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Picnic Sailor
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Discussion Starter #1
Doing my research at the moment on water makers and broadly I am curious to hear from those with experience with different brands/models.

Specifically our requirement is for a small, simple, efficient 12V powered water maker for extended cruising with 4 people aboard. This pretty much had me almost guaranteed to buy a Katadyn Powersurvivor 40E until a few people have recommended schenker watermakers as a newer technology, higher output, more efficient unit.

Would be interested in people's experiences and opinions here.
 

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Be sure to LISTEN to the PUR40e before you buy it.
They can be quite a disturbing noise to have aboard for several hours a day.

I have used a Spectra 200c for the last 12 years without ANY failures or replacement of the RO membrane.
It runs at just 7 amps of 12v and gives about 7 gallons per hour.
It's 12v pump runs at a constant easy to tune-out hum.
The super efficient Clark pump cycles gently in the background and is also easy to ignore and forget about.

A PUR80E I was onboard with whines up and goes CLUNK over and over.
To someone tuned to listen to mechanical systems for any "stesses" or "irregularities" this slamming is very disturbing....to me.

Listen first. These things run for hours. They need to make 5 gallons (approx) just for purging at the end of use too.

My Spectra has been flawlees and awesome for over a decade with simply keeping it iether in use, or pickled (All w Spectra specific chemicals)

BTW, congrats on getting a watermaker. It REALLY cuts down on the (wasted) weight of a huge water tank as well as liberating one from needing to go to shore.

Fair Winds!
CaptnBry
-setting sail tomorrow, so a reply may take a few weeks-
 

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Extended cruising with 4 people and you are considering a watermaker that will struggle to make 1gal/hr - using 50Ahr to make 10 gallons? The Pur40 is not a suitable watermaker for your needs - it is almost always a mistake for anyone. There is a reason the model is called "Survivor". You will just have to trust me on this, or at least search around the web for other's experiences with watermakers out cruising. There used to be almost weekly posts on this topic back on CF when I was a member there. To the last person, everyone we personally know who started out with a Pur40 or 80 either got rid of it for a larger unit or are planning to do so. All of them state it was a mistake.

I know the above sounds harsh. If you are open to thoughts around this, I would be happy to share our experiences (we also moved from a lower to higher capacity unit after experiencing the realities of cruising and our water needs).

Mark
 

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Old soul
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No wisdom here Chall, but I too am interested in the question. The only thing I can add is that Spectra was bought out by Katadyne. But my understanding is that they have merged the watermaker lines, and have kept most of the Spectra designs vs the Katadynes.
 

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Picnic Sailor
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Be sure to LISTEN to the PUR40e before you buy it.
They can be quite a disturbing noise to have aboard for several hours a day.

I have used a Spectra 200c for the last 12 years without ANY failures or replacement of the RO membrane.
It runs at just 7 amps of 12v and gives about 7 gallons per hour.
It's 12v pump runs at a constant easy to tune-out hum.
The super efficient Clark pump cycles gently in the background and is also easy to ignore and forget about.

A PUR80E I was onboard with whines up and goes CLUNK over and over.
To someone tuned to listen to mechanical systems for any "stesses" or "irregularities" this slamming is very disturbing....to me.

Listen first. These things run for hours. They need to make 5 gallons (approx) just for purging at the end of use too.

My Spectra has been flawlees and awesome for over a decade with simply keeping it iether in use, or pickled (All w Spectra specific chemicals)

BTW, congrats on getting a watermaker. It REALLY cuts down on the (wasted) weight of a huge water tank as well as liberating one from needing to go to shore.

Fair Winds!
CaptnBry
-setting sail tomorrow, so a reply may take a few weeks-
Thankyou for the feedback.

I have been on a friends boat when their PUR80e was going and I must admit.......it was noisy.

I might look closer at the Spectra.
 

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Picnic Sailor
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Extended cruising with 4 people and you are considering a watermaker that will struggle to make 1gal/hr - using 50Ahr to make 10 gallons? The Pur40 is not a suitable watermaker for your needs - it is almost always a mistake for anyone. There is a reason the model is called "Survivor". You will just have to trust me on this, or at least search around the web for other's experiences with watermakers out cruising. There used to be almost weekly posts on this topic back on CF when I was a member there. To the last person, everyone we personally know who started out with a Pur40 or 80 either got rid of it for a larger unit or are planning to do so. All of them state it was a mistake.

I know the above sounds harsh. If you are open to thoughts around this, I would be happy to share our experiences (we also moved from a lower to higher capacity unit after experiencing the realities of cruising and our water needs).

