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#1 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

Some other cruising forum doesn't tolerate dissent on the subject of watermakers. The watermaker threads always deteriorate into a lovefest for a certain Spectra reseller.

So what's the anarchist's take?

I'm looking for a low hassle, good value solution for a 34' boat. Wifey and I want to be able to have a freshwater rinse without feeling guilty.

#2 B.J. Porter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

Some other cruising forum doesn't tolerate dissent on the subject of watermakers. The watermaker threads always deteriorate into a lovefest for a certain Spectra reseller.

So what's the anarchist's take?

I'm looking for a low hassle, good value solution for a 34' boat. Wifey and I want to be able to have a freshwater rinse without feeling guilty.


So far my Spectra Catalina has worked fine. :ph34r:

No idea what reseller the love fest is about, but it certainly can't be the one that sold mine - those guys are never getting near my boat again.

Watermaker is a lot of juice for a 34' boat though.

#3 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

You aren't going to have "unlimited water" on a 34 foot boat. You can fit something like this http://www.westmarin...&classNum=50645 , but look at the output per hour. You will still have to think about conservation of both water and electricity.

#4 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, anarchists. We are happy to conserve water and electricity. We just want something to extend our time at anchorages and reduce pit stops.

The Katadyn Power Survivor 40e linked to by kent_island_sailor looks good and affordable. West Marine tends not to sell junk, so that is also a plus in my books. Is there anything else like it on the market we should consider? Anybody got a Power Survivor 40e installed?

#5 B.J. Porter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

Thanks, anarchists. We are happy to conserve water and electricity. We just want something to extend our time at anchorages and reduce pit stops.

The Katadyn Power Survivor 40e linked to by kent_island_sailor looks good and affordable. West Marine tends not to sell junk, so that is also a plus in my books. Is there anything else like it on the market we should consider? Anybody got a Power Survivor 40e installed?


I wouldn't take that bet - West Marine sells a LOT of junk. They also have some decent, real brands mixed up in them too. Katadyn is one of those brands, that West Marine is on hand to over charge you for one is just a convenience!

1.5 Gallons per hour, at 4 Amps. What is the output of your house pressure water system? 3-4 GPH, right? You are going to run that thing for 2-3 hours to get a three minute shower.

It's not an especially efficient one, though - as it uses about twice the power as a Spectra Catalina to make a gallon of water.

40E
4A * 1 Hr * 12V = 48 Watts/1.5 Gal = 32 Watt hours/Gallon

Larger (albeit more expensive and complicated) Catalina 300
15A * 1Hr * 12V = 180 Watts/12.5 = 14.4 Watt Hours/Gallon

The 40E looks like a unit that can keep you from dying of dehydration if you get stranded off shore, but I'm not sure how suited it is to the task you are asking for since it can only make 18 Gallons/Day.

What sort of batteries do you have on board? 34 footer, I'm guessing a pair of Group 27's for start & house? Or two 27's with group 24 for starting? I'm guessing that if you want to run this to make 10 gallons per day you will need to run it for 6-7 hours, that's 24-28 Ah. Or about 1/2 the usable capacity a group 27 wet cell per day. If you've got two 27's and you don't charge that much now you might be OK with a bit more engine time - however if you've got one house battery you might need another.

I don't want to rain on your parade here, but it seems that to add enough water making capacity to "not feel guilty" about showering when you want (the 40e doesn;t seem likely to do that!) to you are going to spend some serious cash and add lot of engine run time to your life.

Have you considered instead maybe adding a flexible water tank in a lazarette or under a floor board?

Cruising in North America, water is generally readily available, clean, and free. Cruising last summer from Maine to the Chesapeake we didn't run the water maker once, we topped our water tanks when we pumped out or got fuel. Also most of the water we sailed in in North America was pretty chunky to be making water in - even in Maine. The Chesapeake? Not a chance.

In the Caribbean now, with $.20/gallon for water and questionable quality (and lots of treatment) and VERY clean water to draw from we run it a lot and don't get water at docks. But if you are cruising in the U.S. I'd look to spend a few hundred bucks to add more tankage and a bit of plumbing before I'd spend $4-5K or more to add in a water maker, extra batteries, etc. etc.

#6 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:17 PM

Thanks BJ Porter. You are right about our power capacities. Our destinations - we are currently on Lake Superior but heading home to Australia via the South Pacific in May.

We have a Pacific Seacraft 34 - a good sailboat but storage space is tight. Not much extra room even under the floorboards. We can store enough drinking water for a long passage but it would be a stretch to store enough fresh water for little luxuries. No long, hot showers, just salt water bucket washes with fresh water rinse via garden sprayer.

We figuring our solar panel could run a little water maker for a few hours each day with help from the batteries then the solar would top off the batteries the rest of the day. All our lights are LED and we minimize electronics. We like to run the diesel engine every few days so we figure that will also help with the watermaking situation.

#7 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

Wow - you stole my sales pitch from when I sold HRO. I was always like "forget per DAY - think about per HOUR". I got a few people talked into 20-50 gallons per HOUR units and it usually worked out well. Not for a 34 foot boat though. HRO used to have a unit that belted off the main engine. Those seem to be gone now. HRO does have some "big" 12 volt units. You can use them (or equivalent) to make water while the engine runs at up to 16 gallons per hour. Note that water makers are NOISY. If you have the $$$, much better to make a lot while the engine runs than listen to the damn thing all day long.

#8 No.6

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

If you are talking about getting more time at anchor rather than making water offshore, think about water collection. Awning with plastic thru-hull fitting, attached to a hose and directed to your tank fill will give you more water in the tropics than any watermaker can.
The two boats that had watermakers when I sailed the marble, one was an engine driven system and the other was a 120 VAC system. Both worked very well and delivered high capacity per hour...of course you had to run the engine or genset. IMHO 12 VDC units are not worth it because you still have to run the engine or genset. For my own purposes I would get an engine driven unit.

