectra 150 Watermaker With Z-Brane

Hi All
First time posting so please excuse any deficiency of format

Trying to lighten the load on my 37' cat to offset all the gumpf my better half wishes to bring along for a 6+ month cruise, has led me to investigate watermakers ie so can maintain tank level at only 1/3 to a 1/2 saving approx 300kgs

I am interested in the spectra claim that using the z brane avoids the need to pickle nor regularly flush when laid up
( an article from a reader (hopefully) in cruising helmsman aust' april 2010 stated this )
This sounds a bit too good to be true. Any experiences out there with this ?
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Old 07-11-2012, 00:27   #2
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

When Tellie gets onboard he'll know for sure. He's our water make expert of sorts.

BTW welcome aboard!
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Old 07-11-2012, 00:34   #3
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Hi ricb64
Welcome to the forum.
We have a Spectra 150 watermaker without the Z Brane, so I cant comment on the Z Brane's efficiency. If it is of any help though, we have found the system excellent and it certainly lives up to its promises of being "easy to install and use, quiet, very energy efficient, and it delivers over six gallons of fresh product water (24 liters) per hour".

We tossed up putting a Z Brane in. It complicates the system and requires constant power, which would not suit us during lay up. Also we use the watermaker every few days (with it producing only 24 litres an hour you need to), so it gets regularly flushed anyway (having a Z Brane does not remove the need for flushing with fresh water after each use).

I know that is not the answer you were seeking, but hope this info helps.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:39   #4
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Spectras Zbrane does work as stated. You would not have to do the regular 120 hour between use flush recommended. But there are several trade offs. You haven't stated which model Spectra you are looking at and if you are looking at a manual unit or a fully automated unit. I suspect you are looking at the Ventura 150 or 200T for a 37 foot Cat. If you are looking to go manual your money in my opinion would be better spent on a larger model like the Cape Horn Extreme or Catilina 300. Pickling the system is an easy task. But if you plan on leaving the boat numerous times during your 6 month crusie then that would make a difference. If you like I would be more than happy to discuss this further. But I'm writing this on my Kindle and it takes for ever to type on this thing.

PS Thanks Del for the PM
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Old 07-11-2012, 13:02   #5
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

We have the Spectra Newport 400 II w/Z-Brane. It has been on the boat for four years and has never been pickeled.

It does back flush itself every 120 hours automatically.

The unit works as advertised at just over 17 gallons per hour.

We are very happy with it.
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Old 07-11-2012, 17:01   #6
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
We have the Spectra Newport 400 II w/Z-Brane. It has been on the boat for four years and has never been pickeled.

It does back flush itself every 120 hours automatically.

The unit works as advertised at just over 17 gallons per hour.

We are very happy with it.
Glad the Zbrane is working out for you. But some quick advice. If you are leaving your system on auto flush all the time turn off your Zbrane and save the transformer. You only need the Zbrane operational when you disable the auto flush and choose not to pickle the system. Some of the original Zbrane systems were wired directly to the MPC board. If yours is I would recommend putting it on its own circuit with a on/off switch protected with a 5amp fuse. This is far less expensive than replacing a burned out transformer.
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Old 07-11-2012, 17:20   #7
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Many thanks for all of the above

My interest in the Spectra Ventura 150 with z brane (12V ) is that it looks to be pretty light & energy efficient & we are light on water usage ( though that may change when we can make the stuff )
I am trying to avoid the pickling & auto regular back flushing if possible as though we have 360 W of solar , some days that sun doesn't shine even in Oz ( as it will probably be laid up for 6 to 9 months a year post our imminent trip)

My main objective is to save weight by being able to carry less water , does this sound reasonable to those with watermakers , or do you end up keeping on filling the tanks regardless & topping up when needed ?