Mark
Hi Mark, I do take your point and I absolutely welcome the feedback. Harsh is fine if it stops me doing something I will later regret!

I admit that maybe my approach initially has been a little naive.

I guess I am trying to be a purist and stuff :)

Given I was only just reluctantly accepting the reality of needing a water maker I declared the smallest/simplest would be the way to go and we would have to just deal with it. (To our credit we successfully cruised the East Coast of Oz without a water maker as a couple with a small child and found ourselves good at rationing/conserving water. This was small passages and water was of course also quite easily/frequently refilled.)

I must admit the PUR40/80E capacity seems quite limiting thus the thread and my leaning towards Schenker whose 'base' model The Ready 35 does Lit/h 35(Gal/h 9) fairly efficiently.

Schenker specifically sparked my interest as they appear to be more reasonably priced in Europe than American models and boasts a comparably low power draw. All of this is theoretical and I have yet to get quotes or extensively shop around.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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I looked at watermakers some years ago. My data is a little out of date (especially prices) but I did reach some conclusions before I lost interest. Note I was only looking at 12 VDC units.

I used Ah/gal as a measure of efficiency and $/Ah/gal as a measure of cost effectiveness. I didn't get far enough to look at size or weight.

I found across brands that there is an efficiency sweet spot at somewhere between 300 and 400 gpd. Smaller output units are less efficient (no surprise) but so were larger ones. Interestingly the most energy efficient units were also most cost effective.

Of the brands I looked at (Spectra, Sea Recovery, Village Marine, and HRO Systems) Spectra was most efficient and most cost effective, so if you can swing the slightly premium price the value is good.

A friend and colleague is a distributor and service center for Spectra. He tells me that more warranty and service work is associated with the electronic controls than anything else.

Given what I know, and absent updating my research (which I would do before spending my own money), I would get a Spectra Cape Horn. Good output, reliable, efficient, and good value for money.

If you send me some numbers (output, current draw, price) for a range of models from the brands you are interested in I can update my spreadsheet and post it for you.
 

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The only watermaker I had extensive experience with were two Sea Recovery units. We had one in the engine room and one in the forepeak which we added a couple of years later allowing us to convert our port water tank to diesel. Combined they made 120gph. Used daily unless we were in dirty water I only remember one membrane end cap cracking in all that time. Never used a Spectra so can't comment on it but have heard good things.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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We put in the Cape Horn spectra this past spring. Been coastal over the summer so beyond an every two weeks run to keep it fresh and a couple of cruises still early days. Still enough use for an opinion.
It will run on combo of wind/solar without depleting the house bank. At anchor with everything else off except frig/freezer we're at steady state over a day with it on for 4-5h. Realize you lose a significant amount of made fresh water when you back flush. About an 1/2h worth of use.
Did the simple version without electronics but with the Z function for back flush. Dave's right KISS is the way to go.
You need to think long and hard about dimensions. It is modular but still awkward to place as all watermakers take up a lot of room and you need to get at them.
In summary think if you are going with a DC unit the Cape Horn is an excellent choice. We're two not four and the 150 is more than enough. You might want to look at a water budget before making a final decision. We,also looked seriously at the Newport.
 

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Master Mariner
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The biggest change for me aboard small craft over the last 50 years has been the freedom a watermaker gives me from water conservation. Not that we waste water mind you, but the sheer decadence of taking a shower whenever one wants, even at sea, really can change one's mood, attitude or even just cool one off.
There are plenty of watermaker designs online and if you build your own system you can save anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2. That means a bigger system for less money and as builder you will have all the knowledge necessary to maintain it. I've got just about $2100 in a 35gph unit that's been going on 4 years w/o any problems.
Also, as mentioned above, in case you missed it, most systems suggest a 3 to 5 gallon rinse after operation, which would mean another hour on a 7gph system, just to rinse. And if you were in a place you wouldn't want to make water, you'd still want to rinse every few days or pickle the membrane which takes even more water to rinse clean.
 
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CF Escapee
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When I read post #2, I had to look again to make sure I hadn't written it !!

My Spectra 180 (with a factory upgrade) is 16 years old and running like new.
The only problem I ever had was not the fault of the watermaker, but the installation by the previous owner.
It suffered freeze damage, but it wasn't difficult for me to fix.

I have owned three different watermakers on two boats Power Survivor 35, Power Survivor 80, but the Spectra is the best by far. It's way more efficient and a lot easier to listen to.
 
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