It took me a few days to complete between the normal work
stuff, but before folks start reading the below 2,717 words, I want to do two things first:
Reiterate again that by commenting on EchoTec’s (Echo) bullet point list posted by Schaumburg, I am in no way intending to bad mouth, ding, or imply that the Echo water maker is anything but a quality unit or that the hard working, good folks at Echo don’t care as much about their customers as the folks at Cruise RO. Cruise RO has built their business and reputation not by talking bad about the competition, but by focusing on giving their clients what they believe is a great water maker choice for the cruising dollar, then backing that up with 7 day a week customer service. Every time you call, Skype, or email
on a Saturday or Sunday or Tuesday at 9PM one of the two owners of Cruise RO will answer.
Give a few bullet points about the Cruise RO water maker.
Straight from the owners/manufacturer sales, cutting out the typical marine
dealer mark-ups saving you lots of cruising kitty money
The only water maker company to offer a 3 year full replacement warranty on the RO membrane compared to others that pro-rate their membrane warranty.
Lowest cost consumables in the industry: 5 and 20 micron prefilters cost $7ea and Activated Carbon filter $7ea. Genuine DOW SW30-2540 replacement RO Membranes for only $187 while other charge $399, $499, or higher.
The only 7 day a week customer service provided by the company owners! Every time you call, Skype, or email on a Saturday or Sunday or Tuesday at 9PM one of the two owners (Rich Boren or Charlie Hammel) of Cruise RO will answer during their waking hours.
Cruise RO provides the manufacturer and manufacturer’s part number for all major system component compared to locking you into high priced replacements
available only from one company down the road.
The Cruise RO water makers do not have a single proprietary part that is only available from Cruise RO. This saves on the initial purchase
price and makes long term maintenance
and rebuilding easier and cheaper from parts available around the world.
For cruisers without a Diesel
Genset, the Cruise RO 20 and 30 gallon per hour water makers can be powered by a Honda EU2000 generator
Standard Push-to-Connect double O-ring connections on all of the low pressure fittings compared to hose clamps.
Standard Included Boost pump compared to a price adder/creep.
Standard Activated Carbon fresh water flushing
assembly compared to a price adder/creep.
Standard Dual stage prefiltration 5 and 20 micron
No Warranty requirement mandating use of Cruise RO consumables.
Just as I commented on the Echo bullet points, the same can be done with the Cruise RO bullet points and I welcome the comments.
The Echo bullet points are in bold as posted by Schaumburg and my comments are posted below….need follow up, need clarification, think I’m crazy? Just let me know.
“Patented spring loaded automatic pressure regulators with single O-ring seal for constant flow and superior reliability vs. needle valves with packing.
Echo uses a true pressure regulating valve to control the system back pressure and Cruise RO uses a Swagelok brand static needle valve. Which one is better? Well in my opinion that depends on your application. In applications like engine
driven water makers where changes in Engine RPM
will change the high pressure pump flow rate and there-by change the system pressure, yes a true regulating valve is better (or more convenient) than a static needle valve. With the static needle valve, you will need to lock your engine RPM
in at a constant speed while making water, while a true regulating valve will allow for changes in RPM while keeping the PSI on the system constant. Additionally, in DC driven units, where changes in input power voltage to the motor changes pump RPM like a VFD, and thus affects system pressure, yes, a true regulating valve is better (or more convenient) for the same reasons as the engine driven unit.
However, with AC driven motors that operate at a constant RPM unaffected by the incoming voltage or your diesel
engine RPM, once the static needle valve is set to control 800PSI in the system the pressure doesn’t change because operationally the Hp pump flow rate doesn’t change. So in this application, do you really need to spend the extra dollars on a true regulating pressure valve or will a static needle valve fill the engineering need at a lower cost? Our testing and experience leads us to believe that using a static needle valve to control system back pressure to 800PSI is not cutting corners, but rather optimizing the system for proper performance while keeping price considerations in mind.
