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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-27-2013 01:38 PM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Thanks for the nice words Dave, I'm blushing...

There really isn’t a “wrong choice” between a 12v or 120v water maker as long as you know the strengths/weaknesses of each approach. What led Cruise RO Water down the 120V high output water maker path was our personal experience while out cruising Mexico. Our friends with 12v water makers needed to run their diesel engine at anchor to have enough power to run their lower output 12v water maker long enough each day to keep up with their daily water usage. Not to exaggerate, there are plenty of cruisers with 12v lower output water makers that can make all the water they need from wind and solar, but I just haven't seen that to be the norm amoung the cruisers I taked to and shared anchorages with down in Mexico. Cocktail conversations always had their share of gear discussions and wanting a larger production water maker was something we kept hearing over and over. Now this is certainly not a ding on Spectra, which is a great water maker and their customer service is great, but more a reality that most cruisers don’t have enough wind or solar to keep up with their daily 12v demands.

Making 20 or 30 gallons of water per hour while running the generator 2-3 times a week to keep the tanks full makes a lot of sense for folks that realistically are going to have to charge with their generator anyway due to power consumption and the lack of room for enough solar to cover the load. If your generator fails, both the 20 and 30 gallon per hour water makers use the same amount of power and can be ran from a 2000W inverter while the alternator is running, so you do have a back-up in the event your generator goes down.

Here's a link to two of our client's Blogs that replaced their 12v 8GPH water makers with our 30 and 20 GPH water makers after running into the same power usage and water usage realities that we experiences ourselves. You can see his rational for the move and contact them through their blogs if you have questions for them:
SV Reach in Guatemala
SV Eagle in La Paz, Mexico
General Customer Feedback

Redundancy is a BIG deal while cruising, which I think is why the 30 gallon per hour water maker is our most popular selling unit. Not only is it 50% more efficient than the 20 in terms of fresh water production, if one of the two RO Membranes was to fail while out cruising the unit can easily be reconfigured and turned into a 20 gallon per hour unit. For $950 (with free shipping and no Tax from a Honda 2000 generator is also a great redundancy option for folks depending on a ships generator. Not only can it power the 20 and 30 gallon per hour water maker AND charge the battery at the same time, but we use the Honda a LOT more than our 8KW diesel genset frankly because it is more fuel economical, doesn’t put heat in the boat in Hot Mexico and is a LOT easier to do an oil change on than the diesel. Look around an anchorage and the shape of a Honda 2000 under a sunbrealla cover is as common as jerry jugs on deck.

Our Honda 2000 has lived on deck now for 5yrs. Even if I went with a 12v Spectra water maker (again a great water maker), I still would not cast off cruising without a Honda 2000 (or a ships genset). That’s just power hungry me who has a wife that would not be on her 6th year of living aboard is she felt like she was camping rather than cruising in comfort. I never once told her to take shorter showers. Instead, I start up the Honda when she gets out of her long shower for her hair dryer with a smile. I still take 1L showers, but that’s so I can run my power washer at anchor along with the fresh water anchor wash down…

The bottom line about not just water makers, but lots of cruising gear choices, there is not one right choice and a bunch of wrong choices. The important thing is understanding the options and then pick the gear that will fit into your cruising style. Sure I make and sell water makers for a living, so I would like people to choose my water maker. But when I was last anchored in La Paz, Mexico there were 8 other cruisers at anchor that had one of my water makers so the last thing I would want would be someone to have bought a 120v water maker without understanding it's strengths and weaknesses. I don't want to be run out of the anchorage!

So what are the weaknesses of a 120v water maker?
Forget about powering them off of wind/solar. You will need to burn fuel (gas or diesel) to make water (or as a back-up powered through a 2000W inverter ONLY when you motor is running and Alternator is putting out Amps). For some people this alone is a deal killer.
You will need to have a generator aboard. If you already have a diesel genset, then I think the 120v water maker is an easy choice. If not, then you are looking at adding a $950 Honda Generator to your boat or a $5K-$10K diesel genset.
There is a thinking out there that if you have too large a water maker then you will not run it enough to keep the membrane healthy. I don't agree with this, but to be fair, it is what some people say in discussing water make sizing. To me fresh water is like Chocolate, can you really ever have enough on board?
Rather than trying to explain, here is a Customer Complaint Email we received and the names have been redacted to protect the innocent!

-----Original Message-----
From: [30 GPH Water Maker Client]
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2013 4:34 PM
Subject: Damn you Rich

Yesterday we bought a small pressure washer for the boat because, as [my wife] put it, "since we can make enough water now, we can use it to keep the boat clean all the time" (by "we" she means "me", of course).

Now she is slowly slipping in comments about washing machines.
This is your fault, and is something you should make perfectly clear on your website regarding your high output water makers.

Thanks for making more work for me!
[30 GPH Water Maker Client]
12-27-2013 03:40 AM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Originally Posted by good news View Post
hey folks, im looking at buying the cruise RO watermaker in Calif. 30g/h ANYBODY know this co. good or bad units . we live on an islander freeport 44ft in MX hedding south this feb.
I know Rich Boren at CruiseRO. He is an honest and helpful guy. Give him a call or write him an e-mail about your cruising grounds and lifestyle and he'll give you his take on whether his product is a good fit for you.

Rich started CruiseRO while he was cruising in Mexico. He and his family still liveaboard back in California.
12-26-2013 11:43 PM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Originally Posted by good news View Post
hey folks, im looking at buying the cruise RO watermaker in Calif. 30g/h ANYBODY know this co. good or bad units . we live on an islander freeport 44ft in MX hedding south this feb.
I recommend the Spectra watermakers. They have been in this from the beginning, haven't changed hands like some others, and are very good to work with. Their units are very efficient, not needing generators or inverters - they run on DC, starting at 9 amps @ 12 volts for 8 gallons per hour (Ventura). When a generator or inverter is needed you want a large capacity watermaker to minimize engine run time. With DC you can use a lower capacity unit and run it anytime you wish. I think they are the best in the business.

