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School me on Watermakers

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by PSW, Jan 31, 2017.

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  1. PSW

    PSW Member

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    I want a watermaker in the 500 to 600 GPD class and after walking through the Seattle Boat Show it appears their are several brands to choose. I was familiar with a number of them but had no idwa how many other companies are in this market. Margins must be healthy on watermakers. I noticed that on the surface many appear to use the same components and even the same rack. What company in this size range is considered the best in terms of quality, parts availability, and price. I understand this is a loaded question and would appreciate opinions.

    Right now I am leaning towards the FCI A516C that has option for commercial pre filter. Membrane size fits my space for mounting well and specs fit my needs well. Any and all input is appreciated.
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Many local watermaker specialists can build you a custom system using good components that fits where you need it. I know one guy that even had the membranes under his stateroom bed as it was long, nice and cool and easy to get to.

    Have a phone around. I believe du Pont are still the only manufacturer in the world who make the RO membranes.
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    What really seems to differentiate watermakers is the extras rather than just who manufactures it. We have Sea Recovery watermakers. They are used very heavily by most US builders. We have their add-on package which includes the Fresh Water Flush, pH Neutralizer, Commercial Pre-Filter, Oil Water Separator, U.V. Sterilizer, and remote control. We've had no issues with any of their watermakers. However, I know others very pleased with other brands. I just don't have experience with others. You have to decide if you want automatic, semi-automatic or manual. Also, like every piece of equipment you add, noise is a factor and some are quieter than others.

    Are you sure 500 gpd will meet your needs? What size boat, size water tank, and how many people aboard at peak? The unit you're looking at supplies 21 gallons per hour.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Not knowing exactly where you cruise but many in the PNW also find they need a plankton filter.
  5. PSW

    PSW Member

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    40 Cabo. 95 gallon water tank.

    Water maker will be primarly used when fishing offshore and on trips. I only plan on using it when underway in clean water. Run it for 3 to 4 hours when trolling for salmon is what I figure. I can't imagine needing to fill the tank in 2 hours as a factor so the shorter membrane will make mounting unit much easier and as a framed unit.
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Then I can't see size being an issue. In general life, the average usage per person per day is 100 gallons. However, I'd think on a fishing trip it would be a good bit less than that, more in the 50 gallon per day range.
  7. PSW

    PSW Member

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    Thanks. I will take a closer look at Sea Recovery.
  8. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    500gpd should be plenty with a 95 gal tank on a 40 footer

    I be used two sea recovery over the year. An all digital touch screen model aquamatic 900gpd installed in 08 and now a 2009 semi manual aquawhisper 1400

    The touch screen on the aquamatic failed three times and the third time we had to upgrade to a new screen which required a new control board and a new bypass kit on the Hp pump. A $4000 upgrade...

    The aquawhisper so far has been fine

    Altogether based on the pathetic experience with the touch screen and a complete we don't give a nr 2 about it from SR, I would never choose their product
  9. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Read all of the Sea Recovery threads in YF and you might re-think making a purchase, ALL attachments are proprietary to Sea Recovery from filters to membranes. These units cant be cross referenced to Filmtec membranes or any other part or fitting on them. Electronics are pretty much a nightmare and of course proprietary. limited parts & service networks and no price break on parts between the authorized distributors. You couldn't give me one for free but just my two cents worth experience wise re-fitting vessels with abused Sea Recovery units aboard. Many other bullet proof units out there that you can cross reference parts to repair and replace components at a fraction of the S.R. costs.
    For a very simple and extremely reliable R/O unit I would seriously consider the Echo Tec line made in Trinidad. Well thought out and simple units. Best warranty in the business (3 years) and hands down the best 24 hour support after sales care and priced well under the S.R. units. I've switched from Water Makers Inc. and FCI to Echo Tec for recommending to clients the last 10 years and never had a negative word concerning these units. Like I said, Very basic and simple = reliable. If money isn't an object along with space than HEM is the preferred choice all day long.
  10. bobhorn

    bobhorn Member

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    I
    I guess we're not average, we made do with 10 gal/day for two of us while cruising. We DID shower every day.
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I wasn't referring to on the boat numbers, just general. However, our average on the boat comes very close to 100 gal/day, averages around 80 gal/day. Laundry, dishwasher, a lot of girls with long hair shampooing it. I know some get by on far less though. At 10 gal/day, then the OP really wouldn't need a watermaker.

    As to Sea Recovery, I acknowledge everything being proprietary, just don't have a problem with that. I've also read of issues with the controls, but haven't experienced them, fortunately.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I like FCI and they're based on the West coast. I would lean towards something that has a good dealer for them in your area. Watermakers Inc ones are pretty good too.

    I too hate Sea Recovery and have also bought $1800-2400 control boards for a few over the years.
  13. PSW

    PSW Member

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    Appreciate the input guys. I liked FCI the best overall from walking the show so it is good to hear the positive feedback. Fisheries Supply carries FCI in Seattle market. Not sure how competitive they are for price. That will be the next phase of the buying decision.

    Thanks.
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Key word: "make do"

    We average 50 to 70 gpd per person but that indeed includes laundry, rinsing the boat, and doing a lot of dishes plus the dishwasher. I hate "making do" with paper plates :)
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I'm in the same camp. Generally I see usage of about 30 gallons per day on boats with no cooking (ie very little dish washing) 50 gallons per day with cooking per guest, not including the boat washing.
  16. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    If your trying to fish while making water, Most high pressure pumps may make to much of a racket thru the hull.
    For super quiet operation, the Spectra systems with the Clark pump makes near no noise. Can run from batteries also.
  17. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    On one big boat, our watermakers only supplied 45 tonnes per day but a good wash-down took 50 tonnes. Now that's usage!!!! :eek:
  18. PSW

    PSW Member

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    40 to 50 gallons per day for the boat sounds right for our fishing trips. That was with 3 people and moderate usage on the last boat. I would like to also be able to do a freshwater rinse of the anchor when we pull out in the am and a evening boat rinse will put us at 80 gallons.

    Figure run the watermaker for 3 to 4 hours each day. I can't imagine the pump being an issue from a noise perspective with one of the two mains trolling at 1.5 knots.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Don't think you're going to get down to 1.5 knots on one gear even with the trolling valves open.
  20. PSW

    PSW Member

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    I sure hope so. Salmon is primary species targeted. I have used trolling valves a few times on one engine just to see and it appeared to perform great. Won't know 100% for sure until Scotty's are mounted and we are actually fishing.

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