Saturday, April 06, 2013

Cruise RO Watermaker First Run

Scott, trouble shooting and doing a little "lateral thinking"
It was over two months ago that we first fired up our Cruise RO Water and Power 30 gallon per hour watermaker.  As mentioned in earlier posts, Scott was pretty meticulous about the setup and made sure every piece of the conveniently modular unit was perfectly placed and installed correctly.  We were eager to get it up and running, but wanted to wait until we were in the pollutant-free water of the Bahamas to do it.  Once there, we were good to go.  Or were we?

Scott was so scrupulous about the start-up process that he made his own checklist from the one in the very detailed instruction manual.  We were adamant not to miss a beat and screw it up.   I sat with the manual, reading off line item by line item like a surgeon to a nurse:  "Open seawater thru hull" check..."Turn inlet water selector to seawater intake" check..."Verify the product selector seawater valve is in the to tanks position" check... and on and on we went until we were ready to go.  We'd hear all the parts working, following them closely like a Rube Goldberg Machine until the next step.  Everything was going smoothly and then right when we got to the part when water should have been coming out - the breaker tripped.

Sigh. Why does nothing on a boat go as planned?

After a few phone calls to Rich (I am serious, the customer service alone is reason to work with this company!) we decided to beef up our 15 amp breaker to a 20 amp breaker.  "Sometimes when the boost pump is brand new there's a little extra power needed to get everything running" he told us.  So we did that and started again.  Same thing.  Another phone call to Rich, more trouble shooting.  We re-wired, tried again.  Nothing.  We were stumped.  Everything was exactly as it should be, so why was this not working?

Scott, ever the engineer, traced his mind over the system and poured over the manual repeatedly when suddenly he said, "Maybe our brine water discharge has a clog?" It's amazing how many boat issues can be solved with basic troubleshooting and a little lateral thinking.  So there we were, taking apart our hoses and connectors when we found the culprit:  a hardened mess of sand, dirt, hair and god knows what else in the discharge elbow.  Scott cleaned it out and hooked everything back up.  We were back in business.  We fired up the system again (we were pros by now) and, sure enough, our watermaker worked exactly as promised.  Water came pouring out of the sample hose at an incredible rate...thirty-five gallons per hour.  Our old watermaker made five gallons per hour, we can now make that amount in about nine minutes.  It. is. awesome.
This was after the first clean out of the clog! It was bad!
Gnarly nastiness.
We celebrated with warm, fresh water showers of the back of the boat that night...and just about every night since.  Going with a high-output watermaker goes down as being one of the best decisions we made this time around.  While a watermaker is certainly not a necessity (we know a couple who happily cruise on ten gallons every two weeks), it sure makes life a lot nicer.  If there is one thing I have learned while cruising, it's that being comfortable correlates with being happy.  "Comfort" of course is relative but for us, having ample water makes a big difference.

Here's a video of our test run so you can see the flow, but the most impressive part might be Isla dancing to Paul Van Dyk at the end.  Kid's got rhythm I tell you.

Interested in our watermaker? Here are some more posts:
Full disclosure:  We are sponsored by Cruise RO Water and Power. If you are curious as to why we chose this unit, read this post.


Marcus Valdes said...

Cool, I liked that music too! Didn't know EDM is popular on the high seas as well!

horizonstar said...

Don't you love those little right angle plastic fittings? I had a similar problem on the intake side of an AC system on a 2mil custom 59 footer in Panama. As an aside, two million dollar sailboats often have the same junk yacht grade system engineering as their 300k production sisters. I guess when they get done providing 5 heads they don't have the budget to do any of them right---

Fair winds,

ps-- still have dreams about the water colors in the Exumas---.

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