Spectra Watermakers - The World's Most Efficient Marine and Land Watermakers and Desalinators
12-26-2013 06:17 PM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Originally Posted by southernyankee View Post
I am in the process of buying a new boat and struggling with which water maker and the type of pump. The boat will have a genset of 5kw and hold 200 gallons of water. I have looked at the echotec and spectra. I would rather not run the echotec off the engine and would like to have the most redundancy possible. If I chose a AC model that can be run from an inverter, I have the engine alternator and genset as power sources in case one does not start. Any thougths on echotec vs. spectra?


I put together my water maker myself, saving a couple of grand. I started by finding a high pressure pump online (it took a couple of months of searching, but got a new one for under a grand) and built the system around the pump. It's fairly easy, with tons of good info on the web; it was fun, too. You will have a much better understanding of the system if you do this, for repairs and element changes, etc.
As to running it on an inverter, even though the operating amps may be between 14 and 17 amps, the start up amps are considerably more, so unless you have a huge inverter, you may not be able to operate the watermaker on an inverter.
12-26-2013 05:27 PM
good news
Re: Watermaker Virgin

hey folks, im looking at buying the cruise RO watermaker in Calif. 30g/h ANYBODY know this co. good or bad units . we live on an islander freeport 44ft in MX hedding south this feb.
11-15-2012 12:22 PM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Without getting into too much engine talk, it's been awhile since my old mechanic days. Side loading is a simple way to explain far more intricate dynamics beyond what a particular engine is designed for. Stress concentration or raisers, fatigue propagation, shouldering shaft stresses, all come into play. Bearings are designed to perform certain tasks and take certain loads. Radial and axial movements are important to know as well. The effectual movement of pistons on their supported bearings is a different load than the axial effect which is a different bearing as well. Add axial movement to main engine bearings that are not designed for it and they will fail too. Again this is not to say all engines will suffer from this. In my experience smaller engines commonly found on sail boats, usually in the two to three cylinder range, have had many side loading issues. This is not speculation but experience. Also the cantilever effect on smaller engines can be quite spectacular. Even the best running small diesels have inherent vibration due to their design. Adding a twenty pound Cat type pump to the side of an engine has an interesting compounding effect. Look I know as a watermaker dealer that these things ain't cheap. But as easy as it seems to believe that the major watermaker companies are just part of the greedy 1%ers that are all about excessive profits at the expense of gullible boaters is no where near the reality. There's a reason they have sold thousands of their units and there are very few DIY units out there. If it were as simple as a common sidewalk cleaning pump strapped to your engine, the big boys would be out of business by the weekend because I would do it to them myself. That being said I don't discourage anyone trying to do it themselves. But make no mistake there are plenty of aggravations along the way to this what seems simple approach. Every boat is different, what will work on one has a good chance of being a failure on another. Your diesel is designed to propell your boat and run an adequate alternator while doing so. You should not be using it for a battery charger alone. I like to walk people through many questions before I suggest the right watermaker fit. But without even that discussion with an owner and through hard won experience alone, on a 27 foot Norsea, 12 volt units are the right direction.
Now I'll put on my helmet for protection.
11-13-2012 09:21 PM
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
What they recommend is to keep the load within 30 degrees of horizontal, why I don't know.
The primary loading on the main bearings is in the same plane as the cylinders (well, not exactly but close enough). Presumably they don't want any increased loading in that same plane.
11-13-2012 09:08 PM
Skipper Jer
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Thanks Brent for the response. After asking about the engine driven pump I did some research and found an "app note" from Yanmar concerning this. What they recommend is
to keep the load within 30 degrees of horizontal, why I don't know. They also require the load be mounted to the same bed as the engine so both the engine and load move together.
That makes sense to me. If one was to mount the load to the hull and the engine was to
move around on the mounts I can see a slapping action transmitted via the belt.
Here is the link for those interested: ENGINE INSTALLATION

Another question, when or if the high pressure pump fails is it possible for the pump to leak oil into the membrane thereby contaminating it?
11-13-2012 08:17 PM
Brent Swain
Re: Watermaker Virgin

The side load of a pump is microscopic compared to the load of pistons banging down on a main bearing. Looks like Yanmar is just grasping for excuses to void your warrantee.
Electric drives are a huge source of watermaker failures. Nothing simpler than a V belt , and nothing simpler to repair. Keep it simple.
Pressure washer pumps with ceramic plungers, make great watermaker pumps, at around $300, and are much more solidly built than most watermaker pumps.
11-13-2012 02:20 PM
Skipper Jer
Re: Watermaker Virgin

Tellie, Our boat is a 27 foot Nor'sea, inboard Yanmar. We have considered adding a water maker, and are leaning (well at least leaning until you said unbalance engine) to an engine driven system assuming there is space in the engine room for the pump. My reasoning for an engine driven maker is to add additional load to the engine while charging batteries.
I've read that just the alternator is not enough load for the Yanmar to keep it happy.

Can you expand upon unbalance some please. Are you saying the additional weight
cantilevered off the side of the engine is determinant? If so in what way? Or is it the
belt that drives the pump that puts an unbalanced force on the crankshaft pulley? Or some other force?
Seems to me that an engine driven watermaker would be more efficient since the conversion from mechanical energy to battery charge to DC motor torque is all
bypassed using the engine to drive the high pressure pump.

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