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Old 21-04-2022, 14:28   #1
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Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

What are you using and how do you like it?

Hi all, I just started researching 12 volt desalination for my 2010 Jeanneau 44i
It Has 160 gallon holding capacity. I anticipate using this system 1 month a year, so not full time right now.
Please If you can share the pros and cons
(Power consumption, water output, ease of access to replacement parts, and price are all obviously concerns.
Thanks in advance on the advice.
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Old 21-04-2022, 15:25   #2
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

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Originally Posted by Kd9truck View Post
What are you using and how do you like it?

Hi all, I just started researching 12 volt desalination for my 2010 Jeanneau 44i
It Has 160 gallon holding capacity. I anticipate using this system 1 month a year, so not full time right now.
Please If you can share the pros and cons
(Power consumption, water output, ease of access to replacement parts, and price are all obviously concerns.
Thanks in advance on the advice.
Do you have a generator onboard?
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Old 21-04-2022, 15:45   #3
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

CruiseRO

Can adapt their high throughput units - high watts - to run off DC but Rich reckons powering off an inverter genset is more reliable, cheaper replacement parts etc.

There are native DC low flow units very efficient Wh per gallon, but personally I would rather have a shorter session a few times a week rather than having it running all the time.

But a solar-only setup? maybe

PS called watermakers round here
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Old 21-04-2022, 16:06   #4
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

Thanks Paul I know them as “watermakers” also was not sure if it was a global term.
And thanks I will check them out.
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Old 21-04-2022, 17:28   #5
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

I have a 12v rainman. It's pretty convenient and the solar will run it and still have excess energy to to charge the batteries. The negative to the 12v unit is the low flow (8 gph) means you have to run it for hours at a time to be worth the trouble. You'll run it for 20-30 minutes just to make enough water to flush it when you're done.
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Old 21-04-2022, 23:36   #6
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

Our boat came with a Dessalator D60 that now produces up to 70l ph (approx 17.5 US gallons) and uses about 40A at 13.4V. We can run it off our battery regardless of what charging is going on (700Ah 12V lithium). A useful filling cycle usually means 5-6 hours run time.

If we were putting in a new watermaker I think it would be a high output AC model that could fill our tanks from empty in 2 hours. We do have sufficient inverter capacity to run it without external AC power (shore or generator) - if not that would be a harder decision unless you don’t mind running a generator to power certain equipment.
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Old 22-04-2022, 01:59   #7
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

Using a watermaker for only one month and then pickling it for the other 11 months is not ideal. You would be better to delay the purchase until you are cruising for a greater part of the year.

If you are still keen to purchase a watermaker the first decision is how you are generate the power necessary to run the device. There are two distinct types of 12v watermakers. The energy recovery 12v watermakers use much less power and are the only real option for most boats if you want to run the watermaker from solar/wind generated power. Spectra is the most popular brand of this type and and can confirm their reputation for reliability.

If you are planning on producing the energy for the watermaker via a generator there is no compulsion to spend the extra money on the energy recovery technology. Having only owned one non energy recovery watermaker (and brand is no longer in business) unfortunately I cannot recommend any particular model. If you want this style of watermaker one option to consider is ordering the individual parts and assembling the watermaker yourself, unfortunately this option this not practical if you want an energy recovery model.
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Old 22-04-2022, 02:16   #8
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

Anything with a Clark pump.
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Old 22-04-2022, 04:42   #9
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

You are starting out asking a few good questions. Choosing watermaker is something that takes a bit of research and talking to different manufacturers of different brands is the first step. Talking to just strictly a salesman pushing their product is usually a recipe for disaster. The first thing to ask a salesman is how many years of real filed experience do they have, how much boat electrical experience do they have, boat plumbing experience and how many different types of boats have they personally worked on. Do not underestimate this step. Most hawking their water maker wares out there have little to no field experience. Choosing the right watermaker takes time and patience. There are good watermakers out there and there are certainly bad ones. A quick list of things I recommend you don't do 1) Shop for price. You'll discover the bad ones fairly quickly that way. 2) Buy a watermaker because your dock mate recommends his. 3) Believe you can't have a watermaker that makes too much water. 4) Believe that because you have a generator that an AC driven watermaker is always the way to go. 5) Believe because all watermakers are rated at a daily production that that will easily cover your needs. 6) Believe all claims made by salesmen about the newest technology. Most of it is decades old and a lot is just, uh, borrowed, from the older companies that paid for the R&D 7) Believe that with anything on a boat you won't have to work on it or properly service it on a REGULAR basis.
Things to consider 1) How big is your boat. 2) How much freshwater tankage do you have. 3) How many people on average will be on the boat. 4) How many gallons of water do you use on a daily average basis now. 5) What is your boats electrical system like and do you have a good working knowledge and understanding of your boats electrical system, how it works, stores power, and re-generates that power. 6) Have you done your daily amp/hr budget calculations. 7) Do you have a GOOD quality volt meter with the ability to read AC/DC amp draws How much space on YOUR boat are you willing to give up for a watermaker installation. Always consult the admiral on this one. 8) Understand the difference between a fully automated system and a manual system and the different service requirements between the two. 9) Very importantly, what kind of cruising do you intend to do? Are you a weekender, a RTW cruiser, or the myriad of inbetweeners?
This is just a start of the conversations you should be having with any manufacturer of watermakers. A good representative of any company should be asking even more questions and digging into your particular situation with a background of years of field experience guiding him to help guide you. If you're buying a watermaker after a few minutes call to the company I'd be very leery. Watermakers are not cheap, some are, both price and build, and now with serious supply chain issues, take your time, caveat emptor.
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Old 22-04-2022, 04:54   #10
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