#9 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

I always thought you could save big bucks and buy a pressure washer. Feed the input with salt water and take the wand off and connect a membrane to the other end B)

#10 No.6

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

Watch it or Mike Woofsey will wander in here trying to sell his solar stills.

#11 Mung Breath

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:07 PM

A friend who raced across the Atlantic has two 100 gallon water tanks. He installed a watermaker to feed one and converted the other to a fuel tank. Best of both worlds.

#12 Great White

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:12 PM

I always thought you could save big bucks and buy a pressure washer. Feed the input with salt water and take the wand off and connect a membrane to the other end B)

It has been done. I am sure that the materials are not real compatible with sea water.

http://www.albin25.e...idos-watermaker

#13 B.J. Porter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:17 PM

If you are talking about getting more time at anchor rather than making water offshore, think about water collection. Awning with plastic thru-hull fitting, attached to a hose and directed to your tank fill will give you more water in the tropics than any watermaker can.
The two boats that had watermakers when I sailed the marble, one was an engine driven system and the other was a 120 VAC system. Both worked very well and delivered high capacity per hour...of course you had to run the engine or genset. IMHO 12 VDC units are not worth it because you still have to run the engine or genset. For my own purposes I would get an engine driven unit.


Things have come a long way in the water maker world in the last 10-15 years though.

The unit that came with the boat was a beast - required the generator to be running to make maybe 10 GPH. The new unit draws 7.5A (@ 24V) and makes 12.5 GPH (rated for that...as I type this in the warm Caribbean it is reporting 14.5) and runs easily and quietly off of DC power. Is it a lot of power? Yes, compared to my LED lights. It's less than the blender...though I rarely run that for 3-4 hours at a stretch.

Doesn't require the generator, though I tend to run it at the same time since my generator makes more power than I can charge with anyway so it's semi-free at that point. But I can easily run it between charges.

#14 B.J. Porter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:32 PM

We figuring our solar panel could run a little water maker for a few hours each day with help from the batteries then the solar would top off the batteries the rest of the day. All our lights are LED and we minimize electronics. We like to run the diesel engine every few days so we figure that will also help with the watermaking situation.


How much solar do you have?

I feel like friggin' Eeyore in this thread, but to dump more gloom think realistically that you will do well to get half the estimated yield from your panels. The why's are straightforward...they're never all facing 90 degrees to the sun, and with a mast & boom out there you almost always get some shading. We have 260 Watts of panels which should in theory yield 10 Amps or so in our 24V world (20 Amps in 12V). We get excited to see half that, usually on a bright sunny midday we're at 3.5-4 Amps max.

So if you want to make 9 Gallons/day with the 40e you need to run it six hours. That's 24Ah of battery. Assuming 10 good solid cloudless charging hours per day you need to make at least 2.4A with your panels, which is about 30W. Double that to get 60W. Realistically...you aren't going to get 10 good charging hours...probably need 120W or so to be sure; that's probably a break even. Which is doable with one rigid panel or a bunch of flexible ones. Unless you want more water than that!

I still like the bladder tank concept - you're going to have to find space for the water maker anyway.

#15 VALIS

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:44 PM

I always thought you could save big bucks and buy a pressure washer. Feed the input with salt water and take the wand off and connect a membrane to the other end B)/>

People have done this, but it's a little complicated to do right. Also, the result is a fairly low-efficiency watermaker, albeit one with easy-to-find replacement parts.

VALIS has the Spectra Catalina and it has worked very well with minimum maintenance. To be fair, we don't use it often, as we're not regular cruisers. In ten years I've never pickled it, just the fresh-water flush after use and occasionally during storage (no doubt any watermaker would be similar in this respect). I chose the Spectra for its power efficiency, since we spend long times at sea.

You really should do a power budget to see what the watermaker impact will be. Unless your power usage is quite small, or your solar panels quite large, your panels will most likely *not* fully recharge your batteries, so you will not have excess "free" power to run your watermaker. The power will come put of your budget, and you will have to replace it somehow. Now is the time to figure this stuff out. In my case, the low-power watermaker made a difference.

Spectra is not the only low-power watermaker -- at least one other manufacturer uses an "energy-recovery" pump. Spectra uses a "Clark" pump. I don't recall who the other manufacturer(s) are, but no doubt someone here will.

#16 B.J. Porter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

We figuring our solar panel could run a little water maker for a few hours each day with help from the batteries then the solar would top off the batteries the rest of the day. All our lights are LED and we minimize electronics. We like to run the diesel engine every few days so we figure that will also help with the watermaking situation.


How much solar do you have?

I feel like friggin' Eeyore in this thread, but to dump more gloom think realistically that you will do well to get half the estimated yield from your panels. The why's are straightforward...they're never all facing 90 degrees to the sun, and with a mast & boom out there you almost always get some shading. We have 260 Watts of panels which should in theory yield 10 Amps or so in our 24V world (20 Amps in 12V). We get excited to see half that, usually on a bright sunny midday we're at 3.5-4 Amps max.

So if you want to make 9 Gallons/day with the 40e you need to run it six hours. That's 24Ah of battery. Assuming 10 good solid cloudless charging hours per day you need to make at least 2.4A with your panels, which is about 30W. Double that to get 60W. Realistically...you aren't going to get 10 good charging hours...probably need 120W or so to be sure; that's probably a break even. Which is doable with one rigid panel or a bunch of flexible ones. Unless you want more water than that!

I still like the bladder tank concept - you're going to have to find space for the water maker anyway.

#17 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:11 PM

My 25 watt solar cells give me a nice 10.8 to 1.4 amps. Your 50% is right on.
I did read about a guy that had one of those big hand pump units in the galley. Want a drink - pump away!

