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Old 03-13-2007, 06:37 PM   #1
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My next big project will be the selection and installation of a water maker. My performance specifications for the water maker are the following:

Provide 50 – 100 gallons as quickly as possible

Quiet & compact (maybe even distributed) (2’x2’x3’)

Easy and low cost to maintain

Reliable (with warranty)

I’m looking for advice on drive type AC vs. DC vs. Engine drive. Also interested in knowing common failure modes.

=============

Top of my list at this time is the Village Marine modular NF600 which produces 25gph using 110AC. The kicker is, they offer life time warranty on the titanium high pressure pump.

Cost $5115

http://www.villagemarine.com/images/pdf_fi...frills.spec.pdf
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:53 AM   #2
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I used a PUR 35 (now katadyne) but the electrical useage and output was terrible. So was the noise. Now using a schenker which produces 8 gallons an hour at about 1 amp per gallon, same specifications as a spectra water maker but $3,000 USD less dear. If you plan to use your engine to run the watermaker then get an engine run watermaker. They are far cheaper and have the ability to make large amounts of water, depending on the number of membranes. Each membrane can produce about 8 gallons per hour, 30 liters, depending on the water temperature. Running the watermaker off the engine may also help put a biger load on the motor when just charging the batteries and cooler, a good thing for diesels. I don' trecommend AC models as they are far too inefficient. JMO
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:24 AM   #3
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Check out my post of 23rd Feb 'Water Makers/Generators.

Had some useful replies on how to make them which may help you choose one. Good hunting.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:37 PM   #4
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We have a Katadyn / Pure 80 DC device and it works for us as compact and quiet, although only 12 litres per hour.

As we tend to run engine for 3 hours per day to charge energy when sailing - it gives ample for our two person daily need.

But agree with previous response - if you can fit engine driven watermaker you'll get more production plus load engine when charging electricity........

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:04 PM   #5
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Any recommendations on manufacturers of engine driven water makers...this is the one area that I haven't investigated.

Also, what is the basis for thinking the AC system is less efficient?
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Also, what is the basis for thinking the AC system is less efficient?
It's physics. The answers are underlined. The rest explains part of why it is that way.

Because energy conversation from one source to another is inefficient. Each time energy is converted in form; there is a power loss.

Likely you have a D.C. Generator driven by an internal combustion engine, but you need to power an A.C. motor. In the system that energy is likely stored or passes through a D.C. battery bank, (electrical to chemical back to electrical). In the system there could be an inverter, a converter, a stabilizer, a rectifier, a capacitor and a transformer, because electricity needs to be correct or “in tolerance”, when it is supplied to certain appliances, especially inductive loads (motors).

Power (energy) is a BIG problem! In obtaining, storing, releasing, harnessing, transferring and converting it.

The power loss is due to friction, and resistance, resulting in a voltage drop, with a by product of un-harnessed (wasted) heat. The heat is in the engine room (above ambient air), dissipated by the cooling system, some of which is expelled through the exhaust system. It took an energy source to may it hot, and it takes more energy to keep it cool.

Anything directly driven is more energy efficient. In this topic likely belt driven, though drive shaft would be better. Directly mounted to the crank shaft would be most efficient, but impractical, unless it had one end of the crank shaft available to couple to.

Look at the name plate of any A.C. electric motor. Look for the P.F. or Power Factor rating. You will not find one that says 100%. We have not solved that problem in engineering, yet. One that is rated in the mid 90's % (high efficiency rated) usually will cost more to buy, (because it cost more to design and manufacture) and will require less energy to operate.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:13 PM   #7
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Aqua Man,

Nice write-up, however you are making one major incorrect assumption.

I have an AC generator

My plan is to charge batteries while making water for around 1.5 - 2.0 hours per/day. The primary reason that I don't like the idea of DC for water making is the cost and life of a large DC motor. I figure I can buy an AC motor anywhere in the world for a fraction of the cost of a DC motor and they typically last far longer than a brushed DC. Efficiencies of a good permanent magnet sychronous AC motor are approximately that of a DC motor and you don't have to be concerned about power factors.

I still plan to install solar for daily trickle charging so that I can keep my DC refrigeration cold while away from the boat for multiple days. Strangly enough, even my 12 Volt DC refrigeration runs off an inverted 24Volt 3-phase AC compressor for the very same reason. Even with the inverter, the 3-phase AC compressor is more efficient and reliable than any DC motor driven system.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:28 PM   #8
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Trim50,

I have a career (**) in working with this stuff, "electro-mechanical-hydraulic" systems, building (manufacturing and fabricating components), trouble shooting, and repairing equipment and systems. I love the challenge! Re-reading my write up, I could have and maybe should have written it differently.

I was describing systems in general, attempting to answer the question of why an electrical driven system may be less efficient that a mechanical driven system.

When I wrote, "Likely you have a D.C. generator", I was thinking of belt driven D.C. generator running off the side of your main engine, to charge the battery bank. I wasn't even thinking of a stand alone electrical power generator or alternator.

It comes down to what systems you have, what you want to accomplish, how you want to put it all together, considering the purchase price, and future operating costs.

~ ~ ~

** Career: If anybody is paying close attention to what I say I have done, somebody is going to wonder, "Hey! How could this guy have done all those things in life time and only be a few days shy of 51?"

I was twice a citizen. I had parallel careers.

* Military Twenty six years as an Army National Guard (Reserve) Officer (Combat Engineer), with 3 years enlisted time, and 3 years of combined Active Duty Tours.

