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Old 22-07-2014, 02:17   #1
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Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Hi

We recently moved to France to pick up our new home a Catana 42. Now that we are aboard, besides learning how to sail, we are putting on some additional equipment including a water maker. We have tried to keep the boat as basic as possible but water seems to be a must do item.

Our plans are to travel around the Med for a couple of years and then slowly make our way back home to Tasmania. It is the need to have support and reliability as liveaboards that has steered us towards Spectra.

Due to our current energy systems we are looking at a Cape Horn Extreme and a Catalina 300MK11 as the options. We don not want to add any new systems at this time so relying on current battery, solar and using engine if we have to.

Does anyone else have either of these systems and can give me your view.

Very new to all the systems so advice gratefully accepted.

Cheers the Miss
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Old 22-07-2014, 03:53   #2
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

We have had a Catalina 300 for more than 10 years now. Ours uses a mag drive pump and the manual controller (no automatic control). The Clark pump had to be replaced about three hears ago but beyond that it has performed well. It draws about 10 amps and gives about 10 gallons per hour. We would not hesitate to install another one.

We run it for about an hour before we begin running the engine for battery charging and find it doesn't make that much difference on the charge regimen. We have a proper large alternator and regulator though and good agm batteries.

Having enough water is an important part of making life on board happy.

Energy management is always a challenge!

Bruce
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Old 22-07-2014, 04:01   #3
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

We have a spectra Ventura 150 and it has been great. Just over 5 years old.

The only thing that seems to give any problems is automated electronic systems, so stick to one of the manual control models for best reliability. The Cape Horn looks great.
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Old 22-07-2014, 05:02   #4
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

I installed a Cape Horn Extreme about 5 years and almost 25,000 miles ago. To put it simply, we're delighted with the system and the service we get from both the dealer who sold us the system and the Spectra factory.

Our two 235-watt solar panels power the unit easily and we consistently make about 14 gallons per hour of excellent tasting water (on our previous boat we had a Village Marine Tech but I didn't like the way the water tasted). Our system has been very reliable and economical to operate. I have no idea how many hours are on the unit but I'm guessing close to a thousand.

Yes, you have to manually turn three valves to flush the unit instead of pressing a button or turning a switch. My wife, who tends to be uninterested in things technical, does the flushing process without a complaint.

I was so enthusiastic about my watermaker that my brother bought the exact same model for his boat.

We use a lot of fresh water on our boat. Our 25-year old daughter cruised with us for 3 years and while my wife isn't careless with water usage, its a waste of my time to suggest she use less. By the way, I don't work for Spectra nor do any of my family or friends.

Congratulations on your new boat. Have fun and I hope you'll always find . . .

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 22-07-2014, 07:15   #5
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

One of the members on the forum who goes by the name of Tellie is the resident watermaker expert and he will be happy to answer all of your questions.

He was a great help when we decided to go for a Spectra Newport Mk II which is not the model that you are looking at but I'm sure you will be pleased to know that it performs great and it us also very quiet which a lot of other makes of watermakers are not.

I'm sure that Tellie will see thus thread and will contribute.


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Old 22-07-2014, 12:52   #6
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

We have a Spectra 380, similar to the newer Cape horn, ours is 13 years old and works great. If power is ever low we can swith it to one pump instead of two, or start an engine. We did a month in the exumas and once had 3 days of overcast skies where batteries dipped a bit but not dangerously so. We have a 600amp hour house bank, and had 440 (now 700) watts of solar. We ran our unit every 2 days for a few hours and it covered all our needs.
Spectras are great units, durable and reliable, and easy to maintain.

I would opt for manual controls and the new Z Ion set up, and save money going wth the Cape Horn. Its a little more work to operate but much less chance of anything going wrong.
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Old 22-07-2014, 15:19   #7
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Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

We have a Cape Horn Extreme. It is fitted with the Z-Brane option which means it can be left for unlimited time without having to pickle etc. Definitely a must have option which makes operation very simple.

We don't have an installed genset, but we have plenty of solar, and in summer and good weather we gave enough solar to run the watermaker after the batteries are charged.

Otherwise we make water when motoring, or when charging the batteries with our standby portable Honda 2 KVA generator.


