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School me on Watermakers

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

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  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Then they should work. A lot of times you can't get the Cabo's to go so slow even with trolling gears. I tried them on the Cats and could only get down to 3 knots.
  2. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    You have not heard a loaded Cat pump then.
    I'm assuming you have the MAN engines and TD clutches. Usually not big racket makers and under the boat should be pretty quiet.
    A few years ago in the Bahamas, I dove under my boat with the Gen-sets running, A/C running and my water-makers running.
    A/Cs and small gen-set were undetectable. I could feel the large gen-set.
    Jackhammers would be the best way to describe the noise from a Cat pump under the boat.

    In the Abacos, when you drop your hook, usually a big Barracuda checks you out. If he likes you, he stays and keeps the Martians away, either water maker kept him away.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Fish like noise. Some engines are notorious for raising fish based on their sound (old detroits, newer cats) and some are horrible (Volvo's). They may like it. Who knows. But I agree, the CAT pump is very loud.

    I was on a Sunny Briggs and had the DC powered watermaker you mentioned. It was very quiet and we ran it while fishing and caught a slew of fish that day. Left the dock at 10am, lines in the water at 10:30 and had 5 25ish pound mahi's and a 40lb yellowfin in the boat by 2pm.....
  4. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Here on the West Coast, we've been living on watermakers while in Mexico for the winter season for 30 years. We've seen them come and go, and had them go from the highest required maintenance and repair item on a yacht, to highly reliable equipment. I have used and maintained Sea Recovery, HRO, and Village Marine Tec, as well as a few of those cobbled together made from Grainger parts. Personally, my preference is Village. They are the largest suppliers of fixed systems for shore based applications that I know of, and are technologically ahead.
    In sizing a watermaker for an application, I think the arithmetic needs to revolve around tank size, use, and GPH. GPD is a 24 hour number and almost useless. Considering the OP's desire to fresh water flush the ground tackle, the consideration will be the amount of water used. Think about how long it takes at 3 t0 5 GPM, and how long the watermaker has to run to restore that. Given the other demands on the 95 gallon tank, the sense of security given by the presence of a watermaker could easily leave you without water. No matter what the output of the watermaker, you'll need to manage the water use. In practice, I start the watermaker when the tank is around ⅓ empty. If there's a watermaker or generator problem while making water, you'll be able to get by. There are also times when you shouldn't be making water, such as when a lot of soap is being dumped into the water. Always use the holding tank when making water!
    Whatever you buy, I would recommend the separate component installation. The all-in-a-rack units are almost impossible to service or repair.
  5. PSW

    PSW Member

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    Thanks guys. Yes MAN engines. Not sure if salmon are as sensitive to sound as a bluewater fish that feeds closer to the surface. Most of our salmon are caught at a depth of 50 to 150ft down. I will remember though when Albacore fishing to pay attention if the fish bite any differently with the watermaker running. As I get closer to purchase I will see if a larger unit will fit in the space I have in the locker room and would like to place the watermaker. I want to get the electronics update finished and new canvas installed along with a few other small projects before I jump into the watermaker project with both feet.

