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Old 03-02-2016, 05:00 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Kevin

Good work and thanks for sharing. A few questions:

--Is the Seward Harbor clean enough so unit can be run there?
--Does the higher suspended solids in AK glacial waters present a problem
--Have you pickled unit yet, if so how long does it take you?
--Where do you buy pre-filters and RO membranes?
--What is power draw?

Thanks
Seward harbor is just fine. We have a 10' average tide change so nothing stays here long.

I have not seen a problem with solids, but I don't know how long pre-filters last in other locations so I don't have a comparison.

In normal use you do not need to pickle the unit. I have the auto rinse option installed. Every 5 days it runs the boost pump for 10 minutes which pushes fresh water across the membrane face and insures there is no time for the growth of anaerobic bacteria. The auto wash uses tank water run through a charcoal filter so you don't have to leave a seacock open.

I did pickle the unit and then winterized it las fall. It takes all of 10 minutes to pickle the unit.

I can buy the pre filters at Home Depot. Have not had to replace the membranes but they are standard Dow units and they are available online from a variety of sources for about $200 each.

The power draw is 13 amps AC. At that power draw we make 40 gallons per hour. A couple of hours a day and we're good. We use allot of water with the clothes washer, etc... We also eliminated the salt water wash down, and re-rerouted potable water to the two hose bibs. This makes washing the boat easy!

I never take on dock water anymore. No need. It has chlorine and fluoride, and goodness knows what chemicals in it. RO water is just pure H2O.
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:26 PM   #42
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I have an older Sea Recovery unit that was in my trawler for awhile. I say it was a Sea Recovery because some of the parts had that name on them. Almost everything was generic or could be retro fitted. The supply pump was a standard 1/3 hp 120 volt 1750 rpm centrifugal with a pressure bypass befor the prefilter. The high pressure pump was a CAT (IIRC) with a 220 volt 3/4 hp motor. Pressure on the high side of the membranes was controlled by an adjustable regulator. Product water had a sensor that told you if it was suitable to go to the tank,with a green light. A flow sensor gave you the GPH. High and low side gauges.3 Generic membranes that are available everywhere and can be had in whatever size needed. I think my unit was rated 400 GPD. Nothing complicated about it and it always worked. I still cant figure why these things are so expensive and cause sailboaters so much grief. The average mechanically inclined boat owner could put together a reliable system for about $1500, I think. With new components.
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:32 PM   #43
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Hi Rick (MYTraveler),

Every watermaker manufacturer has suggested maintenance for their units. With regards to my previously-owned Sea Recovery 400 GPD unit, the maintenance I followed was right out of their owner's manual. I doubt there's anything other than manufacturer's-prescribed maintenance that can prolong the life of, or improve the performance of watermakers.

Not sure about the need to minimize pressure head on the product water. The product water is ideally delivered out of the membrane at atmospheric (zero head) pressure. Any head loss to be overcome from there to the water tank, and hence overboard via the vent hose when full will reduce product volume somewhat. However, given that the pressure on the raw water side of the membrane is at something like 900 psi, little volume will be lost if the product side of the membrane sees something like 10 psi head caused by filling your tank either from the bottom, or overfilling and venting some feet higher overboard. Maybe if you have giant tanks, and vent WAY above the waterline, but I'm still not sure about this point. But, as your rotometer that measures flow rate through the system is downstream from the membranes, it will let you know if flow rate doesn't match factory-promised numbers.

Perhaps a design professional from the watermaker industry will chime in here, and shed some light on this particular topic. I may be all wet (!), but my product water is delivered from the membrane to the bottom of my water tank, and when the tank's full, I observe it venting overboard, and shut off my watermaker. Easy-peasy, no harm to date.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:24 PM   #44
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Not sure about the need to minimize pressure head on the product water. The product water is ideally delivered out of the membrane at atmospheric (zero head) pressure. Any head loss to be overcome from there to the water tank, and hence overboard via the vent hose when full will reduce product volume somewhat. However, given that the pressure on the raw water side of the mem. I may be all wet (!), but my product water is delivered from the membrane to the bottom of my water tank, and when the tank's full, I observe it venting overboard, and shut off my watermaker. Easy-peasy, no harm to date.