#18 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:44 PM

Thanks for the tip regarding water collection, No 6. We are buying one of these for water collection:
http://www.newpig.co...erter-7242/0/20
I'm nervous about relying on rain water collection because in the part of the tropics I am from it only rains reliably part of the year.

BJ Porter, thanks for being a contrarian. I like the bladder concept too. We talked where to put bladders and plastic bottles for about six months before coming to conclusion a water maker might be a better use of space. How much solar do we have? Not enough. I figure the the engine likes to be run at least once a week so it can help the solar out every now and again.

Are their any competitors to the Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40e. Anything else near the same price break with similar specs?

I've been told the extra side load from belt driven water makers is tough on the ol' Yanmar. But I used to own an old Farmall tractor and put all kinds of side loads on the engine via the PTO. Are the marine grade engines (or newer engines) less tolerant than other engines? Any one using a newer belt driven watermaker? I'm not sure it will fit in our engine room but still interested in peoples experiences and opinions.

#19 Ishmael

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

There is a long and involved thread on Cruisers Forum about building watermakers from scratch, including the best pressure washers to dismantle for the pumps. Well worth a read, you can build one using good gear for half the cost of a manufactured unit.

#20 islandplanet

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

Our plan is one of these units - http://cruiserowaterandpower.com
We'll power it with a 2kw Honda generator of from our inverter when our Yanmar is running.

If I were going with Spectra, I'd avoid the electronic control option and stay manual.

The beauty of Cruise RO is the simplicity and fact that all components are not only off the shelf but a complete list of manufacturers and part numbers is included.

We want the Honda 2kw onboard for other reasons as well so no downside for us in that regard.

#21 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

Shane,

We built our own water maker years ago from parts (except the membranes) that were all bought from McMaster Carr. They used to have everything you'd need, including the Salt Water resistant stuff.

From scanning your posts, you'll really want to do a serious power budget before doing a water maker. Take a serious look at what BJ has posted, he's go it right, IMHO. My experience cruising was that we wanted to keep a freezer frozen, that required a certain amount of power be produced and it was a lot more than what solar could provide. Once we were committed to the generator by the freezer choice, then it was trivial to build a bigger generating source that could make water and all manner of other stuff while it was busy cooling the freezer off. The point being, that you might want to sit down and scope out the entire boat as a single system. Find the most important items for you and base the power production plan on that. PM me if you'd like to chat about this.

You're right to worry about deck/tarp collection of rain water, but when it works it is SO GREAT! A lot of terrific places have a lot of rainfall, not all of them in the tropics (I'm thinking of you all in Seattle here). Collecting is the absolute best way to get great water. It tastes wonderful too. Our old cruising boat had a high rail and we put a "Y" in the deck drain so we could capture all the water that fell on the boat. It worked great.

BV

#22 Avocet

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:15 PM

Avocet has a first gen Powersurvivor 35 from Katadyn that has served reliably for many years but when it does go, I absolutely will NOT replace it with a similar unit. Aside from the fact that a larger unit generally produces more water per amp hour and modular designs allow for better installation options, I just don't want to listen to the thing for 8 hours a day.

My next watermaker will be sized to produce my daily water usage in approximately one hour. On passage, the running of the unit becomes part of the daily routine which keeps the machine happy and the annoyance level to a minimum.

Everyones situation and needs are different but this is what I've found on a 37' boat that hasn't seen any significant time at a dock in a couple years.

#23 curm

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:39 PM

I've been looking at watermakers but the best ones (e.g. Spectra) have proprietary components. That turns me off. I realize that amp hours per gallon is what matters, but so does size and ease of maintenance. I'm only a weekend sailor now, but by 2014 we plan to be crusing 6 months per year, so at that point a desalinator makes much more sense.

If a buy a watermaker I'll power it with a wind generator. In 10+ knots of wind those produce alot more amp hours than solar panels and I'm told there is a gizmo that will use excess wind power (after the charge regulator determines that the batteries are topped up) to make hot water.

#24 Roleur

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:50 PM

You lost me at 9 gallons per day. For two people? We just did 14 days offshore with only a 45 gallon tank and we both took showers every 3 days. That's a little over 3 gallons per day.

To the OP we used to have a very similar boat, a Valiant 32. We went 3 weeks in the Sea of Cortez without rewatering, using only a Pur 35. We ran it for about an hour a day on average. Keeping in mind with a 90 gallon tank we didn't have to completely replenish each day as we knew we would have a rewatering option eventually.

That said, while I found the capacity of the Pur 35 adequate and the draw insignificant, the quality of the product wasn't that great. Take a look at a used parts place like Bacons and you'll find something like 3 used Pur 40's available. That's a high number considering how few watermakers there really are. There is a reason people are dumping them.

Sadly, I'm not aware of a high quality, lower cost option for people with minimal needs, but a desire for self sufficiency. the world needs a smaller version of the Spectra.



We figuring our solar panel could run a little water maker for a few hours each day with help from the batteries then the solar would top off the batteries the rest of the day. All our lights are LED and we minimize electronics. We like to run the diesel engine every few days so we figure that will also help with the watermaking situation.


How much solar do you have?

I feel like friggin' Eeyore in this thread, but to dump more gloom think realistically that you will do well to get half the estimated yield from your panels. The why's are straightforward...they're never all facing 90 degrees to the sun, and with a mast & boom out there you almost always get some shading. We have 260 Watts of panels which should in theory yield 10 Amps or so in our 24V world (20 Amps in 12V). We get excited to see half that, usually on a bright sunny midday we're at 3.5-4 Amps max.

So if you want to make 9 Gallons/day with the 40e you need to run it six hours. That's 24Ah of battery. Assuming 10 good solid cloudless charging hours per day you need to make at least 2.4A with your panels, which is about 30W. Double that to get 60W. Realistically...you aren't going to get 10 good charging hours...probably need 120W or so to be sure; that's probably a break even. Which is doable with one rigid panel or a bunch of flexible ones. Unless you want more water than that!

