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Old 12-08-2008, 12:21   #1
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Family Afloat needs advice Ro or water maker

Hello fellow floaters,

We are a family of 4 new at sailing. We havn't splashed yet and are setting up the cruiser to float far far away. Does anyone have any advice on using reverse osmosis vs. a water maker?

FamJam
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:30   #2
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Does anyone have any advice on using reverse osmosis vs. a water maker?
The removal of dissolved salts is smaller than anything that is alive. It take a great deal of pressure to remove dissolved salt from sea water. The reverse osmosis process used on fresh water varies from 30 to 250 psi. This is like a lot of home units you use with a fresh water supply. For sea water the pressure is increased and the membrane is different and varies from 600 to 1000 psi (psi pounds per square inch). They both use a semipermeable membrane.

A water maker uses reverse osmosis while not all reverse osmosis systems can extract fresh water from sea water. It's why some bottled water has salt.
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Old 12-08-2008, 13:05   #3
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Thank you so much for the quick response. I understand. I will now be in search of a decent water maker. I have found some new ones online. Would it not be recommended to look into a used one? Either way, any recommended brand names?

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Old 12-08-2008, 13:54   #4
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There are a lot of issues with water makers. We have a few discussions here already so you may want to search and read a few of them. There are a lot of opinions and different ways that can work. key things:

1. They like to be run regularly like every other day. Making water on a very regular schedule is most efficient. There is some chemistry involved and maintaining the membrane is a bit complicated at least if you want to really understand it. Using it every other day or every day is a good way to start to think about it. This isn't totally difficult to use or operate but how it works will better able you to use it best. So with that in mind they all make water.

2. With the above in mind you you should seek a production volume that allows you to maximize you efficiency of power use and water use. Power use aboard is complicated and only slightly more so than water use. It's as much about and your family lifestyle you as it is about the technology.

3. There are different approaches and some systems have significant differences in power consumption and production volume. Costs and features can be varied.

4. Most important is water use patterns for a family are complicated. Water becomes a lot more difficult to acquire and produce and how you manage the use of water will play a big role in how you make and how it works with your budget. If you want to be off and away from it all the watermaker is a key tool.

5. The prices ranges start from expensive to very expensive. That would based on a home reverse osmosis scale of expensive. Not all the details are apparent between the different types of systems. This would be one of the more difficult items to just say "get this one". It is a topic that some study is warranted.

In any case welcome and you should be able to have some fun here as well as work out these and the many issues with boating.
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Old 12-08-2008, 20:23   #5
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water maker research

Paul,

Thank you for your time. I will continue with my research. My family and I are currently located in Coos Bay, Oregon. We will be ready to splash soon and will take any good advice we can get. We plan to head South. I have done many different kinds of online searches lately and many times the Cruisers & Sailers Forums comes up. So glad to be connected to an incredible group of people. This world seems to be invisible to even my affluent land lover friends, UNTIL you mention sailing. Some know of boating people, most think its an unusual way to live. Looking forward to connecting the global dots.

FamJam
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Old 12-08-2008, 21:24   #6
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As with any capital investment on a boat, it behooves you to evaluate each piece of equipment as far as product support, parts availability amd simplicity or rather ease of maintenance and repair.

As far as watermakers go......just as in batteries...a management plan is necessary
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Old 12-08-2008, 21:50   #7
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How about NOT installing a watermaker now? You are probably a bit overwhelmed with projects and expenses as you prepare to "splash", then head south. You could focus on your primary systems such as storage tanks, distribution, possibly a rain catching system. Then, since the watermaker requires power, you can ensure that the electrical system is functioning perfectly, that the engine has sufficient capacity to generate DC, that there are sufficient batteries for deep discharge, and possible alternative power generation such as wind or solar. Once those are solid and totally reliable, you will have had a chance to see the installations of others, to shop around, and to deeply consider how you would install a unit in your own boat. After you have seen a few of these things you will be in awe of the valves, hoses, and other gizmos that need to be integrated in a small space, yet provide complete access for service. By the time you get to San Diego, you will be wiser and more ready to explore your options fully. And San Diego has good prices, good internet connections, and good technicians who can help you with your decisions. You can also take the time to stock up on the myriad spares and backup parts and supplies that are so difficult to access further south. And despite what many will say, getting replacements in Mexico and further afield can be a nightmare of lost shipments, customs "surprises", and folks who really haven't seen your level of technology enough to provide critical care. Take your time - there's no rush for equipment as important as this.
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Old 12-08-2008, 22:09   #8
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Some know of boating people, most think its an unusual way to live.
OK, it's unusual. Just agree and smile.

For the most part it's about not being in a hurry. It's the fatal mistake that can get you killed, frustrate your relationships, and ruin well found plans. You can't just order it all and make it happen. It's a small boat in a big ocean and it needs to work for the whole crew. Don't forget to bring the whole crew along. You will probably need all of them. It's really more about the people than the gear.
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:10   #9
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Aloha FamJam,
Welcome aboard! Good to have you here. Have you met Captain Jay Wolcott there in Coos Bay? He was the original builder of my big boat project and I haven't heard from him in a few years.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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