Here is a link to the Swagelok static needle valve that we use in our SM20 and SM30 water makers for you to check out.
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This valve has a 5000PSI pressure rating and the insinuation that the valve’s packing is prone to leaking or that leaking is a concern with this valve is just bogus. We have not had a single Swagelok static needle valve failure to date and if we did, it would be covered by the Lifetime Warranty to the original purchaser of the water maker, that’s how confident we are in the valve!
“ECHOTec pleated polyester filter cartridges have an effective filtration surface of 6 sq. ft. per 2½” x 9¾" element. They can filter 3 times more seawater than cartridges commonly supplied by most manufacturers and 10 times more water than string wound filter cartridges, offered with do-it-yourself type watermakers.”
Good prefiltration is critical for long RO Membrane life. The prefilter elements supplied with Cruise RO water makers are also pleated polyester. Our website photos show string wound filters, which could explain where the confusion and bullet point came from. Unlike Echo, we provide both the 20 and 5 micron prefilter as standard equipment
on our water makers. A single 5 micron prefilter is ok on lower production water makers, but high output water makers are processing much larger volume of raw sea water. Progressive dual stage filtration increases the time frame between prefilter changes and can help minimize the killer of high pressure pumps…the dreaded cavitation caused by insufficient sea water inlet flow.
To be fair, I believe Echo will include the dual prefilter if the client pays extra for the optional boost pump. High pressure pumps do not like to suck sea water into them or the system; they perform much better when fed with a positive supply of sea water. So in systems that don’t include a boost pump as standard equipment
, adding the dual filtration can cause supply problems to the Hp pump. Cruise RO water makers come standard with not just the boost pump and dual prefiltration but another important feature, an Activated Carbon Fresh water flushing
assembly. You must be able to fresh water flush your water maker since chlorine will damage and destroy your RO Membrane. Cruise RO feels it is not an optional item, but a must have.
“ECHOTec is the first yacht watermaker, equipped with a unique pH buffer element. This cartridge contains a mixture of minerals that correct pH only enough to reach a neutral equilibrium in order to protect metal fresh water tanks, heaters and fittings. As the water is slightly re-mineralized, this will improve the taste and also makes soap rinse off easily, resulting in up to 50% lower fresh water consumption.”
Absolutely, Echo is indeed the first “yacht water maker” to come standard with this feature and Cruise RO doesn’t offer it. Installing pH buffers on residential RO units is nothing new and since most residential RO systems use a similar technology, if pH buffering and remineralization is important in your buying
decision, a quick web search will find cartridges that you can easily plumb into your water maker product water line at a cost of $20-$30 each that will do that for you. I’m not knocking this feature, I’m just not sure it’s justified in the cost difference between an Echo and Cruise RO, but that’s for the customer to decide.
“ECHOTec AC and DC boost pumps are magnetic driven, have ceramic shafts, require no seals and have no metal parts in contact with seawater vs. commonly used bronze, brass or stainless pumps with easily corroding stainless shafts that often cause the mechanical shaft seals to fail.”
It’s a little confusing to the customer that an optional item would be listed as an advantage over other water makers that do offer a boost pump as standard equipment included in their advertised price. Cruise RO’s standard boost pump has the advantage of being a self-priming pump, which can make the installation easier because it can be mounted as much as 5ft above the water line. Mechanical seals vs a mag-drive boost pump, is mag drive better? It certainly takes away the risks of a mechanical seal leak but in our experience seal leaks
on our boost pumps have not been an issue and we are happy with the reliability of our standard boost pump. We do offer several optional types of centrifugal pumps based on the client’s needs and applications, but like other centrifugal pumps, they must be mounted below the water line. Chemical Magnetic Drive Pumps from March Pump
“Low voltage control circuitry with heavy duty magnetic relays for each motor versus high voltage motor switches close to seawater directly on the metal control panel.”