I still like the bladder tank concept - you're going to have to find space for the water maker anyway.



#25 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

Thanks Beau.Vrolyk and BJ Porter. Power production is the achilles heel.

Avocet, you are echoing kent_island on the non-stop noise factor.

OK, now I am leaning towards a higher production DC unit and simply running the engine to generate power to make water fast. Seems so darn inefficient but I have a better understanding now why it might be more practical. We may never have enough power production capacity on our 34 footer if only because I've got an aversion to hanging more solar panels off the pretty little thing. Without the watermaker we make enough power for our needs using our existing setup.

I am going to spend some time with the DYI watermaker plans before forking out for a Spectra/Echotec/Katadyn. Maybe I can save a few dollars and be able to fix the darn thing when it breaks. The DYI plans do not look too different from the stuff provided by the water maker manufacturers. Wish me luck!

#26 shanedennis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

That said, while I found the capacity of the Pur 35 adequate and the draw insignificant, the quality of the product wasn't that great. Take a look at a used parts place like Bacons and you'll find something like 3 used Pur 40's available. That's a high number considering how few watermakers there really are. There is a reason people are dumping them


Thanks Roleur. That's food for thought.

#27 White Wing

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:47 PM

I have a modular watermaker on our boat that has served us extremely well --- the high pressure pump is engine driven from our Yanmar (side load seems fine along with alternator and refrigeration), and the control unit and water quality monitor are from Village Marine Tech (now part of of Parker/Racor - www.villagemarine.com - they call their modular system Little Wonder) - the membranes are separate and are mounted to the underside of one of our pilot berths - which enables us to have a large capacity system. Output is a direct result of membrane capacity, so if you can be creative about their location you may be able to get more capacity by splitting up the watermaker component locations. Conversely, the control unit and water quality monitor are located under my nav station, so out of the way and taking up space that was otherwise not really used. We run a 5micron and 20micron pre-filter before the high pressure pump - those canisters are in the engine room on the bulkhead.
When we charge our batteries, we run the watermaker to top off the tanks - at 33gph we get a completely full tank in the time we take to charge our batteries. PM me if you want to set up a time to talk more about how we use ours, size of stuff, batteries/etc.

WWing

#28 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:06 PM

The more things you can do at once with your engine the MORE efficient you will be. The win would be charging, watermaking, and pulling down a holding plate all at the same time :)

Thanks Beau.Vrolyk and BJ Porter. Power production is the achilles heel.

Avocet, you are echoing kent_island on the non-stop noise factor.

OK, now I am leaning towards a higher production DC unit and simply running the engine to generate power to make water fast. Seems so darn inefficient but I have a better understanding now why it might be more practical. We may never have enough power production capacity on our 34 footer if only because I've got an aversion to hanging more solar panels off the pretty little thing. Without the watermaker we make enough power for our needs using our existing setup.

I am going to spend some time with the DYI watermaker plans before forking out for a Spectra/Echotec/Katadyn. Maybe I can save a few dollars and be able to fix the darn thing when it breaks. The DYI plans do not look too different from the stuff provided by the water maker manufacturers. Wish me luck!



#29 Ishmael

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:33 PM

The more things you can do at once with your engine the MORE efficient you will be. The win would be charging, watermaking, and pulling down a holding plate all at the same time :)


Thanks Beau.Vrolyk and BJ Porter. Power production is the achilles heel.

Avocet, you are echoing kent_island on the non-stop noise factor.

OK, now I am leaning towards a higher production DC unit and simply running the engine to generate power to make water fast. Seems so darn inefficient but I have a better understanding now why it might be more practical. We may never have enough power production capacity on our 34 footer if only because I've got an aversion to hanging more solar panels off the pretty little thing. Without the watermaker we make enough power for our needs using our existing setup.

I am going to spend some time with the DYI watermaker plans before forking out for a Spectra/Echotec/Katadyn. Maybe I can save a few dollars and be able to fix the darn thing when it breaks. The DYI plans do not look too different from the stuff provided by the water maker manufacturers. Wish me luck!


Don't forget heating water at the same time, always a good thing.

#30 rattus32

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:59 PM


I always thought you could save big bucks and buy a pressure washer. Feed the input with salt water and take the wand off and connect a membrane to the other end B)

It has been done. I am sure that the materials are not real compatible with sea water.

http://www.albin25.e...idos-watermaker


Cute idea, but the noise! I own a larger model of Kärcher that, surprisingly, we use for pressure washing and Jeebus, that thing is LOUD. Couldn't imagine it running for just an hour without pissing everyone off in the harbor.

Might be a good antidote for the wee hours boombox crowd.

#31 rattus32

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:30 PM

Shane,

We built our own water maker years ago from parts (except the membranes) that were all bought from McMaster Carr. They used to have everything you'd need, including the Salt Water resistant stuff.

From scanning your posts, you'll really want to do a serious power budget before doing a water maker. Take a serious look at what BJ has posted, he's go it right, IMHO. My experience cruising was that we wanted to keep a freezer frozen, that required a certain amount of power be produced and it was a lot more than what solar could provide. Once we were committed to the generator by the freezer choice, then it was trivial to build a bigger generating source that could make water and all manner of other stuff while it was busy cooling the freezer off. The point being, that you might want to sit down and scope out the entire boat as a single system. Find the most important items for you and base the power production plan on that. PM me if you'd like to chat about this.

You're right to worry about deck/tarp collection of rain water, but when it works it is SO GREAT! A lot of terrific places have a lot of rainfall, not all of them in the tropics (I'm thinking of you all in Seattle here). Collecting is the absolute best way to get great water. It tastes wonderful too. Our old cruising boat had a high rail and we put a "Y" in the deck drain so we could capture all the water that fell on the boat. It worked great.

