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Old 04-02-2021, 09:23   #1
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Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Hi all -

I've got a specific set of parameters I want for my energy provision and I'm now researching watermakers. I'd love your opinions.

Boat: Tayana 37

Normal crew: 2 adults- wife and myself, but may often have a third crew during crossings - need water for all of us.

Water tank size - will be installing new 80 gallon tank - old tank was removed and previous owner installed a small 30 gallon thing. it looks like 80 gallons is the most I can put there without fabricating a custom tank ($$$) which only gets me 10 more gallons.

Energy provisions: regular alternator (might switch to high output), 400 watt wind generator, 400 watts solar, will be installing 4 AGM batteries for house, and one deep cell for Starter/motor.

We do not want a generator on our boat if at all possible for multiple personal reasons. We're hoping for no gasoline powered anything on our boat - even the tender will have an electric motor if we can swing it.

So we're looking at a watermaker that runs on 12V, or is efficient enough to run on our 3000W inverter (does that even exist?), can provide water for 3 crew on an ocean crossing, and keep 80 gallons toped up in remote locations around the world...and yeah, money ...It's gonna cost, but maybe we can not spend a bajillion boat units on it?

Yeah - I want a unicorn, but help me find what's out there? Personal experience with your unit would be welcomed. Thanks in advance all!
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Old 04-02-2021, 18:29   #2
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

With 400W solar / 400W wind your water maker options are a electrical driven unit like the power survivor (something like 1.5 gph), or a larger capacity system with an energy recovery pump. Schenker and Spectra are the two brands I know of with energy recovery pumps. Expect 7 gph from 10 amps at 12 volts or 15 gph from 20 amps at 12 volts.

400 W of solar along with appropriate battery capacity will power these units. The wind generator and alternator will be a nice supplement.

Choose a water maker capacity that balances hours of operation to meet needs of the crew with total installed costs.

We took a close look at both the Schenker and Spectra, settling on a 15 gph Spectra.
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Old 04-02-2021, 19:02   #3
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

I'll second the Spectra. I installed a Spectra 200 (@8 gal./hr.). You'll have sufficient energy to run the water maker for an hour a day, but I run mine every other day. 8 gal. of water is a lot of water even with daily hot showers.

If you are heading offshore to remote destinations, I would highly recommend 2 separate water tanks in case one becomes contaminated.
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Old 04-02-2021, 19:36   #4
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

We have a Spectra Ventura 150D. Run it off the solar in the afternoon, after the house batteries have been charged. We consistently get 7 gals per hour using 8 amps. The batteries just sit there full, while the solar output covers the watermaker. We use 10-12 gallons per day for the two of us. We shower after swimming, wash dishes in fresh water, wash down gear - have even been known to wash the boat topsides after a salty crossing. We have two cruises on the 150D - three months in 2016, four months in 2019. In 2016, we had only 240 watts solar on our Seawind 1000. Held up well pickled between uses. We ran the watermaker every 2-3 days. Remember you will give up about 3 gallons flushing after each run.
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Old 04-02-2021, 21:34   #5
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Thank you all. Three thumbs up right off the bat for Spectra...Guess I'm headed over to their website right after this!
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:29   #6
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Tradrockrat, if i were you....i would seriously think about Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. Much better electron density than AGM...Last longer, charge faster, cheaper in the long run, and can discharge easily down to 10 percent versus agm of around 50 percent....You won't be sorry
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:46   #7
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Personally, I used a small watermaker (less expensive) that ran on 12vdc and used one solar panel for power. It ran all the time which kept my tanks full and always gave me extra fresh water to trade with other people.


But that is just one skippers opinion. de W7KFI ussvdharma
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:40   #8
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Quote:
Originally Posted by ussvdharma View Post
Personally, I used a small watermaker (less expensive) that ran on 12vdc and used one solar panel for power. It ran all the time which kept my tanks full and always gave me extra fresh water to trade with other people.