Cruise RO provides lighted on/off switches for the Hp pump and boost pump on the remote
panel. Having not seen an Echo unit personally and finding no information in the downloadable online manual, it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on what I don’t know about, so I won’t.
What we do provide in our manual is detailed wiring
instructions for clients wiring
through our standard switches. But we also include a detailed wiring diagram for those that would like to install a $40 12v relay (they can buy from us or online) to pick up their 120/220v high pressure pump. We also put spare 12v switches in our bag-O-parts to make it an easy electrical
wiring option for the client.
“Modular concept for space saving installation or super compact and self contained for fast and simple Installations.”
Cruise RO and Echo both are modular units.
Field attachable high pressure hose fittings for clean do-it-yourself installations vs. standard supplied hose lengths with crimped fittings.
Cruise RO does provide two standard length high pressure hoses for the two Hp runs: Hp Pump outlet to RO Pressure Vessel Inlet and then RO Pressure Vessel outlet to Remote
panel inlet. The sizes we chose as standard (3ft and 5ft) work
for 90% of our clients. For that 10% that need longer hoses, we handle that one of two ways. First, If the client knows in advance of shipping
that he needs longer hoses for his installation (say a 7ft and 10ft) then we simply pull out the standard hoses and replace them with the size he needs. Second, if the client has the water maker shipped with the standard length hoses but then finds out his 3ft needs to be 9ft, he can ship the 3ft back and we send him a 9ft. We do charge for the longer lengths of Hp hose at $10/ft and of course doing things this way adds in some shipping
delays. The reason we like to handle the Hp hose this way compared to field adjustable end fittings is that there is a zero chance for a client to make a mistake. The client puts the Hp hose on the connection point, turns it by hand to “hand tight”, and then gives it a ¼ rotation turn with the right size wrench, done.
I agree that this is not as convenient as a field adjustable Hp hose length but here is the reason we have decided to go this route
. Over 95% of our water makers are sold directly to our cruiser customers for them to install. These are average Joe cruisers and many don’t have any experience in dealing with high pressure hoses or connections. If we were selling primarily through dealers that were in most cases doing the installations for the client, then I would have no problem with asking the installation expert to make up the Hp hose fittings. We want to make the installation process as easy and stress free as possible. I’m not knocking the self-adjustable Hp fittings; I’m just trying to take away as much installation stress as possible. I’m the one that answers our technical support line 7 days a week, so the easier I make things on the client; the easier it is on me…a win/win.
A quick note regarding Cruise RO Hp hoses being “crimped”. The swage point is multiple times stronger than the actual pressure rating on the hose itself.
“Custom build leak free O-ring sealed high pressure fittings vs. standard compression fittings.”
The standard Swagelock compression fittings used on Cruise RO water makers are the exact same fittings used on turbine engine high pressure fuel
lines, where a leak would blow things and people up. They are the same fittings used in Chemical and Industrial plants around the world with replacements
available worldwide from local Swagelok dealers. Cruise RO is so confident in the quality, that they offer a Lifetime Warranty to the original purchaser on all Swagelok SS Hp fittings! After reviewing the technical specs and application limits, I think most reasonable people will agree in their quality. A stainless to stainless compression seal good to in excess of 5000psi compared to an O-ring isn’t better or worse from a technical application. But from a cost perspective, buying an off the shelf Swagelok compression fitting helps Cruise RO’s goal of keeping the costs down while keeping quality up.
“Custom build (one piece) large radius 90 degree high pressure fittings connect directly to hoses and components for low flow restriction and ultimate corrosion resistance vs. multiple NPT adaptors with 90 degree standard elbows.”
Echo uses custom built adapters and elbows, while Cruise RO uses industry standard Swagelok fittings as an off the shelf part to save costs. In my opinion, this difference is comparable to the true regulating valve vs static needle valve argument discussed above. I have no doubt whatsoever that the approach employed by Echo has worked well for them and I have nothing bad to say about their custom fabricated parts that cost more to manufacture than the off the shelf Swagelok fitting used by Cruise RO.