BV


I dunno Beau - we spent some time - 4 weeks total - on a wee Maine Cat 30, which with a simple 240W (stated) non-pivoting solar array did a great job of keeping cold things cold (Frigoboat air-air but vented overboard), lights lit (early adopters of LEDs), navs navving, audio thumping (ahhh! the kids!) and occasionally auto-piloting. The key was conservation, balance and a maniacal dedication to TURN IT OFF! when something was not in use. Hell, we even kept the PowerBook charged (that was a while ago). The panels were our only source of energy; outboards are lousy energy producers.

Side note: I've found McMaster-Carr to reliably provide the most expensive parts solution, (outside of a chandlery) for anything. Good thing is, they almost always have them in stock ;-)

I could see augmenting a solar array to provide watermaking capability. Some of the proprietary systems use a form of pressure recovery pump - not sure how that works - that seems on paper to pretty dramatically up the efficiency in terms of gals/amp hour. Wonder if those pumps are available on the open market.

Solar capacity is so cheap these days that if you have the acreage to host them, it's almost a crime not to do so. The hard top on the MC30 was perfect for that. MPPT controllers would be a large part of making it work in an environment where half the panels may be shaded underway. I'd be interested in hearing about any effective marine sealing tips for domestic panels.

Edit: looked up "clark pump", found this illustration: http://www.spectrawa...y/overview.html
Wonder if this proprietary to Spectra, or off-patent - I'm sure one could build a pressure intensifier like that from the McMaster-Carr catalog!

#32 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

Rattus,

I agree that McMaster-Carr isn't the cheapest. I liked them because I was somewhere far away and they mailed everything to me on-time. That was worth paying a bit more for. Now, with all the prices for all the competitors on-line, it's a lot easier to email them and show them the competition's price. Things are changing.

The Clark Pump is really interesting. It is a lot like the old double acting steam engines. I like the "recapture" of some of the pressure from the water leaving the membrane. That's a clever idea. This could help a lot provided the friction of those pistons and that shaft to recapture is actually a power savings over just pumping directly into the membrane. Any idea what the projected duty on this pump is? How many hours it'll run without a seal rebuild? Of course a seal leak is just going to make the thing slowly less efficient.

#33 shanedennis

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:03 PM

Don't forget heating water at the same time, always a good thing.


Good point. We have a hot water heater that can be plumbed to the engine. We have never used it and were considering removing it to make some space.

I've been reading about the DIY systems since last posting. Now I am starting to understand energy problem. It just takes a great deal of energy and good pump engineering to create enough pressure (800psi) to force the seawater through the membrane. Makes me wonder why there are not more belt driven systems used.

Also appreciating the Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40e. There are some people who have had good experiences with them. It seems to be good enough for a couple with lean water usage. On the other hand people ditch them because they can't tolerate the water budget or they get sick of the noise. Perhaps I can pick a used one up at a discount on Ebay and see if that works out before going DYI or the expense of a bigger unit.

#34 Zonker

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:39 AM

We have a cat with 375 watts of panels (mixed sizes too which isn't as efficient). Most I've seen from MPPT controller is 23A but typical is around 18A. Easily runs the whole boat including fridge, Led lights, autopilot underway, computer for 8 hrs a day and a Spectra watermaker. Tons of solar is very nice.

#35 B.J. Porter

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

We have a cat with 375 watts of panels (mixed sizes too which isn't as efficient). Most I've seen from MPPT controller is 23A but typical is around 18A. Easily runs the whole boat including fridge, Led lights, autopilot underway, computer for 8 hrs a day and a Spectra watermaker. Tons of solar is very nice.

Around 50%, eh?

I've getting thoughts of more solar...

#36 Tucky

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:00 PM


We have a cat with 375 watts of panels (mixed sizes too which isn't as efficient). Most I've seen from MPPT controller is 23A but typical is around 18A. Easily runs the whole boat including fridge, Led lights, autopilot underway, computer for 8 hrs a day and a Spectra watermaker. Tons of solar is very nice.

Around 50%, eh?

I've getting thoughts of more solar...


As a data point, I believe Acciona, the IMOCA 60 that set out in the Vendee without any diesel, has indicated she hasn't used he hydro yet at all- still running on solar and maybe a little wind.

I also think big gains are ahead for solar through chip management of individual cells, which brings the possibility of controlling the shade and other voltage problems that reduce power.

#37 whinging pom

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:32 PM

I did an Atlantic Circuit with a 40e, it was primarily a back up to our 490 litre water tanks. It's pretty noisy, but it came second hand at a very good price! Came in useful whilst in the Bahamas where water can be scarce as well as expensive. Having done an other Circuit on a non-watermaker boat, for the Atlantic, I'd class it as something noce to have, but not essential.

#38 shanedennis

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

I did an Atlantic Circuit with a 40e, it was primarily a back up to our 490 litre water tanks. It's pretty noisy, but it came second hand at a very good price!


Good info. Thanks!

#39 Mogle

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

With a watermaker are you going to reduce your water tank? With a 34" feet boat space is very limited and it might not be practical to change your tankage.

I am in the same situation with a 42 footer. My plan is to reduce the water thank and extend the diesel tank. Have you looked into this?


#40 No.6

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:09 PM

I will say this about that. What do you do if your watermaker fails? It is nice to have to not have to strictly mind the water consumption because "we can always make more". But what happens when you can't and you are 1000 miles from anywhere and only really have 3 or 4 days of water left because you removed water tanks or converted them to diesel?

#41 shanedennis

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

With a watermaker are you going to reduce your water tank?


No, we will not reduce our water tankage (75 gallons). The watermaker is intended to allow for little luxuries during periods where fresh water is not available. We think we carry enough diesel (37 gallons) in our existing tank.


I will say this about that. What do you do if your watermaker fails?


Yes, exactly. This is why we are not reducing our water tankage.