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Originally Posted by ThereAndBack View Post
Do you have a generator onboard?
No, do you suggest a specific one, I intend on adding a freezer as well, I have not needed one yet, it is a 12v system. I do need to augment power supply as well, i am not committed yet to anything as I do not yet know the power demands, this is a new chapter in my sailing life. I am setting this boat up to do more self reliant cruising, so yes I will need to augment what ever “green” energy’s I choose to add.

I am leaning towards lithium batteries and a solar array, and a small generator but nothing set in stone, I have upgraded the alternator on the Yanmar 4jh5e and that has cut the “run time” to no additional time needed.

Your advice on power would be appreciated if you have a system that satisfies you water makers demands. I do realize each vessels energy consumption is different.

Looking forward I will need to satisfy demands of Auto pilot, food storage, and water maker. I think that might require another thread. Many thanks in advance

I am on a mooring, so the vessel sits dormant when I am not sailing it. Only the bilge is capable of drawing power.
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Old 22-04-2022, 04:55   #11
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Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

Having now seen a few Schenker Zen water maker installs , I’m impressed , very simple install , simple prefiltering , Clark energy pump , 12/24v operation and semi manual flushing

Given the pricing it seems to me to make zero sense to go with a non energy recovery solution irrespective of your onboard energy generation capability

I see no need in a era of cheap solar to consider a generator.
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Old 22-04-2022, 05:04   #12
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

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… I see no need in a era of cheap solar to consider a generator.

Because it’s not always sunny?
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Old 22-04-2022, 05:07   #13
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

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Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
You are starting out asking a few good questions. Choosing watermaker is something that takes a bit of research and talking to different manufacturers of different brands is the first step. Talking to just strictly a salesman pushing their product is usually a recipe for disaster. The first thing to ask a salesman is how many years of real filed experience do they have, how much boat electrical experience do they have, boat plumbing experience and how many different types of boats have they personally worked on. Do not underestimate this step. Most hawking their water maker wares out there have little to no field experience. Choosing the right watermaker takes time and patience. There are good watermakers out there and there are certainly bad ones. A quick list of things I recommend you don't do 1) Shop for price. You'll discover the bad ones fairly quickly that way. 2) Buy a watermaker because your dock mate recommends his. 3) Believe you can't have a watermaker that makes too much water. 4) Believe that because you have a generator that an AC driven watermaker is always the way to go. 5) Believe because all watermakers are rated at a daily production that that will easily cover your needs. 6) Believe all claims made by salesmen about the newest technology. Most of it is decades old and a lot is just, uh, borrowed, from the older companies that paid for the R&D 7) Believe that with anything on a boat you won't have to work on it or properly service it on a REGULAR basis.
Things to consider 1) How big is your boat. 2) How much freshwater tankage do you have. 3) How many people on average will be on the boat. 4) How many gallons of water do you use on a daily average basis now. 5) What is your boats electrical system like and do you have a good working knowledge and understanding of your boats electrical system, how it works, stores power, and re-generates that power. 6) Have you done your daily amp/hr budget calculations. 7) Do you have a GOOD quality volt meter with the ability to read AC/DC amp draws How much space on YOUR boat are you willing to give up for a watermaker installation. Always consult the admiral on this one. 8) Understand the difference between a fully automated system and a manual system and the different service requirements between the two. 9) Very importantly, what kind of cruising do you intend to do? Are you a weekender, a RTW cruiser, or the myriad of inbetweeners?
This is just a start of the conversations you should be having with any manufacturer of watermakers. A good representative of any company should be asking even more questions and digging into your particular situation with a background of years of field experience guiding him to help guide you. If you're buying a watermaker after a few minutes call to the company I'd be very leery. Watermakers are not cheap, some are, both price and build, and now with serious supply chain issues, take your time, caveat emptor.
Yes, Tellie to all these things, thank you.
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Old 22-04-2022, 05:21   #14
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Re: Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

To the energy supply topic, not a political statement just one boaters observation, no green energy a single solution to all answers, as an overview, solar is good at anchor for sunny places, wind generator is good in windy places, Hydrogenerators are good underway, all need money and access to maintenance,…..if I am not mistaken.

Any suggestions on “watermakers” mates?
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Old 22-04-2022, 05:22   #15
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Advice on best 12v desalination brands and units

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Because it’s not always sunny?


You’re boating in the wrong places
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