Pete
That's the way I do it as well Pete. I teed the product water into the suction side inlet to my potable water pump.

People do not understand head pressure very well. They think that the whole water tanks pressure is creating head pressure on the water maker. Then at the same time they recommend that you tee the product water into the tank fill hose.

The reality is that the head pressure on the water maker is defined only by the height of the water Column that must be lifted. By that definition there is more head pressure on the pump if you connect it to the fill which is above the tank. If you connect the product water output to the bottom of the tank the head pressure is the rise to the bottom of the tank, plus the depth of the water in that tank. The tank could be a zillion gallons or one ounce, and the pressure would be the same if the depth is the same.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:13 PM   #45
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The reality is that the head pressure on the water maker is defined only by the height of the water Column that must be lifted. By that definition there is more head pressure on the pump if you connect it to the fill which is above the tank. If you connect the product water output to the bottom of the tank the head pressure is the rise to the bottom of the tank, plus the depth of the water in that tank. The tank could be a zillion gallons or one ounce, and the pressure would be the same if the depth is the same.
I think I understand the concept, but please correct me if I am missing something. My manufacturer recommended that the output would, ideally, be above the top of the tank, with a downhill run from the output into the tank (or another line feeding the tank). In that circumstance, I believe that the pressure on the feed line is the same whether the connection is made at the bottom of the tank or the top of the tank, since it is below the watermaker output. But, my mfg's instructions went on to limit the permissible pressure if either a) the unit output were below the top of the tank (in which case the head pressure would equal the height of the water column between the unit output and the top of the tank (at least when it is full), regardless where between the top of the tank and the bottom of the tank the input connection is made, or b) the overflow vent is above the top of the tank (in which event the head pressure would (if the tank were overflowing) be increased by the height of the water column between the elevations of the top of the tank and the level of the vent (or the highest point of its connecting line, if higher, as would be the case in some installations). My problem was that the vent height was enough higher that it created in impermissible pressure potential, necessitating my installation of a lower vent point.

Thanks for the help guys (and if I am misunderstanding something, please explain).
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:21 PM   #46
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I think I understand the concept, but please correct me. My manufacturer recommended that the output would, ideally, be above the top of the tank, with a downhill run from the output into the tank (or another line feeding the tank). In that circumstance, I believe that the pressure on the feed line is the same whether the connection is made at the bottom of the tank or the top of the tank, since it is below the watermaker output. But, my mfg's instructions went on to limit the permissible pressure if either a) the unit output were below the top of the tank (in which case the head pressure would equal the height of the water column between the unit output and the top of the tank (at least when it is full), regardless where between the top of the tank and the bottom of the tank the input connection is made, or b) the overflow vent is above the top of the tank (in which event the head pressure would (if the tank were overflowing) be increased by the height of the water column between the elevations of the top of the tank and the level of the vent (or the highest point of its connecting line, if higher, as would be the case in some installations). My problem was that the vent height was enough higher that it created in impermissible pressure potential, necessitating my installation of a lower vent point.

Thanks for the help guys (and if I am misunderstanding something, please explain).
You are correct.

If you install the membranes above the tank, and above the tee in point then there is zero head pressure.

Actually there would be a negative head pressure caused by the weight of the water column (siphon effect).

In a practical sense my membranes are about about 4' below my vent and the system works just fine. I run the water maker until the vent overflows fairly frequently.
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:27 PM   #47
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Wait a minute, we have 900 psi on one side and the weight of water on the other. Just how many angels can sit on a pinhead. Its a non issue, almost immeasurable.
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:45 PM   #48
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I finally got all my bits and pieces together and put my watermaker to use this last week. All parts were picked up at marine surplus or marina yard sales. Only new purchases were pressure vessel, membrane, and filters. Also misc connectors and fittings. Had available thru hulls, so no new boat holes. Watermaker testing shows flow rate of 2.75gpm, pressured to 800 pounds and producing 25 gph at a water quality of around 50 ppm. Total cost of watermaker was about $1200Click image for larger version

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Old 03-09-2016, 10:13 PM   #49
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Took the easy way out to feed water to tanks, drill and tap to existing fittings. This project was to go in previous boat, never got done, finally done now. Will only use during longer trips, as boat has 350 gal storage. Will remove membrane and pickle in a storage tube, rather than run chemicals thru whole system. The membrane and filters came from Cruise RO, Great to do business with.Click image for larger version