#42 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:35 AM

Shane,

I think the real question is more along the lines of: Are you carrying enough water and fuel for the passage you're on? The absolute amount isn't a reasonable measure, the needs of the voyage obviously are. I'm certain that you can come up with passages where your fuel and water tankage are adequate and passages where they are not.

From your posts above it seems that the longest passages you'll be making are in the Pacific, no surprise there. The toughest ones will probably be from Panama to the Marquesas, if you choose to go that way, and that passage can take a 30' boat up to 30 days to compete. If that's your worst case, you may want temporary water storage and then toss it once you're in French Polynesia. I don't know your plans, so as a result I (and everyone else here) have no way to accurately estimate usage.

One thing that might be helpful is to calculate the number of gallons of water you can create with one gallon of fuel running the engine to power the water maker and other stuff - or some other power source if you really trust it. On my old cruising boat the ratio was about 8:1. As a result, it was obviously a big win to convert water tanks to fuel and use that fuel to make water. We did that and, on that boat, had almost unlimited water. You'll have a different ratio, but it will still be advantageous. Obviously, you always want to carry enough water to complete the worst-case passage despite a water maker failure, even if you carry two water makers (which some larger boats do).

There are a few other advantages to increasing fuel capacity. In the event of unplanned light winds or a dismasting you stand a much better chance of reaching a port with more fuel, and you'll make a LOT of water along the way. A guess that you can go 10 miles on a gallon of fuel (you'll know the real answer) and you've got 37 gallons says that you'll have a range under power of 370 miles. That is a very very small distance in the Pacific. Many passages are multiple thousands of miles, until you get to the islands, and even the doldrums can be 200 miles across. In addition, you'll be able to buy fuel in places where it is less expensive; and the differences in fuel prices can be as much as 2:1, so it's worth doing.

BV

#43 shanedennis

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:38 PM

From your posts above it seems that the longest passages you'll be making are in the Pacific.

Yes, I think our longest passage will be to Galapagos to the Marquesas. We will be adding a crew member (water consumer) for that leg. The plan is for my older brother, a bluewater racer out of Sydney, to join us.

One thing that might be helpful is to calculate the number of gallons of water you can create with one gallon of fuel running the engine to power the water maker and other stuff - or some other power source if you really trust it. On my old cruising boat the ratio was about 8:1. As a result, it was obviously a big win to convert water tanks to fuel and use that fuel to make water.

We had not thought of the diesel to water conversion ratio. We are thinking about converting to a composting head. Someone suggested converting the holding tank to a second diesel tank. Your comment adds weight to that idea.

A guess that you can go 10 miles on a gallon of fuel (you'll know the real answer) and you've got 37 gallons says that you'll have a range under power of 370 miles. That is a very very small distance in the Pacific.

You are spot on. We get 10 miles/gallon in light conditions. I have vague memories of the doldrums from Port Moresby. We had a small trimaran for the family and a tiny catamaran for the kids. My Dad loved it when the monohulls were dead in the water. We would sometimes win the club races on handicap in the very light conditions.

Thanks, BV, I appreciate your thoughtful advice.

#44 VALIS

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:48 PM

And when you're sizing your tankage, remember that if the watermaker quits all you really *need* to be carrying is enough water so you don't die. It's not a bad idea to carry this much in separate containers anyway, in case your main tanks leak or get foul. The ocean racing rules are worth looking at, as they require multiple tanks for this kind of fault tolerance.

If you use poly bottles for emergency water (like you buy in stores), be sure to wrap them in something for chafe-protection. Otherwise they will wear through from the motion.

#45 Mark Morwood

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:58 PM

...
IMHO 12 VDC units are not worth it because you still have to run the engine or genset. For my own purposes I would get an engine driven unit.


I agree with you for the original poster who had limited space for other sources of power, but if you have lots of DC (e.g. with a bunch of solar panels on a catamaran), then the 12 v DC units from spectra have worked well in my experience. Like BJ, we have a Catalina 300 from Spectra that we have been very happy with. We typically don't need to run the engines to make water, unless we've been burning a lot of power and it's been very cloudy.

Mark.

#46 savoir

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

You might have to invest in some plastic jerry cans which are cheap in Panama. There is quite a strong used jerry can market around the islands. You can sell some cans at a profit and still be half the local price.

Some like to keep their cans. You can see plenty of boats around the islands with 10+ cans tied to the deck.

#47 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

Shane,

It is common for folks to stow additional fuel in cans or bladders for long trips. If you do this please consider the weight of these and put them someplace where they can't get loose and also can't alter the boat's stability. When the C&C 61 Sorcery was being delivered from Japan to the US she was in a tough gale. The fuel storage broke loose in some really bad seas and crushed a woman's leg in the cockpit. Lifelines are typically not strong enough to corral heavy fuel tanks.

BV

#48 shanedennis

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:20 AM

It is common for folks to stow additional fuel in cans or bladders for long trips.


Thanks, yes. We don't like storing anything on deck except the tender.

We will probably just need to live with our existing tankage for 37 gallons of diesel. It would be nice to have more but my aversion to water bladders and fuel cans is stronger than my aversion to being stuck in the doldrums. We cannot make diesel our of thin air but we could make water out of solar using a Katadyn 40e. Not much, but enough for a few extra luxuries we would not otherwise not be able to afford with 75 gallons on water tankage.

We are going to buy a Katadyn Power Survivor 40e. We like the 4 amp draw because we know our solar can handle it on a good day. BV's diesel to water ratio sealed the deal. More solar and a Spectra might be in our future if we decide we cannot tolerate the slow and noisy Katadyn.

#49 No.6

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:35 PM

Shane,

It is common for folks to stow additional fuel in cans or bladders for long trips. If you do this please consider the weight of these and put them someplace where they can't get loose and also can't alter the boat's stability. When the C&C 61 Sorcery was being delivered from Japan to the US she was in a tough gale. The fuel storage broke loose in some really bad seas and crushed a woman's leg in the cockpit. Lifelines are typically not strong enough to corral heavy fuel tanks.

