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Old 11-07-2020, 12:02   #31
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

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In the end a used Spectra VT-150 for $2750 was the winner!

It isn't lost on me though that I just got a used small watermaker for $50 MORE than what I paid for a used car a few weeks ago.
So you got the one in Green cove springs?
I thought of you when I saw that post.
That is like the only Spectra I have seen come up for sale in a long time, and happened to be next door to you.
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Old 11-07-2020, 12:13   #32
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

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The new boat has a Desalator. Parts are crazy expensive and hard to get.

Our boat will have a dessalator (Freedom 100), what kind of parts did you need for it? Anything other than the filters? Any other major issues?
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Old 11-07-2020, 12:29   #33
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

We have a dessalator. Uses standard membranes from DuPont and all other parts have been reliable for the last 18 months. I understand that the first problem most units have is the belts stretching.
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Old 11-07-2020, 12:34   #34
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

The system that came with my boat was automatic but when the board went they wanted $1400.00. A $2.00 toggle switch and $20.00 water tester fixed that.
Stay away from auto systems.
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Old 17-07-2020, 08:26   #35
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

We had a Spectra Cape Horn Extreme on our Manta 40 while cruising the Bahamas, Caribbean and US east coast for 2.5 years and loved it. Service was great, parts easy to get, but all we ever needed was filters. It is what most of the Volvo Ocean Race boats were using. Modular, so you can fit it in more easily than one that is all tied together. The Clark pump it uses is quiet. It has dual boost pumps, and we could run one off our solar panels and get about 9 gal/hr. Depending on your needs, one of the Ventura models might suffice. They are basically half a Cape Horn: only one boost pump. The Ventura 200C is fully automatic, but the manual mode of the Cape Horn was reliable and easy.
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Old 17-07-2020, 08:29   #36
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

I used to have a big HRO 220V unit. For something as critical as water I dis not like having a single point of failure: No water in the event of a generator failure, a double issue on a long passage. On my new boat I installed a dual 220V/24V Dessalator. Itís been on my boat for 3 years, works flawlessly, easy to maintain and great service/parts availability. Super easy to pickle as well. It produces about 100l or 25 gal per hour. I find this to be the best of both worlds. When I run my engine for a while I produce water with 24V. When I run my generator, I produce water with 220V. I have enough solar panels to run my water maker off my solar panels when the sun is high and with very little supplement from the batteries. I am very pleased with my setup. I believe that Dessalator produces 12V and 24 V units in combination with 220 and 110V.
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Old 17-07-2020, 14:47   #37
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

DO NOT BUY AN AUTOMATED DESALINATOR !!! No joke, every boat I have met in person here in the Caribbean with one has had very regular problems.

My Cruise RO unit on the other hand has had ZERO issues and we run it 3-4 hours every 3 days. Rich has great customer service.

SeawaterPro our of Florida is also nice, I have spoken with Mile on the phone to assist another boat.

Lastly, a guy sells some simple and inexpensive units out of Arizona. Google him. I have no experience with them, but if it's simple it will work. You just need to understand them.

Good luck !

For reference, we are 8 aboard, mom, sad and 6 kids.

Recently a washing machine...less water than laundry by hand actually.

We use ~45 gallons per day. Our unit is ~36gal/hr. 120v/60hz high pressure pump. 12v boost pump. Unit draws about 100a @ 12v total at 800psi

Will run off a small 2kw genset as backup. We have no diesel genset. Run everything off solar/inverter/800ah & 12v battery bank. 2.34kw solar. All Victron electronics...

Soon to be 3kw solar...hehehe.
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Old 18-07-2020, 08:03   #38
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

6 kids on a cruising boat.....you must be loved everywhere you go.
And 3kW of solar pretty well equals my diesel genset to boot.

I also had an RWO I used steady for 5 yrs (and still going strong) - simple, durable gear, great capacity, and Richard is amazing at service & support....know cruisers he has helped troubleshoot & get parts to around the world.
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Old 29-07-2020, 14:05   #39
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

In keeping with my noise, installation, and maintenance priorities; i took the feed pump, valving and carbon filter of my used Spectra off the the metal bracket it comes on. It requires a little change in operation. But sure made the project easier to do.
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Old 23-12-2021, 15:27   #40
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
In the end a used Spectra VT-150 for $2750 was the winner!
So I used that Spectra for 1.5 years. These are my experience/thoughts on it:

- it rarely made rated output
- but it as pretty quiet
- I was OK running it while I was off boat, which was a good thing since it had to run a long time
- that Clark pump is very complex. In the time I had it I had to replace the piston lip seals once, clean the check valves twice and replaced them all once. That cost me around $300, but a rebuild kit is $700 that is just crazy $$$ for what it comes with.
- literature says it uses 17 watt/gal. My experience with it the energy worked out closer to 25 watt/gal
- I replaced the feed pump head once and it was $200. That is a crazy high price for what it is
- at $6200 new (or $4200 for a Schelker Zen 30 that I would get instead if buying new) these are crazy expensive for what they are. And when they have a problem it is $$$$$ to fix.

