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Old 14-03-2021, 13:02   #1
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Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

I am in contract for a boat that has a water maker that I would guess is 10 years old. I am just starting my research on water makers and maintenance but I’m just curious if there could be any life left in the machine.

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Old 14-03-2021, 13:05   #2
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

How many hours of use are on it? Iíd lay money on it having lots of useful life in it.
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Old 14-03-2021, 13:07   #3
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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How many hours of use are on it? Iíd lay money on it having lots of useful life in it.
Probably a silly question but will it have an hour meter on it? Iím about a 10 hour drive from the boat currently and donít have plans to see it for another month
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Old 14-03-2021, 18:30   #4
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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Probably a silly question but will it have an hour meter on it? Iím about a 10 hour drive from the boat currently and donít have plans to see it for another month


Some do, some donít, depends on who installed it.

Generally speaking, most watermakers spend their lives pickled. So unless the boat was actively cruised if far flung locales for the last ten years the watermaker is likely just fine (meaning operational but needing new membrane(s))
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Old 15-03-2021, 03:01   #5
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

The Spectra Ventura on our previous boat made over 70,000 litres and the only service other than filters was a new low pressure pump after about 5 years of use. When we sold the boat the watermaker was still going strong.

However, watermakers like to be used. If it has sat pickled for 10 years you are likely to need at least a new membrane.
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Old 15-03-2021, 04:56   #6
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

And a new membrane is cheap in the big picture really
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Old 15-03-2021, 05:16   #7
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Brassmonkeys.

If required, a replacement membrane should cost less than $500.
Spectra Partshttps://www.spectrawatermakers.com/u...tegories=12124
Retail ➥ https://www.seatechmarineproducts.co...tra-membranes/
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:08   #8
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post

However, watermakers like to be used. If it has sat pickled for 10 years you are likely to need at least a new membrane.
I realize this is conventional wisdom (and it may actually be true in most cases) but don't replace the membrane based on the length of time it has been pickled. After using it daily for 6 years, mine was pickled for 10 years (sodium metabisulfite) since coming back from the Caribbean. When I recommissioned it I decided to test the membrane before replacing it. I ran the watermaker for 1 hour to flush out all the sodium metabisulfite pickling agent and then tested the product water. It tested at 130 ppm! I was getting the same gph from the membrane as when new at the same pressure. The membrane was fine. I used it all summer, pickled it in the fall, used it all the next summer, etc. Test it before you toss it!
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:10   #9
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

When we purchased our boat the Spectra water maker hadn't been used in years.

- Replacing the membrane is easy and a no-brainer. Start fresh.

- The Clarke pump is the most critical part and must be able to maintain the pressure needed to move water through the membrane. Our needed rebuilding.

- The pump head(s) should be replaced if it's been sitting a long time. The internal seals, diaphragms, etc degrade without use.

- The pump(s) are the work horses and ours needed replacing after being used a short time. Replace prophylactically or at least have one as a spare.

- It's a pretty high pressure system that can't have any leaks, so inspect hoses, clamps, etc and do what's needed to make them everything sealed tight.
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:15   #10
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

How do you winterize a Spectra watermaker considering the membrane has to be pickled?
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:37   #11
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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How do you winterize a Spectra watermaker considering the membrane has to be pickled?
We have pickled ours with RV antifreeze. (Remove all filters first.) Iíve read that will last a year.

When we bought out boat the Spectra Santa Cruz had been pickled with RV antifreeze for over two years, and the membrane was over 7 years old.

I installed a new carbon filter and freshwater flushed the watermaker for a couple of hours. Then I installed new pre-filters, and it produced product water of 125ppm. And it has been working great since we acquired this boat in 2014. (It is used weekly for ~9 months each year...)

The product water is now approaching 300-400ppm so it is likely time for new membranes.

Just our experiences. Good luck with yours...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:41   #12
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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How do you winterize a Spectra watermaker considering the membrane has to be pickled?
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Dennis.

Spectra recommends that all pickling be carried out with a 60% propylene glycol “Minus 100” antifreeze product [or Spectra 'SC-1'].
They also note: “... Propylene glycol can be used instead of Spectra SC-1 storage chemical for storage in any climate up to one year by following this procedure...”

WINTERIZING OR PICKLING WITH ANTIFREEZEhttps://www.spectrawatermakers.com/d...s-ae052616.pdf
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Old 15-03-2021, 09:58   #13
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

The items which may fail - meaning not function as specified - are: 1) Shurflo Feed pump(s); 2) Shurflo pumphead(s); 3) membrane(s); 4) internal Clark Pump internal O-rings and seals. Google Spectra Watermakers, and find their Technical Support section. The company has an extensive set of Technical information, including running functionality checks, rebuilding the Clark Pump (for which the entire O-ring and seals kit is available). Replacement Shurflo feed pump heads, and feed pumps, can be purchased from Spectra resellers, but also from Defender, and Arizona Wind and Solar. The least expensive source for replacement Membrane(s) if you think you may need to replace it/them is Wateranywhere.com. They have membranes for every watermaker in use, including Spectra watermakers, and they are substantially less expensive than if purchased from a Spectra reseller; and its the same membrane. Rebuilding the Clark Pump sounds daunting, but it is not difficult and the rings and seal kit has an excellent chart for ensuring that the items are properly identified before you install them...the only tricky item is removing/replacing the shuttles, but that too is very well explained. Or, you can ship the Clark pump to Spectra who will rebuild it and bench test it for ~$1,000. Spectra Watermakers are a great piece of equipment, so if it requires repair, my recommendation is to do so and it will continue making excellent fresh water. Cheers, Bob
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Old 15-03-2021, 10:29   #14
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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I used it all summer, pickled it in the fall, used it all the next summer, etc. Test it before you toss it!
Yes, I agree. There is chance it may be fine.

Unfortunately, unlike most other spare parts that keep indefinitely in storage, the membranes deteriorate. If cruising remote places where accessing a new membrane will be difficult or costly it can worth replacing it prophylactically, especially as they are not expensive these days.

My only practical experience with a failed one was with a (non Spectra) watermaker on a previous yacht. It was kept pickled in storage by the original owner. It initially worked fine, but the membrane failed after a few months use. This is only an isolated example, but I suspect this is not unusual. However, as well as the membrane, there are also feed pumps, seals etc etc. These may also be expected to fail after sitting pickled for many years . At least components such as this can be purchased beforehand and changed only if they fail. Unlike the membrane, they do not deteriorate if new and kept as spare parts in storage.
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Old 16-03-2021, 03:04   #15
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Re: Working life of a Spectra Watermaker

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Dennis.

Spectra recommends that all pickling be carried out with a 60% propylene glycol ďMinus 100Ē antifreeze product [or Spectra 'SC-1'].
They also note: ď... Propylene glycol can be used instead of Spectra SC-1 storage chemical for storage in any climate up to one year by following this procedure...Ē

WINTERIZING OR PICKLING WITH ANTIFREEZEhttps://www.spectrawatermakers.com/d...s-ae052616.pdf





This is no longer true. "60% propylene glycol ďMinus 100Ē antifreeze product" Use the -50 Pink PG instead. The -100PG will stick to your membranes and take hours to flush out......As an aside, I prefer to us PG all the time instead of the SC-1 if at all possible. The PG protects far more expensive parts on a Spectra.
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