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Old 22-07-2014, 15:23   #8
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Well I have the Cape Horn Extreme 330 on my boat and I'm also a distributor for Spectra and have sold and serviced them for years. The differences between the Cape Horn Extreme 330 (CHE) and the Catilina 300 MPC5000 (CAT) are that the CHE only comes as a manual system where the CAT comes only as a fully automated system. The CHE is the one unit that was designed and engineered with the long distance cruiser in mind. It is the simplest of all watermakers to maintain and repair at sea. You'll find these units on circumnavigation vessels, the Volvo race boats, and boats were energy is regenerated from solar, wind, and alternators. They are the only system made that has the dual redundancy of two feed pumps. This system can run with both feed pumps running or with either feed pump running alone. This gives the long distance cruiser the comfort of knowing if one pump fails he still has another pump to count on. The replacement of the pump head is about a fifteen minute job, three screws, two hose connections, and two wires. This is far easier, cheaper, and less frustration than rebuilding any of the other high pressure pumps on the market. I'd strongly recommend that you take along at least one spare on the long distances you are contemplating. Also, with only one feed pump running the CHE is the most energy efficient watermaker bar none making a gallon of fresh water with one amp used. I've had these systems actually go completely under water from a breached hull on a Cat and sit in salt water for days. We re-spliced out a dozen or so #10 electrical connections, took apart the 1/8hp motors, flushed, dried, and lubricated them, and fired the system right back up and it worked perfectly. To be fair we did have to replace one motor four weeks later at about $340. Since all Clark pumps are not a piston high pressure pump type which requires an oil bath it can be mounted upside down, sideways, or any configuration that works for your install. The Cat is also a great unit but again it is a fully automated system. It will produce about a gallon and a half less per hour than the CHE for just a little bit more amps per gallon made but it is still far more efficient than the nearest competitor in it's size range. It has only one feed pump motor and uses a SS pump head. The remote panel does make it a lot easier and more convenient to operate the watermaker and also will tell you the condition of the system at anytime. It will also alarm if any part of the system is having trouble. If the electronics fail the system is designed to be operated manually with ease so it does not leave you far out at sea without a watermaker. Being a 12/24 volt system this opens up a larger powering capabilities. When you are motor sailing run the watermaker, if you have a generator on board run your watermaker, if you have solar run your watermaker, if you have a wind generator it's a good time to run your watermaker. If your batteries are topped off and you go diving for three or four hours run the watermaker. If your generator fails out at sea you can still power your watermaker. Parts can be had practically anywhere in the world because of Spectras worldwide distributor/dealer network. You can contact any distributor/dealer anywhere in the world and they will take care of you. You can even call the factory during business hours and the engineers and tech people will spend all the time needed to help. Even in the unlikely event that you can not get a hold of any of those people, my phone is, and always has been on for the last ten years 24/7/365 I would be more than happy to help you.
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Old 22-07-2014, 15:25   #9
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Also, those of you that have a manual VT150 / 200T / 380C / Cape Horn Extreme.

Shoot me a PM if you want and I'll explain how you can set up an auto flush system on your units
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Old 22-07-2014, 21:25   #10
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Hi Miss,
Been meaning to say congrats on your Catana!

We are also considering a Spectra Cape Horn, but also an Echotec. They are really built well, using duplex stainless, with long term use uppermost in the design and materials used.

We will be in the middle of the South Pacific, so reliability is paramount for us.

Good summary of Echotec quality considerations here: Why Choose an ECHOTec Watermaker

Just an alternative to look at.
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Old 23-07-2014, 01:36   #11
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Wow I am always blown away with the amazing generosity of people giving help on this forum! '
The information is so fantastic. A huge thanks.

As to taking over our new Catana it is the most exciting process and has been in the making for a long time.
We are so happy with our boat she is perfect for the two of us. Even though she looks tiny beside the massive 50, 60 even 70 foot catana's around us. Living in France has been a bit of a shock from home but we are loving the experience. We are so excited that a life long dream is starting to come together WhooHoo!!

It looks like we are in the right territory with the Spectra which gives me great confidence. Tellie I will contact you directly but with a budget that we are trying to squeeze as much into including new electronic display and some additional power it looks like the simpler system might be the way to go.

Again many thanks

cheers the Miss

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Old 23-07-2014, 02:18   #12
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

I just estimated that our Spectra has made over 60,000 L (16,000 gallons) of water.
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Old 23-07-2014, 02:23   #13
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I just estimated that our Spectra has made over 60,000 L (16,000 gallons) of water.
WOW you must be well pleased with your unit. No one could complain about that!
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Old 23-07-2014, 03:35   #14
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

We have been using our Catalina MKII for the last 2 years of full time cruising and have been very happy with it and Spectra. I was a bit hesitant about installing an "automatic" system, but have found it is also very well designed for a long distance cruiser. If any of the sensors fail, the control panel lets you disable them - which means it is now semi-automatic. If the whole elecrtonics package fails, there is a big switch labelled "manual" that lets you run it totally manual - though not as conveniently as the systems setup to be always run manual.

So I suspect you will be happy with either system. In the end we went with the Catalina as it seemed to be targeted at the long distance - non-extreme cruiser like us - tradewind sailors, rather than the ocean racers and high latitude sailors where a different level of simplicity and independence is required. I also really like that the control panel shows us the system pressures, usage etc, so it is very easy to monitor the performance of the system and filters.
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Old 23-07-2014, 06:34   #15
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Re: Spectra Water Makers Advice Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBeakie View Post
We are also considering a Spectra Cape Horn, but also an Echotec. They are really built well, using duplex stainless, with long term use uppermost in the design and materials used.

We will be in the middle of the South Pacific, so reliability is paramount for us.
If your decision is between the DC Spectra and the AC Echotec, then that is a decision based around how it will be used and powered. We also made this decision.

If you are deciding between the DC Spectra and the DC Echotec, there is no comparison - nothing else in DC besides the Spectra (or other energy-recovery units) makes any sense. We have also been down this road.

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