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Old 18-08-2019, 06:45   #1
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Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I have a Spectra 400 water maker that works great but can't clean and reuse the filters. Regardless how hard I try to clean them with hose pressure, dragging behind boat, toothbrush etc, when I reinstall and try to run the maker I get the "service pre-filter" warning after just a few minutes. I was under the impression that I could get a couple of uses out of them and was hoping not to have to carry a boatload of filters cruising. Has anyone had luck with a technique or maybe operational setting? One time I cleaned the 20 micron and replaced the 5 micron and that worked so it's likely the 5 being the issue.
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Old 18-08-2019, 07:22   #2
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I just hose off the filter until no more dirt going down the drain, then hang it out in the sun for three days to sun bleach and sterilize.
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Old 18-08-2019, 07:32   #3
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

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I just hose off the filter until no more dirt going down the drain, then hang it out in the sun for three days to sun bleach and sterilize.


About the same as I do, except I tie a line to the filter and dunk it a bunch, leave it in the water for 6-8 hours, rinse, and then the sun treatment. I almost made it on 1 filter last season.
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Old 18-08-2019, 07:47   #4
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

As others have said, a salt water clean followed by drying in the sun works well. After drying the filter it can be brushed to remove the now dead growth.

Alternating two filters so one has a chance to dry fully makes the process easier.
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Old 18-08-2019, 08:42   #5
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

It could simply be that the filter loading in your area has a higher fraction of smaller size particulates and those no matter how much you clean and scrub get embedded into the filter media. That then causes an increased pressure drop and Boom....your sensor is seeing low flow/pressure and tripping the warning light. Maybe you have a faulty sensor but the one thing for sure DON'T make yourself an expensive pump problem by trying to save a few bucks on new prefilters......
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Old 18-08-2019, 09:08   #6
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

Have a spectra Cape Horn extreme. All our domestic water is made by it. Filters are generic and can be bought in bulk. Personally don’t bother cleaning them. Just change them out as they’re cheap when bought in bulk. They stink when dirty. Have tried to clean them but some residual smell is left even after drying in the sun which then gets into the drinking water. Wife won’t tolerate even the least bit of smell or tank taste.
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Old 18-08-2019, 09:28   #7
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

It definitely depends on the amount/type of sediment in the water where you are located. When we ran our Catalina 300 in the Chesapeake, even a new filter didn't last too many hours, and it was very difficult/impossible to clean. At sea, we almost never have to change the filter. Anchored off a Caribbean island, we get maybe 12 hours, and can clean and reuse at least 5 times.


The Catalina, by the way, has only a 5 micron filter, no 20 micron prefilter. It's never been an issue for us.
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Old 18-08-2019, 09:48   #8
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Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I, too, donít bother cleaning the filter for our Spectra watermaker. I spent nearly $7,000 on my watermaker (about the same that I paid for the genset I installed) and I would never consider trying to clean the oil filter for my genset, even if I could. Frankly, the cost of a new filter I feel is justified in an effort to keep the high pressure pump operating trouble-free.

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Old 18-08-2019, 09:59   #9
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I had a similar problem with my Catalina 300. Frustrating that after cleaning it would always show bad filter almost immediately. Eventually called Spectra in Seattle and they said it was a faulty sensor. Since then I clean and reuse the filters until they look a little stringy. Works like a charm now.
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Old 18-08-2019, 11:36   #10
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I too would suspect the sensor. I finally went to two pressure gauges on my system, before and after the filters. Easy to see when pressure drop increases, time to clean/replace the filters. I also added a cheap hour gauge. I had endless problems with the sensors, wiring, etc.
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Old 18-08-2019, 13:45   #11
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

There is a combination of button pushes on the control panel to reset the filter settings. Try pressing the autorun and alarm buttons simultaneously.
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Old 18-08-2019, 14:15   #12
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

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There is a combination of button pushes on the control panel to reset the filter settings. Try pressing the autorun and alarm buttons simultaneously.
I have the MPC3000 control head on my Catalina 300. That procedure doesn't work on the earlier versions like mine.
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Old 18-08-2019, 14:53   #13
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

Pushing buttons should work on the MPC 3000, this works on mine:
If you are getting SERVICE PREFILTER false alarms and you cannot connect a computer to the system, you can zero out the pressure sensors with the key pad as follows. The system should be running with the pressure relief closed. Run the system manually if necessary. Simultaneously press the ALARM/DISPLAY button and the AUTO/STORE button at exactly the same time. Watch the display when you do it. When you get it right you will see some characters flash in the upper left corner of the display. Keep trying until you see the flash. Once it flashes the sensors are calibrated to zero differential.
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Old 18-08-2019, 14:59   #14
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

Thanks for the tip. I will try next time its a problem. The Spectra tech after changing the sensor did say this earlier version had to be set by computer and so he did. It now works fine.
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Old 19-08-2019, 10:26   #15
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Re: Spectra Watermaker Filter Cleaning?

I had not tried drying them out after cleaning. Also had not really paid attention to the number being displayed on the prefilter menu item. I take it that is resistance pressure. Don't really recall seeing that in the manual but will go back and look and monitor that number with time. Running new filters today in eastern Long Island Sound and after four hours it shows 18.52 on it. Didn't look before I started though. Saved the last filters so sun drying as we speak. Thanks for the input. I would be happy to just use new filters but with living on the boat for six months I was hoping not to haul too many items and arranging a drop ship somewhere is a bit of a hassle.
That kind of filters did you buy in bulk and from who?
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