* I also went to college, worked at continuing education and self-improvement, had a civilian career, and side line self-employment. Almost always I had two or three, jobs or schools, simultaneously. In life sometimes I missed sleep or other things, like TV shows, but Oh Well.... I didn't miss much....

~ ~ ~

Best wishes with the water maker project!

EDITED TO ADD:

Swagman said it (Above):

"We have a Katadyn / Pure 80 DC device and it works for us as compact and quiet, although only 12 litres per hour."

Whatever works for you.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
My next big project will be the selection and installation of a water maker.
You're going to hate me for this.

I don't believe that you can rely 100% on a water-maker (they are notorious) for long passages. So, you must load backup supplies. If you load this "extra" weight anyway, why not just load enough bottled water for drinking for the duration of the passage (+ 30%) and use the boat's tankage for washing, etc. If the water-maker is producing as expected then you can shower in fresh water more often (always keeping an eye on the tank levels) and don't forget the possibility of (hopefully) catching some rainwater while underway.

The feedback that I have had on water-makers from cruisers "out there" is that they are a HEADACHE! Very expensive to install and a pain to maintain and service.

Are they worth it?

I told you that you'd hate me.

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Old 03-15-2007, 06:34 PM   #10
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Lighthouse,

I don't hate you at all, in anyway, fashion or form. I very much appreciate you, you comments, and your board.

I know very little about yacht water makers. (Cruiser wanne be in study)

I know something about water and making it. (Combat Engineer / US ARMY Corps of Engineers) - Early in my career that was our responsibility. Later that was re-thought and reassigned to the Quarter Masters.

Your comments are most valid, but my plan is to include both.

* Take enough potable water with for the passage, with a more than adequate, emergency reserve for survival only (drinking).

* AND have a water maker system on board, for comfort, (at a greater cost) and to continually restock the water storage reserves.

If systems fail in making water, than the water usage plan changes as appropriate (conservation) and maybe drastically to rationing and survival mode.

By all means catch rain water. It's fresh, FREE, and acceptable. The reliability varies.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:02 PM   #11
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Lighthouse,

Well, I certainly have enough water tankage to achieve long passages without a watermaker 500gal. However, I really want that feeling of being completely disconnected from the grid when I leave. A good friend of mine from the dock that has 10's of thousands of cruising miles under his hull suggested that I convert some of my water tankage to fuel...and I'm still contemplating that one. He is the one that recommended the more expensive Village Marine water maker as well. He just finished a 3 year trip with his and it never had an issue.

What do you think of the tankage conversion idea?
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:38 PM   #12
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Lighthouse,

What do you think of the tankage conversion idea?
This is a loooong story but I'll make it as short as possible.

Our tankages on our 44' steel ketch was:

* Water = 1,200L

* Fuel = 1,000L for 80hp Lehman

Crossing the Indian Ocean - making good time, looking like 24/25 days.

Roughly half-way - becalmed!

Full fuel tank - startup the motor.

After 5 mins - no water pumping through. Shut down.

Open the raw-water pump - impeller shredded (New, 6 hours of motoring).

Get out the spare.

DISASTER!! Right packing box - wrong impeller!! (from the store - lesson learned here). Only one spare - afterall, we are a sailing yacht!



In case of emergency, pulled out spare hose and rigged raw water from the genset outlet to main engine inlet - cannot run main engine for long with this "hot" water intake.

We were becalmed for TEN days - not a breath to even take the "glass" off the sea. It was stifling hot. Long story but the passage eventually took 40 days.

So, what would you rather have had? Extra fuel? Extra water?
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:24 PM   #13
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Good, that was pretty much my feeling!

He's a really smart guy, but he is after-all a power boater with 2 gensets, 2 engines, 2 water makers, 2 autopilots....everything but two wives.

FYI...I have the same engine and will make sure I have several copies of the right raw water pump!
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:57 PM   #14
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I am not a luddite, but I have been opposing specific areas for modification on my boat for years. Occasionally, I seriously consider updates, but whether for economic or other practical reasons I always seem to settle on what is already in place and working.

I have 450 litres in total of fridge/freezer space in two separate cabinets. These are run by an engine driven eutectic system which has never given me any trouble.(And I still have almost 18kg of R12) I have bought a danfoss 50 ltr, 12v portable for times when I am away from the boat and when in between trips.

The other area of change I avoid is watermaking. Many times I have been close to making the decision to buy a system. However almost like magic, every time I come close to picking up the phone to place an order, I read a tale of such inconvenience about watermakers, that I shy away from them yet again.

My current position is that I have recently added another underfloor tank of 300ltrs to give me just over 1000ltrs. I am going to add a Seagull Mk IV water filter to a dedicated drinking water supply line to the galley to overcome any contamination problems. The stainless steel filter is airline quality and is about 15% of the cost of a mid-range water maker.

Central to this decision and apart from the huge cost of a watermaker, is my solar charging capability. I run my engine for about 25 minutes each day but rarely use the diesel for propulsion; I have no desire to install a washing machine, and with 4 separate water tanks, each individually plumbed, I feel that 1000ltrs is sufficient to keep me out of trouble.

BUT, I will not tell my beautiful girl that Trim is installing a watermaker and has 2300 ltrs of water tankage. That's a lot of water! (I wonder how empty tanks would affect the boat's trim as that weight of water would equal about 10% of the weight of a standard 50' yacht).

Anyway, that's my water story and the upshot is that maintenance is minimal, save for an annual emptying to clean the tanks and check the non return valves....Butcha have ta do that, watermaker or not.

Cheers.

David
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