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Old 08-27-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
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Watermakers

Do you have recommendations for a good water maker? Is it a bad idea to buy a used one? Does anyone out there have a good used one for sale?
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:17 PM   #2
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There are several reputable manufacturers - from personal experience, I can recommend Village Marine and Watermakers Inc. If you are mechanically inclined, there is much to be said for making your own using off-the-shelf components - there are several websites that tell you how to do this. My own watermaker is from Quality Water Works - about half way between the big boys and D.I.Y.

In its most basic form, a watermaker is a lift pump, a hi-pressure pump, a membrane and a control valve. The membrane and the hi-pressure pump are the items most likely to give problems in a second hand unit - they are also the high-dollar items. My inclination would be to buy new unless you have really good reason to trust the seller of the second hand unit, or the price reflects the risk.

It takes a lot of power to drive the hi-pressure pump on even a smallish (10 gal/hr) watermaker. This means either a large electric motor powered by a generator, or belt-drive off the main engine (or possibly off the generator). There is much to be said for the belt-drive option. Make sure what you buy allows for the option you want.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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VM gets my vote. A 110 volt unit running about 2 hours per day will provide about 60 gallons of water. Coordinate with at anchor genset battery charging or washer dryer use. When underway 24/7 as previously pointed out a cruise gen could work through your inverter. But, not cheap to buy or operate.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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Do you run your generator 2 hours a day? If not consider a 12 volt unit. Thus you can operate it off the batteries and then recharge the batteries in half an hour or an hour.

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Old 09-04-2013, 06:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay Pelican View Post
Do you run your generator 2 hours a day? If not consider a 12 volt unit. Thus you can operate it off the batteries and then recharge the batteries in half an hour or an hour.

Marty
To make X gallons of water it takes so many watts of power. Whether 12 or 110 volts the same watts are needed. How one spreads these watts out is up to the user. Lots of ways to do it
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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There is also some threads on the internet that tell you how to make one...usually they are more flexible in terms of how you really want it to operate and be set up...plus often about 1/2 the price or so.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay Pelican View Post
Do you run your generator 2 hours a day? If not consider a 12 volt unit. Thus you can operate it off the batteries and then recharge the batteries in half an hour or an hour.

Marty
We generally run the generator at least two hours a day while underway and at anchor especially at this time of year. Thanks for your input.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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I have a katadyn 160 GDP watermaker and it works great. Price about $5k new with factory warranty.

These are sold by defender and west marine.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:06 AM   #9
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I have a katadyn 160 GDP watermaker and it works great. Price about $5k new with factory warranty.

These are sold by defender and west marine.
Just a little note about the katadyn unit, www.katadyn.com .

I have the powersurvivor 160. It runs off of DC, approx 20 amps. It consists of three main parts, being the pump unit and the membrane, and the prefilter.




The way mine is plumbed is that my saltwater washdown pump through hull is teed with the watermaker feeding off of the tee. This goes to the prefilter, which takes standard, home depot available water filters.

The waste water (brine) goes to a through hull above the water line.

The produced water goes through a 0-10GPH aftermarker flow meter I bought at www.omega.com It goes to a three way valve which selects the water to either go to a hose for testing, or to whichever potable water tank I have online.

Running the unit is simple. You select the water to go to the test hose, and turn on the power. Wait 10-15 minutes then take a taste of the water from the hose to make sure the water is desalinized properly. Then you select the three way valve to have the water go to the water tank.

You can check the flow using the flowmeter.

To "pickle" the unit you take a couple of tablespoons of the katadyne "pickle powder" in a gallon jug of clean water, and use the little dip tube and three way valve at the front end of the prefilter to suck up the gallon of "pickle water". Thats it, simple.

In the box was pretty much everything you need besides hose to match my boats seacock, water tank, discharge through hull, and wire. It even came with a little TDS tester which I do not use because I can taste salty water like anybody else.

I called Katadyne once asking about an operating question I had and I got a very knowledgable person who spoke english as his native language, and lived in the USA very quickly.

This is a simple, effective watermaker without allot of bells, whistles and asociated BS I've seen on some other brands that appear you'd need a PHD to operate. There are no gauges, dials or knobs. As I indicated I added my own flow meter so I could tell if the gizmo was working.

With Katadyne being the largest manufacturer of watermakers in the world, parts are available quickly if and when you need them.

People say you can build a watermaker for less and thats true. I could design and build one if I took the time to figure everything out. The problem is that I want to play on my boat, not become a watermaker engineer, and screw around trial and error till I get it right, then proclaim how I saved allot of money.

There are some cool looking commercial watermakers out there. I did a D&B credit check on a couple of ones I was interested in and found they are REALLY little companies. I was hesitant to give them the kind of money a watermaker costs, and loose sleep at night wondering if they'll be there in 5 years when I need them for parts (just for the record Village Marine looks like a top notch solvent company).
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:54 AM   #10
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Spectra Watermakers have a great reputation among the cruising sailor fleet. They make the most water per amp ( 8gph @ 9amps/12v ) They are pretty rugged and appear to have great support.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:33 AM   #11
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if you want good customer service, advise and flexibility then try Rick from Cruise RO: Cruise Equipment- Water and Power Solutions for Cruisers-Low Prices
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Just a little note about the katadyn unit, www.katadyn.com .