So I sold it and brought a Seawater Pro 40gph AC system, which is what I was thinking to do at the start if I didn't get a Zen 30. The reasons:

- at $3495 it is just less expensive and was only $745 more than what I spend for the used Spectra that took almost $500 for hoses and fitting etc. to install
- compared to the mystery of the energy recovery pumps, the booster and HP pump are simple
- for the cost of just a Spectra rebuild kit I can have a brand new pump, but of course it can be rebuilt for much less
- it works out to 27 watts/gal, which is close to what the Spectra in real operation used. But even if the Spectra really would have made 17w/gal it only saved 9w/gal, which is only around 0.7 amps at 12.5V and close to meaningless far as real boat power.
- at 40 gph it will make a weeks worth of water for us in 1.25 hours
- if I decide to do something that needs a lot of water, like wash off the salt, it isn't a big deal
- it will run easy off my Honda, but if not my inverter will do it and I could run engine/alternator, or just let solar catch the batteries up later as it is about same power really
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Old 13-01-2022, 09:23   #41
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

So my Seawater Pro 40 gph AC system has been installed and running a few weeks now. Here are my updates:

- It fit in pretty much the same space as the Spectra VT-150 did. The HP pump is smaller than the Clark pump was so I installed on the same shelf I had build. The membranes and filter are all mounted on wall behind the pump that was being taken up by the filters before. The feed/boost pump is installed in basically the same area as the old feed pump.
- yes it is louder that the Spectra, but it isn't really that much. The HP pump isn't as loud as the Honda generator powering the system and is more of a hum sound. I have it mounted in my aft shower that is only about 5' from where I sit in the settee and with door closed can talk etc. with no problem. If I go out to the cockpit I cannot even hear it.
- it is making 35 gph here at same location that the Spectra VT-150 did 4 gph (sometimes)
- power use is 27w/gal and the Spectra in real use here was doing 26w/gal. So even if I run it on solar/inverter like I did the Spectra it isn't really any difference in the big picture
- there aren't any "special" or mystery components and you don't need a 10 page flowchart for troubleshooting
- I can get a brand new complete HP pump for $495 compared to $600-700 for a rebuild kit for the Clark pump of a VT-150
- I can get a new complete boost pump for $150 compared to just a feed pump head for the Spectra at $200+

And of course it was $1000- less than a Schelker Zen30 or $2500 less than a Spectra VT-150
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Old 14-01-2022, 13:51   #42
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

These are just my opinions, so take or leave as you like.

There are two kinds of watermakers which I like, very different but each with its own logic:


1. Simple, super simple, like SeaFresh, large capacity, AC driven, with all the elements exposed and accessible and touchable, and readily available parts. If you have a generator, you don't care that it's efficient (so you don't care about the Clarke Pump on the Spectra), you just want to make a bunch of water as quickly as possible then shut it all down. Most simple is fully manual, and that seems good to me, but the Sea Fresh has an automatic dump/store valve based on salinity and that actually seems to be a good thing to me, adding little complication but adding a useful functionality.


2. Portable like RainMan. No installation. Store it off the boat when you're not using it. Send it in for service if needed. Sell and replace it as desired.


YMMV.
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Old 12-03-2022, 19:56   #43
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Re: Watermaker Selection Priorities

Back in 1996 I took the power survivor 35 off our boat and sent it to the factory and they certified it to put out itís specs. I sold it on eBay for $1200.
I was keeping my eyes open for a better watermaker between then and 2002. A Spectra came up on Craigslist. I went to the Richmond boat yard and a commercial fishing boat was hauled out and the guy was switching from fresh to saltwater ice making onboard. He didnít need his spectra. It was piled in a wheel barrel and I asked what he wanted for it. He said heíd take $600. I bought it and took it back to Treasure Island to our boat.wired it up and it worked perfect. I called spectra in Marin and spoke with Bill the owner. He said it was one of the originals. He said just set it aside and call him a month or so before was going to install it and bring it in and he would go thru it and bring it cup to the current spec. A few years later I did that. Bill rebuilt the Clark pump and got it putting water to spec. I installed it and my family took off and sailed for 7 years from SF California down to Ecuador and back. At one point our membrane died in El Salvador along with several other boaters that were anchored in a pretty punky estuary. I bought another one and flew with it down at Christmas and installed it. It worked again like a champ.
So Pickled the whole system in food grade glycol and let it sit for 12 years.
Last year I unpicked it and flushed it overnight. I then ran it and checked the product and flow rate.
It was the same as the day I pickled It according to my log.
I just sailed down to the sea of Cortez and took a spare membrane. In Ensenada I noticed a small leak in the Clark pump and replaced couple O-rings. Just after passing Cabo San Lucas the water quality went down and then I was in a anchorage waiting out a blow and decided to swap the membrane. I snapped one of the high pressure nipples on the end of the membrane housing. Turned out it was brass and had corroded thru. When I got to La Paz I replaced the fitting and swapped out the membrane.
This system is putting out 8.5-9.5 GPH at 220ppm quality as it did the day I put it in. I just shut it down about 20 minutes ago. It was basically free if you count the power survivor swap, spectra purchase, and Billís service job. My maintenance has cost me about $600 in membranes and $150 in 0-rings, and a handful of pre filters over 20 years.
I attest my success to my routine maintenance. Every time I run it I fresh water flush, and swap my 20 and 5 micron filters. No exceptions.
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