Regarding the flow restriction issues supposedly caused by the use of Swagelok fittings and standard elbows. An engineer
could calculate and measure the flow difference between the two fittings. But how big is it and what does it do to the water maker’s performance? Does Cruise RO’s 20 gallon per hour unit make less than the comparable Echo or use more power due to the flow restriction? The answer is no. While there are pure engineering benefits, a cost benefit analysis doesn’t show that the flow restriction savings is worth the added cost of a custom made part costing more than an off the shelf industry standard part available worldwide. Some may disagree, and I have no problem with that, debates like this are ultimately settled in the marketplace through customer buying decisions.
“Custom engineered pressure vessels guarantied for life, built with glass fiber reinforced Vinyl Ester and stainless steel end plug components. No mix of metals, common with standard pressure vessels.”
Cruise RO also has a lifetime warranty on their custom engineered pressure vessels and anodized aluminum
end plug fittings. Cruise RO does use SS fittings connecting to the anodized aluminum
end plug, which the bullet point refers to as “No mix of metals”. Cruise RO applies Teflon tape to the SS Swagelok fitting threads prior to screwing into the aluminum end plugs to prevent metal to metal contact. The configuration of using anodized aluminum end plugs with SS fittings has been used for years in the water maker industry and although it has not been a source of failure, I agree with Echo that a SS to SS connection is indeed superior to aluminum to SS connection. +1 for Echo. Of course with a lifetime warranty, the customer is still protected from having to purchase
a new pressure vessel or end plug assembly.
“Custom O-ring sealed high pressure ports with threaded backing plates on all pressure vessels.”
Cruise RO uses NPT fittings rather than O-ring seals for the Hp connections. Is the Cruise RO approach inferior in quality to a custom made O-ring fitting, I don’t think so, but this is a valid difference I’m just not sure is speaks to “lessor or greater quality”. The NPT Hp connections used on Cruise RO water makers are pressure rated at thousands of PSI above the pressure capable by the Hp pump. Custom made fittings and O-ring seals are always nice until you drop it in a bilge
or it fails and you can’t replace it locally. That’s not at all a knock about the Echo approach; it’s just an illustration that a “flaw” (if you want to call it that) can be found in almost every system design or component choice for those looking to make such a list. Some of them are valid, while some I would argue is simply a “marketing” list.
“Premium efficiency high pressure pump motors are epoxy primed and polyurethane top coated vs. single component painted standard motors.”
The Lesson Wattsaver motor used in the Cruise RO SM20 and SM30 water makers are also high efficiency motors with a name plate power usage of 8.4Amps and you can review the specifications at this link: LEESON Electric Corporation - www.leeson.com
In a break from the water maker company pack, Cruise RO lists both the manufacturer and manufacturer’s model numbers for all of their major system components in their free to the public manual. It is my belief that giving all of this information openly in the manual, helps cruisers make educated buying decisions.
“All ECHOTec high pressure pump / motor units are anti-vibration mounted with specially engineered soft vibration dampers. This feature dramatically reduces noise transfer into the hull."
Cruise RO does not provide anti-vibration mounting feet for the pump and motor assembly. Is that a problem? The water maker installed on my Hudson
Force 50, SV THIRD DAY
, is mounted under the salon
floor and the crew can sit in the salon
watching a DVD
without having to turn up the TV volume. Is the Hp pump and motor silent, certainly not, but most generators are louder than the Hp pump and motor. Key to a quite installation of the high pressure pump and motor assembly is selecting or preparing a solid base platform rather than a loose board that will act as a drum. Clients often place a rubber pad between the motor mount and base of for those concerned can always purchase some anti-vibration mounting feet online. You can review photos of how some of our clients mounted their high pressure pump and motor assemblies and in one of the photos you will see some mounting feet. Customer Feedback