Ian Shepherd <ocean53@...>
your post makes disturbing reading. Like you, I rely heavily upon my water
maker for long passages. About a year ago on this site, the possibility that
Amel had instructed Dessalator to de-activate the bad water bypass feature,
This seemed an absurd suggestion to me, and I tried to test the system, but
failed to do so as I had not realized that the potential across the probe
is in fact not a DC one, but an AC one of around 500 Hz. I then contacted
Dessalator's UK representitive Rod Boreham and he took up the matter and fed
back reassuring information that the probe had not been deactivated. This
made sense as I remember Olivier Beaute mentioning that I should regularly
keep an eye on the probe terminals and to clean them if they looked
However, your experience suggests that there may be a weakness in the design
of either the detection, or the diversion of bad water. I am sure that all
of us would be interested to learn of your findings when you install a
second probe and do the test. (I had planned by now to have removed the
probe and immerse it in a cup of sea water whilst blocking the probe hole
with a bung, but a serious paragliding accident has confined me to bed for
the past two months). PLEASE let us know how you get on.
As a matter of interest, the membranes on my first 60 l/h failed after
living aboard for almost two years. During that time, I sometimes took on
dock water through a carbon filter, and sometimes cleaned the membranes with
a product bought from West Marine. I also visited the Chesapeake and the Bra
d'Or Lakes in Nova Scotia. Having said that, a friend of mine ran his water
maker in the inner harbour of Rodney Bay for three years without any problem
I would not even put my foot in there!
My second water maker is a 160 l/h model. I have never taken on dock water
(no chlorine), only back flush if the system is not going to be used for 10
days or more, and have never used any chemicals. In addition, having
backflushed the water maker in October 2003, it remained untouched for seven
months whilst Crusader languished in Amel's yard. Upon re launching the boat
it has worked fine ever since. My TDS readings are around 365 also.
The only problem I have experienced was the discovery of a split in in of
the nylon end caps in the area of the interconnecting tube that joins the
two membranes together. There had been a slow spray leak for some time, and
I only discovered it when a storage box that I keep under the water maker
was found to be full of sea water. The side effects of this leak were rust
on the 110/220V transformer casing, a failed fan in the 30 Amp battery
charger, and a degraded anchor wash motor, so it's worth keeping an eye on
the integrity of the end caps and fittings.
Amel quoted me "153.68 Euros ex Vat" for a pair of end caps, and so I am
staggered that you have been charged $640 for the caps direct from the
manufacturer. Of course we may have different models, but mine are made out
of white nylon and have two external and two internal seals each.
I attended a water maker symposium in Georgetown a few years back. When I
asked if all membranes were equal, the recommendation was Filmtec.
TSD meters are indeed readily available through Ebay at a great price. I
also bought one of those dual in line digital TDS meters for around $30. It
works fine when water is passed through it from a tap, but when I installed
it in the exit pipe from the membranes, it worked for a second or two, then
came up with 'error'. Why, I am not sure. Maybe the flow rate was too high
and turbulence might have had an effect? When I am back on my feet, I shall
try installing it in the pipe leading to the tank, possibly through a branch
off the main pipe. If you buy one of these, make sure you get the right John
Guest adaptors. The units normaly come with 1/4" connectors and my boat has
3/8" pipe. If I get it to work, it will be a convenient way of testing the
output regularly. I guess the ultimate water maker would have a digital
meter built into the control panel. One day I am sure.
Season Greetings to you all
Ian Shepherd SM 414 "Crusader"