BV

IIRC the fuel storage vessel was a 55 gallon drum lashed to the pedestal guard and pretty much took out the helm as well as injuring crew.

#50 Ishmael

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:47 PM


Shane,

It is common for folks to stow additional fuel in cans or bladders for long trips. If you do this please consider the weight of these and put them someplace where they can't get loose and also can't alter the boat's stability. When the C&C 61 Sorcery was being delivered from Japan to the US she was in a tough gale. The fuel storage broke loose in some really bad seas and crushed a woman's leg in the cockpit. Lifelines are typically not strong enough to corral heavy fuel tanks.

BV

IIRC the fuel storage vessel was a 55 gallon drum lashed to the pedestal guard and pretty much took out the helm as well as injuring crew.


Not surprising considering the rest of the damage. Sounds nasty...http://www.cncphotoa...ry/sorcery2.htm

#51 Zonker

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:36 PM

I have to confess we left Mexico for the Marquesas with less than full water tanks. We carry about 100 US gallons if full. We just made more as we went. I figured if watermaker crapped out on day 2 we'd cut back on showering every day and cook with a bit more salt water.

We did have a lot of 1L tetrapak juice to get us somewhat across the Pacific because it was much cheaper in Mexico. Nobody was going to get dehydrated if the watermaker failed. Oh yeah and a fair bit of wine too..

We have a Spectra Gulfstream that I took all the electronics (salinity detector/autoflush/solenoid valves) and threw them away. Now it's just 2 toggle switches for the 2 seawater pumps, and 4 manual PVC ball valves to operate normally or flush from a bucket of water. My salinity detector is the simple handheld stick type that you stick in your aquarium. I fill a cup from the dedicated spigot in the head sink and when the TDS is acceptable I flip the valve to send the good product water to the tank. No electronics failure will prevent me from getting my water!

Yep, I'm a big believer in solar power.

#52 familysailor

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:23 PM

What does your modified rig require for power? GPH?

#53 Zonker

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:41 AM

9 amps @ 12 volts = 8 gph (1 pump)
18 a = 13-15 gph (2 pumps) when motoring


#54 Joli

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

It should also be added the boat pitchpoled through 180 degrees, loosing the rig in the process.

Shane,

It is common for folks to stow additional fuel in cans or bladders for long trips. If you do this please consider the weight of these and put them someplace where they can't get loose and also can't alter the boat's stability. When the C&C 61 Sorcery was being delivered from Japan to the US she was in a tough gale. The fuel storage broke loose in some really bad seas and crushed a woman's leg in the cockpit. Lifelines are typically not strong enough to corral heavy fuel tanks.

BV



#55 Tucky

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

It should also be added the boat pitchpoled through 180 degrees, loosing the rig in the process.


Would an offset companionway have been any worse <_<

No offense. :)

#56 Ishmael

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

According to the report of one participant, the boat rolled, not pitchpoled. http://www.cncphotoa...ry/sorcery2.htm

Unless there was a separate incident...

#57 familysailor

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:05 PM

9 amps @ 12 volts = 8 gph (1 pump)
18 a = 13-15 gph (2 pumps) when motoring


Thank you. Seems reasonable. You can do daily water needs in an hour or two using solar panels and batteries, then build up reserves any time you need to run the engine. Is that accurate?

#58 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:43 PM

9 amps @ 12 volts = 8 gph (1 pump)
18 a = 13-15 gph (2 pumps) when motoring


What's your solar output, measured as opposed to the spec, and how many hours/day to end up getting that? Also, just to continue to bug you because I'm really interested in this alternative, how large are the panels physically that deliver that solar output?

#59 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:47 PM

According to the report of one participant, the boat rolled, not pitchpoled. http://www.cncphotoa...ry/sorcery2.htm

Unless there was a separate incident...


In a conversation with the owner after it happened, he said she started down a wave too steep to ride. Then stuck her bow in and fell over on her side with the rig in the water. The wave then pushed her upside down and he doesn't know which way she turned to come up. This was determined by the dents in the cabin wood work down below where heavy things, like tool boxes, weren't properly stowed. You could see how they wandered around in the cabin, basing wood and crew members, as all this happened. A box of spares from well aft went all the way into the forepeak before being wedged up against the after corner overhead and dumping some parts on a shelf up there, where they remained until she reached port.

Fuel and water storage aren't the only things one should secure in a boat at sea.

BV

#60 kent_island_sailor

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:53 PM

I have done that too - but thank God all we did was get pinned at 90 degrees by the wave for a bit and then recover. No harm no foul and the on-deck watch got very wet. I bitched at them for disturbing my beauty sleep because some loose object landed on my head.



EDIT - Solar Panel Size
http://www.amazon.co...s=25 watt solar

120 watts 58.20 x 26.70 x 1.57 in. -



http://www.amazon.co...s=50 watt solar

50 watts - Dimensions: 748x536x35 mm


Just random picks from Amazon. I got a 25 watt panel from them that I don't see listed right now. I attached an extension cord to it with a trolling motor plug to connect it to the boat. It goes up at anchor or on the mooring.

#61 rclouise

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:04 AM

Thanks, anarchists. We are happy to conserve water and electricity. We just want something to extend our time at anchorages and reduce pit stops.

The Katadyn Power Survivor 40e linked to by kent_island_sailor looks good and affordable. West Marine tends not to sell junk, so that is also a plus in my books. Is there anything else like it on the market we should consider? Anybody got a Power Survivor 40e installed?


I'm not sure you would be interested in doing this on your 34 footer. We will go with the Katadyn Power Survivor 40e . We also are installing a prop generator that generates between 5 amp at 5kts and 11 amps at 8 kts. We have 160 gallon water tanks and plan on using the 40e for topping off tanks on passage. Our goal is to keep tanks close to full on passage. I know your 34 footer will not do 8 knots but fast enough with prop generator to break even on water maker power consumption.
Might be something to look into.
Good luck.