    Appreciate the input.
  6. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    Take a look at the spot zero systems as well- it makes boat washing at the end of the day far easier and a cleaner boat.
  7. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    PSW
    I have the Sea Recovery 900 gpd unit in the Cabo. It has been a good unit overall. Never in 9 yrs have I replaced anything other than the prefilters. I have found the 25 and 5 micron from any of the filter companies work well in them. Actually use a 20 and 5.
    Regarding the trolling valves on mine you can get to any speed even with both engines. I can creep it along at .5 knot even using both engines. You don't even know your moving.
  8. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    PSW
    I have the Sea Recovery 900 gpd unit in the Cabo. It has been a good unit overall. Never in 9 yrs have I replaced anything other than the prefilters. I have found the 25 and 5 micron from any of the filter companies work well in them. Actually use a 20 and 5.
    Regarding the trolling valves on mine you can get to any speed even with both engines. I can creep it along at .5 knot even using both engines. You don't even know your moving.
  9. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    So you've had the same membranes for nine years? Does your unit have an auto rinse function or do you "pickle" when the boat is laid up for a few months. Is your GPH still anywhere near the mark of output for your membranes? Same needle valve also?
    If so your either a meticulous maintenance conscious person or have just been lucky with your machine. Perhaps it was a "Monday" manufactured machine because the empirical data on these units points to them mostly being "Friday" machines.
  10. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Captholli,
    Yes, same membranes actually for 11 years as it was installed when the boat was new. It does have a manual back flush that I use once a month even if the boat is sitting. Well most of the time. Yes 40 gph with clean filters at 850psi. I must say I don't know anything about a needle valve. Please enlighten me. Annually I check the salt ppm in the water and its always less than 500. That's not great but okay. The machine just has 528 hrs on it because I just replaced pre filters and logged info.
    Skip
  11. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Wow, that's really amazing. You've either had great luck or just great maintenance with your machine and it sounds like the latter. The needle valve is the pressure regulator valve that you manually adjust for the high pressure. Over time the seals wear and the valve will start dripping out of the front by the knob or "T" handle and bleed pressure where you have to constantly watch and adjust it. This type of failure happens on even the most expensive machines after a few thousand hours. Rinsing your membranes once a month certainly has worked for you with the product numbers that you've mentioned but I would figure that a once a month rinse is right on the ragged edge of letting your membranes stew a bit long and begin to dry out or get funky from sitting in the old H-2/0 . How many hours do you have on this machine?
    Sea Recovery should pay you to share your story in their printed literature. Seems that you have a solid "Monday" machine.
  12. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Okay the pressure regulator valve knob. Knock on wood no issues there and it stays at the 850 number. I have 528 hrs on it. Only use it on annual trip to Bahamas for two months.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Captholli, we have many more hours but not the years and we've had very good luck but I think you hit it on the head with meticulous maintenance more than Monday luck, although could be both. Another thing you mentioned, captholli, auto fresh water flush every 7 days. Also, commercial pre-filter and oil water separator do a lot to save the membranes. Membranes are projected to last five years with normal usage and periodic cleaning during that time. We haven't yet reached five years on any of them to know. However, when we've cleaned the membranes they're really looked good. Now, I'm not saying other brands might not be better nor arguing with any of the problems others have had. It's just our experience.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Pick up some sand (running the watermaker while maneuvering/anchoring) or a little fuel or oil in it when you run it and it will wipe the membranes on a boat instantly.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The commercial pre-filter will take the sand and the oil water separator will keep the oil from reaching the membrane.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah, providing you don't pickup more than a couple of handfuls of it. I was on a 160' megayacht that was anchoring in shallow water, stirred up a bunch of sand and wiped all of the membranes........oil/water seperator same deal......but suck up some gasoline and forget it, it too will wipe the membranes very quick.......
  17. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    If you pick up a lot of silt or sand, the pre filters will catch it, clog up and the WM will shut down without damaging the membranes. As to fuel or gas, since that floats and the thru hulls are usually 2 or 3 feet below, odds are pretty low.

    One critical element :) is th charcoal filter on the flush line to eliminate the chlorine you pick up when filling with city water.
  18. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

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  19. Knight

    Knight Member

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    I used to use RO filters on my reef tanks. I just bought off eBay for a couple hundred bucks. All you need is a pump able to push it through filter, 80 to 100 psi from what i remember, unless the stock pump will work which is very possible. All it should take is a little plumbing and wiring. You can also add a ultra violet sterilizer if you like. Just pump fresh into holding tank.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You need a lot more pressure to get any volume. Watermakers operate at 700-850psi. Usually 800-850 psi. Yes, you can make one yourself, but need a low pressure pump, high pressure pump, switches for them, valves to direct water flow, the membranes (ro filters), pre filters, plumbing, and a pressure valve......should also have a salt sensor.

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