Watermaking


Jose Venegas
 

Background
Ipanema's desalination had been pickled and dormant since I bought her almost 4 years ago. In preparation for our transatlantic passage I had bought a new set of membranes assuming that the ones on board should have certainly been useless. However, after hearing from one of our members, I decided to see if they worked once we put the boat in the water. The boat had been all winter and spring on land at Plymouth's Brewer's Marina being repaired from a substantial, but only cosmetic, damage caused by a loose boat that laid against Impanema during a late October storm while it awaited haul out. So we could only test the system 2 weeks departure while we provisioned the boat at Constitution Marina (Boston). Initially, when I started the desalination, the current drawn by the motor was so excessive that the generator's breaker would stop after a few seconds. Recommended by a tech from Cay electronics, I started it with shore power and IT WORKED making the 35 Gal/hour with the pressure gauge on the middle of the green. Because of the poor quality of water in Boston harbor I only let it run for a few minutes and tasted the water: It was good! Then, we ran the generator and it worked again: we could finally leave last Friday June 21, 2012.
Since I was still a little worried about the desalination, we decided to conserve water and loaded the boat with fresh water, just in case. Well, when I tested the system again, this time 50 miles east of the cape code, the desalination motor started and it made water for about 30 minutes. Then the system stopped and the motor was very hot with the smell of electrical burn. It meant the end of showers for the end of the trip, and a drop in the morale of the crew including me.
Today, Monday June 25, I tried again and … as the motor started the generator began to labor and for the first 2 minutes I thought it was the end of our water making but … miraculously, the generator accelerated and the pump began to purr. I left her without increasing the pressure and monitored its temperature that rached about 65 C. 20 minutes later I increased the high pressure slowly until the flow reached 20 gph and the pressure was still on the orange. One hour later the high pressure motor temperature was still 65 C. We ran it for another hour at 25 gph with only 1 C increase in motor temperature.

The questions are: 1) what happened ? 2) is 65 C too much (It feels hot to touch but does not burn)? 3) is there anything that I should do while underway and after I reach the Azores? 5) any tech at the Azores that can check the system and service it?
Thanks in advance

Jose Gabriel Venegas and crew
Ipanema SM 2K, crossing the atlantic, currently at N40 13 W 60 40.

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