#62 Zonker

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:22 AM

Thank you. Seems reasonable. You can do daily water needs in an hour or two using solar panels and batteries, then build up reserves any time you need to run the engine. Is that accurate?


Sort of. Because you need to flush the watermaker with a few gallons of water (say 3) after use, it makes more sense to run it for about 3 hours, make 3 days supply (about), and then flush it. Flushing volume is water you lose so don't run it daily. Watermaker membrane seem to prefer running steadily than short run times.

The battery bank isn't huge (4 x 6V golf cart batteries; about 450 A.hrs). It's more than enough for daily consumption and when it's sunny it is seldom below 3/4 charged first thing in the morning before the solar panels get going. If we get say 5 or more very cloudy days in a row we start to get behind - so if my wife is writing a story and sitting on the computer 8 hrs a day we might have to run the engine for an hour every day until we get a sunny day. In practice in 3 years we have only faced 3 times when we often had to run the engine for power:
- Guymas Mexico around late December (short days, fairly cloudy)
- Nuka Hiva, F.Polynesia (main anchorage bay has high hills so solar production is hindered both am and pm; very very cloudy most days)
- Brisbane, Australia middle of this winter (July; short days, cloudy, and wife finishing a book so at least 8 hrs/day on the computer).

Each time was roughly 10-14 days (say 20 hours total engine time each time). That's maybe 60 hrs of engine run time to charge batteries over 3.5 years of living aboard. I'm ok with that ratio.

What's your solar output, measured as opposed to the spec, and how many hours/day to end up getting that? Also, just to continue to bug you because I'm really interested in this alternative, how large are the panels physically that deliver that solar output?


I don't have an amp.hour meter so can't tell you typical output other than instantaneous amperage. But hot sunny day around 15-18 A (after going throught the MPPT controller). Cool or windy sunny day 20-22A. Cool panels produce more power. Panels are a dog's breakfast of castoffs from friends, one from the old boat, and Craigslist purchases. I

Here's a photo of our fiberglass orange ladder stern arch. The horizontal member is about 11' wide. If wanted to optimize for size on a monohull width arch I'd buy 4 big panels (120W?) and have the long dimension run fore-aft.

Long distance cruising note: panels > 120 watts are typically 24V and need a MPPT controller than converts 24->12V. I didn't want that because if the MPPT controller fails on 12V batteries you can just direct connect to batteries via a toggle switch and switch them off when batteries get charged.

We have: 1 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 85, and 1 x 90 watts panels in the photo
Posted Image

#63 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:33 PM

Zonker - thanks.

We've a big flat aft deck that no one walks on, especially when well off shore. It could serve to hold at least three or four good sized panels. Your posts have got me re-assessing. Again - thanks.

Beau

#64 Zonker

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:51 AM

OK - checked out pictures of your boat. Indeed you've got lots of real estate. Keep the shadows off it and you'll do well. And your boat is very beautiful.

And I just don't say that to any boat.

#65 familysailor

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:57 PM

Zonker---
Thanks for the info on your setup. It appears to be simple and straightforward. It appeals to me as am certainly simple....
You dinghy looks like an El Toro derivitave, is it?
More pics of your boat would be nice if you care to post them.

FS

#66 Zonker

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

No, the the dingy is much much bigger than an El Toro. It's a 10' long x 48" beam planing hull. Goes very fast with a 15 HP. Much cheaper and more durable than a RIB but a harsher ride in chop if you are on the middle seat. It's a 1/4" plywood hull with foam inside stringers and a layer of biaxial inside and out on the bottom panels only. Called a GV10. I designed it and it's plans are for sale on another website.

Pics of the boat are sometimes hard to come by - but here are a few blog posts with pictures of the boat and the typically full dinghy.

http://maiaaboard.bl...re-sailing.html

http://maiaaboard.bl...-in-review.html
2nd picture is with Bora Bora in the background. We gave friends on a Lagoon 38 a1 hr head start and beat them to Bora Bora by oh about 1 hr. They didn't have their mainsail up but still...

#67 buchhla

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:56 AM

Be VERY careful about buying a used PowerSurvivor 80E on ebay/craigslist/whatnot. There are several version of that out there and parts no not avaailable for the real early versions. I had one that I got a 'killer' deal on, and after verifying with Katydyn that they could get parts, was unable to. Ended up loosing over $100 in shipping over the whole thing. Not sure if the 40E is the same, but my guess is it is since that company has been bought/cold so many times. They were all very nice to deal with, but in the end couldn't help. They even lost my membrane somewhere, but ended up sending me a new one since they lost it internally.

We now have a Spectra Ventura 150 and love it. That one is about 8.3 A@12V for 7.5-8 gallons an hour. We are on another similarish sized 35' boat but have a huge solar array on her. Down here in NZ where it is cold we max out out 45A MPPT controller with around 620 watts of panels. If you are planning on using solar/wind, effeciency is everything! The spectra unit I have I did buy off of criagslist, but around the same price as what the katydyn 80E were going for. If you are buying the spectra, there are also two major verions of the clark pump out there, and while I believe both work fine and have parts available, I was told to look for the newer ones that use o-ring fittings on the clark pump rather than the original NPT ones which had a tendacy to crack the block of the clark pump if you were not careful putting them together.

Zonker is right on as far as how much light you can expect in various places, we did the pacific crossing with them! We have all the fancy meters for watching our batteries though. Also, on the whole tow generator, I have talked with a few people that have them and most say that 5A at 5kts is optimistic. They said that 5-5.5 kts was where they really started making power. Under than, not much, over that and they were quite happy.

#68 vtsail

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

Does any one have any experience with Aqua Whisper Mini/Ultra Whisper units?




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