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Strygaldwir 15-10-2005 14:43

Watermaker Installation
Has anyone gone through the process of installing their own watermaker? I am just finishing the initial stages of my installation now. I aquired a used Spectra system and have spent about the last 30 days preparing and finally installing it.

The base system is an older version than the current specta system. It was loosely termed the Spectra 380c system. This was charcterized by 16 gallon per hour production at 20 amps per hour. It is also very modular.

I have optimzed certain things to bring them in line with the most modern spectra systems. I had originally conceptualized building my own system, but I wanted one with a hydraulic intensifier. I tried locating on at a reasonable price, but after several months of fruitless searching I found a used spectra system on ebay. After purchasing, I realized that much of the conceptualization could be applied to optimizing the 380c.

In this optimization I have done the following:

Purchased a new SW30-2540 membrane. Even though the system came with a membrane, I was unsure of its state, so finding one for $170 represented a great savings over the $500 Spectra list price.

Purschased 3 new filter housings- Picked these up from Lowes at about $30 each, not counting filter elements. These list for about 85 from Spectra.

Purchased 15 feet of High pressure hose. Got this from Specta. It was about $4 per foot. I could have gotten the same stuff from Parker Hannifin for $1.80, but I would have had to purchase 250 feet.

Rebuilt the Shurflo pumps. One was rusted and a magnet had come loose from the houseing. I wanted to have it powder coated, but there was no convient place or way to do it. I soaked it in Phosporic acid to neutralize the rust then primed and painted it with Rustoleum products. Probably be okay for a couple of years or so. Cost about $30.

Bought about 40 feet of 5/8 reinforced hose from Lowes. Don't remember the cost off hand, but it was reasonable.

Bought a bunch of straight, elbows and fittings for 5/8 tubing and 1/4" tubing. Got it from McMaster ( A lot simpler than trying to find all the misc parts from Lowes, Home Depot and West Marine. Bought 50 feet of 1/4" tubing also.

Got a couple of high output 120 mm muffin fans from Ebay. About $14 for both if I recall. That included shipping.

Got 2 Shurflo heat sinks for the pumps. These I got from a place in Ca. $40 for two, that included shipping. Specta has what they call a pump cooling kit that consists of the fan, a shroud and the hit sink. They retail for $75 per kit.

I bought a bunch of clamps, screws, teflon tape and the like. Cost about $25 for all the little misc. stuff.

After getting all this stuff, I could begin assembly. What a pain!!! This is the most difficult, simple thing I can remember doing in ages. You just have to connect all these pumps, filters, valves, membranes, intensifier, through-hulls, existing water supply, existing drains, water tanks, electrical panels, pressure transducers, and flow meter all together. I'll do a complete write-up one of these days.

Meanwhile. Where are those new ferrules Only thing left to do before the finale attachment.


Euro Cruiser 16-10-2005 04:04

Keith, you should share a few pics with us as you finalize your installation. I'm sure it would be useful to others.

I remember Kent Machtley saying that installing a Spectra unit in their Tashiba 31 ended up qualifying him as a Swiss watchmaker.


Sunspot Baby 16-10-2005 04:30

Wow. What a job. I guess I took the chicken way out on my installation. I installed a new Pur 40E. Granted a very small unit just to keep us in drinking water and occasionally add a little to the tanks.

I installed mine below the sole plate in the galley. I teed into the sinkís sea water foot pump line for input water and into the sink drain for discharge. No new through hulls! Then, thanks to Proutís design, my water tanks are integral to the hull on each side, so it was right there. A small hole and fitting in the top of the tank made it easy to put water into the tank.

I added a small water outlet at the sink which can be used for flushing water or to put water into jugs where we store drinking water.

I did have to rout a small area of a cross member for hose runs and sistered a piece of aluminum plate to it incase I had compromised strength.

The toughest part of my installation was fishing about 25í of 10 gauge wire from the electric panel/breaker to the unit. 12 gauge would have been enough, but I had the 10.

In the ďjokes on meĒ department, my electric panel had a breaker for Desalinator but I was concerned that start up amps would be more than itís rating so I installed a new stand alone breaker. I wired this into a bus that appeared to me to come straight from the battery. I was wrong; the bus is fed through the cabin light breaker, which is smaller than the desalinator breaker that was already there. Since the cabin light breaker is almost always on when we are on the boat and we only run the water maker when motoring or running the generator in clean ocean water, I didnít discover the situation until I was trying to track a ground fault on a light fixture a few days ago. I guess the load at start up is not appreciably greater than it is running.

The small size of my unit and the convenient layout of my boat made my reasonably task simple.

Sunspot Baby

Strygaldwir 16-10-2005 09:19


I just noticed you are in New Bern also. Are you in the marina near Outback? We have one Manta here at the Sheraton, but I think that is a 40 and it is name "Salty Paws".


Sunspot Baby 18-10-2005 03:30


I just answered you private message so all information is there.

A few days ago we had drinks on the Deck at the Sheraton, saw your 37 and walked down to look at her. I chartered one in 2001 in BVI and liked it alot.

Sunspot Baby

Strygaldwir 18-10-2005 13:04


Sorry we missed you! We were no doubt mired deep into plumbing, electrical, or some such. 2001, might have been this one! Do you recall the name? It used to be named North Viking.



Sunspot Baby 18-10-2005 14:40

The one we chartered was Camcat. She was in the Catamaran Company fleet at that time. Now for charter with someone else. See

What is you vessel's name now?

Sunspot Baby

Strygaldwir 18-10-2005 17:15

We have had the name changed on the Documentation. The new name is SeaView. The current name on the boat is Snapper Catcher. When we have it hauled, we'll put on the new name.

It was originally with Catamaran Co also. I believe the prior owners purchased it in 2002.



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