I have the powersurvivor 160. It runs off of DC, approx 20 amps. It consists of three main parts, being the pump unit and the membrane, and the prefilter.




The way mine is plumbed is that my saltwater washdown pump through hull is teed with the watermaker feeding off of the tee. This goes to the prefilter, which takes standard, home depot available water filters.

The waste water (brine) goes to a through hull above the water line.

The produced water goes through a 0-10GPH aftermarker flow meter I bought at www.omega.com It goes to a three way valve which selects the water to either go to a hose for testing, or to whichever potable water tank I have online.

Running the unit is simple. You select the water to go to the test hose, and turn on the power. Wait 10-15 minutes then take a taste of the water from the hose to make sure the water is desalinized properly. Then you select the three way valve to have the water go to the water tank.

You can check the flow using the flowmeter.

To "pickle" the unit you take a couple of tablespoons of the katadyne "pickle powder" in a gallon jug of clean water, and use the little dip tube and three way valve at the front end of the prefilter to suck up the gallon of "pickle water". Thats it, simple.

In the box was pretty much everything you need besides hose to match my boats seacock, water tank, discharge through hull, and wire. It even came with a little TDS tester which I do not use because I can taste salty water like anybody else.

I called Katadyne once asking about an operating question I had and I got a very knowledgable person who spoke english as his native language, and lived in the USA very quickly.

This is a simple, effective watermaker without allot of bells, whistles and asociated BS I've seen on some other brands that appear you'd need a PHD to operate. There are no gauges, dials or knobs. As I indicated I added my own flow meter so I could tell if the gizmo was working.

With Katadyne being the largest manufacturer of watermakers in the world, parts are available quickly if and when you need them.

People say you can build a watermaker for less and thats true. I could design and build one if I took the time to figure everything out. The problem is that I want to play on my boat, not become a watermaker engineer, and screw around trial and error till I get it right, then proclaim how I saved allot of money.

There are some cool looking commercial watermakers out there. I did a D&B credit check on a couple of ones I was interested in and found they are REALLY little companies. I was hesitant to give them the kind of money a watermaker costs, and loose sleep at night wondering if they'll be there in 5 years when I need them for parts (just for the record Village Marine looks like a top notch solvent company).
Thanks for the good info.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:12 PM   #13
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Been as while since I have looked at water makers, but when looking it seem a 500+ gpd was not that much expensive as the basic difference was the size and/or the number of membranes if the pump had the PSI. Whatever you buy make sure the pump has the psi in case you want to go bigger. I would buy use/rebuilt as itís the membranes that are the high maintenance.

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Old 09-05-2013, 03:05 PM   #14
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To decide IF you want a water maker , and are not a 24/7/365 cruiser start by reading the mfg REQUIREMENTS to take the unit out of service.

They differ , and some are a PIA.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:06 PM   #15
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Spectra requires you pickle the watermaker when you are leaving it for more than a couple of weeks. This job, at least is easy requiring perhaps 20 minutes. I know Spectra owners who rely on the autoflush system for months and therefore do not pickle the watermaker. However, that requires storage in a non-freezing climate.

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Old 09-05-2013, 04:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
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if you want good customer service, advise and flexibility then try Rick from Cruise RO: Cruise Equipment- Water and Power Solutions for Cruisers-Low Prices
Good company. His name is Rich. There's another guy named Tom who works with him. Both are serious cruisers and are very knowledgeable. Small company that is making inroads due to excellent product and support.

Spectra is well known in cruising circles and appears to be a fairly deep, well run company.

Only thing I know about Village Marine is we have one onboard (came w/the boat) but have yet to use it. Glad to read positive things about them, though!
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:06 PM   #17
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Thanks for the good referral. I'm going to be ordering my Cruise RO water maker from Rick next month. He was very helpful and a pleasure to deal with.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:32 PM   #18
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Further to Fred's comments, also bear in mind that many/most coastal US waters are too dirty, high sediment or high biologicals to operate a RO watermaker effectively. We got great use out of ours in the Bahamas but once back in Florida and the ICW it was next to useless because the 10x4 inch prefilters (5 micron/20micron) plugged so quickly. The membranes are not so expensive. You can easily find a 40 inch Filmtec seawater membrane for less than $200. We just tossed ours after it had been pickled for 2 years!!
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:37 PM   #19
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Thanks, we'll be using it mostly in the islands and offshore.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:47 AM   #20
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I just installed an HRO 170 GPD unit. The hardest part was matching up the intake and outflow hoses to matching hoses in the boat. A number of trips to West and Home Depot and Voila! It worked first time.

I am tied up at a vacant lot in Key Largo - no power - no water. So getting it working was important.

It runs fine off the inverter indicating 500 watt consumption.

When turned off, it fresh water flushes automatically - and it repeats the FW flush weekly.
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