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Old 16-04-2008, 13:12   #1
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Slight Chemical Taste from Katadyn 40e new in box, but bought second-hand

Water Maker People (thank you in advance for any help):
We purchased a Katadyn 40e from a a person who never installed it. It was new, in the box, and obviously never installed or run. I have read with interest a related post that had a similar situation. We think the unit sat in the box for 12-18 months, we are trying to verify the exact time of purchase with the previous owner.

We did not contact Katadyn prior to installation - we just went for it. Three long days later and we flipped the breaker on. The unit is producing product water at about 1.4 gal/hr (temp: 75F-80F) and we cannot detect salt using our taste buds. BUT, we do feel there is a faint chemical taste to the product water even after the original biocide was flushed out. We have run the unit for over 3 hours on 2 different days to see if the taste would diminish, it has not.

Katadyn was very sure it was not a result of sitting in biocide for a year (quite smuggly he asked, "do you know what biocide tastes like?"). Then he asked how the water rated on the TDS meter - as if we all have one. I had him explain what a TDS meter was (this was certainly not mentioned in the manual). We have not obtained a TDS meter yet. But, he did suggest something else in the plumbing was causing the taste.

So, we sucked fresh water through the seawater intake hoses, the prefilter and sections of the clear pvc hose, but were unable to reproduce the taste. We are comparing it to water from a RO vending machine and our tank water going through a seagull filter. We cannot detect any salt, but Chris at Katadyn was quick to point out that the membrane could be letting through 800ppm salt (too much) and we would not be able to taste it.

The water is clear and well flushed by the tides where we are in Key West (city mooring field).

Has anyone heard of still having a chemical taste after running the watermaker for 3+ hours? Should we buy a TDS meter? Is there some other tests that could/should be done on the water? Are we too picky/finicky/sensitive? Should the membrane be cleaned, serviced? Can you run something through to "freshen" it up?

Thanks for any help!

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Old 16-04-2008, 13:36   #2
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You can buy a total dissolved solids (TDS) tester for under $30.
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Old 21-04-2008, 05:28   #3
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"So, we sucked fresh water through the seawater intake hoses, the prefilter and sections of the clear pvc hose," ....Product water right?

Other than the water maker unit itself what other items did you purchase to complete the install? lines, fittings, thru hull etc?
Ditto on buying the TDS meter.
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Old 21-04-2008, 06:08   #4
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Your tongue does a good job of detecting salt, so you don't really need a TDS meter. If the chemical taste is plastic, its probaby from the product lines, and should diminish with time. A charcoal filter on your drinking water will help the taste.
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Old 21-04-2008, 09:12   #5
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I don't have a watermaker on the boat, but I had one in our home on the Cheasapeake Bay in Virginia. Our well water had a bit of NaCl in it, less than the drinkiing water standards, but we could still taste it.

The RO unit took the salt taste out, but added a kind of "plasticky" taste. It didn't diminish with use, so I quit using it. Preferred the salt.

Don's suggestion of adding a charcoal filter after the RO unit would solve the problem for you.
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Old 23-04-2008, 09:38   #6
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Update on chemical taste: ordered new membrane

Thank you for all of the responses!
I was not clear, but to test the fittings and hoses for a "chemical" taste, we ran good tasting water through them. The good tasting water (obviously subjective, but we felt there was no chemical taste) came from a drinking water vending machine, dispensed into a clear plastic container. We could not find a fitting or hose that gave this water a chemical taste.

Katadyn felt the only thing that could be adding a taste to the water (aside from fittings and hoses) would be the the membrane.

We do have an expensive and effective seagull water filter, but the watermaker on our old boat (powersurvivor 35) produced great tasting water and we do not want to rely on a filter to "clean up" RO water. We are also about to leave on a 6 month voyage and did not want our watermaker to possibly get worse.

So, we have ordered a new membrane from Kayadyn ($280 + shipping) and will replace it next week. Membranes are not covered by warranty. I will post again after we swap membranes with an update.

Thanks again!
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Old 23-04-2008, 10:57   #7
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How much water have you produced through the membrane, from your first post it suggests less than 10 gallons. If it is only this small amount you may find the taste will go away with more use.

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Old 23-04-2008, 13:50   #8
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FYI we installed a Katadyn / Pure 80e purchased new, and it had no plastic taste at all once it had run for 30 minutes so something seems to be wrong.

Good luck in sorting it.

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Old 06-05-2008, 08:59   #9
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Chemical taste gone from our Katadyn Powersurvivor 40e!

Thanks again to all of you who responded to our original question. We risked the $280 on a new membrane, and it worked! After 30 minutes of running we had clean, great tasting water – at exactly 1.5 gal/hr (as advertised). It was easy to replace the membrane, mostly because of some stroke of luck we had installed it so the end cap was easy to access and we did not have to unmount the unit.

We do have a slight drip from the cleaning lever valve – not a lot, just enough for salt deposits to build up. Anyone with specific experience with the 40e and the cleaning valve lever? (Katadyn says it is normal)

Suppose we could always access a drinking water vending machine at 30 cents a gallon... We need to make about 7,666 gallons of water to break even. But we also bought it for self-sufficiency – Priceless!

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