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Old 03-10-2016, 06:51 AM   #50
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Excellent. Nice to see that you didnt have to spend big $$$.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:07 AM   #51
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Background -- I have two 600 gpd watermakers on board. They worked fine for several years but (the high pressure pumps) have now failed and the manufacturer can't supply parts or replacement pumps. So, I am in search of two new water makers from a different manufacturer. Along the way, I have learned that my current brand uses proprietary osmotic filters, so the cost of replacement is about $1,000 (each) more than it would otherwise be.
I can almost guarantee the water maker manufacturer did not build there own pumps. Most water maker high pressure pumps are pressure washer pumps. Find the specs on your pumps and just get replacements.

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What I liked about my current watermakers is that everything was automated. I press one button and it begins production, with a green light to tell me it is making good water. When I am done I press a single button to stop it and the green light goes away. The freshwater flush happens automatically, even if I don't leave my freshwater pump turned on (which I don't like to do when I will be away from the boat).
I would think you had to at least leave the breaker on for the unit to automatically back flush. If your electronics are still good and/or you can still get parts for them, just buy new pumps and somebody else's membranes that match you units old membrane specs.

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Now my question -- how much attention is necessary to keep the watermaker producing at near its rated capacity. A prior water maker I had required the adjustment of pressure valves. Too little pressure and little or now production. Too much pressure and the thing would shut itself off. If it were only a matter of setting and forgetting, that would be fine, but with my prior unit, pressure would gradually build until it hit the shut off point.

That should not be happening. The pressure should stabilize and you shouldn't have to adjust it after it does.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:33 AM   #52
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I can almost guarantee the water maker manufacturer did not build there own pumps. Most water maker high pressure pumps are pressure washer pumps. Find the specs on your pumps and just get replacements.
I was told by a former senior executive of my manufacturer who is now working in a related field but not for a direct competitor (so no incentive to steer me toward his new direction) that the (high pressure) pumps were manufactured for the US military (I don't remember the application, but I don't think it was water makers) but that the US military no longer requires these pumps so they are no longer manufactured by anyone.

As it is, I intend to investigate the cost of either replacement of both units with ones like Kevin's that are 100% generic parts, or the salvage of as much of my system as can be made operable with generic replacements for everything else. I am skeptical that I will be able to use the "brains" of my current systems in that context, however.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:10 PM   #53
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I was told by a former senior executive of my manufacturer who is now working in a related field but not for a direct competitor (so no incentive to steer me toward his new direction) that the (high pressure) pumps were manufactured for the US military (I don't remember the application, but I don't think it was water makers) but that the US military no longer requires these pumps so they are no longer manufactured by anyone.

As it is, I intend to investigate the cost of either replacement of both units with ones like Kevin's that are 100% generic parts, or the salvage of as much of my system as can be made operable with generic replacements for everything else. I am skeptical that I will be able to use the "brains" of my current systems in that context, however.
The brains just control relays and valves in most cases. As long as the voltages, amperages, pressures, etc. are the same, or with in tolerances down stream, I would think the brains would be happy.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:15 PM   #54
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The brains just control relays and valves in most cases. As long as the voltages, amperages, pressures, etc. are the same, or with in tolerances down stream, I would think the brains would be happy.
I am concerned about the interface with the high pressure pump, which I admittedly have not studied. If the sensors are on that pump, I will have the problem of getting comparable sensors for the replacement pump. Similarly, if the pressure valves are integral to the pump, I will have the difficulty of finding comparable valves to control the replacement pump.
I do intend to figure out exactly how that pump works and whether any replacements is available. Thanks for your suggestions. -Rick
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:25 PM   #55
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I am concerned about the interface with the high pressure pump, which I admittedly have not studied. If the sensors are on that pump, I will have the problem of getting comparable sensors for the replacement pump. Similarly, if the pressure valves are integral to the pump, I will have the difficulty of finding comparable valves to control the replacement pump.
I do intend to figure out exactly how that pump works and whether any replacements is available. Thanks for your suggestions. -Rick
In all cases that I can recall there are no sensors mounted directly on the pumps. But yours could be the exception.
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