Cheers Ric
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Old 07-11-2012, 17:48   #8
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricb64 View Post
Many thanks for all of the above

My interest in the Spectra Ventura 150 with z brane (12V ) is that it looks to be pretty light & energy efficient & we are light on water usage ( though that may change when we can make the stuff )
I am trying to avoid the pickling & auto regular back flushing if possible as though we have 360 W of solar , some days that sun doesn't shine even in Oz ( as it will probably be laid up for 6 to 9 months a year post our imminent trip)

My main objective is to save weight by being able to carry less water , does this sound reasonable to those with watermakers , or do you end up keeping on filling the tanks regardless & topping up when needed ?

Cheers Ric
We opted for the Ventura 150 to be able to run it off solar as well (we have 330 W). Theoretically you should be able to carry less water, particularly if you are cruising mainly when its sunny and can can run it as needed. Depends how much back up you want (how easy will it be to get shore water if the Spectra fails?).
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Old 07-11-2012, 19:34   #9
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricb64 View Post
...

My main objective is to save weight by being able to carry less water , does this sound reasonable to those with watermakers , or do you end up keeping on filling the tanks regardless & topping up when needed ?
...
I run a Catalina 300 and it is certainly adequate for a cruising couple.

You get very spoiled with a water maker. I had some problems with the unit last season (it's 8 years old and time for some work) and for the first time in years had to hump water in jerry jugs...the water maker will definitely be fixed before we head out this year!

Also, a big advantage of a water maker, in fact the reason I originally installed this unit, is the freedom it gives you from the quest for water and the need to be a Water Nazi.

I've been very pleased with the Spectra product and their tech support is excellent.
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Old 07-11-2012, 21:28   #10
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Re: spectra 150 watermaker with z-brane

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricb64 View Post
Many thanks for all of the above

My interest in the Spectra Ventura 150 with z brane (12V ) is that it looks to be pretty light & energy efficient & we are light on water usage ( though that may change when we can make the stuff )
I am trying to avoid the pickling & auto regular back flushing if possible as though we have 360 W of solar , some days that sun doesn't shine even in Oz ( as it will probably be laid up for 6 to 9 months a year post our imminent trip)

My main objective is to save weight by being able to carry less water , does this sound reasonable to those with watermakers , or do you end up keeping on filling the tanks regardless & topping up when needed ?

Cheers Ric

Two things,
1) At eight pounds a gallon and depending on your water tanks capacity you can save a whole lot of weight while sailing and top off at anchor. But there is still a bit more to the equation. Are you going to be living on the boat the full six months? What are your cruising destinations? What's the capacity of your fresh water tanks? How many gallons of water do you estimate each crew member on board uses per day?
2) Use the extra money you'll save on not buying the Z-Brane and put it towards a Cape Horn Extreme 330 instead. You'll spend less money and get more than twice the watermaker. You say you're light on water usage but the nature of the thing is that once there is a watermaker on board you'll use a lot more, but that's OK that's what it is for and your better half will be a lot better better half towards you as she will be much happier. I tell people to expect to at least double their normal daily water consumption. You have plenty of solar for a Spectra. Remember you won't be running it every day, more like every two or three days and you'll probably only have to pickle the system once or twice a year, easy peasy. Take my word for it, though the VT150 is a great machine, you'll be a lot happier with the Caper Horn Extreme 330.
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Old 31-12-2012, 05:55   #11
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Re: Spectra 150 Watermaker With Z-Brane

We have a Spectra Newport Magdrive 2005, equipped with a Z-Brane.
Our experience with the Z-brane is HIGH cost, no effect.
The best way to "maintain" your water maker is to run it very often, daily if possible.
The Z-brane is expensive, requires to drill a hole in the membrane side cap (unless you buy the membrance directly from Spectra at an astronomical price). The high voltage can cause a spark that deteriorated the water maker body end cap. Spectra doesn'tmake this endcap anymore, so we had to get one made ($$).
Assuming that the Z-brane works (which we seriously doubt), turning it off would - maybe - force us to replace the membrance more frequently. Now a new membrane cost $140 and takes about 1/2 to replace !!!
Maintaining our Z-brane has cost us in excess of $1,500 so far.
Conclusion:
RIP Z-brane.
For sale: excellent Z-Brane, like new
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