But that is just one skippers opinion. de W7KFI ussvdharma

This sounds intriguing. What brand was the watermaker?
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:44   #9
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

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Tradrockrat, if i were you....i would seriously think about Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. Much better electron density than AGM...Last longer, charge faster, cheaper in the long run, and can discharge easily down to 10 percent versus agm of around 50 percent....You won't be sorry
We're having this discussion right now. It's really hard to switch gears from "buy what you can afford and get the best you can" (literally my entire life up to this point), to, "now we've got the funds for big purchases / projects, get the best and save long term". Because we're both really adamant that we won't go into a spending frenzy and destroy our budget.

What we're trying to figure out is really this - people SAY it's cheaper in the long run, but FOUR or FIVE GRAND for batteries?!?!?! When your energy is coming from solar panels and not an electrical grid - I'm not sure those numbers ad up. And which batteries will be easier to get from anywhere in the world when it's time to replace them? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:44   #10
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

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This sounds intriguing. What brand was the watermaker?
I'm curious too.
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Old 05-02-2021, 13:08   #11
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post
We're having this discussion right now. It's really hard to switch gears from "buy what you can afford and get the best you can" (literally my entire life up to this point), to, "now we've got the funds for big purchases / projects, get the best and save long term". Because we're both really adamant that we won't go into a spending frenzy and destroy our budget.

What we're trying to figure out is really this - people SAY it's cheaper in the long run, but FOUR or FIVE GRAND for batteries?!?!?! When your energy is coming from solar panels and not an electrical grid - I'm not sure those numbers ad up. And which batteries will be easier to get from anywhere in the world when it's time to replace them? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.
Wonder over to Ocean Planet and look at Firefly batteries.
Not a lot more than a quality AGM and harder to damage.
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Old 05-02-2021, 13:37   #12
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

When you are deciding on a watermaker capacity, pick one that lets you run it for several hours every 3-5 days. The fresh-water flush at the end of the cycle can waste a lot of your production if you only run the watermaker for short periods. For my wife and I (not particularly frugal with water), our 12.5 gal/hour Spectra has worked very well for 12 years.
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Old 05-02-2021, 13:53   #13
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

Spectra has the lion's share of the 12v boat market. I've had a Spectra for 20 years on multiple boats. I have a genset but don't like to listen to it. If you aren't going to have a genset, you usually end up with 12v.

Spectra's aren't cheap but you save money not buying a genset

Focus on getting the most gallons for the least watt hours (you don't care about amps as you have plenty available).

And for an ocean passage you don't need to limit your running to a few hours. You're not going to be dropping anchor.

So for you, I think the Spectra 200T is the best cost/performance. 14.5watt hours per gallon (less than an amp hour of battery per gallon). If you want to make more water in fewer hours for coastal cruising - move up to the Catalina. Same efficiency.

Most people try not to run their watermakers at anchor except in the very clearest waters. Otherwise the pre-filters clog quickly. In coastal cruising, we prefer to take a 3 hour day sail to make water.

If you have cloudy days with not enough solar, run the spectra while running the engine to charge batteries then let it run another hour or two after you shut down the engine. These all make more water when the voltage is 13v instead of 12v.
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Old 05-02-2021, 14:16   #14
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

If I may, I'd like to pose a different watermaker scenario for comments.

We have two aboard, a 5 kW diesel generator, 430 W solar, 950 Ah AGM battery bank and 45 & 55 gallon water tanks.

We have a Village Marine 6 GPH 12 VDC watermaker that I am considering replacing with a Seawater Pro 40 GPH 120 VAC 1.6 kW watermaker.

The idea is that every other day I run the generator for 30 minutes to power the watermaker and battery chargers. This nets us ~ 10 gallons of water each day.

Solar keeps the batteries topped up. The generator or secondarily the 1.2 kW engine alternator are fallback in the absence of sun.

While the Seawater Pro watermaker is less efficient than watermakers with energy recovery, it is also less costly. The one cited above costs just $3500.

Any thoughts either for or against this arrangement? Thank you.
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Old 05-02-2021, 14:23   #15
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Re: Need opinions on watermakers for a specific scenario please

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post

So for you, I think the Spectra 200T is the best cost/performance. 14.5watt hours per gallon (less than an amp hour of battery per gallon). If you want to make more water in fewer hours for coastal cruising - move up to the Catalina. Same efficiency.
Thanks for the direct suggestion.
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